Human activity is causing climate change.
The cars we drive, the smoke from our stoves, the electricity we consume – these are all activities that emit the carbon that’s warming our planet.
The problem is, we didn’t just start contributing to this problem. Starting from the Industrial Revolution in the 1850s, humans have caused a 0.85 degrees Celsius rise in global temperatures. If we don’t do anything to change the way we currently live, the earth will get warmer by about 2 degrees celsius.
It may seem like an insignificant number but that small rise is enough to disrupt our lives. Some scientists predict that unregulated industrial development will render American cities unlivable by 2050.
We may see very hot, long summers and unbearable winters. Heat waves could last a month or more. Rain and snowstorms might become more intense and life-threatening.
Our modern lifestyles are contributing directly to this future. The average American produces 16 tons of carbon a year, which is 4x the global average. To prevent catastrophic climate damage, climatologists argue that we’ll have to reduce our carbon footprint to just 2 tons a year.
We’ll need to change our lifestyles to be more friendly to the planet. And one of the easiest ways to do that is to use more free energy devices in our daily routines.
Our team at Aspiration has put together a list of 12 free energy devices that will help you offset your carbon footprint. We’re an environmentally-friendly neobank that’s been helping customers purchase automatic carbon offsets since our foundation in 2013.
We love helping people live healthier, eco-conscious lives and in this article, we show you how you can do that easily.
12 free energy devices that will help you offset your carbon footprint
Home solar electric system
The first and most impactful free energy device you can add to your life is a home solar electric system. It allows you to reduce your reliance on fossil fuel-generated electricity, effectively helping you go low-carbon or even carbon-neutral at home.
Solar electric systems come in different forms. Most will require you to install solar panels on your roof or nearby open space. For homeowners living in urban areas, you can opt to get a grid-tie solar power system that generates electricity for your home when the sun is shining and puts you back on the electricity grid at night.
For those living in more remote places, an off-grid system will do the same, except that it will store any excess energy in a battery for you to use at night or on very cloudy days. Solar electric systems can last up to 30 years and are highly durable.
Geothermal heat pumps
Geothermal heat pumps are a great way to reduce your carbon footprint during colder months. They use heat from below the earth’s surface to warm your home or office and emit little to no greenhouse gases.
People who install these heat pumps usually see payback on their investments within 5 to 7 years, allowing them to save up to 70% on heating costs throughout the system’s lifetime. Geothermal heat pumps can be installed almost anywhere in the U.S., and are known to last 20 years or more.
Micro hydropower system
If you live or work near a flowing water source such as a stream, you could install a micro hydropower system to generate electricity.
These systems work the same way as dams do, albeit on a much smaller scale. Water is diverted from the source to a waterwheel or a conventional pump, and the momentum present in the water pushes the wheel, generating electricity that gets stored in a battery.
A 10-kilowatt micro-hydropower system can generate enough electricity to power a large home. Like solar power electric systems, they can provide free energy for several decades with very little maintenance.
Residential wind power
If you live in an area where you receive a lot of wind, you might benefit from a residential wind power system. Wind power turbines that produce 5-15 kilowatts can power a medium-sized home that consumes about 900 kilowatt-hours per month.
Unlike solar power electric systems, wind turbines can generate electricity both during the day and at night as long as there is constant wind flow around where you live. Most wind turbines need an average wind speed of at least 9 miles per hour to generate enough power to give you proper energy independence.
Residential wind power can be a good standalone free energy device or an addition to an existing solar power system.
Personal transportation needs are another area where you could offset your carbon footprint. The average passenger vehicle emits 4.6 tons of carbon dioxide per year when driven on a near-daily basis.
If you ditched your car and fossil fuels for a self-charging bike, you could offset that carbon footprint and edge closer to the 2 tons a year carbon footprint target. Today’s self-charging bikes come with sensors, Bluetooth communications systems, and pedal-assist technology to help you get more mileage on your bike at faster speeds.
Brands like Organic Transit, Byar, and Vello can help you get around at speeds of up to 28 mph. And the best thing is, you won’t need to pedal much. They can give up to 80 miles of range after a charge so you can zip around like you would with a car.
But if bicycles aren’t your thing, you could look into getting yourself a solar-powered car. The Aptera and the Lightyear One are two upcoming solar-powered vehicles that could revolutionize the car industry.
Touted as a free energy vehicle that will break our oil dependence, the Aptera is a three-wheeled car that can give about 40 miles of range per day and a top speed of 110 miles per hour. The company has begun taking pre-orders and deliveries are expected to begin in 2021.
The Lightyear One caters more to the luxury car market with its 500-mile single-charge range. An array of solar panels on the roof and hood of the vehicle, coupled with a plug-in electric system, provide a constant supply of electricity to the car so that owners will rarely have to charge their cars.
It’s not just car manufacturers who are joining the solar power revolution. Some eco-conscious boat manufacturers have been selling clean, solar-power propelled boats for more than a decade now.
The boats from brands such as Soel Yachts and Solar Boats USA have hardtops fitted with solar panels. The electricity generated from these panels powers electric motors that produce almost no carbon emissions. Surplus power is stored in batteries that can be used on cloudier days.
An additional benefit is that electric motors use less space than diesel-powered engines, giving boat owners more living space.
Solar-powered phones may now be hard to find but some models still exist on the market.
The Kyocera solar smartphone, for example, runs on just solar power alone and has a battery large enough to give hours of regular talk and app usage. It has a transparent solar charging film located underneath the touch screen that automatically generates power when placed in the sun.
But if you already have a smartphone, getting yourself a solar-powered charger will have the same effect. Instead of the dirty coal-powered electricity, you might normally use to charge your phone with, these chargers can store more than 5 battery cycles for your phone with just a few hours of sunlight.
Portable power station
Similar to solar chargers are portable power stations with solar panel extensions. These devices are like large batteries that can store several days’ worth of power for your devices with around 10 hours of solar charging.
Goal Zero’s Yeti power stations, for example, can provide up to 800 watts of solar recharging capability. These stations can be used to charge laptops, USB appliances, and lights several times on a single charge.
If you regularly use diesel generators, switching to these power stations can protect you from harmful fumes and help you offset your carbon footprint at the same time.
Refrigerators may help us store our food for longer, but they’re also major contributors to climate change. The refrigerants in our fridges, known as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), were discovered by scientists to be almost 10,000 times more harmful to our ozone layer than other greenhouse gases.
Getting yourself a no-electricity, evaporative fridge could help solve this problem. Instead of chemical refrigerants, these fridges simply use the changing states of water to preserve food.
Fridges like the Mitticool and EV8 have a compartment where water drips down chambers inside the fridge, taking away the heat that’s present. Then as the water evaporates, it leaves the fridge about 15 to 20 degrees Celsius cooler than the temperature outside.
The smoke from charcoal grills and stoves is bad for your body and the planet. Fortunately, a handful of inventors have come up with solar stoves that let you boil, grill, steam, or fry using just the sun’s energy.
These stoves come in different forms but the two most common types use heat-absorbing salts and reflective panels.
The heat-absorbing solar stove uses lithium nitrate salts that work like “heat batteries” – the molten salt absorbs heat from the sun during the day and maintains it for 6 hours after sundown at a temperature of around 200 degrees celsius.
While the second model relies on reflective panels that concentrate the sun’s heat at a single point under a stovetop. It can boil a liter of water in 10 minutes and can be easily stored in an RV or SUV for portable outdoor cooking.
Backyard nuclear reactor
And if the options above are not enough for you, you could just build yourself a backyard nuclear reactor for your energy needs. Research shows that nuclear power plants produce about the same amount of carbon dioxide as wind power farms, and just about a third of what solar farms emit.
Several prominent energy experts believe that small nuclear energy technologies can accelerate clean energy deployment while filling in gaps left by renewables. At just $30 million, you could buy a two-megawatt backyard nuclear reactor to offset your carbon footprint.
Aspiration is a neobank that can help you offset your carbon footprint
Aspiration is a climate-friendly neobank that offers financial products and services which help you do good for the planet.
Our Plant Your Change program, for example, allows you to automatically plant a tree each time you use your debit or credit card. We simply round up the transaction to the nearest whole dollar and use the spare change to plant trees around the world.
Similarly, our Planet Protection™ program helps you automatically offset your vehicle’s carbon footprint. Every time you purchase a gallon of gas, our system automatically buys carbon offsets for you to help you reach your carbon neutrality goals.
Join Aspiration today to discover other ways that you can make your money work for the environment.