The Village Green

A blog about how Canadians can achieve energy independence by powering down and then powering up the right way.

It’s a really sunny Friday here in Toronto and so I thought I would end off the week by riffing a bit about solar energy with one of my all-time favourite pictures.  

Check out this picture taken somewhere in China with this guy crawling around on a roof with his kludged solar water heating system made out of discarded beer bottles. This guy is sending water up to his roof through some plumbing contraption – probably just as jerry-rigged as his water heating system – and then running the water through these green bottles which are heating up under the sun beating down on his roof.  

Voila!  Instant solar water heating! 

There’s a ton this picture conveys. Here are some of the things that come to my mind:  

1:  There’s no such thing as garbage in nature. In fact, we should get rid of the word garbage and replace it with the word waste. We waste a bunch of really good stuff.  

2:  Energy is everywhere. What we need to do is re-imagine the possibilities in using it and in the way we design our buildings and processes.  

3:  When we talk about technology, we need to begin shifting our thinking away from hi-tech to appropriate tech. That is, what is the simplest way we can effectively do something? This is a really important consideration in the sustainable economy.   

4:  As a species, we’re really ingenious when we want to be.  

If you have a solar water heating project you’re thinking about, the solar cats in Toronto to check out are our friends at SolSmart Energy Solutions.  Great guys. 

Gabriel Draven 

August 14, 2009