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Home » Energy saving

Mrs Green’s off grid sustainability challenge

Submitted by on Wednesday, 12 December 2012 Loading Add to favourites  One Comment

iphone solar chargerI love the New Year, don’t you?

I feel as though I’ve got through the shortest day of the year, the darkest part of the night and it’s all about potential and possibilities.

I’m not one for setting traditional New Year’s resolutions but I do like to assess where I’m at in my life, what’s working, what’s not and set some goals for the coming year.

Something that has been on my mind a lot recently is our reliance on the National Grid.

We do what we can to be green – recycling, combing errands to use the car less, growing a little food, but we’re still pretty much in the hands of the powers that be with regards to day to day living.

My work requires internet access, even using a local, organic farm shop means I have to get the car out and every time I cook I’m using electricity that is powered by a coal-fired power station.

We have some LED lighting running from a solar panel but this year I’d like to step things up a little on the green stakes.

Knowing I can procrastinate wildly when faced with overwhelm I’ve decided on one small challenge for myself:

My off-grid mobile phone challenge!

I bought an old iPhone from a friend and have decided I will try and run it off grid for the entire year! Our friends at ParamountZone have sent me an iPhone solar charger to help me succeed and I’ll be starting on January 1st.

I’m going to charge the iPhone battery fully by mains and then I’m going to see how long I can go without plugging it into the wall by using just the iPhone solar charger.

Made by Solar Boost, the particular charger I have is pretty new to the market. It boasts a mega-powerful 2000mAh lithium ion rechargeable battery which will hold its charge for up to 6 months. The manufacturers claim it charges your phone almost as quickly as charging from mains!

Although it has a USB adapter, I’m going to rely solely on natural light to see how long I can go without charging my mobile phone using main electricity.

I’ve been storing the charger in the light for about ten days now ready to see how it performs. On dry, sunny days I’ve taken it outside into the low autumn sun and when it’s wet outside I’ve left it on a work surface in the brightest room in the house.

I’m certain this challenge will be a doddle in the summer but I’m interested to see how I manage now with very little sunlight. I’m aware this will require a complete change of habit. Currently I charge my phone up once or twice a week via mains. I use it until the battery is completely flat then charge it up again.

To make this challenge a success I need to adopt a ‘short accounts’ mentality and leave the phone plugged into the solar charger as often as possible. My aim is to keep the battery topped up rather than letting it run down before thinking about it.

And that just about sums up everything to do with our modern convenient lives – we don’t need to plan much we simply get more when something runs out; everything from food to battery power.

This challenge will get me rethinking, planning ahead and hopefully more mindful of how often I use my phone and what I use it for.

What about you – any green resolutions for this year?

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