For in-ground pools, solar-powered pool heaters are panels installed on the roof similar to solar panels. Water moves through small tubes in the panels and is constantly heated and redirected to the pool, and cool water is recirculated through the panel, keeping the pool warm via the solar array.
Your attic space is one of the hottest areas in your home, and your roof takes the brunt of the sun’s rays. Add those two factors together and suddenly it’s clear why a solar-powered attic fan makes sense for a lot of homeowners. Attic heat barriers and insulation are critical parts of energy efficient homes, but solar attic fans can further lower temperatures in your attic space, taking a load off your AC … and as a result, your pocketbook.
The two main types of solar water heater systems, active (which has pumps and controls) and passive (which doesn’t), both include the same basic parts, such as storage tanks and solar collectors. While active systems are somewhat pricier, they also allow for more flexibility in design, like hiding the storage tank. Because solar-powered water heaters have a variety of options and details, such as water needs, geography and aesthetic concerns, it’s best to research and then discuss your interest with a contractor experienced in installation and maintaining solar water heater systems.
The relaxing streaming sound of water from a bubbling garden fountain is a joy to many outdoor-decor-minded homeowners; finding unobtrusive ways to power that fountain, however, can be a kink in the stress-free stream. A solar-powered fountain can go anywhere in the yard or patio, though (as long as there’s a conduit to a sunshine source!) without worrying about tripping over cords or surge-protection proximity. Some solar fountains have separate panels that stake next to the water feature, while others, like the solar fountain pictured, have an integrated solar panel in the top bowl to maximize ray-catching and minimize aesthetic distractions.
Whether you’re camping, hanging out at the pool or working in your garden, it’s nice to have the sound and security of a radio with you. What’s not nice is having to worry about its battery life. Solar-powered speakers take that concern away, and many, like the Eton Rugged Ruckus (pictured) can even act as a portable battery and allow you to charge small devices like mobile phones.
Want a little solar whimsy in your garden? Try solar-powered glow-in-the-dark garden gnomes that double as daytime bird feeders. Your feathered friends get their nibble during the daylight hours while the gnome’s battery cell powers up, then at night, the bird-feeding figure decorates your outdoors with its (literally) glowing smile.
The open air living room in this Point Lorna, California, villa home spills out toward a courtyard terrace. Plush sofas and wing back chairs dominate the interior, where seating is accented with plush lilac pillows to complement vases of flowers decorating a low marble coffee table. The cylindrical vases throughout the room complement modern solar-powered candelabras overhead.
The library includes deck mounted solar powered skylights with light-filtering single pleated blinds that bring fresh air and natural light into the space, that can be controlled through a smartphone app.
Four solar powered skylights with energy-efficient glass transform the master bedroom’s ceiling into a fifth wall with fresh air, natural light and sky views. The skylights include a built-in rain sensor that automatically close the skylights if it begins to rain.
This Goal Zero Multi-Tool kit gets the sun’s help when you need to charge your devices and the power is out. It includes a solar panel, flashlight, fan and battery to store all that solar power. It can recharge your smartphone or any USB device.
Green technology inside this Point Lorna, California, villa allows for solar power to fuel track and pendant lighting which shines down on a kitchen island's marble counter top. The long counter top's charms are maximized with an eat-in counter fitted with high top wicker seating.
A modern roof deck overlooks a hilly desert landscape, and a small container garden houses native plants. Because the homeowner is a professor of environmental studies, the house is a teaching tool and example to his students of sustainable architecture. The home runs on solar power, recycles gray water and captures rain water in cisterns.
This modern addition with a roof deck connects to the existing house by a structurally independent deck. The homeowners have an obsession with color, so the design team used bold blue and orange on the exterior, inspired by modern abstract art. The home runs on solar power, recycles gray water and captures rain water in cisterns.
The garden courtyard and swimming pool of this Point Lorna, California, two-story villa home basks in solar powered lighting which spills out from archways furnished with topiary accents. The warm lighting is anchored by a covered terrace fireplace reflected in the still water. Alongside the pool, neutral furnishings like wicker sofas and cushioned chaise longues dominate the landscape.