Going green – it is the little things…

Many people focus on the big things when discussing going green – and I can be as guilty of that as anyone – but it is probable that those big actions are too complex and too costly to have a substantive near term impact on your personal (and by extension the US and the world’s) carbon footprint.

Given that it is great to see companies beginning to bring consumer products to market that can actually make an impact today. Here is a great example:

Voltaic Systems announced the Voltaic Generator will be available starting in the Spring of 2008. The laptop bag – which retails for $599.00 – has the following specifications:

The Voltaic Generator is the first solar bag powerful enough to charge a laptop. It uses high efficiency solar cells to generate maximum power in the limited space available. It includes a battery pack custom designed to efficiently store and convert the electricity generated. It can also charge cell phones and most other hand held electronics.

  • Solar panel generates up to 14.7 watts, powerful enough to fully charge a typical laptop from a day of direct sunlight.
  • The included battery pack efficiently stores the equivalent of a typical laptop charge and automatically delivers the required output voltages
  • Common adaptors are included for easy connection to laptops, phones and other handheld electronics
  • Other devices can connect via USB or car charger
  • Will hold up to a 17″ Powerbook inside a protective case
  • Fabrics made from recycled PET (soda bottles), which is tough, water resistant and light weight

More after the jump…

I know many of you will immediately say “What!!! $600 for a laptop bag?! Are you crazy?” I confess for a moment I almost went there myself. After taking a moment to reflect, however, I realized I could get between 2 and 5 hours of computing (depending on the laptop and it’s efficiency) a day without using a single watt of non-renewable energy. What is that worth to you?

Most corporate laptop users tend to use their laptops plugged in 80 – 90% of the time – even when the battery is fully charged. So it isn’t just buying a laptop bag that is required – but a change in behavior as well.

Let’s all get one of these. Leave it on the floor exposed to either sunlight or the lovely fluorescent lighting in your office all day. Let’s also commit to unplugging our laptops from the wall every day at 3 pm or so (by all means determine the best time for you given your laptop’s battery) with the goal in mind to leave the office with a completely drained battery.

We can then put our laptop’s in our Voltaic Generator bag for the ride home/night and allow our laptop to charge back up on renewable energy.

It is not only good for the environment – but will also extend the life of your laptop battery.

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