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If you’re someone who is extremely passionate about doing whatever it is that you can to preserve the environment, then there’s a pretty good chance that you’re already recycling, composting, using Energy Star appliances, turning on your ceiling fans and setting the temperature in your home with a programmable thermostat. Yet, did you know that there are actually some solar energy projects that you can do on your own as well?

If you would like to lower the energy costs in your home and you’d like a few DIY tips on how to accomplish that goal, we have a few cool energy projects that you can try creating all from the comfort of your own home below:

A solar oven. Probably the most popular DIY solar project is a solar oven. As a matter of fact, this is so easy that many science teachers use it as a project for schoolchildren. What you’ll need is a cardboard box, some aluminum foil, some plastic wrap, tape and construction paper and it typically takes about 1 ½ hours to make. For step-by-step instructions, visit HomeTrainingTools.com and put “solar oven” in the search field.

A solar outdoor Wi-FI access point. OK, this is actually something that is a bit more complex but still doable. If you’re someone who likes to spend a lot of time outside and you’ve been secretly wishing that your Wi-Fi reached your backyard, you can actually design a solar-powered device to do just that. It does tend to require quite a bit of items and tools and so we recommend that you go to POPSCI.com and put “network your backyard” in the search field for all of the details.

A solar USB charger. Being that virtually all of us have cell phones, who doesn’t want a solar-powered charger? Although when you first look at this particular model, you’re only going to notice a pot and some candles, by following the steps on Instructables.com, you’ll be surprised how effective the combination can be. (“Thermoelectric USB charger” is what needs to go into the search field.)

A house-heating solar panel. Do you want to find a way to make your house warmer without having to crank up your HVAC unit in the process? One way to do that is by making your own house-heating solar panel. What you’ll need is some aluminum cans, some wood and also a fan. FreeOnPlate.com is a website that has directions as well as an instructional video (make sure to put “pop cans, solar panel” in the search field). Just make sure to do it while your kids are not around. The process does come with a few risks. And while it won’t provide you with all of the benefits of replacing your AC unit, it can result in you keeping a couple of more dollars in your pocket each month.

A solar portable light. Another fun project that you can do with your children consists of using an IKEA slom jar, a glass frosting spray and some Blue Tak. Initially it might sound a bit odd but the combination actually creates a warm portable light. For information on how to make it, visit NotMartha.org and put “homemade sun jar” in the search field.

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