It started one day when I had a phone call from my wife. She was at a garden centre and enthusiastically told me that there was a water butt there, on sale, for £10. After a few minutes of discussion we decided to acquire this bastion of water storage.
Now, a water butt should be a water butt. I am pretty sure that we all have a fairly clear idea of what a water butt is or should be. Imagine my surprise when my wife returns bearing a sealed cardboard box. Upon closer inspection it was revealed to be – a flat pack water butt!
Putting together flat pack furniture and cabinets is complicated enough but a flat pack water butt for the garden took things to a whole new level. Mid way through the third hour of trying to put the thing together I started to wonder; what would be the weirdest green ideas in the world?
After a bit of research I am delighted to present a few truly strange examples of green schemes that actually work! Some are bizarre, some just odd, some insanely brilliant. This is off the wall thinking at its best!
Human Powered Gym
Remember the principle of pedalling your bike and powering the light at the front or the back by a dynamo to provide light? Well, one gym in the US has taken it further. They are using exercise equipment to help provide energy. Using spinning wheels to generate electricity is not new and using the exercise bikes helps to provide electricity to the gym to supplement their power. The harder you work out, the more power you generate. So if you are pedalling away you could also be helping to provide the hot water for your shower after!
Self Heating Crematoriums
That’s right! Why not make your funeral a green affair by using the generated heat to keep the facility warm for your mourners. A crematorium in Halmstad, Sweden has apparently been given permission to re-use the heat from the cremations to keep the crematorium’s buildings warm. As a result not only has the facility drastically reduced the heating bill, but also improved the quality of the air by reducing smoke particles. Very handy if you want to off-set your CO2 from your funeral!
Getting Electricity from Trees
Apparently there is a company in the United States that believes that they can figure out how to get electricity from trees. Oh yes! By hammering a nail into the tree and using a conductor, the natural background electric current can be detected and channelled to charge batteries. It can even be used to power LEDs. It makes sense in a strange way but let’s hope they don’t branch out!
Toilet Hydro Electric
How about generating some electricity every time you flush? Well, there is a company that has plans to install a mini turbine in pipes through which water rush through, including toilets. This water passing through the turbine will generate electricity! Nothing going to waste here!
Solar Panelled Roads
Believe it or not there is an idea out there to lay solar panels in roadways. The system which would consist of three superimposed layers would help to provide a top up to the electricity grid, perhaps even enough to light the road and provide heat and power to buildings. It’s still an idea at the design stage, at the moment; let’s just hope it doesn’t hit road works!
All of these ideas just go to prove that nearly anything can be made to be green in some capacity. All you need is a bit of imagination. Perhaps a little too much imagination in some cases! If you have any more strange examples, we would love to hear them!
Written by Symon Silvester