Green DIY: Make a vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT) with 55 gallon plastic drums

GreenTerraFirma has some very cool links regarding DIY power generation and sustainability projects. This page deals exclusively with wind turbines, and posts several videos on how to make your own out of two 55 gallon drums. The project is dirt cheap if you can source parts well, and doesn’t take a lot of specialized tools either. The author machines gears out of some cheap cutting boards, but mentions that you can make an equivalent drive system out of belts and pulleys, which can be store-bought.

Monitor home energy use for $20

Although it’s been around for a few years now, the Kill-a-Watt and other “outlet” power monitors have gotten a lot of press for their ability to highlight the power use of many household devices that are otherwise black boxes.  However, measuring your power usage 1 appliance at a time is difficult and time consuming.  Even if your energy provider isn’t thinking about smart metering yet, why not analyze the energy consumed by your whole house over time?