Thanks largely to the internet and the COVID-19 pandemic, working from home has become the norm for many employees as well as entrepreneurs. With the likes of Twitter stating that much of its workforce can work from home as long as they want to, it seems likely that the remote-working trend may be here to stay.
Despite the economic difficulties, 2020 has been a year for startups too. With many people starting their own business from home, attempting to reduce overheads and mitigate their financial risk. With ancillary businesses such as Moneypenny virtual receptionists reporting remarkable growth, 2020 could mark the beginning of a new era and the mainstream arrival of remote-working entrepreneurship.
This is potentially great news for the environment. Fewer cars on the road during rush-hour, means less pollution, especially in city centres. It may also be good news for the wellbeing of the workforce, with less time on the road meaning less stress & burnout and more time with loved ones.
What would also be mutually beneficial to workers and the environment – would be a home office, that is powered by renewable energy – solar, wind and/or water. If you don’t have room for an office in the house, consider purchasing a shed – if budget, allows, a Tuff Shed is a great option for an office or workshop.
Warning – please consult a professional before attempting any electrical work yourself. Faulty set up could result in fire or electric shock.
Create a Portable Solar Power Unit
Solar power is the go-to for renewable energy, especially in states such as California. To start your solar power system, by creating a portable one that you can take with you and hook up virtually anywhere.
Battery – you will need a battery for power storage in an off-grid system. In this video, they used a deep-cycle marine battery as it should tolerate daily charges and discharges of energy for some time.
Inverter – a Go Power generator rated at 1750 watts is a good choice for a portable system and its output is suitable for small electronic devices as well as larger ones. It boasts a power display and comes with 2 AC outlets.
Power Strip – to add more devices at once, you can add a power strip with plug sockets and USB sockets.
Solar Panel – a Renogy 200w solar panel is an excellent choice for a portable solar panel kit. It comes with a charge controller and everything required for the ‘solar-side’ of a generator. The charger has a 400w capacity, so can be used with more solar panels.
A Batter Maintainer – a battery maintainer can be added to keep the battery at full capacity.
Heavy Duty Hand Truck – If you want to have a portable solar panel system, then it can be fitted to a hand truck, with a few adjustments. You may need to, for example, add some ‘sides’ to the bottom to form a unit around the relatively large battery.
Be careful if you want to transport the unit in a car or van. If turned over, the battery can leak.
If putting together a portable system from scratch sounds a bit daunting – you can be prebuilt systems from the likes of Yeti. You can find more information here.
Wind Powered Office
For a home office, you can install a micro wind turbine. For a wind turbine to be cost-effective, you’ll need to live somewhere that gets quite a lot of wind! Beware that they are quite tall and relatively heavy – between 10 and 20kg typically. They can also be very tall – up to 50ft, but if you get a lot of wind, you might not need to erect it so high.
You may need to create some kind of base, or support to hold the turbine up. In this video, they used a scaffold pole against a fence for additional support.
Micro Wind Turbine
Obviously, for wind energy, you will need a wind turbine. The Cloudsto 500w Wind Turbine Kit comes with free worldwide shipping (at the time of writing).
Three Phase Cable
You may need to extend the reach of the cable that comes with the wind turbine. A 3 phase cable with high-quality copper is ideal if your home office is a few meters or more from the turbine’s location.
Junction Box & Charger
Most turbines will come with a charger, the junction box is simply a three-point adapter that connects to the 3 phase cable. It is possible to buy a ‘rectifier’ too – this will change the AC charge from the turbine to DC.
If you want to charge specific batteries – such as lithium batteries – you may wish to connect the charger or the rectifier to the charger. You can buy a charge controller from Amazon, but you may want to buy from an independent store as they are more likely to give you specialist advice on which one to invest in. Tesup sells a range of high-quality controllers, for example with most of them coming with a free 5-year warranty.
There are other ways to generate renewable energy. If you have a large roof, and live in a rainy area (like anywhere in the UK!), you can use a Pelton wheel turbine to harness the flow of water in your gutter. More information on the ‘gutter hydropower’ system can be found on this Youtube Video.