The Treehouse + The Cave


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Thursday, December 23, 2004

Wasted Photons

Speaking of solar panels...

My friend Aaron asked a really good question last night: Why aren't we lining the interiors of our homes with solarvoltaic materials, in addition to the more accepted practice of applying panels to the exteriors of our houses?

We use a considerable amount of resources, both material and monetary, generating the artificial light by which we illuminate our interiors, and a large amount of that energy is wasted as those photons bounce around our apartments. Only a miniscule fraction of the photons we make every day actually land in our retinas, right? So, why not harness all those stray photons, convert them to electrons via transparent solarvoltaic films on our walls, furniture, etc., and then use those electrons to power the lights in the first place?

It sounds like a responsible and signifigantly more efficient way to illuminate and power our lives to me.

Blogger hipp-o thought:

two comments:

1) the amount of photons within the house, even when heavily lit is miniscule compared to the amount oustide on a sunny day. but it might be enought to run small appliances (calculators, clocks, etc.)

2) bouncing photons make for bright settings even if they are "wasted" - that's why a sunny day on earth is so wonderfully bright and colorful, and yet every day in space is dark (no bouncing photons) except when looking directly at the sun (not recommended). so snatching up the extra photons would make the room "darker" in the same way a black wall would. that being said, im still up for capturing those rascally little wasted photons.

what i'd also be interested in seeing are floors with springs underneath them that convert mechanical energy into electricity. Not so springy as to make walking weird or difficult, but just enough so that all my nightly trips to the bathroom might power the next mornings coffee. or shoes with springs to lengthen my i-pod battery life.

hipp-o

December 24, 2004 at 6:03 PM - Comment Permalink  

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