Here’s an accomplishment that deserves mention, for three reasons: A) It is a cool DIY project, B) It utilizes solar energy, and C) It cost about $5 to make. Built using a combination of materials found in a junkyard and materials on-hand, the solar heater panel was the brain-child of a member of The Sietch, an online community of environmentally-conscious folks who come up with cool and cheap new ways to cut energy costs and preserve our planet. The motivation for the project was simple enough—much of a home’s energy usage is from heating hot water, and since the sun is free…So they raided a junkyard for parts and put together a solar thermal panel that was capable of heating water up to 170º F—hot enough to scald. Their eventual goal is to modify the unit to get the water up to boiling. I can’t wait to read how they do it. Kudos to these folks for their innovative and resourceful ways. Check out the website to see the step-by-step construction of the solar thermal panel, and then go out and do it yourself! If we all did a little bit, we’d save a lot.