The electricity consumption at the average U.S. household has skyrocketed in recent years, in part because we're building new homes so much bigger than we used to, in part because we have more televisions, computers and other electronics in more rooms -- and in part because we're charging so many personal portable electronic devices that are wholly new to the market.
Well, the DIY-enthusiasts among us can at least knock the last off the list, thanks to Jerome Kelly, Instructables.com and Earthjustice.
Kelly is the winner of the groups' United States of Efficiency contest. His invention? A solar-powered charger designed for the iPhone and Ipod Touch, but useful for many devices that charge using a USB.
The best part? You can make it yourself -- in less than an hour (if you're as handy as Kelly, that is).
"Americans love a challenge," Kelly said, recalling a conversation with his son about the Apollo moon mission. "We possess the intelligence, technology and spirit to accomplish whatever we set our minds to. How we rise to this challenge will define our generation. It is now the responsibility of all citizens to challenge themselves, to become makers, inventors, conservationists and political activists in order to achieve our goal. It is the responsibility of our leaders, political and industrial, to spearhead our efforts to achieving our goal. We only get one shot at this."
Here's how to make your own solar power iPhone charger:
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