14 Green Living Myths

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In recent times, it’s become common knowledge that we all need to do our bit to be more environmentally friendly. While many people now go to extremes in order to reduce their carbon footprint, such as spending thousands on solar panels, there are other ways in which you can become more ‘green’ with far less expense. However, as much as it’s great to do whatever you can to help the environment, it seems that there are a few myths around what can actually be beneficial to helping our planet Earth.

Our latest infographic explores these green living myths so that you know exactly what to do to become more environmentally friendly, instead of wasting your time and efforts. For example, while turning off appliances when they’re not in use is always a good idea, for financial reasons as well as environmental reasons, you also need to make sure they’re turned off at the socket, as they’ll still continue to use power even when they’re switched off. Take a look at the infographic below to find out more about these green living myths and how you could maximise your efforts to become more ‘green’.

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Worlds from Fiction

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Books, films and comics have all brought different imaginary worlds to our attention. Whether you’re a die-hard Harry Potter fan or your interests lie within the world of Narnia, it’s a wonderful feeling to be able to immerse yourself in a different world. While some imaginative places may be alongside Earth, such as Neverland which can be reached in the sky, some worlds are entirely dystopian, for example, Middle Earth from The Lord of the Rings.

Our latest infographic gives you an insight into these different worlds, along with where they’re from and who thought them up. We’ve also included some interesting facts about them such as the Hundred Acre Wood being inspired by the Five Hundred Acre Wood in Sussex, and that Asgard is based on the realm of the same name from Norse religion. Take a look at the infographic below to find out more about the fictional worlds you know, and to discover any that you didn’t know before.fictional-worlds

 

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What Would Happen if the Sun Disappeared?

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Even if you don’t know much about science, and outer space in particular, most of us know that that great big yellow thing in the sky is quite important for our existence. The majority of us will realise that without the Sun, things down here on Earth would be pretty cold and dark. However, we were curious to see what else might happen if our giant source of heat and light were to suddenly vanish from the sky.

Our latest infographic explores everything that would happen should the sun disappear, along with a timescale of how long it would take for these things to happen. For example, within eight minutes all the planets would start to travel in a straight line through space because there would no longer be a gravitational pull from the Sun and the surfaces of the oceans would freeze over within a couple of months. Take a look at the infographic below to find out more about what would happen to us and our planet if the Sun were to disappear.if-the-sun-disappeared

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Do solar lights work in winter? – the definitive guide

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  1. Do solar lights really work in winter?
  2. Why are my solar lights not on dusk till dawn in winter?
  3. How do you charge solar lights in winter?
  4. What are the best solar lights in winter?
  5. How do you to charge solar lights without sun?
  6. How do solar lights work in the shade?
  7. Can you use rechargeable batteries in solar lights?

 

  1. Do solar lights really work in winter?works-in-winter

All Solar lights work in winter as long as the Solar panel receives enough daylight to power up the batteries to a point that the light can function assuming no faults.

Many people ask if our lights work at winter after having a poor experience in the past, normally with very cheap budget type lights.

All solar lights use rechargeable batteries and with a good set of Lithium Ion batteries costing upwards of £10 so a solar light is less it’s likely to be very limited in performance.

  1. Why are my solar lights not on dusk till dawn in winter?dusk-till-dawn-solar-lights

“Dusk to till dawn” or “always on” are the most common type of solar lights that run at night until dawn or until the charge in the batteries runs out. However the dusk till dawn description can build unrealistic expectations and here at Solarcentre we try our best not to use that description as the time of year, panel positioning and of course the specification of the light all determine how long the light will operate for.
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21 December 2016 is the next solstice and the sun will rise at 07:07 and set at 16:21 in London, that’s 9hrs 14mins of daylight or 14hrs 46 mins night.

 

 

For our premium solar products 1hr direct sunlight can provide up to 1.3hr LED/SMD light output.

Here at Solarcentre we launched two massive technological advances in our solar lights, Power Saving mode, which doubles the light run time by reducing the power going to the LED/SMD bulb.

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Our first Dual Solar Panel lights were also introduced on the Kodiak range. Both features combined offer more than 4 times the runtime of comparable lights without these features.

 

 

  1. How do you charge solar lights in winter?charging-in-winter

No matter what time of year solar lights charge in the same way, the main differences between winter and summer is that the length of time between sunrise and sunset reduces.

The sun in the UK is lower in the sky in winter which has two knock on effects. One being that sunlight has more atmosphere for the suns rays to pass through and the other that a solar panel will produce more when pitched at approximately a 45% angle rather than straight up.

Avoiding shadows is particularly crucial in winter as lengthening shadows that may not have been a factor in summer can make a review of a solar panels positioning an essential task in winter.

  1. What are the best solar lights in winter?best-winter-solar-lights

There are many solar lights that are best for UK winter conditions but it really depends on what you need the solar lights for.

Security solar lights with motion sensor are perfect all year round as the lights that only trigger when movement has been sensed, this is how we can make a security lights with 1,400 Lumens (the brightest in the UK). If bright lighting is essential in winter then we always strongly recommend a motion activated light to provide the best guarantee of the light being there when you need it.

Our range of remote panel solar security lights

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Fairy lights of course use far less power and work all year round. Our Lumify fairy lights have a USB top up for if you ever have very long periods of no sunlight or if you’re struggling to get the panel in a good position for the winter sun.

Last but not least our dual panel lights with power saving mode boast the best light runtimes for always on light in winter!

  1. How do you to charge solar lights without sun?solar-lights-without-sun

Solar panels use the energy from daylight and not direct sunlight, direct sunlight provide the best conditions as it’s the least diffused through cloud. Even the angle of the sun throughout the year is massively affected just by the amount of atmosphere the rays need to pass.

Dark thick cloud will absorb far more daylight than thin white clouds and will in turn reduce the output of the panel. So even on a cloudy and rainy day your panels are still working away.

  1. How do solar lights work in the shade?solar-lights-in-the-shadew

As above solar lights still work in the shade without sun but for the best performance, no matter the time of year, solar panels should be angled directly at the sun with nothing in the way to diffuse the light.

  1. Can you use rechargeable batteries in solar lights?battery

All “real” solar lights should have rechargeable batteries to work, the solar panel simply recharges the batteries during daylight and the lights come on once the sun has set.

Why not check out our full range of solar lighting designed here in the UK for the UK – Click Here For Solar Lights

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How Technology Will Change According to Science Fiction

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The future remains perhaps the most continuous field of interest in the history of humanity, with the obsession with guessing the unknown remaining a hugely popular topic in society. Films such as Star Wars or Star Trek have captivated the imaginations of the world by providing a glimpse into the future of how things could be. Society now dreams of flying their own S.S. Enterprise, having a lightsabre duel or experiencing “death by snu-snu”… Obviously however, there is a long way to go before those dreams become reality.

Different tales of science fiction are set at different periods in Earth’s future, with different futuristic tales outlining the history of the human race throughout the present millennium. Some were highly overambitious, whereas others predicted that we’d have modern technology far later. Have a look for yourself and let us know how excited you are for society’s future if science fiction is anything to go by!

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How Do Solar Panels Work?

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In recent years, the popularity of solar panels has spiked with the increasing awareness of the need to move away from fossil fuels. Solar panels have been around for decades, having first been used in the 1960’s by space pioneers. Despite being around for so long, many people do not understand the science behind solar panels, and more importantly, how they are able to generate electricity from the Sun. In nature, the Sun provides energy to the Earth and most of the life that lives on it. Solar panels were invented to capture this energy and then convert it into usable energy which can then be used to power appliances in day-to-day life. The process is not as complicated as you may imagine, with it mainly to do with the flow of electrons triggered by the energy of the sun. Have a look for yourself and answer one of life’s great mysteries; how do solar panels work? Get those GCSE Chemistry books ready for reference!

how do solar panels work

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How the Sun Controls Nature

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Light is without doubt one of the greatest limitations and controls of life, and the greatest source is the Sun. For billions of years, this has influenced the way in which animals have evolved and adapted to their surroundings. As well as this, in the Sun’s absence, animals must come up with ingenious tactics in order to survive. For instance, during the night and in deep-sea environments, a lack of sunlight controls the way life behaves. Lions and other big cats for instance have evolved to hunt best in total darkness and are far more dangerous with no light.

On the other end of the spectrum, animals such as reptiles and birds can be totally dependent on the Sun. Snakes, for example need to warm-up in the Sun as they are ectotherms, and are unable to function properly when their bodies are cold. The Sun can also be used for migration, both in the sea and on the land. It therefore controls nature both directly and indirectly, and moulds the way life functions around it. Have a look at our striking new infographic and see how your favourite animal’s evolution has been affected by the Sun!

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Cost Effective Ways to Make the Most of Your Garden This Summer

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We are now well into the summer months, not that you would be able to tell here in the UK, and with warmer weather hopefully reaching us soon we are all going to want to be heading out into the great outdoors to enjoy the fresh air, warm sunshine and the serenity of our own back gardens.

Looking after your garden during summer can be an expensive task – there are plants to water, lawns to upkeep and of course plenty of nuisance insects and bugs buzzing around. In order to help save you time and money, we have compiled a list of useful tips suggesting ways in which you can make the most of your garden this summer

1. Avoid your hose pipe but still water everything

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For every ten minutes that the average hosepipe is turned on approximately 170 litres of water is used. That figure equates to almost 19 flushes of a toilet in the same amount of time. In just one hour, a hosepipe turned out will use the same amount of water a whole family is estimated to use in two days. This all adds up and if you plan to keep your garden hydrated throughout the summer with your hosepipe, you will be met with a hefty water bill! However, that does not mean that you can’t water your plants and flowers, but instead that you should use water sparingly and look for other ways of supplying your garden’s demand for water.

  • Both your lawn and plants are better off when you water them with a watering can – the end of the can produces smaller droplets which sink into the ground more easily.
  • Invest in, or make, your own water butt which you can use to collect rainwater in your garden.
  • Reuse cooking water, bath water or even fish tank water rather than tipping it down the sink or letting it drain down the plughole. The water is full of nutrients and helps to fertilise your plants.
  • To keep in the moisture in and the sun off the soil you should also add a layer of mulch– this can be a layer of tree bark, compost of coconut husks or even ground up corks!

2. Use a compost system

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Another way to keep your plants looking healthy and to save water in your garden is to keep them fertilised in nutrient-rich soil. Whilst you can buy compost from plenty of stores, it is far more cost effective to make your own compost. You don’t even have to buy a compost bin – purely convert an old dustbin by drilling some holes in the side and base and cover with the lid. Once it is set up you can start collecting food waste from the kitchen or garden.

  • To get the most out of your homemade compost and to cut your soil costs in half, you should consider mixing it together with soil. You could also add in extra discards such as coffee grounds.

3. Evening lighting

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Outdoor lighting helps to add a lot of character to your garden, whatever size it may be, and also means that you can sit outside for longer during the warmer evenings. There is a huge selection of garden lights, from battery powered lights to more cost effective and environmentally friendly solar powered lights. With everything from spotlights to lanterns and rope lights, there is something to suit everyone and many can be staked into the ground (great and easy for those who don’t like DIY).

  • To brighten up your garden, you could consider draping overhead spaces with fairy lights, lining your borders with rope lighting, or emphasising particular features of your garden with spotlights. Alternatively, you could also use tea lights inside of old jars.

4. Insect repellent techniques

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Nothing spoils a summer evening more than being bitten by a variety of nasty insects. Rather than covering yourself in a whole host of chemicals, there are plenty of natural and cost effective ways to keep bugs at bay.

  • Mosquitoes in particular do not like the smell of several herbs including lemongrass, rosemary, marigold and mint – so by planting a combination of these in your garden will help to repel mosquitoes.
  • If someone happens to be allergic to bee, wasp or hornet stings, you need an effective way of dealing with them without using chemicals. Fill an old plastic milk bottle with sweet sugar water and cut a small slit into its side – the insects will then not be able to escape but can be released once it is safe.

5. Grow your own

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Most people will find the thought of growing their own vegetables overwhelming but growing your own is in fact far simpler and less time consuming than you would think. Plus, for anybody who thinks a vegetable patch requires lots of space – think again. You really only need a few feet of land, or a few large pots, a source of water and a bit of time. Not only will this save you money on your grocery shop but you will also feel a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction when you can pick you own fresh fruit and veg straight from your garden.

  • If you are a ‘grow your own’ novice, lettuce is an easy vegetable to start with and can even be grown in a window box if you are short on garden space. For those with a bit more experience or confidence, you could consider growing tomato plants, which need a fair bit of nurturing in their first few months, chard, or perhaps if you have a little more space, courgettes.

6. Choose perennials over annuals

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Adding colour to your garden can easily be done by planting up your borders. Many people chose to change the plants in their borders each and every season but the secret to a cost effective garden is to choose flowers that will come up every year. A perennial flower garden will result in an eventual low cost and upkeep back garden!

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20 Ways The Sun Benefits Our Health

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There are more benefits of the Sun than just providing us with power and energy. The UV light that is emitted in the sun’s rays prompts the production of Vitamin D in our body which has a whole host of healing effects. UV light is just one of eight frequencies of light – including infrared and the seven spectrums of visible light – each of which has its own unique healing power and subsequent benefits.

We live in a world where we are constantly hearing about how dangerous the sun is. Whilst over exposure can, of course, lead to all sorts of dangerous complications, the right amount can have plenty of benefits for our body and our mind.

Studies have shown that a moderate amount of sunshine on your body can reduce your risk of several diseases and can do wonders for your mental health. So with summer on its way, take a look at our latest infographic below to find out how the Sun can benefit our health.

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Real Sun Worshippers: Solar Deities Through History

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For as long as humans have existed on this Earth, their various civilisations have developed religious beliefs surrounding the importance of the Sun. As time has passed, some of these early ideas have developed and established themselves into cultures of todays.

A number of religions and ethnic groups not only see significant in the sun itself but worship their own solar deities, or gods and goddess, who represent the Sun, or one of its features for example it’s strength, warmth and power.

Our infographic below looks at a variety of different solar deities, from the ancient Greek Sun God Helios who rode through the skies in his horse-led chariot to Aztec Huitzilopochtli, a fearsome blue warrior who wore hummingbird feathers on his head. How many of these sun gods and goddess have you heard of before?

Sun-Worshippers

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