Renewable Energy

Sources of renewable energy through the mains are highly limited in most countries and even where available, the designer usually has little or no control over whether it is used. Increasingly viable as an alternative is for products to be self powered, either through a micro power generator such as a solar panel or kinetic generator, or by utilising power provided by the user, for example wind up or dynamo powered products. These technologies are improving and can offer both environmental and functional benefits.

Pros: Reduced use of fossil fuel powered energy
Cons: High embodied energy of generators may make mains power more efficient for occasional use products
Pros: Improved functionality can increase product desirability and value
Cons: Increased unit costs
Pros: Products that are mobile and don’t run out of batteries
Cons: Products can be more bulky