Ever taken a good look at your heating or cooling bill and wanted to do something about it? Well, even if you have and bought a smart programmable thermostat, you may be spending more than without one.
A recent study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that “as many as 50 percent of residential programmable thermostats are in permanent ‘hold’ status.” Even the the governments Energy Star program removed their endorsement from all programmable thermostats primary because people don’t have the time or patience to program them properly, and the thermostat controls half of the homes energy bill. That is a lot of power for a device that effectively works no better than your sprinkler system.
Enter the NEST Learning Thermostat, the brain child of Tony Fadell, the iPod hardware designer and former iPod and iPhone division VP for Apple, after trying to decide on a thermostat for his new green home in Tahoe. A complete departure from anything you find on the market today, it is an iPod in a world of cassette walk-mans. › Continue reading
With the reduction of fuel consumption, car manufacturers focusing on the green consumer market have a new worry. Not surprisingly, car batteries simply don’t last quite as long in electric cars as car batteries did in the typical internal combustion engine cars. This fact, though incomparable to many other features of an electric car, is daunting for many an average consumer. In turn, it’s served as an obstacle to increase in sales in what may well be the future of cars.
For every market problem, there is generally a solution though. Either in clever marketing, research and development, or a combination of the two. And GM will be making use of both as it attempts to assuage consumer fears through a generous 8 year / 100,000 mile warranty. Only a short while back, GM became the first US automaker to run a battery pack plant, which is still building prototypes. And now, they’re already offering a warranty which applies to the popular Chevy Volt‘s battery. A warranty that the relevant GM press release accurately highlights as “the automotive industry’s longest, most comprehensive battery warranty for an electric vehicle.” › Continue reading
Now for a local, small business and community centric alternative to the Seattle 2010 Go Green Conference. Seattle’s Eco-Chic Expo is being held on Saturday, May 1st, at the Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center located in Northeast Seattle. A self described “interactive green lifestyle event”, the event is put together to provide the general public with an interactive day of tips, tricks and products to help people live greener, yet fashionable, lives. The Expo is free to the public and features a number of local companies dedicated to sustainable lifestyles. › Continue reading
An exciting (and well-publicized) example of this is the Sanctuary development on Capital Hill in Seattle.
The original church was built in the early 1900s and has been a distinctive landmark of the neighborhood for years. Through the renovation of this historical icon, ecological- minded urban residences are being created.
The preservation of the beautiful building was a cornerstone of the project planning. Architectural details, bricks, wooden pews, flooring and windows were repurposed and used within the new residential development as stairs, detailing, in-fill and patching. New sustainable aspects of the housing itself include dual flush toilets and tankless water heaters. › Continue reading
Just unveiled in Germany, this Swiss built catamaran dubbed PlanetSolar is the largest of its kind with over 5,000 sqft of solar paneling covering most of the surfaces. With a top speed of 15 knots (17 miles per hour), this 66-ton boat carries 50 people with its crew of two. It’s 38,000 newer generation photovoltaic cells have an efficiency of at least 22% to help with converting the suns rays to turning the propeller. It’s no Code-X speed boat, but it is probably more efficient and practical.
Sticking to routes near the equator, the crew hopes to maximize the suns exposure to keep their average speed at 8 knots. They will be embarking on a 140 day voyage to cities like San Francisco, New York, Darwin (Australia), Hong Kong, Singapore, Abu Dhabi and Marseille. Maybe they could stop by the Pacific trash gyre on the way over.
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Vintage planes are like vintage automobiles, they have a certain class and distinct style about them. Some people like them, and some people love them. I personally love all the polished aluminum, patterned rivets and sleek forms of the aircraft from the past- back when you used to wear a suit on the plane and they used to fly to places like Havana.
MotoArt brings that feeling right into to your living room, bedroom or office with their vintage aircraft furniture. Sourced from actual pieces of aircraft history, each design incorporates a meticulously cleaned and polished piece of and truly unique vintage plane. More than recycled or reused, these pieces are re-fashioned to accentuate their beauty and design.
Most pieces are modernized into desks, beds and office components- a meld of vintage technology with modern technology into a wondrous work of art. If automotive is more your thing, you may want to check out these vintage car furniture designs.
If you love Italian design and have the money for it, then have i got a kitchen for you! Valcucine has come up with a 100% recyclable kitchen made primarily from Aluminum and Glass, both 100% recyclable materials. Not only that, but the kitchen is extremely durable allowing it to last for years and years bringing to mind all of the 3R’s, Reduce (limited materials and replacements due to its durability), Reuse (so durable, it can be used for years) and Recycle (100% recyclable at its end life).
Featuring a Modern Italian design, the Invitrum by Valcucine features recycled aluminum, mechanical connections (no glue needed!), and easy to clean glass surfaces. Several other designs are also available all boasting a recyclable design and incorporating renewable woods and water based lacquers.
The wooden and glass elements are varnished with water-based varnishes that drastically reduce the emissions of solvents and completely eliminate very cancer-inducing aromatic solvents. All the colorants used do not contain heavy metals, including extremely toxic lead. All glass parts are tempered for very high resistance and safety.
I love bamboo. Its beautiful, its durable, and its a great sustainable and renewable resource, so I am pretty excited about Plyboo by Smith and Fong. Certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and available for LEED credit by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), these surfaces and flooring are all about sustainability. Made from FSC certified bamboo and palm, these flooring and paneling alternatives have a beautiful and unique modern but warm look.
Smith & Fong’s Plyboo flooring, plywood and veneer are derived from Moso bamboo harvested from a forest that requires no irrigation, fertilizers or pesticides. Each year, only 20 percent of the plantation’s bamboo (or only the five-year growth) is cut, ensuring the forest canopy remains intact and the ecosystem is not disturbed.
Both the Durapalm and Plyboo flooring, veneer and plywood use a urea formaldehyde-free adhesive called PlybooPure™ and pass the California Air Resources Board (CARB)’s formaldehyde regulations for composite panels. It also earned the world’s first non-wood FSC certification for its bamboo resource in China, providing third-party validation of a truly sustainable industry. Additionally, Smith & Fong retain a relationship with the actual bamboo farmers, to ensure the quality and sustainability of the operation.
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