Articles - May, 2011

Cloud-Based Smart Watering: Cyber Rain

Encino-based Cyber-Rain, maker of what the company calls a “sprinkler controller with a brain,” recently introduced a new feature that gives users the ability to monitor and control landscape watering from the cloud.  The Cyber-Rain controller works similar to, for example, a Rainbird or Orbit system, except an owner can control sprinklers, manually run valves, and check watering activity from a computer or through a free iPhone app.

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Flexible Tensile Solar Has Big Potential

Design site Core77 recently noticed a new solar product called Tensile Solar from Brooklyn-based SMIT, the same group behind GROW or Solar Ivy.  Tensile Solar is a lightweight, membrane fabric embedded with flexible solar cells that could be used to provide shade, protection from the rain, and power from the sun.

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Stunning Modern “Edge” Prefab in the Park

This is The Edge, a factory-built home inspired by Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House (not to be confused with the E.D.G.E. prefab).  UK-based Boutique Caravans designed and built the modern prefab – which measures 22′ x 42′ – with cold-formed steel, SIPs, and triple-glazed windows.  It’s a show house in Penmayne Edge Park in Rock, North Cornwall, a community of 10 low-energy holiday homes in the UK.

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Flock Wool Modular Wall Tiles by Hive

I recently noticed this chromatic modular wall tile system called Flock from London-based Hive.  The tiles are modern and geometric like Hexagon, though they’re made with 100% wool felt and attach to the wall with a non-toxic acrylic adhesive.  Flock is available in 10 colors and packages of six or 22 tiles.  Each tile is 6.3″x 10.2″ (16 cm x 26 cm) and a six pack sells on Bouf (UK) for about $42 (£26.00 GBP).

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Affordable Passive House in Whistler

This is an ultra-efficient project that recently broke ground in Whistler, British Columbia.  It’s interesting and innovative on many different levels.  First, the Whistler Passive House Duplex has to meet affordability requirements as part of the Whistler Resident Housing Initiative.  Second, the project team is pursuing Passive House for both homes.  Third, the project will be built with a unique panelized prefabricated wall system.

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