Articles - October, 2011

Nest is a Next-Gen Smart Thermostat

The average home spends more than $2,200 per year on energy bills and roughly half of this amount goes towards heating and cooling, according to the Department of Energy.  When a programmable thermostat is set and used properly, a homeowner can save about $180 annually.  But the problem is, virtually everyone with a programmable thermostat doesn’t set or use it properly.  Nest Labs, a Palo Alto-based start-up, aims to solve this problem with a new thermostat that’s simple, sleek, intuitive, and smart.

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How Europeans Build Greener Homes with Offsite Construction and Manufacturing

By Gerry McCaughey, CEO of Infineco LLC*

As Americans debate whether prefab is a greener way to build, those active in the discussion should not be surprised when their dialogue receives puzzled looks from their European counterparts.

In Europe, this very question was asked and answered nearly two decades ago. The resounding findings were that prefabrication creates higher-quality structures that reduce both the embodied energy content and the amount of carbon produced annually during the operation of traditional onsite-built homes. The reduction in carbon emissions can be as much as 40 to 60 percent.

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Wandering Prefab, Lifestyle Building, Project Failures, + an Energy Saving App

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Reclaimed Joshua Collection by Amenity

The word reclaimed is often used these days.  Just in the past week or so, we’ve seen a reclaimed bathroom, reclaimed pallet floors, and reclaimed housing.  So here’s one more: reclaimed furniture in the form of the new Joshua Collection by Amenity.  Named for the famous Joshua Tree, this furniture is handmade from Douglas Fir that was harvested and milled 50-100 years ago and seasoned in the sun of California for decades.

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Glidehouse Unfolds on an Island [Video]

This is the next generation of the popular Glidehouse, a home design originally created by Michelle Kaufmann that was later acquired by Blu Homes.  Blu tweaked the design to fit the company’s custom fold-up system of construction, and this is the first, new Glidehouse to be delivered.

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The EPA Upgrades DVR Efficiency Rules

A few months back, the New York Times put a spotlight on the obscene energy use of cable, DVR, and other set-top boxes.  There are 160 million set-top boxes in the US, according to the EPA, and these boxes annually consume about $3 billion in electricity.  What’s shocking is the fact that about 66% of this electricity is spent when no one is watching and no shows are being recorded.  In the home, the DOE estimates that two set-top boxes will use about 500 kWh of energy every year — more energy than it takes to run a new refrigerator!

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