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Firefly is a New VAWT Small Wind Turbine

South Carolina-based Firefly Power is one of 20 other social- or environmentally-inclined companies presenting at the i2i Awards program in conjunction with SXSW Eco in Austin through Friday, October 5, 2012.  The company makes lightweight small wind turbines out of carbon-fiber blades in the vertical axis form.  The residential unit is rated at 1.8 kW, weighs less than 60 pounds, cuts in at 10 mph winds, and is expected to sell for about $7,000, according to Firefly Power.

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Nest Announces New Ultra-Thin Thermostat

If you’re in the market for a better thermostat, you should know the new, second-generation Nest Learning Thermostat was announced this week.  It’s 20% thinner and works in 95% of homes with low-voltage systems (including 2nd stage cooling, 3rd stage heating, dual fuel, emergency heat, and whole-home humidifiers and dehumidifiers), thanks to new hardware, improved software, more features, and more apps.  Based on updated pricing, the first Nest is now selling for $229, as supplies last, and the new Nest is selling for $249, with first orders expected to ship on October 15, 2012.

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Solar-Powered Canopy for an Urban Tower

Turns out the Rhône Alpes team from France with the Canopea house won Solar Decathlon Europe held in Madrid.  Their home is actually the top of a conceptual “Nanotower” that the team proposed to bring single-family style living back to the urban core.  The top level acts like a rain forest’s canopy — hence the name — by collecting 95% of all solar energy and 30% of rainwater for the tower.  Canopea was built of a prefab CORE, site-built SKIN, and a SHELL capable of off-site fabrication as well.

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