Off-Grid Prefab Home on Cusabo Island

This sturdy steel cabin is off-grid, off-pipe, and self-sufficient, making it an interesting case study of sustainability and coastal design.  The home was completed just over a year ago on Cusabo Island in South Carolina — an impressive feat given the remote site accessible only by boat.  The owner was able to take advantage of prefab construction and had the parts flown in by helicopter (see below).

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By |February 10th, 2011|Categories: Prefab|Tags: , , |6 Comments

How to Give Up Incandescent Light Bulbs

Some folks are stockpiling light bulbs in anticipation of the future phase-out of standard incandescents, according to USA Today.  It seems hoarders are doing it for one or two reasons: cost and/or lighting concerns.  But these shouldn’t be concerns.  With a little bit of math (initial cost + operating cost) and an understanding of basic lighting terms (lumen, watt, color accuracy, color temperature), I think the switch is a no-brainer.  So here’s a five-step program for the hoarder:

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By |February 10th, 2011|Categories: Energy Efficiency, Gadgets|Tags: , , |29 Comments

Rumor: Decathlon to National Harbor

Update: Solar Decathlon Shuffled to West Potomac Park

A spokeswoman for student participants is reported to have said Solar Decathlon 2011 will be held at the National Harbor in Maryland, according to John McArdle, reporter for E&E News.  I have not confirmed the accuracy of this information and there has been no official announcement of a location change to date.

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By |February 9th, 2011|Categories: Events, News|Tags: |4 Comments

How to Find the Most Efficient Appliances

In my experience, it seems most people compare appliance models based on cost, appearance, and brand.  Some individuals consult the yellow-and-black EnergyGuide label for estimated operating cost and energy use information.  Others research models online through the Energy Star products database.

But there’s a new resource for locating the most energy efficient products on the market: Top Ten USA.

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By |February 8th, 2011|Categories: Energy Efficiency, Gadgets|Tags: |4 Comments

Colorful Hexagon Wall Tiles by Träullit

Hexagon is a new wall tile collection by Form Us with Love for Träullit, a manufacturer of wood wool cement board in Sweden.  The shapely material absorbs sound, retains heat, resists fire, and resists moisture — making it easy to dress up a large blank wall or add a block of color to an otherwise minimal space.  Träullit makes each tile with a combination of wood wool, cement, and water. Hexagon is on display at a church in a secret location in conjunction with Stockholm Design Week 2011.

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By |February 8th, 2011|Categories: Materials, Modern design|Tags: , |2 Comments

Carbon Negative Cement by Novacem

Material ConneXion, a global materials consultancy, recently gave its material of the year award to Novacem for the company’s “carbon negative” cement.  The product is being touted with increasing frequency and — it would seem from the literature — has the potential to change the world of concrete in 2014-15 when it hits the market.

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By |February 7th, 2011|Categories: Materials, News|18 Comments
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