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USB U-Socket is People’s Choice at KBIS

This is yet another “Must-See” product and the People’s Choice winner at KBIS 2012.  Called U-Socket, the AC wall outlet has two USB 3.0-compatible power ports and can be installed on a 16 cubic inch or larger single gang electrical box, according to Fastmac, the manufacturer.  The listed product meets UL and NEC specifications and carries a 5-star energy-efficient design.  The USA-made outlet has a smart sensor that recognizes when a device is charged and shuts down, cutting back on vampire energy.

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The Reel Deal for These Three Mowers

If you have a lawn, you have several options to keep it neat this Spring, but the human-powered reel mower is probably one of more environmentally friendly ways to go about it.  These things have anywhere from 4-7 blades, 14-20-inch widths, and varying weights, depending on the build of the chosen model.  But what’s the best reel mower for your yard?  It depends on your situation, though Mowers Direct picked these models based on retail pricing, recent sales history, customer reviews, and company insight.

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Nest Thermostat Gets a Software Upgrade

The launch of the Nest Learning Thermostat back in October 2011 created a ton of interest in residential thermostats, and the gadget’s been installed in all sorts of green homes (including the C6 Prefab).  Today, Nest Labs announced improvements to the new display with an automatic software update that will be pushed to all thermostat owners.

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50/10 Houses Aim for a Green Sweet Spot

When a large or expensive home is presented on this site, it’s common to get an adverse response from readers requesting that we feature smaller and more affordable homes.  Today, I’m going to take that opportunity to share something called the 50/10 House developed by Cellar Ridge Custom Homes and m.o.daby design in Oregon.

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Active House Migrates to the United States

It’s time to welcome a new green building protocol with the arrival of the Active House specification in the United States.  The specification gets a big test with this home, called Active House USA, which will be the first Active House in the country when finished.  It’s designed by Jeff Day & Associates and will be built by Hibbs Homes and Verdatek Solutions in St. Louis to test the new specification in a mixed climate.  Here’s a little more about Active House and this 2,500 square foot home.

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SolarCity Expands with Home Energy Loans

California-based SolarCity started out with solar and gradually expanded to energy efficiency services.  Now, with more than 5,000 efficiency projects completed or underway, the company wants to help the typical U.S. family save some of about $1,900 that’s spent every year on home utility bills.  The company just announced a plan to make energy-efficiency improvements more accessible with a new Home Energy Loan.

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