In the very near future, expect to be able to control devices, appliances, and lights in your home with the help of Google. That’s the information coming out of Google’s developer conference, Google I/O, where [email protected] was first announced. With the right app, an Android-powered smart device, and an intelligent LED replacement bulb from Lighting Science Group, a savvy homeowner could geek out a home without much effort.
While green homes often sport all manner of technical solutions to keep them optimized and efficient, the landscaping can have a significant effect on the building and its energy use. Site orientation and landscape can also be powerful tools to control the energy needs of a building. While it’s not practical to reorient most homes, in many cases you can still make improvements by planting trees.
GE just announced a big improvement in what it uses to make 16-, 17-, and 18-cubic-foot top-freezer refrigerators in Decatur, Alabama. After retrofitting its existing plant (to keep jobs in the states), GE swapped out HFC-134a as a foam-blowing agent in favor of using cyclopentane, a blowing agent with significantly less global warming potential.
You can do one of two things with a grass lawn. First, you can get rid of it and save water and fuel. Or, second, you can minimize the lawn surface and avoid fuels when maintaining it. If the latter is your approach, this new Helix HX1000 from family-owned EcoMower could come in handy. The light, 21-pound reel mower takes a 16″ path with heat-treated, carbon steel blades designed to cut without much upkeep. Maintain the quiet, get some exercise, and ditch carbon-based fuels with this reel mower selling from $220.
The accessory dwelling unit (ADU) market is alive and well in the Concordia neighborhood of Portland, Oregon. People like these tiny structures — sometimes referred to as backyard cottages, granny flats, or laneway houses — because they can be leased out or used to accommodate an expanding family situation. And, as these structures grow in popularity, they’re getting greener, too. For instance, check out this high-performance ADU built by Hammer & Hand and designed by Departure Design.
A new company, Switch Lighting, just introduced some new lights that look promising. The San Jose-based company has what it calls “the brightest warm light LED replacement available,” according to a news release, and we’ve been able to get access to a couple photos of the 75W bulb. The Cradle to Cradle bulbs — 40W, 60W, and 75W equivalents — have a self-cooling design that maximizes brightness and requires fewer LEDs.