Over the years I’ve tried to fill in our coverage with more substantive, or how-to, information on topics relating to sustainable homes. One topic that I’ve been itching to cover is energy-efficient windows, and I’m happy to announce that Minnesota-based Marvin Windows and Doors has agreed to share their expertise with Jetson Green for a series of articles loosely titled “Energy-Efficient Windows 101.”
When you’re generating a surplus of energy — similar to these solar-powered homeowners — having a sporty electrical vehicle seems to make sense. EVs and plug-in hybrids are becoming more popular, and I’ve seen all sorts of garage products for charging them. Perhaps one of the more interesting models of late is this EVSE-RS Plug-in charging station by AeroVironment. The portable, DIY charger just needs a dedicated 240-volt service and the station can be mounted and installed in a pinch.
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.
If you’re a designer, builder, or future owner of a high performance home, you’ll probably be interested in knowing that fiberglass window products previously sold under the SeriousWindows brand will now be sold under the Alpen brand. Boulder-based Alpen High Performance Products announced the purchase of assets including the fiberglass window and architectural glass operation from California-based Serious Energy, Inc.
The housing market is “starting to gain traction,” according to AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, although people aren’t rushing to add home theaters and the like.
Rather, “home features and products attracting attention are generally focused on energy efficiency or accessibility around the home, as well as wireless systems and low-maintenance, sustainable products,” per Mr. Baker based on findings from the AIA’s Home Design Trends Survey in the second quarter of 2012.
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I’ve seen innovation in the smart LED space from the likes of Google and Insteon, but San Francisco-based LIFX Labs aims to reinvent the light bulb with a new, successfully-funded Kickstarter project called LIFX. The LED bulb is WiFi-enabled, energy-efficient, multi-colored, and controllable from an iPhone or Android. It will be available as Edison-type, bayonet cap, or downlight with everything necessary to work at home or in a business with a pledge from $69 on Kickstarter.