In July 2012, Cree announced brighter LED downlights in the CR Series. The CR4-575L fits a 4″ housing and delivers 575 lumens, 90 CRI, 2700 Kelvin, dimming up to 5%, and 50,000 hours while only using 9.5 watts of energy. The CR6-800L fits a 6″ housing and delivers 800 lumens, 90 CRI, 2700 Kelvin, dimming up to 5%, and 50,000 hours while only using 12 watts of energy. Both are Energy Star qualified and they’re available in either the Edison or GU24-type bases. The CR4 sells for about $53, and the CR6 sells for about $55 (both at EarthLED).
Today Hulger announced the new Baby Plumen 001, a designer CFL light bulb that tracks the original Plumen 001. It’s a smaller 9-watt bulb that’s meant to replace a 40-watt incandescent. The 220-volt version is available today through Plumen.com, while the 120-volt version, which is compatible in North America, will be available later this year. The Baby Plumen lasts about 8,000 hours and has a color temperature of 2700 Kelvin.
There’s an interesting Kickstarter campaign right now for an innovation called SmartThings. SmartThings is a Minnesota-based company and an open platform to connect everyday things to the internet to monitor, control, and automate. The company wants to add “intelligence to everyday things in your world, so that your life can be more awesome.” It consists of a hub, “things,” maker tools, a cloud platform, and mobile app.
Accessory dwelling units (ADUs), urban micro homes, and tiny houses typically have space limitations and may even have energy and water constraints. So it’s critical to find appliances that are both energy-efficient and the right size — like this Ariston’s Elegance line of combination washer/dryer units. Available in white or silver, the Ariston washer/dryer is 33.5″H x 23.4″w x 22.8″D and has Energy Star certification.
I mentioned Wattvision previously, and the company is now running a Kickstarter campaign to deploy its complete the next generation of hardware, cover more types of power meters, and deploy the new hardware by about January 2013. Wattvision 2 includes a sensor that attaches to your home electricity meter and a gateway that connects up with your internet network. With these in place, a user can check electricity use online or from a smart phone.
If you want to wind up a building scientist, you might mention the topic of insulation. Better yet, mention the advent of expanded cork insulation in the United States from Portugal-based Amorim Isolamentos. The insulation is made from leftover material from cork bottle stopper production which is heated and sliced into boards, according to Alex Wilson of BuildingGreen. Thus, the insulation is rapidly renewable and entirely natural.