SmartThings is a Universal Smart System

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.

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By |August 30th, 2012|Energy Efficiency, Gadgets|0 Comments

Ariston Washer-Dryer for Small Spaces

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.

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By |August 14th, 2012|Energy Efficiency, Technology|9 Comments

Wattvision Pursues Next Gen Energy Monitor

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.

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By |August 13th, 2012|Energy Efficiency, Gadgets|0 Comments

Expanded Cork Insulation Arrives in USA

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.

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By |August 2nd, 2012|Energy Efficiency, Materials|8 Comments

Alva: An Edison Inspired LED Lamp

Luke Anderson started with a reasonable request for $4,000 on Kickstarter, and he reached funding in 24 hours.  Now, with 14 days left, Anderson has $25,000 in support for Alva — The Lightbulb Lamp.  It’s 8.5″ wide by 17.5″ tall and comes in brown, white, or black ceramic base options.  The lamp is powered by a replaceable LED with a hand-shaped filament.  Alva* looks like a classic early Edison bulb, but it’s a lot bigger and will retail after the Kickstarter campaign for $550.

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By |July 28th, 2012|Energy Efficiency, Modern design, Technology|2 Comments

Most Efficient Heat Pump by WaterFurnace

WaterFurnace International, Inc., a manufacturer of geothermal and water-source heat pumps, just launched what the company is calling the “world’s most energy-efficient heat pump,” according to a press release. The 7 Series 700A11, pictured, is the first variable capacity unit available for homeowners and boasts a 41 energy efficiency ratio and 5.3 coefficient of performance. The 7 Series exceeds Energy Star requirements and qualifies for a 30% federal tax credit, said WaterFurnace. The heating and cooling system also comes with a laundry list of other design features: integration with automation and energy monitoring systems, online remote monitoring and control, quiet performance with a lower compressor speed, advanced hot water generation, and a port for service and diagnostics that doesn’t require opening the unit.  700A11 uses a soft-start variable capacity compressor, variable speed ECM blower, and variable speed loop pump to scale output as needed.

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By |July 11th, 2012|Energy Efficiency, Technology|2 Comments