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.
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.
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.
California-based Insteon just announced the new Insteon LED Bulb 8 Watt, which is the first networked, remotely controlled, dimmable LED light bulb in the world, according to the company. The bulb sells online for $29.99 and is designed to conserve a significant amount of energy over the standard 60-watt incandescent. Nonetheless, intelligence, not efficiency, is the name of the game with this controllable screw-type light bulb.
I spent some time in the home improvement stores this weekend and noticed a newer bulb from Philips designed to replace the standard flood light. The BR30 LED bulb is Energy Star compliant, delivers 730 lumens, and uses a decent 13-watts of energy. Plus, it’s mercury free, lasts about 25,000 hours, and has a standard warm color of 2700 Kelvin. While the price is hovering at $40 at Home Depot right now, I expect that to slowly drop. Plus, the bulb is an easy install — just screw it in — so testing this is a no brainer.