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MeterPlug Helps Save Money and Energy

Here’s a neat piece of pre-production technology called MeterPlug.  MeterPlug measures electricity consumption by plugging in between any appliance and the AC outlet.  The smart plug uses Bluetooth 4.0 to send data to your smartphone and enable features like proximity control, manual on/off, and vampire power shield.  In other words, with a range of about 100 feet and a smartphone, it’s easy to shut down appliances or calculate the costs of standby power.  Each plug is a little expensive right now, but if you want to try MeterPlug, you can pledge support at Indiegogo.

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Practical Advanced Framing in Texas [Video]

Here’s another interesting video from Austin-based builder Matt Risinger about what he calls “practical advanced framing.” In this video, Risinger talks about the difference between 2×4 and 2×6 studs, 16″ and 24″ centers, plywood and OSB sheathing, three-stud and California corners, and uninsulated and insulated headers.  Here are Risinger’s three tips for practical advanced framing:
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Philips Has a New A-19 LED Bulb Design

Philips recently announced its next-generation A-19 bulb with a new design that contrasts sharply with the old yellow EnduraLED or the fluorescent L-Prize bulb.  The 60-watt replacement has a white appearance and uses 11 watts while putting out 830 lumens.  It will be available in both Soft White or Daylight color temperatures when released.

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Historic Revival Rehab in Central Phoenix

Here’s a cool renovation project recently featured on NBC’s Today Show in the sub-$250,000 spotlight. Originally built in the 1950s, the home was redesigned by The Ranch Mine, one of the firms behind the NAHB’s Green Remodel of the Year last year, and is located historic North Encanto area in central Phoenix.  The exterior has bold, yellow accents mixed with a low-maintenance and low-water desert landscape, and the interior is finished with existing saltillo tile, contemporary white and grey paint, and an open layout.

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Wood Fiber Insulation Arrives in the USA

Looks like wood-fiber insulation board is coming to the USA, according to a Greenbuild update on Green Building Advisor.  Agepan THD is the name of the product and it’s used as exterior sheathing for walls and roofs.  Agepan boards connect in tongue and groove fashion and insulate to R-5.74 per panel (2″ x 74.5″ x 23-5/8″).  The material has a high permeability (18 U.S. perms) and can be used in a wall assembly to dry to the exterior.  It’s offered through Washington-based The Small Planet Workshop Store.

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Strong Greener Concrete with CarbonCure

Concrete is everywhere in construction, so I like to note what’s happening to make concrete “greener.”  CarbonCure Technologies, Inc. licenses technology in North America to make, for example, carbon-absorbed concrete blocks and other precast products.  Basically, CO2 is injected during curing — making limestone — with the end result being a stronger, greener masonry and other precast products.

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