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How to Power Gadgets While in Nature

I spent three days camping and hiking in the mountains of Utah last week and used my iPhone to snap the above photo while slightly downhill from the summit of Mount Timpanogos, which has an elevation of 11,749 feet.  In preparation for this trip, I researched for a sustainable, backpacker-worthy solution to keeping my iPhone powered in order to take photos, jot notes, listen to music, and maybe communicate with family when presented with an available signal.  I don’t have an iPad, but this solution works for both iPhones and iPads, either one.  Here’s what you need:

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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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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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NAHB Green Remodel of the Year 2012

This is one of the NAHB Remodeling Projects of the Year 2012 by Rocking Horse Redevelopment out of Phoenix. Located in the Marlen Grove neighborhood at 5701 N 10th Street, the home has been certified to the Emerald level by the NAHB. Key achievements for this rehab include improvements to curb appeal and an overall reduction of energy and water consumption by more than 50%.

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The First Passive House in Virginia

This is the first Passive House residence to be certified by PHIUS in Virginia.  Located at 229 Lankford Avenue in Charlottesville, Virginia, the project was designed by Giovanna Galfione-Cox and built by Jobes Builders in conjunction with Passive House consultant John Semmelhack of Think Little.  Lankford Passive House has three bedrooms, two-and-a-half bathrooms, and about 2,250 square feet, according to a local real estate listing, and is for sale at $598,000.

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Factory-Built Micro-Homes in San Francisco

This is a rendering of a new form of sustainable development that will manifest itself in San Francisco in an infill project called SmartSpace SoMa. SmartSpace will have 23 micro-dwellings each with ~300 square feet of living area, 300 cubic feet of storage along a wall, and nine-foot ceilings. The project, which will be built with off-site fabricated modules from ZETA Communities, will also aim for LEED Platinum certification and near net-zero energy.

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