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Energy Star Eco Intuitive Washer + Dryer Combo

Washer_dryer_combo When you’re buying appliances for the home, whether you’re replacing or starting new, it is imperative to go for products that are energy efficient.  Many times, you can look for the Energy Star label, which shows the buyer that the product will use 10-50% less energy + water than standard models.  Importantly, if 10% of homes used Energy Star-qualified appliances, the change would be like planting 1.7 million new acres of trees.  This w+d combo is Energy Star certified, but remember to do the same with TVs, microwaves, refrigerators, kitchen appliances, and every other energy-sucking apparatus you use in the home. 

Washer Specs:
The washer is the world’s first fabric sensing washer.  Here are some other handy features in the Eco Intuitive:  auto out of balance correction, auto water level, auto lint disposal, controlled temperature mixing chamber, delayed start (from 15 minutes – 18 hours), time remaining display screen, eco-water saver cycle, "How Dirty" option, 5 rinse options, 6 wash temperature controls, load sensing, lid lock, Eco Active wash system, and 3 spin speeds and unlimited agitator actions.  Its sophisticated design makes washing clothes a simple task.  The genius, intelligent wash machine constantly monitors and calculates the wash action and water load to suit the fabric and load.  You’ll love the How Dirty button, too. 

Dryer Specs:
The dryer is the world’s first large capacity top loading dryer with auto-sensing that makes sure all the clothes are evenly dried.  That top loading design sure makes laundry a breeze, it’s no more difficult than drag and drop on your computer.  The Eco Intuitive dryer also has a high airflow fan to ensure a faster drying process (without overheating your clothing).  And it has many of the same options that the Eco Intuitive washer has–technology that takes that labor out of laundry! 

Progress_screen Top_load_dryer_3

As for $, the washer is $799 and the dryer is $789 ($809 for the gas dryer).  So while you can find Energy Star w+d’s out there, and that’s important, with the Eco Intuitive combo, we’re talking about a new level of smart technology.  By Fisher + Paykel USA

Fort Bliss Plans to Create Largest, 10 SQ Mile Solar Farm

Ron_tudor_with_test_panels We don’t need no stinkin’ coal!  Fort Bliss is right on the money with their visionary plan to build a 1-gigawatt (yes, that’s what the article says), 10 square mile solar farm at Fort Bliss by 2010.  That’s a big solar farm, and supposedly, the largest solar farm in existence is the 12-megawatt one in Germany.  Various projects and technology development will continue under a partnership between Fort Bliss and the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.  The new technology, including a controller than can extract energy even on overcast days, should cut the cost of solar energy in half. 

U.S. Representative Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas) says the coal plants may not be necessary if the solar technology lives up to expectations.  The plan is to start powering Fort Bliss, and later, energy can be pumped into the national power grid to be exported nationwide.  In January 2007, post engineers will begin installing a 1.5 megawatt system.  After that, the project should explode with 20 megawatts in 2007, 40 megawatts in 2008, and 1 gigawatt in 2009. 

Interesting Applications:
"The new technology, which has been in development for about three years, is already charging the battery packs of soldiers in the 18th Airborne Corps and the 75th Ranger Regiment in Iraq and Afghanistan, Tudor said. That equipment includes hood-mounted Humvee panels that also can charge the vehicle’s battery, pack-mounted systems that charge batteries as a soldier walks, and tent-mounted systems that can provide power for a heated sleeping pad and to charge other batteries." via El Paso Times.  See also KVIA News Report

Case for State + Local Renewable Energy Rebates: Solar Umbrella House (2006)

Project_house Green Wombat reports that the Governator was pumping up California’s commitment to create 3,000 megawatts of new solar-produced, clean energy by 2017.  Think about that.  We’re talking about governmental support for empowering and supporting residents to generate their own energy.  Relatedly, the Solar Umbrella House is a modern + green example of what can happen when home owners take advantage of the governmental benefits of clean energy subsidization.  It was an AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Project in 2006, by architect Pugh + Scarpa.  What more can I say than that the Solar Umbrella House looks good and sunlight provides 95% of the electricity (less than $300 /year in energy bills). 

In addition to being designed passively to optimize the balance of sun and shade, the home has 89 amorphous photovoltaic panels that are connected to the grid with a net meter provided by the city of Los Angeles.  The house is decked out with energy-efficient everything.  Indoor air quality is perpetually monitored.  The design is LEED-H (v2) consistent.  Certified wood, recycled materials + salvaged materials were used all over the place. 

COSTS:
The photovoltaic system, solar hot-water system, thermally broken glazing, and energy efficient appliances cost about $39,000.  Not cheap, but that’s where rebates come in.  To pay for the solar panels, there was a $18,600 rebate from the City Department of Water and Power and a $4,000 rebate from the federal government.  After applying the rebates, the payback on this investment becomes 12 years, and the solar panel warranty lasts for 25 years.  Not bad. 

Books_and_stairs Bedroom_1 Back_yard

So what’s the big deal?  If your city isn’t on board with clean energy, there isn’t a 12 year payback and you continue to buy electricity created from dirty coal plants (unless it’s a green provider).  Which is better?  Option A) independent, site-generated electricity that pays for itself after 12 years + is warrantied for 25 years + creates lower electricity bills or B) no site-generated electricity + persistently increasing electricity bills + dirty air.  This is common sense, get your state and local governments to support renewable energy so that you can create a better living environment for your family.  If you do it like the Solar Umbrella House, you can do it in green style!

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