In the rapidly changing landscape of automobiles, what will your garage look like to accommodate all electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles? Ford has worked with many partners in the development of their home charging system for the electric Focus, to be released this year, and the upcoming plug-in hybrid and electric versions of the all new C-MAX.
The most important job for a ventilation fan, particularly in a well-sealed home, is to exhaust the excess moisture from the air. Moisture needs to be kept from building up indoors to keep the interior environment comfortable. To help with this, Panasonic is introducing a new series of WhisperSense fans with dual sensors which will be available starting in June 2011.
Encino-based Cyber-Rain, maker of what the company calls a “sprinkler controller with a brain,” recently introduced a new feature that gives users the ability to monitor and control landscape watering from the cloud. The Cyber-Rain controller works similar to, for example, a Rainbird or Orbit system, except an owner can control sprinklers, manually run valves, and check watering activity from a computer or through a free iPhone app.
GE just announced a big improvement in what it uses to make 16-, 17-, and 18-cubic-foot top-freezer refrigerators in Decatur, Alabama. After retrofitting its existing plant (to keep jobs in the states), GE swapped out HFC-134a as a foam-blowing agent in favor of using cyclopentane, a blowing agent with significantly less global warming potential.
With Lightfair and other design shows in the works, I expect to see a few new products like this Flo light, which was designed by Foster + Parters for Lumina, a lighting manufacturer in Italy. Flo is an unobtrusive reading light with a dimmable 6W LED that outputs 475 lumens. The aluminum frame and head is planted with a steel base, and the head rotates 300 degrees for precise task usage. Flo joins a host of other LED task lamps on the market — I’ll post a price when it’s offered here in the United States.