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USB U-Socket is People’s Choice at KBIS

This is yet another “Must-See” product and the People’s Choice winner at KBIS 2012.  Called U-Socket, the AC wall outlet has two USB 3.0-compatible power ports and can be installed on a 16 cubic inch or larger single gang electrical box, according to Fastmac, the manufacturer.  The listed product meets UL and NEC specifications and carries a 5-star energy-efficient design.  The USA-made outlet has a smart sensor that recognizes when a device is charged and shuts down, cutting back on vampire energy.

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Upfront Cost of Installing Solar at Home

California-based Sunrun and Harris Interactive recently announced the results of a survey of 2,211 adults (1,475 homeowners) about the cost and desirability of installing a home solar system.  The main sound bite is the one-liner that “97% of Americans overestimate the cost of going solar,” as well as the stat that “nearly 8 out of 10 of those who do not already have solar panels say they would install solar if cost were not a factor.

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The Reel Deal for These Three Mowers

If you have a lawn, you have several options to keep it neat this Spring, but the human-powered reel mower is probably one of more environmentally friendly ways to go about it.  These things have anywhere from 4-7 blades, 14-20-inch widths, and varying weights, depending on the build of the chosen model.  But what’s the best reel mower for your yard?  It depends on your situation, though Mowers Direct picked these models based on retail pricing, recent sales history, customer reviews, and company insight.

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Nest Thermostat Gets a Software Upgrade

The launch of the Nest Learning Thermostat back in October 2011 created a ton of interest in residential thermostats, and the gadget’s been installed in all sorts of green homes (including the C6 Prefab).  Today, Nest Labs announced improvements to the new display with an automatic software update that will be pushed to all thermostat owners.

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SunPower Readies 24%-Efficient Solar Cell

San Jose-based SunPower Corp. has a great thing going on right now.  They’re constantly pushing the standard and recently announced the commercial production of the company’s third-generation Maxeon solar cell that delivers a sunlight to electricity conversion efficiency of up to 24%.

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Hybrid Solar Tube Panels by Naked Energy

A company called Solyndra pioneered the solar tube but this new invention by UK-based Naked Energy may just take cylindrical solar to a whole new level.  Called Virtu, the product includes an integrated photovoltaic cell in a vacuum tube to generate both electricity and warm water at the same time.  The setup keeps the PV cool to optimize energy production and maximizes space with a combined PVT solution.

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