California-based EchoFirst, formerly known as PVT Solar, makes an interesting Echo solar system that I noticed locally on the Solaris homes (Style A/Style B) in Daybreak, Utah. It’s the kind of system that could work wonders for a lot of homes because Echo delivers more than just electricity from photovoltaic panels. Echo captures air from under the panels to provide home heating, home cooling, water heating, and fresh air ventilation.
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.
Some folks just don’t want to give up incandescent light bulbs, so GE developed a “customer-inspired” bulb to ease the transition. The GE Energy Smart hybrid halogen/CFL bulb is being shipped nationally with soft white and Reveal options. The new bulb — a blend of three light bulb technologies — has the shape of an incandescent, the efficiency of a CFL, and the immediacy of a halogen.
U.S. Sunlight this year introduced a new product in the form of a low-profile skylight with flexible tubing and a 14″ ceiling lens. Similar to the flat-glass Sun Tunnel by Velux, Skylight Tube ditches the dome-shaped roof lens for a flatter, square design. The new product was designed for simplicity and efficiency and can be installed in a couple hours by a professional or an afternoon by a DIYer (with the right tools).
The small wind market is doing well these days with lots of new companies popping up all the time. Since 2007, Urban Green Energy, one of these newish companies, has been expanding and growing — their vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT) has been installed in 48 countries. One of their most recent installations was broadcast to the world last month on ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (pictured).