Saturday, August 30, 2008

You'll become a fan of whole-house fans

This is really cool. Fan's can definitely save more energy than an air conditioner and are also more environmentally friendly.
...a whole-house fan uses only 10% to 20% as much electricity as a central air conditioner. Also, it uses significantly less electricity than a window air conditioner, yet it keeps the entire house more comfortable, not just one room. Installing one generally provides a good payback on the investment.

You'll become a fan of whole-house fans | | Detroit Free Press

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Backyard wind turbine generates generate 25-30% of your home’s power

Windspire a 1 kW vertical wind turbine designed to be placed in your backyard which its manufacturer, Mariah Power claims will generate 25-30% of your home’s power.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Xeriscape, the Art of Water Conserving Landscaping

As climate patterns shift, xeriscaping is catching on in other areas and has been very popular here in Spain for the last few years. The term itself derives from the Greek word ‘xeros’, meaning dry, and the word ‘landscape’.

The idea behind Xeriscapes is to create gardens with a rational water use, to avoid any waste of water, especially in Mediterranean and warm temperate climates. Saving water however is not the only objective of Xeriscaping. It also intends to eliminate the amount of chemical fertilizers and pesticides as well as petrol-driven machinery to keep the garden in shape. Plus is saves you money and maintenance.

How does it work? When designing the landscape, plants whose natural requirements are appropriate to the local climate should be chosen. They don’t necessary have to be all local plants, but they should originate from the same climate. Furthermore, water loss through evaporation and run-off should be avoided.

Examples for common plants used in Western xeriscaping are agave, cactus, lavender, juniper, sedum and thyme, according to Wikipedia.

Xeriscape, the Art of Water Conserving Landscaping

Lumeta Makes Peel-and-Stick Solar Panel

Solar rooftop installations just got a lot easier: Lumeta, a subsidiary of construction heavyweight DRI, has developed a solar panel sticker -- the Power-Ply 380. The company says its convenient peel-and-stick solar technology allows it to be installed almost twice as fast as regular rack-mounted panels -- a claim put to the test in the above video.

The panels are half as heavy as concrete roofing tiles and can be tailored to fit on most tile designs -- concrete, clay, profile and flat (added bonus: they come in a variety of colors). As Wired Science's Alexis Madrigal notes, the Power-Ply's main downside is that it loses the sun's optimal angle, thus making the peel-and-stick panels less efficient than some of its alternatives.

That energy loss amounts to around 5% of the panels' power production. According to its promotional datasheet, its panels can each produce 380 Wp of power under peak performance conditions. Lumeta is hoping to ride on a wave of growing consumer interest in solar panels -- particularly new homeowners looking to invest in energy-efficient technologies for the long run.

Lumeta Makes Peel-and-Stick Solar Panel Installations a Breeze : TreeHugger

Electric bikes selling briskly as gas prices climb

The surging cost of gasoline and a desire for a greener commute are turning more people to electric bikes as an unconventional form of transportation. They function like a typical two-wheeler but with a battery-powered assist, and bike dealers, riders and experts say they are flying off the racks.

Official sales figures are hard to pin down, but the Gluskin-Townley Group, which does market research for the National Bicycle Dealers Association, estimates 10,000 electric bikes were sold in the U.S. in 2007, up from 6,000 in 2006.

Bert Cebular, who owns the electric bike and scooter dealership NYCeWheels in New York, said his sales are up about 50 percent so far this year over last. Inc. says sales of electric bikes surged more than 6,000 percent in July from a year earlier, in part because of its expanded offerings.

"The electric bikes are the next big thing," said Frank Jamerson, a former General Motors Corp. executive turned electric vehicle guru.

They're even more popular in Europe, where Sophie Nenner, who opened a Paris bike store in 2005, says motorists boxed in by traffic jams are looking for an alternative for short journeys that doesn't involve navigating overcrowded transport systems.

Industry associations estimate 89,000 electric bikes were sold in the Netherlands last year, while 60,000 power-assisted bikes were sold in Germany.

The principle behind electric bikes is akin to that behind hybrid cars: Combine the conventional technology — in this case, old-fashioned pedaling — with a battery-powered motor.

The net result is a vehicle that rides a bit like a scooter, with some legwork required. Most models have a motorcycle-like throttle that gives a boost while going up hills or accelerating from a stop. On some models, the motor kicks in automatically and adjusts its torque based on how hard the rider pedals.

Although regulations vary by state, federal law classifies electric bikes as bicycles, and no license or registration is required as long as they don't go faster than 20 mph and their power doesn't exceed 750 watts.

Electric bikes selling briskly as gas prices climb - Yahoo! News