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Another Efficient Tea: Honeybush

by Justin Thomas •

Honeybush is another excellent tea from Africa, like Rooibos, it is caffine-free and low in tannins. The taste is sweet with notes of apricot. It contains a high amounts of vitamin C, potassium, calcium and magnesium. It is traditionally used to treat coughs. This can be explained in part, by its content of pinitol, a modified sugar (a methyl group …

Metaeffective Tea: Rooibos Red Tea

by Justin Thomas •

Rooibos (pronounced “roy-boss”) is a red tea grown the mountainous Cedarberg area north of Cape Town in South Africa. During the summer months the Rooibos plants are harvested, fermented and dried in the sun. The sun induces the change from verdant green to the mahogany red of Rooibos tea. The slightly sweet tea is free of caffeine and is low …

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Metaefficient Hardwood Substitute: Eucalyptus

by Justin Thomas •

Eucalyptus is a very inexpensive hardwood and is comparable to teak or cherry in its strength and durability. Eucalyptus, however, grows quickly and can be sustainably harvested on plantations. Its density, straight grain, smooth finish, and honey color make it an excellent choice for flooring and outdoor furniture. Creative Woodwork International makes folding, transforming, outdoor furniture, such as the bench …

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Meta-Efficient: Buckwheat Pillows

by Justin Thomas •

The Chinese and Japanese discovered centuries ago that buckwheat hull pillows are light and fully adjustable. The Japanese in particular spent a great deal of time researching pillows, even trying porcelain pillows to achieve a healthy state of body called “Su-Kan-Soku-Netsu” or a balancing of cold and heat. Eventually they decided that pillows made of buckwheat hulls provide just the …

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Translucent Eco-Resins

by Justin Thomas •

EcoResin™ by 3form is a specially formulated polyester resin which incoporates a 40% post-industrial recycled content (it meets the threshold for LEED credit). The resins allow natural elements, textures and colors to be embedded in the translucent material, creating a striking effect. The interlayers can be arranged into thousands of combinations. Customization is encouraged by the manufacturer.

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LED Ceiling Lights

by Justin Thomas •

Glen Hunter has created lighting fixtures using 1 watt LEDs and acrylic rods. He originally designed the lights to use in his off-grid house. This kind of lighting design is really pushing the efficiency envelope. They are now available from Eurolite. More information: GlenHunter.Ca

100% Biodegradable Carpeting: Earthweave

by Justin Thomas •

Earthweave is wool carpeting constructed entirely of natural materials. The wool is raw and naturally pigmented. It is held in place with hemp or cotton (not the usual polyproylene). No chemical bonds, dyes and other agents are used. The backings of carpets are usually the worst kind of air quality offenders. Earthweave backing is made from jute, and is held …