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Energy Efficient Upgrades That Pay For Themselves

by Benjamin Roman •

Home improvement can pay for itself, and even put cash back in your pocket – if you’re putting your money in the right places.  Renovations that increase your home’s energy efficiency aren’t just nice for the environment, they can be economical as well.  The folks at One Block Off The Grid offer a great guide to help you sort out …

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The Most Efficient Public Swimming Pool In The U.S.

by Justin Thomas •

A community swimming pool called the Richmond Plunge has just opened in Richmond, California, and it may be the most efficient swimming pool in the country. The Richmond Plunge has many efficient features: it’s heated by solar collectors, it’s entirely chlorine-free, and the building is powered by solar panels on the roof. The Plunge is a historic pool — it …

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Irish Firm Claims World’s Most Efficient Solar Heater

by Justin Thomas •

An Irish company, Surface Power, has launched what could be the most efficient solar hot water panel ever produced. The company says it plans to distribute its product internationally. The new solar panel was independently certified by TUV Rhineland. Their tests verified that when compared to other solar panels, Surface Power’s solar panel was in one case as much as …

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90% Of Israeli Homes Have Solar Water Heaters

by Justin Thomas •

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I recently noted that Hawaii has enacted a law that requires all new homes to install solar water heaters. Eventually, Hawaii may have as many water heaters as Israel, where 90% of homes have solar water heaters installed. When viewed from above, the Jerusalem often glitters with the shine of the thousands of solar heaters that adorn rooftops.

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Proximity: A Very Green Hotel In North Carolina

by Justin Thomas •

The Proximity Hotel is proof that a hotel can be very green without sacrificing the comfort of its guests. The hotel is located in Greensboro, North Carolina, and it achieved a Gold LEED certification this year from the U.S. Green Building Council. The Proximity uses 36.5% less energy and 30% less water than a conventional hotel. It gets 60% of …

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Solar Water Heating: Book Review

by Justin Thomas •

Solar Water Heating is the first book I’ve seen that focuses solely on solar water heating. It’s a technique that’s been practiced since ancient times, but until now there’s been strangely few resources on the topic for a North American audience. The author, Bob Ramlow, examines state-of-the-art solar heating systems. He covers not only solar water heaters, but also solar …

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Tankless Water Heater Uses Microwaves: Vulcanus Mark 4

by Justin Thomas •

A Canadian company, Pulsar Advanced Technologies, claims to have produced a water heater that uses microwave technology to heat water instantaneously. The company says: “The Vulcanus MK4 can heat water from 35 degrees Fahrenheit to 140 degrees Fahrenheit in seconds and can source multiple applications at once: showers, dishwasher, sink usages and more. The Vulcanus MK4 is the size of …

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Endless Hot Water: Takagi Heaters

by Justin Thomas •

Takagi water heaters do not have tanks, instead they heat water instanteously using a gas burner. They are efficient and powerful — even the smallest heater, the Takagi T-KJr., can produces 180 gallons of hot water in an hour, but weighs only 30 pounds and is 20 inches high. They run on propane or natural gas. Computer controlled electronic ignition …

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Solar Water Heating Simplified

by Justin Thomas •

Solar water heating works efficiently even in cloudy areas. Home Power Magazine recently ran an article that gives a simple overview of solar water heating systems (well, relatively simple). In the article, they examine various popular systems that have proven themselves reliable.

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Solar Tubes: Very Efficient Heating

by Justin Thomas •

Apricus makes a unique solar hot water heater which is 30-40% more efficient than flat plate solar systems. The secret to the performance is the use of cylindrical evacuated glass tubes to absorb the heat from the sun. Because the tubes are cylindrical, there is always a surface area that is perpendicular to the sun. The tubes also house a …