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Motion-Sensing LED Lights: A Review

by Justin Thomas •

Philips SpotOn LED Motion Sensing Light

Motion-sensing LED lights — these lights are perhaps the most efficient lighting devices available today. They switch on whenever their infra-red sensors detect movement in a room — such as when someone begins to walk down a dark hallway. I’ve been testing them in my own home, and I’ve found them to be effective and non-obtrusive. At night, I’m able …

3

Efficient Green Hard Drive Released

by Justin Thomas •

A company called Fabrik has released an external hard drive called the [re]Drive that it is said to be the world’s most energy efficient. The drive’s cover is a sheet of bamboo — this is good choice for a drive casing, given bamboo’s tensile strength and durability. The drive’s chassis is made with recycled aluminum. It has an undulating surface …

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Office Building Lit With 100% LED Light

by Justin Thomas •

Last year, we featured a nightclub lit entirely by LEDs, but here’s an office building that is said to be the first to be lit by 100% LED light. The lighting was provided by the Netherlands-headquartered Royal Philips Electronics. To showcase the potential of LED light, Philips designed the lighting system to be warm and visually comforting. A total 422 …

12

The Best Toaster Ovens

by Justin Thomas •

The Best Toaster Ovens What are the best toaster ovens? Toaster ovens are efficient devices for cooking small meals. They typically use two 750 watts heating elements and draw a total 1500 watts, whereas electric ranges draw about 3000 watts (and thus require a 240 volt electric socket). Toaster ovens also heat up more quickly, due to their smaller size. …

75% More Efficient: Blue Ridge Parkway Destintation Center

by Justin Thomas •

blue-ridge-parkway-destination-center

The new Blue Ridge Parkway Destination Center has just been completed in North Carolina. It’s a beautifully designed building that is also highly efficient — it will use 75% less energy than a comparable conventional building. The building has Trombe walls: a very clever feature that will reduce the building’s heating load by 35% alone!

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The Strida: An Efficient Short-Trip Bike

by Justin Thomas •

Several readers have noted that we neglected to mention the Strida folding bike in our folding bike round-up. The Strida is a unique bike designed to take a commuter a few miles to the train or bus. It has an extremely quick folding action: it takes about seven seconds to fold one up. Here’s a video of the folding action:

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Energy Efficient iPod Speakers: The Vers 2X

by Justin Thomas •

I’ve been testing the Vers 2x iPod speaker system. This system is one of the most energy efficient and sustainable products I’ve come across. The casing is crafted out of wood (either cherry, bamboo or walnut). The wood comes only from plantation forests, and each speaker system is hand-finished. This is a refreshing change from the usual dull plastic that …

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Windows That Double As Solar Panels

by Justin Thomas •

MIT researchers have announced that they have created “organic solar concentrators” that could make windows become powerful solar panels in as little as three years. The concentrator is mixture of two or more dyes painted onto a pane of glass or plastic. The dyes absorb light across a range of wavelengths, re-emit it at a different wavelength and transport it …

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High School Captures 280,000 Gallons Of Water Per Year

by Justin Thomas •

Our buildings and homes could capture all water we need on a daily basis. A great example of rainwater harvesting can be found at the Langston Brown Community Center and High School in Arlington, Virginia. The community center has two 24-foot-tall 11,000-gallon cisterns that store rainwater.

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The Best Pressure Cookers Of 2010

by Justin Thomas •

Pressure cookers are efficient cooking devices —  they are up to 70% more efficient than conventional pots. The lids of pressure cookers are built to completely seal the pot so that the contents can boil easily inside the pot. Food cooks faster because the liquid inside rises to a higher temperature before boiling. Cooking times can be reduced by a …