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Hand-Crafted Recreational Vehicles

by Justin Thomas •

Tonke Campers are hand-built RVs that are now being sold in the Netherlands. The Campers are a distinct contrast to the mass-produced plastic RVs that are so common in this country (although the market for these RVs is actually plummeting). Tonke Campers are inspired by gypsy caravans, and the classic yachts created by Dutch boatbuilders in the 1920s.

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The Best Battery Chargers (For D and C Size Batteries)

by Justin Thomas •

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We briefly reviewed battery chargers in a previous post “The Best Rechargeable AA Batteries“. But let’s take a look at the best “Universal Battery Chargers”. These are chargers that can handle AAA, AA, C, D sized cells, and well as 9V cells.

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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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Portable Air Conditioners

by Justin Thomas •

An efficient portable air conditioner can be a good alternative to window units or central AC

Electric fans are the most efficient cooling devices. Fans use far less power than air conditioners (see our recent review of the most efficient portable fan). But in hot and humid weather, air conditioning is a great relief. Cooling an entire house uses a lot of energy — it’s much more efficient to only cool the areas where you are …

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Solar Water Heaters Now Mandatory In Hawaii

by Justin Thomas •

Hawaii has become the first state to require solar water heaters in new homes. The bill was signed into law by Governor Linda Lingle, a Republican. It requires the energy-saving systems in homes starting in 2010. It prohibits issuing building permits for single-family homes that do not have solar water heaters. Hawaii relies on imported fossil fuels more than any …

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New High Power LED Floor Lamps

by Justin Thomas •

Koncept has released a new series of their I-Tower LED floor lamps. It’s good to see LED floor lamps becoming widely available. These lamps use the latest generation of high-power LEDs, which means they are brighter than the older I-Tower lamps, but they actually uses less power (8.8 watts). There are two models: a daylight version (~5500 Kelvin) and a …

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Electric Folding Bikes: Ultra-Efficient City Travel

by Justin Thomas •

Folding bikes are particularly efficient when used in conjunction with public transit. Unlike regular bikes, they can be taken easily on buses, trains or ferries. In fact, some transit systems will only allow folding bikes to be taken on board. For a little extra weight, you get the benefit of going up hills easily, and this is often very important …

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SolarDucts: Heating Air and Generating Power

by Justin Thomas •

Solar energy is often used to heat water or generate electricity, but it can also be used to heat air. The SolarDuct is a new device that uses sunlight to heat air before it enter a ventilator. They are modular units that can be installed on buildings with flat roofs.

Trailerbikes: A 2008 Review and Buying Guide

by Justin Thomas •

A trailer bike is a one-wheeled bike extension that attaches to the back of your bike. They are an efficient way to bring your child on a longer bike ride. Your smaller companion can assist you with pedaling, while you control the steering and speed. This allows your child to become familiar with the process of riding a bike, and …

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Geobulb: A LED Bulb That Replaces A 60W Bulb

by Justin Thomas •

The Geobulb is an 8 watt LED light that replaces a 60 watt incandescent bulb. It generates 800 lumens of light to be exact — either warm white light or cool white. This bulb has a sleeker design than some of the LED lights I’ve seen — check out that aesthetically pleasing heat sink.