Off The Grid Homes

by Justin Thomas •

In Off the Grid Homes, architect Lori Ryker, examines a number of modern homes that are “off grid” — meaning they are self-sustaining in regards to electrical power and water use. Looking at each home, she highlights the techniques that were used to generate power and conserve it.

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Sunscreens Without Toxins or Nanoparticles

by Justin Thomas •

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Conventional sunscreens have a number of ingredients that have been linked to hormone disruption in animal tests and are readily absorbed by skin. Some these ingredients include: parabens, benzophenone, homosalate and octyl-methoxycinnamate. Also, sunscreens containing nanoparticles have come under scrutiny because they may be harmful to human tissue. Nanoparticles are added because they make titanium dioxide and zinc oxide sunscreens …

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Solar Evacuated Tubes: Free Hot Water

by Justin Thomas •

For solar water heating in your home, there are basically two types of solar collectors: conventional flat-plate collectors and evacuated tube collectors. Evacuated tubes have a number of advantages: the work on overcast days, in colder weather, and the tubes can be installed and replaced individually without special tools.

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WordLock

by Justin Thomas •

It’s a lock with a password instead of a number. Because there are only 10 letters per ring, you are limited to a mere 1,000 dictionary words and names, anything from ALIEN and CHILI to SALSA and SARAH. The combination can be reset at any time. Available from Staples for about $6. Via: Book of Joe

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New Adidas Hemp: Dakota Lo

by Justin Thomas •

Perhaps due to the resurgence of interest in their hemp shoes, Adidas has introduced a new shoe called the “Dakota Lo Hemp”. This cranberry number is a reintroduction of the original Adidas basketball shoe from in the late 70s. It’s reasonably metaefficient in its construction — with hemp uppers and laces. We believe the sole is made of natural rubber …

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100% Corn-Based Packaging Now In Use

by Justin Thomas •

Cargill Dow’s innovative line of 100% corn-based bioplastic “NatureWorks Packaging” is now being used by a number of food companies to package fresh produce and salads. Dow Chemicals, a partner in the Cargill Dow company, has a questionable environmental and ethical track record. However, the Natureworks product is making breakthroughs for bioplastic into the food packaging marketplace. Del Monte Fresh …

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Biodiesel FAQ

by Justin Thomas •

Biodiesel Cycle

What is Biodiesel? Biodiesel is a vegetable oil-based fuel that runs in diesel engines — cars, buses, trucks, construction equipment, boats, generators, and oil home heating units. It’s usually made from soy or canola oil, and can also be made from recycled fryer oil. You can blend it with regular diesel or run 100% biodiesel. What are the benefits of …