The Tri-L: A Portable LED Work Light

I’ve been testing the battery-powered Tri-L LED work light by Altus Lumen. I have to admit that this light has become one of my favorite gadgets. The design of the Tri-L shows great attention to detail. The metal housing is made out of 85% recycled magnesium which is lighter than aluminum, so the Tri-L feels solid yet light in your …

Hyperefficient Transportation: Utility Bikes and Bike Trailers

Utility bikes or “work bikes” are very efficient vehicles for transporting cargo (and children too). They are quite popular in bike-friendly places like Amsterdam, Copenhagen and China. Bikes can tow a remarkable amount of weight. Loads in excess of 880 pounds (400 kilograms) have been hauled behind bikes along flat surfaces. Generally though, 300 pounds (140 kilograms) is considered the …

La Mancha Experiments With Solar Concentrators

The land of La Mancha, made famous by Quixote and his windmills, is a sun-drenched, windy part of Spain. Fittingly, the region is a veritable experimental hot-house for solar concentrator installations. Many start-up companies are at work devising techniques of focusing light on a solar cell, in order to reduce the amount of silicon or other material needed to produce …

The Solar House: Free Heating

People often think of using solar energy for producing electricity, but it is actually easier to harness the power of the sun to heat your home. It’s free heat that has been utilized since ancient times but few modern architects or builders really understand the principles involved. The Solar House, by Dan Chiras, explains architectural techniques that can be incorporated …

Solar Evacuated Tubes: Free Hot Water

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.

Philips’ New “Simplicity” LED Bulbs

The new LED light bulbs from Philips will change color and brightness with one touch, squeeze, or turn. They are also energy efficient and last 10-20 years. Good work. Expect to see these in coming months or years. These LED bulb designs are part of the Philips Sense & Simplicty design project, which the company has been working on for …

Hoky Carpet Sweeper by Oreck

Carpet Sweepers are a great non-electric way to clean carpets quickly. So a recent review of a Hoky Sweeper on Cool Tools, caught our eye: You’ve probably seen Hoky Sweepers used in restaurants and hotels. They just plain work. No electric, no plugs, no noise & lightweight. So convenient to grab for a few second cleanup. Just push and they …

The Best Low-Flow Toilets

Early on, low-flow toilets got a bad rap — and justifiably so — their flushing ability left a lot to be desired. But today there are many low-flow toilets on the market that work well. Terry Love is a plumber who reviews low-flow toilets. He takes his job seriously, installing some of the toilets his own home were he can …

Lacquered Bamboo Dishes

These dishes are made of lacquered, wound bamboo, which comes from Cat Dang, Vietnam. The soaked bamboo is cut into very fine strips and pressed into a curve. The strips are then coiled outward from the centre of each dish. A frame is used to achieve uniform depth and angles. After a coating of cashew oil-based glue, the work is …

Ultrametaefficient: Cork Chaise Lounge by Daniel Michalik

This cork chaise lounge, designed by Daniel Michalik, qualifies as being ultrametaefficient because it is: made with a renewable material, light, aesthetic, waterproof and impervious to rot and mold. It can be used indoors or outdoors.