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Archive for August, 2007

Ambient Energy Orb Shows Energy Consumption

Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

Animated Energy Orb

Inhabitat.com has a great article about a new way some people are monitoring their electric bill. A Southern California Power Station Manager, Mark Martinez, hit on a cool way to get people to be more aware and conserve their energy use with his Energy Orb. Wired.com’s article explains in detail how he altered the Ambient Orb – a glowing orb that changes color that responds to changes in various streaming data like stock prices, and instead made it to change color to alert the user of higher and lower usage of energy. For the lucky few that got to use this device, they claim a 40% reduction in energy use.
Seems like a good thing for people to display prominently, if its flashing red to signify high energy use- you will have a easy prompt to go check out why and turn off anything unneeded.

Dumpster Diving to Recycle Lumber: green, smart, legal, and free

Tuesday, August 28th, 2007

Cut down tree
Need lumber for a pet project? Aren’t into the nasty selections at Home Depot – chemically treated woods from unsustainable clear cuts? A thought provoking article can be found here on Verdant.net about all the in’s and outs of obtaining free building materials. Make your projects green by recycling old growth lumber thrown away by clueless contractors. Here is a link at the California Construction and Demolition Debris Recycling site to more great info on recycling lumber, while it specifically relates to California, much of it is relevant to most anywhere.

Bamboo Composter

Friday, August 24th, 2007

Bamboo composter

Bamboo Compost Pail from Amazon.com
$38.95

Much of our kitchen organic waste could be composted and given back to your garden, house plants and the like. Your yard waste and veggie peelings could be put to a much healthier use than generating methane in some landfill.
This small kitchen bamboo composter has a 3.25-qt capacity, a reasonable size for a typical urban user. Its attractive looks compliments its usefulness. For more info on urban composting see our post on urban kitchen composting.

Green alternative to Teflon Cookware

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007

GreenPans

GreenPan™ 6-piece Nonstick Cookware Set $99.90 at Home Shopping Network

Teflon or (Polytetrafluoroethylene (PFTE) coated cookware has been in the news lately with stories it could pose health risks to users. However some question just how much of a health risk it is, but many people are being scared off teflon anyway, electing to play it safe and look around for more reassuring options in their pots and pans.

In this article by Consumer Health Advocate, Mike Adams, states the alarms over Teflon are overblown and would only pose real danger if you cook at super high temperatures or do something crazy like use brillo pads to scour them with. However, he implies the cheap Walmart Teflon pans suck – and if you gotta have Teflon, go for the highend, maybe a $300 Williams-Sonoma sauce pan.

On the other hand, one of the best is the old fashioned cast-iron pans that can still be found in a thrift store near you. They heat evenly, last forever if you season them properly and take care of them. You get the added benefit of getting the healthy iron that will slowly release into your food when cooking. The new ceramic coated cast iron is a great option too, but you lose the iron supplement and often you’ll use more oil than is good for your cardiovascular system to prevent sticking. Fortunately there are other options for chemical free cookware.

GreenPan, recently introduced its new line of eco-friendly cookware to the Home Shopping Network and promptly sold out. It seems they are now available again, at least some models. Their cookware doesn’t use PFTE or perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and instead uses their new material called Thermolon that apparently works great as a non-stick surface, it remains stable and inert in extremely high temperatures, up to 850°F As an added bonus they claim their production methods cause 50% fewer greenhouse gases to be released.

We haven’t yet got our hands on these new green cookware (sadly, we haven’t yet trashed our Teflon-coated Target Death Pans) but to hear from some people in the know, check out the 88 reviews at HSN of mostly very happy users who relate how pleased they are with these pans.

e-Cigarettes, an answer to second hand smoke pollution?

Thursday, August 16th, 2007

e-Cigarette
As a former smoker, I know first hand how hard it is to quit smoking. My many efforts to stop failed until I was truly ready to quit. Whatever works is fair game in my book. The new e-cigarette, available mainly in China and Europe right now, may be just the answer for many who smoke not only for the nicotine but also the tactile pleasures of smoking itself. This new e-cigarette, made with a stainless steel shell, lithium ion battery, micro-electronic circuit, atomizing chamber, and indicator light at the tip delivers nicotine that is inhaled via a cartridge (that you refill as needed) that is inserted into the device. A vapor that mimics smoke is emitted (not much info on the vapor, presumably just water vapor) The “cigarette” even has a led light up on the tip to simulate the burning. At around 200.00 US dollars users will want to make sure they don’t leave it in an ashtray (are there still ashtrays anymore?)

The nicotine cartridges are sold in packages of 50 for around $90.00. While it isn’t marketed in the United States yet, I see where a chinese company, RuyanChina, is selling them online to US customers using pay-pay, etc here. They also sell eCigars.

Who knows if this device will be anymore successful in helping people quit than the nicorette gum and patches but if helps cut down on people polluting our streets, houses, restaurants, and other public areas with toxic smoke I am all for it. Second-hand smoke is a killer. Nicotine is no sloucher either, last I heard Nicotine is a major contributer to coronary artery disease but if it helps the user actually quit it seems worth it.

No information yet on when eWeed and eCrack will become available.

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