Archive for July, 2008

Heat and Cool your Home with Geothermal Power

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

geothermal heating

With the ever increasing prices of heating oil and natural gas some people are starting to look into the feasibility of geothermal heating to heat their homes. In the US this technology isn’t as advanced and popular as in Iceland or parts of Europe but as energy prices go through the roof maybe its time we start thinking about what’s under the basement.

Once you start to get below 6 feet in the ground the temperature —stays between 50˚F and 60˚F year round so it is cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter in most areas. The basics of Geothermal heating and cooling is very simple; just circulate fluids through the ground to cool the fluids and then that cool fluid will then cool the air that circulates through your house via some type of ducts. The same principal is used for heating in the winter, the fluids and then the air is warmed in a similar manner. However, the heat generated is often not as warm as what most people prefer so a compressor is used that increases the temperature somewhat. Here is an excellent link, The Case for Geothermal, that goes into this explanation in far greater detail.

Here is a European based site, Geothermie.net which has some good information on how you might or might not be able to use it for your home.

However, in many parts of the US, like New England, the cost is steep upfront, like up to 15-30 Grand. However, overtime it may be cost effective and certainly will add to your home value.

Here is a link to the Geocomfort site that can get you hooked up with even more info as well as a local dealer.

The Naturemill Automatic Composter

Saturday, July 26th, 2008

Naturemill Automatic Composter

Naturemill Automatic Composter Plus Edition $299 from naturemill.com also has a Pro Edition for $399

Food waste makes up some 12 percentage of waste in our landfills, According to the US EPA, food waste is the #1 least recycled material.

Modern landfills are sealed to prevent toxins from getting into the water supply and don’t allow for oxygen to penetrate the many layers which means food waste won’t biodegrade properly. However the food waste in landfills do break down to produce methane, Methane is estimated to have more than 20-times the climate change effect of carbon dioxide. This methane can eventually be released into the atmosphere to form yet another means of speeding up global warming. An article on MSNBC says “landfills are the largest source of methane emissions in the U.S.”

Garbage disposals aren’t a green solution as untreated food scraps often could end up in various waterways. This causes nutrient build ups and ruins aquatic ecosystems.

So the best solution for food waste is to compost. There are many ways to go about it, Check out our previous Great Green Gadgets article here on kitchen composting.
The Naturemill Automatic Composter is one of better indoor composters that can start to change our dismal statistics with food waste in the landfill.
Naturemill Automatic Composter

The Naturemill’s Automatic Composter is a simple, odor-free, indoor automatic composter, all you have to do is toss in your waste, and then sit back at let it do its thing. About two weeks later you will start to get a limitless supply of organic compost. An upper section turns, heats, and aerates. Compost is then transferred to the lower chamber where you remove the compost so it can continuously work to make your compost. More than seventy percent of the initial waste disappears into thin air — literally — as compost cultures convert it into water vapor. What’s left is a very concentrated compost fertilizer.
They designed it to be odor, bug and hassle free. You can use it for almost all vegetables, coffee grounds, paper, dairy, and meat waste – I am not sure if coconuts compost readily but pretty much anything else should work. It only uses 10 watts of power – about 50 cents a month for the average family.

Even you you don’t have much of a garden or yard there are lots of ways you can make use of this rich source of nutrients for plants, from becoming an urban guerrilla gardener or just giving it to your friends, family and neighbors.

Green “Art” Lighting – Frankie Wall Sconce

Sunday, July 20th, 2008

Frankie Wall Sconce
Price: $435.00 at the Living Echo.com Other designs and colors available
This gorgeous wall-art fixture from Fire and Water features dimmable compact fluorescent bulbs which when turned down increases the energy savings of the CFL as well as setting the right light for your mood. The shade is made from Environ ( a soy flour and recycled paper mixture) and recycled glass the base is also treated with low-VOC finish.
They have 2 other versions, just as exciting as the one shown here. The size of the one we show here is 4″ Long x 12″ Wide x 9″ High

Solar ‘Sphere’ Floating Pool Light

Sunday, July 13th, 2008

solar pool lights

Solar ‘Sphere’ Floating Pond / Pool Light $14.99 solarilluminations.com
(scroll down to middle of page)

These cool plastic solar powered floating lights last up to 8 hours illumination at night.
They will give a bright LED accent light but won’t really light up your whole pool and work best when in a totally dark situation. The light’s photocell gives an automatic dusk-to-dawn operation and has 2 AA sized rechargeable batteries that is charged by the solar panel.

Eco-Friendly Work Desk

Friday, July 11th, 2008

Green Office Desk
60″ Straight Desk from Legare furniture.com 279.00 on sale

If you get inspired from our previous post on a Green Work Chair then you might consider a green desk to go along with it. I will repeat that the best green furniture is used furniture – don’t buy, reuse! But for many people that might not be practical just now and need to find some other earth friendly options for their furniture.

There are many designer desks with futuristic designs that might appeal to your tastes, here is a link from Treehugger on green desks and workstations that can give you some ideas. This Legare Desk is somewhat more affordable and seems to have respectable sustainable considerations in its design, for more info on why their desks are green see this link.

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