Archive for the 'Green Appliances' Category

Rechargeable Blender

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

Rechargeable Blender

A blender to take camping or use next to the outdoor grill isn’t on my top ten list of things I wish for, however, some people might be thrilled that you can now mix up smoothies with an energy efficient and portable blender. This battery operated blender be recharged anywhere there is an outlet, blenders aren’t real energy hogs so you probably won’t save too much juice but being able to mix up your drinks off-grid is cause to celebrate. The Rechargeable Blender is lightweight but has a large pitcher for your outdoor gatherings (or during your next power outage)

$59.99 at Eco Geek Living

Saving Water by Reusing Greywater

Wednesday, August 1st, 2007

Water Drip

Our move from New England to Southern California brings the issue of water usage to the forefront. Water conservation in Boston isn’t nearly the issue it is here in San Diego. It is amazing that so many here take for granted the diminishing source of water that is brought from the Colorado river 250 miles away. The politics of water is huge and too complex to discuss here but an excellent and fascinating read on the subject is Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water, Revised Edition by Marc Reisner from Amazon. This book is still very timely and is one of the best books written on the subject.

Southern California is in a near-drought state after 1 year of record low rains so we are looking into ways to save on water use. It amazes me how much water is used and then “discarded” by simply washing your hands, showering, clothes or dishwashing. Naturally you want to think about ways to reuse this “greywater”, if more people were able to reuse this “greywater” for flushing toilets and/or watering lawns and gardens it would result in a significant savings of water.

Rewater Filter System

For home owners with the money available to install new rewater systems in their home there exists some terrific but pricy solutions, the ReWater system captures, filters and reuses shower, tub, bathroom sink, and laundry water, 50% of all water used inside a residence. This can then be ReWater’s under or above ground drip irrigation systems which are claimed to be at least 30% and up to 60% more efficient than sprinklers. The pricing will vary significantly on several factors but you could expect to pay several thousand for both the filter and irrigation systems.

greywater bucket under sink

Sadly, we don’t have that kind of cash and only rent our place. But there are still some options that range from free to affordable. One approach, offered by GreyWater Guerrillas shows how to simply remove the piping under your sink and let it drain into a bucket that you can then pour into your toilet tank to flush with (or water plants, etc) They also put out a book “Dam Nation Dispatches from the Water Underground” that they discuss on their website and have many other resources on water issues.

The bucket under the sink definitely won’t fly with my wife although my dog is cool with it. A more elegant solution that does somewhat the same thing is the Aqus, that helps you capture and reuse sink water to flush toilets. They claim their technology can save 10 – 20 gallons of water a day. The Ecogeek blog has a good article about this system here.

Profile Toilet Sink
Another possibility to save on bathroom water use is offered from Caroma, an Australian toilet maker’s Profile toilet suite that directly convert your toilet tank into a sink. A more basic and affordable possibility is the Toilet Lid Sink from Peddler’s Wagon for only $89.00.

Toilet Lid Sink

Treehugger’s excellent article, “How to Green Your Water” is another great place for more info on saving water at home.

Pedal powered washing machines

Thursday, July 12th, 2007

Sick of singing your body electric? How about using that bod to pedal wash your clothes? Healthy for the planet and healthy for you, and especially for those (like me) who a prolonged use of this method might help them go down a couple of waist sizes. Sadly, the various offerings all seem to be in prototype – with the exception of some hand powered ones covered in this previous post.
The Cyclean seems to be the furtherest along in its development (shown in the video above) Here is a site, homelessdave.com that has some extensive plans and photos of his efforts is making a pedal-powered washing machine.
Pedal powered washing machine
Here is another model, invented by Bart Orlando, that also shows promise.

Pedal powered washing machine

Green thoughts on Air-conditioning, Can we cool both ourselves and the planet?

Monday, May 14th, 2007

air-conditioning and the planet

As global warming matures with serious heat waves become increasingly commonplace, many of us will crank up the AC for relief, perhaps even survival, but this will worsen climate change when fossil fueled power plants spew out even more greenhouse gases. In the United States, Air-conditioning for buildings uses something like 18 percent of all electrical consumption. Most new construction all comes with central air-conditioning, most modern offices, stores and many workplaces all have the AC cranking during the hot summer months, many workers even have to bring extra sweaters to keep warm the temperatures can be so frigid. Occasionally, during really hot days the city or other agency will plea with us to be more reasonable with the temperature settings on the AC but most times any environmental concerns related to air-conditioning use are ignored. We have come to see air-conditioning as a basic need and right. We expect there to be a comfortable, air-conditioned setting in virtually all of our public spaces. It is hard to imagine that only 30 or 40 years ago air conditioning was the exception and not the rule. What will happen when we no longer have cheap energy so readily available?

Alternet has arguably the best online article discussing air-conditioning and the environment available. Written last summer in two parts, the article discusses how in little more than 50 years cheap energy has allowed air-conditioning to rapidly grow from a rare luxury to an unquestioned basic necessary utility present in virtually every aspect of our lives, especially in the southern regions. It seems unthinkable today to imagine shopping in any big store during the summer without air-conditioning. Can you imagine people in the southern states ever giving up their air-conditioning, even though I grow up in the south myself and remember what it was like to live down there without air-conditioning. What price will people be willing to pay to keep up this lifestyle?

Composting for the Urban Kitchen

Friday, April 20th, 2007

Compost Pail
RSVP Stainless Steel Compost Pail $39.99
from the Grist Store at Amazon

Food and paper make up the largest percentage of items in most landfills, food waste is considered the #1 least recycled material. The nature of today’s landfills are such that food waste often doesn’t break down properly and contributes to landfills producing methane – a harmful greenhouse gas.

Large urban areas often have to ship the garbage to distant, rural landfills, using fleets of trucks spewing tons of greenhouse gases into the air on a daily basis. At the same time farms use chemical fertilizers to grow their crops that contributes to pollution and soil degradation. Finding ways to reduce landfill waste and generate sources of rich, organic fertilizer is clearly the way to go.
Garbage Land
I read Elizabeth Royte awesome book, Garbage Land: On the Secret Trail of Trash recently, who gives an excellent account of her investigations into all things pertaining to garbage and has much useful information on composting. The wonderful and ever fascinating everydaytrash blog has a terrific interview with Ms. Royte well worth the read.

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