Tesla’s new Solar Roof is actually cheaper than a normal roof

July 31, 2017 by  
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Good news for those who have been eyeing Tesla’s new Solar Roof – the company just announced pricing for its photovoltaic tiles, and they come it at just $21.85 per square foot . That’s nearly 20 percent cheaper than a normal roof — even without factoring in the energy savings. Tesla’s sought-after Solar Roof tiles are made of glass layered over a photovoltaic substrate, and they serve as a replacement for traditional roofing materials. This ensures they look like the “real thing” from the ground – even though they accomplish much more than a standard roof. So far, Tesla has two styles available for pre-order: a textured black glass tile and a smooth grey tile. The tuscan and slate tiles will be available for installation in early 2018. According to the company , installing a Solar Roof takes between five and seven days – and Tesla manages the entire process itself. The fact that the Solar Roof tiles are so economical is applaudable, considering that Consumer Reports predicted back in November that the tiles would need to cost under $24.50 per square foot to compete with traditional roofing materials. Tesla accomplished this — and went one step further. Now, the company is offering an infinite warranty for the tiles. “We offer the best warranty in the industry—the lifetime of your house, or infinity, whichever comes first,” a Tesla representative told Inverse. Related: Tesla to power Gigafactory with world’s largest solar rooftop installation An additional benefit of the Tesla Solar Roof is that it is touted to be stronger than a traditional roof. In areas where thunderstorms and high winds are rampant, a sturdier abode makes all the difference. Fortunate consumers who purchase the Solar Roof will also receive the forthcoming Powerwall 2.0 , which is a battery storage device with a built-in inverter. It connects to your home’s electrical system, enabling a house to go 100 percent off-the-grid . Though it costs an extra $6,500, the long-term savings are estimated to add up to thousands of dollars. + Tesla Via Inverse Images via Tesla

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Tesla’s new Solar Roof is actually cheaper than a normal roof

How big data and behavioral science boost energy efficiency

July 31, 2017 by  
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The vast majority of people are willing to do the right thing if given the chance, especially when it comes to preserving the planet for future generations. The challenge is empowering people with the tools and knowledge to make better purchasing decisions for energy-efficient products. Figuring out how to engage the consumer market, which spends $1 billion on energy-consuming products per year in the U.S. alone, is where Enervee comes in. 

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How big data and behavioral science boost energy efficiency

Scientists discover ingredient for life on Saturns moon

July 31, 2017 by  
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Will Titan, one of Saturn’s moons, be the next rock humans aspire to reach after visiting Mars ? According to new research published today in Science Advances , possibly so. This is because researchers have found a complex molecule in the atmosphere of the moon that could very well lead to the formation of life. The molecule is vinyl cyanide and researchers believe it could be the key to developing cell membranes in Titan’s environment . Unlike Earth, Titan’s atmosphere is extremely cold. As a result, lipids can’t form and create cell membranes as is common on this planet. However, vinyl cyanide mixed with liquid methane — a substance Titan has lakes of — could very well foster the development of those essential cell membranes. The discovery was made by NASA’s Cassini probe, which has been exploring the Saturn system for 13 years. According to The Verge , evidence of the molecule was found on Titan but the probe wasn’t able to provide any conclusive measurements. To circumvent this, researchers used data collected from the Atacama Large Millimeter Array in Chile . Scientists were able to read the radio waves emitted by different types of frequencies which result from various gas molecules jumping back and forth from one level of energy to another to determine that similar to Earth , Titan has periodic rainfalls. Of course, unlike showers of water, rainfall on Titan is liquid methane. Because of this fact, it was concluded there is a likely chance vinyl cyanide can also be found in the moon’s methane lakes. While no evidence yet exists that there are cell membrane-like structures forming on Titan , the researchers discovered at the minimum that it is possible for life to develop on the moon. As a result, scientists feel encouraged to continue studying it. Related: Saturn’s biggest moon has enough energy to power a US-sized space colony Said Martin Cordiner, co-author of the study, ”This is a far cry from saying [life] definitely happens on Titan and these cells are involved in some kind of primitive life . But it gives us a starting point in that discussion. If there was going to be life in Titan’s oceans, then it’s plausible vinyl cyanide could be a component of that.” + Science Advances Via The Verge Images via NASA  and Deposit Photos

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Scientists discover ingredient for life on Saturns moon

Shell Oil CEO says his next car will be electric

July 31, 2017 by  
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You know the electric vehicle era has arrived when even oil execs are giving up their gas-powered cars for battery-powered cars. Royal Dutch Shell CEO Ben Van Beurden just announced that his next car will be an electric Mercedes-Benz S550e. Beurden will be ditching his diesel car when he purchases the plug-in hybrid this September. When Beurden goes electric, he will be joining Chief Financial Officer Jessica Uhl, who already drives a BMW i3. “The whole move to electrify the economy, electrify mobility in places like northwest Europe, in the U.S., even in China, is a good thing,” Van Beurden said on Bloomberg TV. “We need to be at a much higher degree of electric vehicle penetration — or hydrogen vehicles or gas vehicles — if we want to stay within the 2-degrees Celsius outcome.” Related: Electric cars could reach cost parity with conventional cars by next year Shell is moving into the EV market, announcing in February that it will start installing chargers at its gas stations this year. Britain and the Netherlands are the first two countries that will see electric vehicle chargers at Shell gas stations with the battery charging infrastructure eventually being deployed at all of the 25,000 Shell-branded gas stations in the world. Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts that a third of the world’s cars will be plug-in by 2040, the same year that both Britain and France  plan to ban the sale of new diesel and petrol cars. Via Autoblog Image via Flickr

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Honolulu is the first US city to ban using your phone while crossing the street

July 31, 2017 by  
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Most people think they can walk and text, but statistics prove otherwise. Between 2015 and 2016, for instance, there was a 10 percent spike in pedestrian fatalities in the United States, likely due to the number of people walking while distracted by their phones. It’s because of this that Honolulu, Hawaii, recently passed legislation that targets  texters and other “smartphone zombies” as they step off the curb. On Thursday, Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed the “Distracted Walking Law” which is the first law of its type to be passed in the U.S. Reuters reports that it passed 7-2 earlier this month by the city council. Said Caldwell, “We hold the unfortunate distinction of being a major city with more pedestrians being hit in crosswalks, particularly our seniors, than almost any other city in the country .” The law will go into effect on October 25, at which time the Honolulu Police Department will begin handing out fines. First-time offenders will receive a $15-$35 fine, second time violates within the same year will be fined $35-$75, and those who are caught a third time will be charged $75-$99. People making calls for emergency services are exempt from the ban. According to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser , police will implement a three-month training and warning period until the law goes into effect. Related: This Clothing Staple Lets You Make Simple Gestures to Send a Text Maureen Vogel, a spokeswoman for the council, applauded the initiative. She said during a phone interview, “ Cell phones are not just pervading our roadways but pervading our sidewalks too.” Opponents, on the other hand, argue that it “infringes on personal freedom and amounts to government overreach.” Nonetheless, it is expected that the law will result in improved public safety — and that is applaudable. Via Reuters Images via Deposit Photos and  Pixabay

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Give goods, find goods, and do good on National Thrift Store Day

July 31, 2017 by  
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If you’re the type of shopper that lives for finding hidden gems in vintage stores, mark August 17th on your calendar. That’s when National Thrift Store Day returns to encourage everyone to support their local thrift stores and score secondhand goods. New York City is taking this initiative a step further by bringing awareness to the day’s charitable component and reminding us why it would do a world of good if we went the thrift store route instead of buying brand new. Through its donateNYC program, the New York City Department of Sanitation helps New Yorkers “give goods, find goods, and do good” for their community – and they’re making it really easy for everyone to do their part. Read on for 10 great things you can find on Thrift Store Day – and where you can go to pick them up. Thrift stores have long been a place where anyone can hand off items that are no longer wanted or needed instead of throwing them in the trash. In this way, others who can’t afford these items at their original prices have a chance to own them at a lower price. Necessities like clothes, housewares, books, electronics and furniture are just some of the goods people can buy. Oftentimes, these thrift stores are run by charitable organizations that use the money collected from purchases to fund initiatives that further help those in need. Goodwill , for example, backs “programs that provide education, skills training and career development that help people earn jobs in communities nationwide.” Not to mention, this practice of donating, upcyling, and buying secondhand goods reduces the amount of garbage that ends up in landfills, the energy and resources consumed by waste management, and the amount of money flying out of our pockets. It’s a win all around. If you’re not sure where to drop off your unneeded goods, donateNYC eliminates that hassle for you. A directory of participating shops and a map of your nearest drop-off locations can be found online, as well as through the free donateNYC app for Apple and Android . The program is part of NYC’s 0X30 initiative , which aims to send zero waste to landfills by 2030, and it’s an excellent resource on National Thrift Store Day and every other day of the year. Below are some of the cool items you can find in thrift stores around NYC, courtesy of donateNYC. Vintage Clothing St. Luke’s Thrift Shop Council Thrift Shop Vintage Thrift Housing Works Goodwill The Salvation Army Handbags Housing Works Purses for Nurses Goodwill Vintage Thrift Bicycles Recycle-A-Bicycle Building Materials/Appliances Big Reuse Rebuilding Together NYC Salvage Store Habitat for Humanity NYC ReStore Electronics Lower East Side Ecology Center Jewelry CancerCare Arthritis Foundation Vintage Thrift Housing Works Hour Children Goodwill Textile Scraps FABSCRAP Furniture Refoundry Housing Works Habitat for Humanity NYC ReStore Big Reuse The Salvation Army Vintage Thrift Hour Children Housewares/furnishings St. Luke’s Thrift Shop Council Thrift Shop Vintage Thrift Housing Works Goodwill The Salvation Army Hour Children Habitat for Humanity NYC ReStore Books/Records Big Reuse Goodwill The Salvation Army Hour Children Housing Works Council Thrift Shop St. Luke’s Thrift Shop Cancer Care + donateNYC Images via Depositphotos and donateNYC

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Give goods, find goods, and do good on National Thrift Store Day

DIY: How to make your own natural deodorant at home

July 31, 2017 by  
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Did you know you can make your own deodorant? It’s not difficult, and you can save money over buying pricey natural deodorants. Best of all, you can mix and match essential oils to create a scent that you really love (or make it unscented). Whether you have sensitive skin or you’re just picky about body care products, making your own natural deodorant is a fun and easy DIY project  you can complete in under an hour. Step One: Gather your materials Most of the ingredients listed below are available in the bulk purchase area of natural food stores or co-ops, as well as online. There are a few ingredients below that can be swapped out, though doing so may slightly change the color, texture, or scent of your deodorant. The recipe listed below makes one batch of deodorant – simply double or triple the recipe to make a larger batch, create different scents, or to share. Ingredients: 1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil 1 Tablespoon Shea Butter (or Cocoa Butter) 1 Tablespoon Baking Soda 1 Tablespoon Arrowroot Powder (or cornstarch) 1 Teaspoon Bentonite Cosmetic Clay (or kaolin) 6 Drops Essential Oil – we used Lavender and Tea Tree Tools: Measuring spoons Mixing spoons Small bowl Small jar or tub to store deodorant in Step Two: Measure coconut oil Measure out one tablespoon of coconut oil and, if it is hardened, mash it in the mixing bowl. RELATED: How to make a summery coconut-sea salt lip scrub Step Three: Measure shea butter Measure one tablespoon of room-temperature shea butter into the bowl and mix it well with the coconut oil. You may substitute room-temperature cocoa butter as well, but it will have a stronger scent. Shea and cocoa butters are a bit harder than coconut oil at room temperature and will help stabilize the deodorant mixture. Step Three: Add baking soda Measure out and add one tablespoon of baking soda. Step Four: Add arrowroot starch Measure out and add one tablespoon of arrowroot starch. This rather unusual ingredient can be found in some larger natural food stores or bulk co-ops, as well as online. If you can’t find any, you can also substitute cornstarch, though its absorptive properties may be slightly lower. RELATED: DIY homemade insect repellent sprays and lotions Step Five: Add clay powder Measure out and add one teaspoon of finely ground cosmetic clay (bentonite or kaolin – found in the bulk or body care section of a natural foods market). Thoroughly mix the deodorant into a thick paste, making sure there are no lumps. Step Six: Add essential oils Add six drops of your favorite essential oil . We used a blend of 3 drops of tea tree oil for its antibacterial properties and astringent odor, in addition to 3 drops of lavender oil for its soothing aroma. Step Seven: Jar it Use a spoon or butter knife to scrape the deodorant into a small jar or other container. You can leave it at room temperature in your bathroom. To apply, simply swipe two or three fingers across the surface of the deodorant and gently rub it into your armpits after a shower. You can put some into a smaller container for travel as well. If you’ve been using commercial aluminum deodorants, you may notice more wetness, but give it a week for your body to adjust. The essential oil blend serves as a deodorant, and the baking soda, arrowroot starch, and clay serve to prevent and absorb perspiration. All photos by Emily Peckenham for Inhabitat

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Chicago drinking fountains have been running non-stop for months, and the reason why is infuriating

July 31, 2017 by  
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For the past few months, drinking fountains in Chicago have been running non-stop because the water pipes there contains “dangerously high” lead levels. Ingesting excess levels of lead   (and just to be clear, health officials say no amount of lead exposure is safe ) can cause symptoms such as constipation, vomiting, developmental disabilities, hyperactivity, irritability, insomnia and memory loss. So to address the issue, the city has simply disabled the “push” buttons to let the fountains flow freely, reducing the hazardous levels of lead that actually make it into the water. In April of 2016, WBEZ began investigating the suspicious act of allowing the faucets to flow freely. This week, investigative journalists finally received answers. Reportedly, 450 Chicago park fountains contain “dangerously high” lead levels — with some spouting water with levels 80 times higher than the EPA limit. As a result of the action taken, 450 fountains met EPA standards. However, 107 were still contaminated with lead , which is why officials plan to keep them flowing until mid-fall. An additional 100 or so will be running round-the-clock for “spring flushing” to clear the pipes after winter. While a temporary solution has been found, one cannot ignore the environmental travesty which is occurring by allowing hundreds of faucets to flow freely for not just days, but months on end. For every spigot that is left on, nearly 600 gallons of drinking water are wasted each day. It’s exactly because of this expense that Chicago spent hundreds of thousands of dollars installing on-and-off buttons on the fountains in 2003. Unfortunately, city officials did not plan for lead contamination . Related: Abandoned fountain transformed into a pop-up urban spa in Mexico For now, district officials say they will continue testing and monitoring mountains throughout the summer with rapid detection tests. Fountains that are found to contain high levels of lead will have their samples followed up with additional lab analyses. All in all, plan on packing some purified, spring water if you intend on visiting a Chicago park in the near future. Via WBEZ Images via Pixabay and Deposit Photos

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Chicago drinking fountains have been running non-stop for months, and the reason why is infuriating

Hacks to Stay Cool: Beat the Heat Using Less Energy

July 31, 2017 by  
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According to a study from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), air-conditioners account for a full 6 percent of U.S. energy consumption. It’s a huge number, and a large issue for those concerned with global warming. This massive…

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These wooden blocks can be stacked up to create cabins, treehouses, and wilderness shelters

July 31, 2017 by  
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Most cabins lie flat upon the earth – but Ofis Arhitekti just unveiled a wooden retreat that’s stacked up into the sky. The architects worked with C+C , C28 and AKT to create a beautiful library made from modular blocks at Ljubljana’s landmark medieval fortress. The basic modular unit provides accommodation for two people, with a kitchen, a bathroom, a bed and seating. If that isn’t enough space, the units can be stacked horizontally or vertically in order to form different configurations to accommodate a variety of locations and needs. Related: Three stacked spruce ‘shoeboxes’ reimagine a 1934 house in Ljubljana The units can be used as holiday cabins, tree houses, research units and shelters . The cabin can be fixed on the ground either by steel anchors or removable concrete cubes, making the interior space endlessly flexible and adjustable based on changing needs. The unit at Ljubljana Castle will serve as a temporary library, with each floor containing books on various topics. Spaces for reading and rest are tucked underneath the underpasses, and offer stunning views of the city. Both the structure and cladding promote Slovenian woodworking, traditional wood crafts and carpentry. + Ofis Arhitekti Photos by Janez Martincic  

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These wooden blocks can be stacked up to create cabins, treehouses, and wilderness shelters

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