The 60k tiny house of the future can be controlled with a smartphone

May 16, 2017 by  
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Most tiny homes are built with the simple life in mind, so what to do if you love technology as much as you love tiny living? Fear not, tech fans, your ship – er, trailer – has come in. Oregon-based Covo Tiny House Co just released the Covo Mio, a super-compact 60k dwelling packed to the rafters in smart home gadgets. Covo Mio is pretty much the smartest tiny house around. It comes with smart lighting, door locks, and a Bluetooth sound system, all controlled via your smartphone. It also has USB charging outlets, a TV, a sit-stand desk, a smart Nest thermostat and, of course, an Amazon Echo. There’s also a huge awning window, giving the space the feel of a luxury home in a compact footprint. Related: Cover’s $50k algorithmic tiny houses are 80% more efficient than conventional homes   Of course, the Mio also includes the essentials, like a cooktop, oven, shower, sofa, AC/heat, and eating bar. It comes with a standard RV-hookup toilet, but you can upgrade to a compost toilet. There are two lofts: one for sleeping and one that is about the right size for storage. Outside, there is a nice-sized storage locker and it can be outfitted with solar panels for off-grid living.   All told, the home offers about 330 square feet of living space in a 26-foot long trailer and starts at $60,000. Of course, depending on how many gadgets and upgraded finishes you pack into your techie tiny home, you can end up closer to $100,000. If you prefer design over technology, Covo also offers the Amica model, which is as stylish as the Mio is smart. + Covo Tiny House Co

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The 60k tiny house of the future can be controlled with a smartphone

These mini spherical reactors could help scale fusion energy by 2030

May 16, 2017 by  
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Scientists have long sought to replicate with fusion reactors the sun’s ability to produce energy through nuclear fusion . But it’s taking too long for Tokamak Energy , a UK-based company that wants to speed up the progress with mini reactors. Their small Spherical Tokamaks makes it possible to accelerate tests, which is difficult in other laboratories because of the specific conditions required; they hope to provide commercially-available fusion energy as soon as 2030. Nuclear fusion is difficult to replicate on Earth because it requires extremely high temperatures and pressures. Scientists have broken records on the path to fusion energy for all, but there’s still a long way to go; a recent record hit only 70 seconds of high-performance plasma operation , and that was still an exciting milestone. But Tokamak Energy thinks they could accelerate us closer to fusion energy with their mini tokamaks. Related: Germany’s massive nuclear fusion reactor is actually working Spherical Tokamaks can “achieve a much higher plasma pressure for a given magnetic field than conventional tokamaks,” according to the company, which they say means their smaller reactors are more efficient. The tokamaks’ small size also offers an advantage in contrast to other fusion reactors being developed around the world, which have cost billions of dollars. At the end of April this year, Tokamak Energy switched on their third reactor in five years. They hope the ST40 will hit 100 million degrees Kelvin – seven times hotter than the Sun’s center and required for controlled fusion – next year. The company is working to be the first to offer commercially viable fusion, in just a little over 10 years. When his company turned on the ST40, Tokamak Energy CEO David Kingham said, “We will still need significant investment, many academic and industrial collaborations, dedicated and creative engineers and scientists , and an excellent supply chain. Our approach continues to be to break the journey down into a series of engineering challenges, raising additional investment on reaching each new milestone. We are already halfway to the goal of fusion energy, with hard work we will deliver fusion power at commercial scale by 2030.” Via the BBC and Tokamak Energy ( 1 , 2 ) Images via screenshot

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These mini spherical reactors could help scale fusion energy by 2030

Gorgeous solar-powered Colorado home produces almost all its own energy

May 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Green, Recycle

Sustainability and a love for nature inspired Colorado-based CCY Architects’ design of the gorgeous Starwood Residence. Set on a ridge line, this luxury mountain home with floor-to-ceiling glazing overlooks the Roaring Fork Valley and Elk Mountains. Solar energy powers the energy-efficient Starwood Residence, which is capable of producing 70% of the energy that it consumes. The Starwood Residence lies low on the landscape with a series of sloping rooflines that appear to echo the surrounding mountain landscape. Weathered steel wraps the home to blend the building into the natural backdrop, while exterior sunshades maximize access to natural light and minimize solar heat gain in summer. In contrast to the steel-clad facade, the interior is richly layered with warm textures, from stone accent walls to Clear Vertical Grain (CVG) Douglas Fir siding. Large panoramic windows appear to extend the living areas outdoors. Related: Black Magic home sits lightly in a mountain oasis In addition to daylighting , the architects improved the home’s energy efficiency with exposed concrete floors—used almost exclusively throughout the home—that provide thermal mass to absorb and release passive solar heat in cold months. The nearly energy-sufficient home draws power from a 7-kw solar array , 12 evacuated tubes for solar thermal, and a ground source heat pump for radiant cooling and heating. The weathered steel siding contains a high percentage of recycled material and all the concrete used includes a minimum of 20 percent fly ash. + CCY Architects

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Gorgeous solar-powered Colorado home produces almost all its own energy

How to Avoid Fines and Not Get Caught in California’s Drought/Lawn Watering Catch-22

July 30, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of How to Avoid Fines and Not Get Caught in California’s Drought/Lawn Watering Catch-22 Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: brown lawn , cactus , california drought , compost toilet , drough tolerant landscaping , epic drought , greywater system , irrigation , low flow fixtures , rain barrel , rainwater harvesting , roofwater catchment , water conservation , water issues , water policy , water recycling , watering restrictions

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How to Avoid Fines and Not Get Caught in California’s Drought/Lawn Watering Catch-22

Seed-Saving Part 1: Harvesting and Storing Herb, Tomato, and Berry Seeds

July 30, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of Seed-Saving Part 1: Harvesting and Storing Herb, Tomato, and Berry Seeds Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: berries , fruits , good seeds , heirloom seeds , non-GMO seeds , organic gardening , organic seed saving , organic seeds , planting your own seed , preserving seeds , Produce , saving seed , saving seeds , seed collecting , seed-saving , seed-saving- harvesting seeds , seeds , sustainable gardening , tomatoes , vegetables

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Seed-Saving Part 1: Harvesting and Storing Herb, Tomato, and Berry Seeds

8 Toilet Designs That Could Save Millions of Lives Around the World

July 31, 2013 by  
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Read the rest of 8 Toilet Designs That Could Save Millions of Lives Around the World Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: 8 life saving toilet designs , bill gates , buckminster fuller challenge , caltech toilet , compact rotating aerobic pollution prevention excreta reducer , compost toilet , continuous thermal hydrocarbonization , CRAPPER , Design Without Borders , diversion toilet , eawag aquatic institute , ecological urinal , eoos design studio , gates foundation reinvent the toilet challenge , LooWatt , loughborough university toilet , sabine schober , sarah kell , terra preta sanitation , the toronto toilet , toilets for people , treated excrement into compost , turning human waste into biofuel , University of Toronto , virginia gardiner , waterless toilets , world toilet organization design award , yu-ling chen        

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8 Toilet Designs That Could Save Millions of Lives Around the World

Los Angeles Completes the World’s Largest LED Street Light Retrofit

July 31, 2013 by  
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Last month, the city of Los Angeles  completed the world’s largest LED street light retrofit , changing over 141,089 street lights to energy efficient LEDs. Other cities have since followed Los Angeles’ lead in the bulb swap, but the Californian city reigns as the largest, securing itself as a leader in energy efficiency. The city plans to further  retrofit , citing this first leg only as phase one. Read the rest of Los Angeles Completes the World’s Largest LED Street Light Retrofit Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group , CLinton Climate Initiative , Cree XSP series , eco design , green design , Hadco RX , led retrofit , LEDway Series , Leotek GC , Los Angeles Street Light Retrofit , sustainable design        

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Los Angeles Completes the World’s Largest LED Street Light Retrofit

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