Cool ways to skip the air conditioning and still keep your home chill

June 17, 2019 by  
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Summer is right around the corner, and the rising temperatures in many areas have already arrived. As the searing summer months approach and drag on, finding ways to keep your house cool will make you more comfortable. Chilling out without the use of energy-thirsty air conditioning will not only save you money but is good for the planet, too. For thousands of years, humans found ways to stay cool, even in the hottest climates, without the use of AC. Take a card from that playbook to keep your home comfortable without relying on energy-intensive resources by incorporating the ideas below. Related: A modern home in India stays naturally cool without AC Open the windows Creating a cross-breeze is one of the most effective ways to cool a home. Many resorts and vacation homes in tropical areas rely on this technique instead of installing AC for a good reason — it works. The key to effective breeze cooling is figuring out which direction the wind blows. In some areas, it’s fairly consistent, commonly coming from the same direction during the same times each day (most often in the afternoon). Open up windows during that “window” of breeze to encourage the flow through your home. Also take advantage of cooler nighttime and early morning temperatures. Leave screened windows open to allow the cool air to come inside. Then, trap it by shutting windows on each side of the house as the sun hits it, i.e. the east side in the morning and the west side in the afternoon. Rely on the blinds When your windows are closed, also close off heat absorption by closing the blinds. For windows that are in direct sunlight for a good portion of the day, consider installing shutters or rolling blinds on the outside of the window as well. If you don’t want to block out the light entirely, install window film that is made to insulate against heat while letting light into the room. Blackout the light The most effective way to keep the sun from injecting blistering heat into a room is to keep it dark. Completely close off rooms when they are not being used. If you don’t mind being left in the dark, install blackout curtains, which effectively block the heat from entering the room through the window. Become a fan of fans Both ceiling fans and box fans are effective in cooling a space without cranking up the energy bill. For ceiling fans, make sure they are rotating in a counterclockwise direction during the warm months. Most ceiling fans have a switch near the top that changes the direction in which the blades rotate. This is so that the fan pushes cooler air downward during the summer. Reverse the blades during the winter, which pulls cool air up toward the ceiling to keep the living space warmer. Box and other fans help keep the air flowing throughout the space for a cooling effect. To create cooler air, place a container of ice directly in front of the fan. The air from the fan will bounce off the ice and direct the cool air across the room. Insulate against the heat With all of this talk about the importance of air flow, it seems counter-intuitive to mention insulation . However, keeping hot air from entering your space prevents from having to then cool it. Just like with cold air during the winter, evaluate any place that hot air may seep in. Close the damper in your fireplace. Feel around your doors and windows for airflow, and install weatherstripping as needed. Grab a package of insulation foam for your light switches and outlets. Related: 7 eco-friendly insulation alternatives for a green home Turn off appliances Even during the sizzling days of summer, you need to eat and do laundry , but appliances in the home generate a lot of heat and compromise your success in the battle against a hot house. Plan ahead to avoid turning on appliances as much as possible. Dust off that slow cooker book and cook dinner without turning on the stove. Also enjoy some summer grilling that takes the hot cooking outdoors. Better yet, on very hot days, go with a cold sandwich or salad and avoid cooking altogether. You can also keep the clothes dryer from heating up your space by hanging clothes to dry or only running it at night after the temperature drops. Even the dishwasher sends out heat, so wash dishes by hand and allow them to air dry in the warm space, or run the dishwasher without the final dry cycle that produces heat. Give your refrigerator a bit of a break. It works hard during hot weather, so keep up maintenance by cleaning the vent in the front and the coils in the back. Keep food away from the edges inside the fridge, so air can flow freely. Get shade from plants Keeping the home cool on the inside starts on the outside. Your landscape design can have a huge impact on the temperature inside your house. Plan ahead by placing trees where they will block intense sun rays during the height of the season. Put shrubs and vines on south- and west-facing walls to help insulate against the heat. Stop unwanted heat gain with awnings For a long-term, albeit less natural, approach, build permanent awnings or invest in retractable awnings over corridors, decks and windows. This will also make enjoying the outdoors on super hot days a little easier! Images via Shutterstock

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Cool ways to skip the air conditioning and still keep your home chill

Experts believe climate change could be the cause of recent deadly dust storms in India

May 15, 2018 by  
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India is experiencing a powerful and deadly dust storm season this year. Over the weekend, 71 people were killed as a result of dust storms and related thunderstorms . The affected area stretches from the eastern state of West Bengal to Uttar Pradesh in the north. The storms are expected to continue through this week. Though dust storms are common during India’s dry season (from April to June), this year has been particularly intense and destructive. As the 67-miles-per-hour dust whips across the landscape, it tears down trees, destroys homes, disrupts transportation and, worst of all, ends lives. Earlier this month, a separate outbreak of storms killed more than 100 people. Indian state officials are working to assess the damage. Early estimates indicate that more than 120 million people were impacted by the recent dust storms. “Thunderstorms like these are a normal part of spring climate in India,” writer and meteorologist Bob Henson told Earther . “What’s unusual this year is the strength of the downdraft winds.” The hot, arid air rises into thunderstorms, where it is rapidly cooled. This cool air then returns toward the ground as strong winds . Related: For the first time ever, all villages in India have electricity Scientists believe that this year’s intense dust storm season may be fueled by the record heat that South Asia has experienced lately. Earlier in May, Nawabshah, Pakistan  set the hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth, 50.2 degrees Celsius (122.3 degrees Fahrenheit). Under current conditions, the all-time heat record may not last long. This heat and the related dust storms are exactly the type of extreme weather events that scientists predicted would occur with greater frequency and intensity because of  climate change . Via Earther Images via Alan Stark/Flickr and Umer Malik/Flickr

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Experts believe climate change could be the cause of recent deadly dust storms in India

Leonardo DiCaprio appointed brand ambassador for Chinese electric vehicle maker

February 8, 2017 by  
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Actor Leonardo DiCaprio has played many roles – and not just in the movies. He is a United Nations Messenger for Peace, climate change documentary maker, and a bold advocate of climate action . Now our favorite climate justice activist has been appointed brand ambassador for Chinese company BYD’s new line of electric vehicles. DiCaprio will be brand ambassador for BYD’s new line of what they call new energy vehicles, or electric vehicles . They describe themselves as one of the world’s biggest new electric vehicle manufacturers, comprising 11 percent of the 2015 global market. They experienced a 130 percent increase in electric vehicle sales in the first half of 2016. They’re developing the new cars as part of their Cool the Earth by One Degree Celsius campaign as they aim to transform how each person consumes energy while raising awareness about climate change. Related: Leonardo DiCaprio says climate action is America’s “biggest economic opportunity” Sounds like a perfect mission for DiCaprio – the company says he will help them highlight their new developments in China . BYD Brand and Public Relations General Manager Sherry Li said in a statement, “Mr. Leonardo DiCaprio has greatly inspired the world with his outstanding dedication to saving the planet’s ecological environment . As our brand ambassador in China, we are pleased to work with him in promoting public awareness of climate change through the use of new energy vehicles.” In a statement DiCaprio said, “All over the world people are realizing that cars that run on fossil fuels are inefficient and a major threat to the planet. I am very pleased to be joining an effort to increase the number of clean vehicles on the road in China and beyond.” Via CleanTechnica Images via BYD Twitter and BYD Facebook

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Leonardo DiCaprio appointed brand ambassador for Chinese electric vehicle maker

What Donald Trump’s "Brder Wll" would look like if IKEA made it

February 8, 2017 by  
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Germany’s version of The Onion knows that President Donald Trump’s plan to wall off America’s southern border isn’t just a contentious proposition, it’s an expensive one, too. An “impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful, southern border wall” that runs some 1,000 miles between the United States and Mexico would cost taxpayers anywhere between $12 million to $15 million, minus labor and maintenance costs. Research firm Bernstein estimated a price tag of $15 billion to $25 billion, while the number crunchers at MIT placed that figure closer to $40 billion. What’s a fiscally cinched nation to do? It clears the roof rack of its Toyota Camry and sets a course for the land of plywood, Allen wrenches, and köttbullar. In other words, it heads to IKEA . At $9 billion, the Börder Wåll, in all its presumably flat-pack glory, is a comparative steal. A satirical concept by Germany’s The Postillion , the faux product comprises 471,612 pressboard panels, 313,329 coils of barbed wire, 3,772,896 screws, and a single Allen key to pull everything together. Also included is a 12,000 page instruction manual with “easy-to-understand pictures makes construction child’s play—as long as there is not a single screw missing.” The basic Wåll is 33 feet tall and 1,954 miles long, according to The Postillion, although the “height and length can be extended as desired.” Related: Mexican designers envision Trump’s border wall in “all of its gorgeous perversity” Assembly, the site adds, requires two people: one to hold the panels and the other to screw them together. Since Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan are pro-wall, we suggest starting with them. This isn’t the first time people have openly mocked Trump’s proposed wall. Mexican design studio Estudio 3.14 rendered the barrier in hot pink to underscore the “gorgeous perversity” of the idea. In July, an L.A.-based street artist by the name of Plastic Jesus erected a very wee wall —complete with barbed wire, warning signs, and a tiny American flag—around Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. “In the U.S. you’ll interact with immigrants from all over the world and it’s one of the things that makes the U.S. so great,” the artist, who originally hailed from the United Kingdom, told BBC News last year. “Donald Trump’s policy proposals are a threat to all of the immigrants.” + The Postillion Via Cnet

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What Donald Trump’s "Brder Wll" would look like if IKEA made it

Army approves Dakota Access Pipeline route – and construction could begin immediately

February 8, 2017 by  
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In a surprise move, the US Army Corps of Engineers just approved construction on the final 1.5 miles of the Dakota Access Pipeline . The move cut short a public comment period and environmental impact assessment that was supposed to last two weeks – the Army was originally supposed to accept comments through February 20th, but it expedited the process under the direction of Donald Trump . The accelerated timeline makes legal challenges to the pipeline extremely difficult. The agency has also announced it’s planning to waive its usual policy of waiting 14 days after notifying Congress of the decision to grant an easement. Instead, the easement could be granted within 24 hours, allowing Energy Transfer Partners to begin construction immediately. Due to the nature of the project, it’s not necessary for the company to apply for a separate construction license. Related: 76 water protectors arrested at Standing Rock The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe reports that it plans to file a lawsuit and ask for a temporary restraining order to halt construction while the decision’s legal standing undergoes a review. The protestors are also coordinating an international day of action to stand against the decision. In the past, police have soaked Standing Rock protectors with water cannons in freezing conditions, attacked them with dogs , and early in February 76 protestors were arrested during a raid on a new camp at Standing Rock. Via NPR Images via Standing Rock Uprising Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )  

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Army approves Dakota Access Pipeline route – and construction could begin immediately

Crowdfunding campaign bought a private beach in New Zealand and turned it into a National Park

July 18, 2016 by  
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Crowdfunding has become a great way to raise money to launch a new product, expand a small business, and now, New Zealanders have demonstrated another cool application: preserving public access to beaches . Members of the public created a crowdfunding campaign to purchase a 17-acre plot of private beach land, and they managed to raise an impressive $1.7 million in the process. Around 40,000 contributors pitched in, including a $254,000 investment from the local government to seal the deal, to purchase the land known as Awaroa beach on the north coast of New Zealand’s South Island. Awaroa beach was previously owned by Michael Spackman , a private businessman. He bought the land in 2008 for $1.4 million and had allowed the public to use it, including the half-mile of pristine beachfront , since the beginning. Financial need motivated Spackman to put the land on the market earlier this year, though, and members of the public feared that the beach’s new owner might not have the same philosophy about public access. This concern inspired Duane Major to begin a movement to save the beach and, as modern movements go, crowdfunding became the answer. The campaign closed in February , having raised enough funds to buy the property from Spackman. Related: Time really is money in this little New Zealand town Purchasing the beach with crowdsourced funds made it possible for Awaroa beach to become part of Abel Tasman National Park , which means it will be open to the public and protected for years to come. This counts as good news for the indigenous Maoris , who are particularly interested in protecting the land as it contains native burial grounds. Some locals pushed for the beach property to be handed over fully to the Maori people, but ultimately it was agreed that the beach will be open to the general public and that the national parks program will find “ways to involve local Maori youth in the management of the land.” The property is not accessible by vehicle and its remote location and limited access help ensure that it will remain “a remarkable seven-hectare utopia,” as it was described in the real estate listing. Via Fast Company Images via Bayleys

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Crowdfunding campaign bought a private beach in New Zealand and turned it into a National Park

MVRDV moves into an iconic post-war monument with their new colorful offices

July 18, 2016 by  
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The MVRDV House is located close by to the firm’s famous project the Markthal , a stunning tunnel-shaped food market integrated with apartments. The 2,400-square-meter office houses 140 staff members and 150 work spaces. The MVRDV House also shares the building with a large community of creative, technical, and entrepreneurial industries. “The expanding MVRDV family needed a new house; so this is exactly what we tried to capture. Everything that the home requires, a living room, a dining room, a sofa for the whole house to sit together,” explains MVRDV co-founder Jacob van Rijs. “This was also a chance to capture how we work and function as an office, then tailor-make new spaces that would boost our working methods and output; efficient spaces that enhance the collaborative ways in which we work.” The office is centered on the large Family Room, a light-filled communal space with “the couch” symbolized by timber stairs that double as seating and overlook a drop-down projection screen; the long “dinner table” for communal dining; and a “vegetation chandelier” that hangs above the reception. An open-plan working area takes up a large section of the central space. Meeting rooms are slotted behind transparent, multicolored glazed walls on two levels. Each meeting room is customized to a different theme, from the Drawing Room with whiteboard magnet walls for workshops to the Game Room set up for informal meetings at the table-tennis table. All aspects of the design were created to promote collaboration. + MVRDV Images via MVRDV

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MVRDV moves into an iconic post-war monument with their new colorful offices

Villa Mortnas nails the cool factor on the icy Stockholm archipelago

May 27, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of Villa Mortnas nails the cool factor on the icy Stockholm archipelago Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: aerated concrete , eco design , fourfoursixsix , green design , natural lighting , south facing windows , Stockholm Archipelago , Strömma Projekt , sustainable design , Sweden , Villa Mörtnäs

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Villa Mortnas nails the cool factor on the icy Stockholm archipelago

Invisible canoe offers full view of the world under the sea

December 31, 2014 by  
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Move over, glass-bottom boats: this canoe/kayak hybrid is entirely transparent. You might feel like Wonder Woman cruising in her invisible jet as you glide through the waters with a full view of everything beneath the surface. The canoe is made from the same material used for the cockpits of fighter jets, can support up to 425lbs, and displaces a greater amount of water for more surface stability and better balance. These things are really important when your vessel is transparent, as it might be more difficult to find your canoe should you manage to capsize it. The included paddles, however, are not transparent. This amazing watercraft can be yours for the cool price of $25,000. + Hammacher Schlemmer Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: boat , canoe , clear , fun , gifts , Kayak , ocean , recreation , river , see-through , transparent , unique products , watercraft

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Invisible canoe offers full view of the world under the sea

Cool Chargeboard Juices Up Your Smartphone While You Skate

September 22, 2014 by  
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Ever wished you could charge your iPhone while skateboarding? Now you can with Chargeboard , a fantastic new long board designed by Bjorn van den Hout . Unlike any other board on the market, Chargeboard generates its own electricity through two hidden dynamos, storing it right away into a power box. And to up the cool ante as only Dutch designers know how, the board doubles as a docking station for blasting your favorite tunes after a long ride. Read the rest of Cool Chargeboard Juices Up Your Smartphone While You Skate Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Bjorn van den Hout , Chargeboard , charges iPhone , docking station for music , dutch design , energy efficient device , kinetic energy

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