How the upcoming solar eclipse will affect 7 million homes and businesses

August 14, 2017 by  
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A total solar eclipse will block sunlight from reaching parts of the Earth for an estimated three hours on August 21. As a result, at least 7 million U.S. homes and businesses that rely on solar power will be directly affected. But there’s no reason to be nervous: electric grid and skilled operators are well-prepared. A total solar eclipse is a rare phenomenon which occurs when the moon passes directly between the Earth and the sun . Though it will disrupt solar generation during times of peak generation, the event is not one to fear. According to Julia Prochnik , the Director of Western Renewable Grid Planning, people will not notice any change in their electrical service as electric grid operators across the country have made appropriate preparations. The last time citizens in the U.S. glimpsed a solar eclipse was in 1979, when solar energy was in its infancy. In the time that has passed, the energy system has changed significantly. Wind and solar energy are now the fastest-growing sources of renewable electricity in the U.S. Prochnik says that some states will see a larger drop in solar power than others; it all depends on how much the sun is blocked by the moon in their specific location. Fortunately, there are plenty of energy resources available to “fill the gap,” and they include geothermal , wind and hydropower. Related: Coming Total Solar Eclipse to be an ‘event of the century’, scientists say NASA reports that the solar eclipse will block a 70-mile-wide path stretching from Oregon to South Carolina. The longest period of total darkening will be about two minutes and 40 seconds. Nationwide, the moon will still block at least a portion of the sun. At any one spot, the longest period of partial darkness may last three hours. Arizona can expect to experience a brief interruption in 70 percent of its rooftop solar generation. New York follows with 68 percent, Utah can expect a 39 percent, and Nevada a 24 percent interruption. California and North Carolina may experience the biggest impacts from the eclipse, as they are both major solar producers. The difference can be compensated by reducing energy use and/or by temporarily drawing electricity from the grid. A few things environmentally-conscious individuals can do to prepare for the eclipse is replace all light bulbs with LEDs , turn off lights, unplug chargers and appliances, and turn down their thermostats. All of these steps will help save energy and reduce load grid pressure. All in all, the celestial event is one to celebrate, as it is one few will likely witness again. Via NRDC Images via Pixabay

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How the upcoming solar eclipse will affect 7 million homes and businesses

Stunning home in India blends into the earth with segmented green roofs

August 14, 2017 by  
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Jodhpur-based firm Misa Architects has created a contemporary concrete home that – despite its brutalist structure – manages to blend in to its bucolic surroundings. Tucked into rural farmland, the concrete and glass house is sandwiched between the rolling green landscape and a series of verdant green roofs . The home is located on agricultural farmland just outside of Vansajada, India, and it was designed to create a harmonic balance with the natural horizon. Although the building is made from concrete, its elongated shape, segmented green roofs, and verdant landscaping help camouflage it amidst the land. Related: Massive stone walls rotate to bring natural light inside this extraordinary Indian home The home’s structure is broken up into various segments, courtyards and open-air spaces that create a dynamic living environment. The abundant greenery embeds the home within its sites while providing natural insulation to keep the interior cool during India’s sweltering summer months. The roof features a water collection system that reuses rainwater to irrigate the on-site greenery. The home features open-air courtyards and well-lit nooks that create a seamless connection between the interior and exterior. Large glass windows and doors also bring in an optimal amount of natural light . + Misa Architects Via Archdaily Photography by Zurich Shah

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Stunning home in India blends into the earth with segmented green roofs

Margot Krasojevi 3D prints recycled plastic into a delicate Lace LED lamp

January 11, 2017 by  
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Architect and designer Margot Krasojevi? shows off the beautiful possibilities of 3D printing in her latest work, the Lace LED. Made from recycled post-consumer plastics, the LED light diffuser gets its lace-like quality from its layers of geometric shapes that fan out from a central point. The Lace LED is designed as a suspended work of kinetic art . The diffuser is hinged on a pivot that rotates within a frame to create different patterns of light and shadow. “These complex shapes direct LED light through the entire pattern, which diffuses, deflects and refracts light creating a moving shadow whilst focusing it,” write Margot Krasojevi? Architects. “The form is the antithesis of the mass-produced recycled bottles and waste used in its fabrication.” Related: Designer David Grass 3D-Prints Light Bulbs in the Shape of Modern Cityscapes The diffuser’s intricate parametric pattern was created from a digital modeling program. In addition to recycled plastic , the Lace LED is 3D printed in ceramic, polymer, silver, and brass. + Margot Krasojevi? Via v2com Images via Margot Krasojevi?

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Margot Krasojevi 3D prints recycled plastic into a delicate Lace LED lamp

Lego-like LEDs snap together to transform your walls into light art

November 24, 2016 by  
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Designed by James Vanderpant and James Glover of Dyena , Helios Touch uses moveable hexagon LED modules to create light art. The slim modules measure 4.3 inches (11 centimeter) across and are 0.4 inches (1 centimeter) thick. Each 6.3-watt unit produces 400 lumens, which generates around the same brightness as a 40-watt incandescent bulb . After a central Helios Touch panel is rigidly mounted onto the wall (with nails or sticky pads), users can easily expand upon their tessellated lighting design. The modules snap together via magnets, located on the sides, which also allow electricity pass through from one piece to another. Related: Brilliant DiscoDisco LED sculpture comes alive to the sound of music A capacitive sensor is installed behind the Helios Touch surface to allow users to turn individual modules on and off with a simple touch of a finger or swipe of the hand. Currently up to 105 tiles can be joined on the same power circuit. The modular LED panels are powered by a mains power supply; a 120 / 220 v to 24v 2A adapter can power up to 35 panels. The Helios Touch modular lighting system is currently on Kickstarter , where a pledge of £49 (US$61) includes a pack of five panels and a power unit. + Helios Touch Kickstarter Via New Atlas Images via Helios Touch

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Lego-like LEDs snap together to transform your walls into light art

African giant rats tapped to sniff out environmental crimes

November 24, 2016 by  
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African Giant Pouched Rats have detected landmines for several years, and now they might be put to work stopping wildlife crimes. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is allocating $100,000 to a trial project run by Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) in partnership with APOPO to see if giant rats can sniff out illegal shipments. The trial will determine if the rats can detect hardwood timber and pangolin scales and skin. The US government is funding 12 creative methods of stopping wildlife trafficking and poaching in 11 different countries, and the giant rats program is one of them. APOPO, which was founded almost two decades ago, has already demonstrated the rats’ sharp sense of smell is useful for detecting landmines and tuberculosis, and the new trial project will determine whether they can pick out the smells of illegally trafficked products. The first step of the program is to assess if the rats can distinguish between control substances and target substances in a laboratory. Related: U.S. gives South Africa millions of dollars to combat wildlife poaching According to EWT project head Kirsty Brebner and program manager Adam Pires , the giant rats are “relatively cheap to source, feed, train, breed, and maintain, and their small size makes them cheap and easy to transport.” A typical rat lives between one and two years, but giant rats can live for as much as eight years. Many illegal products are moved in shipping containers , and dogs have provided some help in sniffing out shipments in the past. But with superior agility and ability to reach container vents, giant rats might be able to detect illegal products more effectively than a dog can. EWT says if the program is successful, the giant rats may be trained to also detect other illegally trafficked products like rhino horns and elephant ivory. + APOPO + Endangered Wildlife Trust Via the Los Angeles Times Images via APOPO’s HeroRATS Facebook

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African giant rats tapped to sniff out environmental crimes

Add a splash of ‘living paint’ to your walls with Nanoleaf’s new LED light panels

November 1, 2016 by  
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Composed of nine lightweight, triangular LED lights that can be fit together in different configurations, the Nanoleaf Aurora can light up your wall (or any other flat surface in your home) using a palette of over 16 million colors. It can go from a soothing white light in the morning to a blaze of energizing purples, blues and greens during the day to a relaxing warm light in the evening–or pretty much any other type mood lighting you can imagine. RELATED: Nanoleaf’s Gem LED light bulb shines like a glimmering jewel The Nanoleaf Aurora Smarter lighting kit was made for DIY installation and includes 9 RGBW Smart LED Panels, 9 Panel Connectors, 9 Mounting Stencils, 28 Mounting Strips, 1 Power Supply Unit, and 1 Controller Unit. Because the panels weigh so little, there’s no need to drill any holes in your walls, making the Aurora ideal for renters as well. While the Aurora does come with a controller, the panels can also be configured using the Nanoleaf Smarter Series app or with your voice through Siri and Apple HomeKit. Because the Aurora is tunable white, it can also be used to mimic daylight, meaning it can double as a mood-enhancing light for those who suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), or for anyone who could use a bit more natural light in their lives. Nanoleaf says they also plan on releasing a ‘sunrise’ function soon that will allow the Aurora to gradually get brighter each morning as gentle way to help people wake up. The Aurora Smarter Kit retails for $199.99 and is available at Best Buy and the MoMA Design Store . + Nanoleaf Aurora

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Add a splash of ‘living paint’ to your walls with Nanoleaf’s new LED light panels

World’s first (nearly) unbreakable LED light bulb can be dropped off the side of a building and still work

October 19, 2016 by  
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“Lighting Science is committed to creating products that promote sustainability and low carbon economies,” said Pete Rumsey, Executive Vice President of Business Development for Lighting Science . “By choosing the lightweight Durabulb instead of other LED bulbs, Americans have the opportunity to reduce the CO2 emissions associated with LED lights by 20,000 tons a year. That’s the equivalent of driving a car across the United States 16,213 times.” The secret behind the Durabulb ‘s shatter-proof design is its flexible, bouncy polycarbonate plastic shell. Rumsey explained that the LS team had quite a good time testing out the Durabulb by dropping it off of an eight-story building and bashing it with a tennis racket. “We even mailed it unpackaged through the U.S. postal system, with nothing but a label on it, and it still worked,” he said. RELATED: HOW TO: Switch Your Light Bulbs And Get Ready for the Big Light Bulb Phase-Out Because it’s so hard to break, the Durabulb needs much less packaging than other similar products. Unlike other bulbs, it can be shipped in bulk in plastic tubs using about 30 percent less material than other bulbs. In addition to its durable, waste-reducing design, the Durabulb boasts omni-directional amber light and lasts up to 10,000 hours. Lighting Science also plans to offer a take-back program where consumers will be able to trade in the Durabulb for a 50-percent-off coupon after its three-year warranty ends. The Durabulb is set to launch for sale soon on HSN and at Menard’s and Home Depot for approximately $30/bulk tub of 20 bulbs. + Lighting Science

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World’s first (nearly) unbreakable LED light bulb can be dropped off the side of a building and still work

Glowing LED "cloud" hovers over a social housing estate in Copenhagen

October 14, 2016 by  
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The main element of this site-specific installation is a distorted sphere made from polycarbonate sheets sewn together with stainless steel wire. The team developed the sewing technique from their previous projects, which featured only two sewing lines. This time, the sphere has three points where the sewing lines meet, allowing the team to experiment with more complex forms. Related: SHJWORKS’ Pop-Up Greenhouses Add a Splash of Summer to Cold Climates The organically-shaped sculpture was installed in a recreational space surrounded by a road, trees and the housing estate. A paved path leads through the area, where the structure creates a semi-public space. The concrete feet act as seating structures. + Shjworks Photos by Simon Hjermind Jensen

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Glowing LED "cloud" hovers over a social housing estate in Copenhagen

14 brilliant new lighting designs that will inspire you

April 14, 2016 by  
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Zero-energy Biosphera 2.0 prefab gives you the freedom to live almost anywhere

March 29, 2016 by  
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