The Hubs is a backyard geodesic dome that goes up in under an hour

July 26, 2015 by  
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When it comes to backyard projects, there’s nothing like a do-it-yourself build to get the whole family out in the fresh air for a while. The Hubs maximizes that concept with an easy-to-use kit that brings everyone together, even the kids, to construct a geodesic dome you can call your very own. After a successful crowdfunding campaign , The Hubs is headed into production and will soon be available for purchase, when you’ll be able to get your hands on a ready-to-build kit with all the necessary pieces and parts, or just the bare bones so you can supply your own wooden dowels. The design is simple and you’ll recognize it from children’s toys such as K’nex, as the Hubs is based around snap-together joints. The result is a fantastic durable structure that can be imagined in any number of different ways: a quiet garden, a kids’ hangout, a cozy reading nook, or even an outdoor room for dining al fresco. Read on to see more examples, and learn how to get a kit for your family! READ MORE >

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The Hubs is a backyard geodesic dome that goes up in under an hour

How to make solar electric fence

October 20, 2011 by  
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Parijat Sen: Traditional fences are not as economic as electrical fences and are also considered better for animals. If accessing alternating power is the problem then you can always consider installing a solar powered electric fences. The following guidelines can help you with this. Difficulty level: Moderately challenging. Time required: about an hour Resources required: Fence charging unit Posts Shovel Tensioners Insulators Wire or mesh Electric fence tester Ground rods an wires Instructions 1. Needs First you need to decide on what purpose the fence will serve. This will help you decide which fence system you want. Red Snapprs website can help you with the basic planning of your fencing system. Your priorities and needs will help you decide that kind of fencing you need. 2. Neccessities Then you need to purchase a charger for your solar fence and other necessary accessories. You can do a thorough internet search regarding this or visit local hardware stores if you need to compare systems. 3. Build the fence You can start building the fences at the corner and at the end posts. You can also stretch a string between them. This will help you mark the areas where you need to place the line posts. You can place the line posts and stretch the mesh or wire that you have chosen around the perimeter. Then you can attach and fix the tensioners and insulators. 4. Connections Place the electric fence charger on a strong mounting surface at one end of the fence. The mounting surface can range from a wooden post facing south in direct sunlight. Make a ground bed by digging a trench which can be shallow, near the fence charger. Insert a number of ground rods which are essential for the installation. Then you need to make the necessary connections. You need to attach the negative lead to the grounding rods and the positive lead to the fence. 5. Charge You can charge the charger in direct sun light for at least 24 hours. After energizing the fence, check the voltage on the fence regularly. For safety purposes, you can also use an electric fence tester. Frequently asked questions Where can I find the equipments? The equipments can be found in any nearby local hardware store. How will I decide on the priority? Your needs will depend on the animals you want to keep in the house or farm. You can also have other needs which the fences can fulfil and cover. Quick tips 1. You have to keep it in mind that dry soil is a poor conductor of electricity. If you want longer fences in arid regions, you might need to add extra ground rods which will have equal space along the fences. 2. Be a little careful about yourself as it involves a lot of electric handling. You need to be extra cautious regarding this. Rubber gloves and shoes can help you regarding this as rubber is a bad conductor of electricity. Things to watch out for 1. While you working with an energized electrical fence near you, you should always wear rubber soled sleepers or shoes and rubber gloves as rubber is a bad conductor of electricity and will protect you from receiving a high voltage electric shock. 2. Be careful about your animals when they are new to the electric fences. Though they mightreceive a light jolt on touching the fences but this might make them run through the fences in shock instead of running away from it. So, you need to train them in such a manner that they don’t go near the fences as you can’t predict the reaction of your animals so don’t wait to see them react. 3. The growth of weed should be checked around the fence as this can make the electricity jump off the fence and go around the weeds. This will render the fences useless. So, make sure you keep the land near the fences mowed properly to make the fences work effectively.

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How to make solar electric fence

How to charge USB devices by pedaling your bicycle

October 17, 2011 by  
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Kamlesh Kandasamy: You might know “Energy can be neither created nor destroyed. It can only be transformed from one form of energy to another”. We human beings are dependent on energy for almost every activity we intend to do. Natural energy is available through various resources like the wind, tidal, solar, hydro, bio-energy, etc. However, the process of transforming the available natural energy into the energy that could be utilized by our domestic appliances is a little difficult and it is also a time consuming process. That is why most of the energy we use at our home are produced in large scale either by the government or by private concerns. But it is possible to convert one form of energy into another form, right from our homes. We may even use this energy to charge up our domestic devices like the laptop, mobile phones, music players, etc. Sometimes, even big devices could be powered but with the use of right equipments. A simple example would be generating electricity from your bicycle. Riding your bicycle could produce electricity. This electricity could be used to recharge your batteries in your electronic devices. USB devices requires a voltage of 5 units which is possible to generate by means of pedaling your bicycle. All that you need is a few basic essential parts, knowledge on how to build them and most importantly patience, because the building process takes some time for making it reliable and successful. In this process, the mechanical energy provided by you, by means of pedaling your bicycle is converted into electrical energy that would be used to charge your USB devices. Though it sounds simple, the process might be arduous for certain users. But, it is absolutely possible to do this work with your bicycle and some essential components. Difficulty level: Moderate Time required: Depends on the individual user’s knowledge and ability to work. So, it varies from person to person. However, an average person could complete this process in a few hours. Resources required A motor with a capacity of around 6 volts, a USB charger device, connecting wires, a rubber wheel to mount over the motor, a voltage regulator that can step down 6 volts to 2.5 volts, two capacitors with a capacity of around 2200 micro Farad and 140 Farad respectively, covering box, holding clamps, pasting tapes and other necessary items. Estimated cost The cost of installing this technology in your bicycle completely depends on the parts you choose to buy. Instructions Once you have the required items in your hand, you may begin the installation process. The first step is to install the electric motor. As your rear wheel of your bicycle will be the driving wheel, let us extract power from it. Secure the electric motor to the frame by means of holding clamps such that your motor’s round rubber wheel would be in touch with your wheel’s rim from the side. You need to use connecting wires to circuit the power from motor to the voltage regulator through the 2200 micro Farad capacitor. The voltage regulator steps down the motor’s 6 volts to 2.5 volts. After this reduction, the power should be transferred to the 140 Farad capacitor. Connect the voltage regulator to this ultra-capacitor. This 140 Farad capacitor stores energy required to charge your USB devices. Once this capacitor attains a voltage of about 1.2 volts, it has the capacity to charge up your USB device. The next step is to connect this ultra-capacitor to the USB charger device. The final step would be plugging in your USB compatible devices to this charging device. If all these parts are connected correctly, then you can charge your USB portable devices from this USB charger itself. Frequently asked questions Q. Is there any danger involved in this process? Ans: The danger level involved in this process is very less. Without the necessary components, it is not possible to generate electricity. This process is very similar to the dynamo technology used earlier in bicycles lights. Quick tips Do prepare a list about the items required and then buy them as per your convenience and budget. However, choosing the motor would be a very critical part. Even if it costs more, try to buy a motor of good quality so they are durable and reliable. You may also use second-hand items but check them thoroughly before you buy. Things to watch out for Check that your motor’s rubber wheel is in contact with the wheel’s rim. Else you won’t be able to generate electricity. Create a housing to enclose the voltage regulator, capacitors along with the USB charger device in order to prevent them from abnormal weather effects. Tape the wires along with the bicycle’s frames so as to prevent them from hanging. Don’t forget to take care about the things around you.

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Five most luxurious electric bikes for the urban commuter

October 17, 2011 by  
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Aravind Balasubramanya: The bicycle has been defined as a ‘vehicle with two wheels in tandem propelled by pedals and having a handlebar to control the movement’. Maintaining that same definition, designers are vying with each other to come out with more powerful variants of the good old bicycle. To add to its power and speed, they have adapted an electric motor too. All this, however, makes one wonder about the logic in trying to make the already ‘green’ bicycles eco-friendly by adding electric motors! The costs of some of these bikes are so high that the designers may have to sell them as electric ‘motor’-bikes! Still, it is an interesting adventure to ride through some of the neatest electric bicycle designs. 1. Grace One Grace one With a top speed of 40mph this bike can be fully charged in just one hour. This bike looks graceful no doubt, but it is more of power than grace as you will find out when you take it for a ride. The looks are the first thing that will bowl you over. The redesigned frame is an improvement over the previous version which did very well in the market. Headlamps lie concealed in an aluminium encasing in the front of the bike and the seat is neat. The highlight, however, is the the integrated Li ion batteries which charge in less than an hour. They then kick up a rear, hub-mounted motor, which powers your cycle in tandem with your legs to move at speeds nearing 30 miles an hour! And you can do this speed for a range of about 31 miles. A real cool bike to own if you have about $6,000 in your wallet! 2. Black trail Black trail This ultra light e-bike is engineered by UBC and the luxurious design is by PG Bikes. Engineered by UBC and designed by PG bikes, the Black trail is a super-fast bicycle designed mainly from carbon fiber. It has been designed only for the adrenaline rush that it delivers with its sheer speed. The electric bicycle can reach top speeds of 62 miles an hour and has a cruising speed of 31 miles an hour. The range at top speed is about 31 miles, while it goes up to 120 miles when cruising. The carbon fiber, titanium, magnesium and high alloyed aluminium that have gone into its construction, ensure that the bike is only 44 pounds. This is a limited edition version and one in 667 pieces. But none of these qualities justify its atrociously high price of $ 80,000. 3. M55 EVO-001 Luxury Electric Bike M55 With a cruising speed of 43mph, the bike is equipped with Brembo disk brakes Taking the story of limited editions further, the M55 comes as one in 250 pieces – ever made. Priced for the premium market, the bike is constructed from a singly molded aluminium frame. The electric motor has been strategically positioned in the center for stability during the ride. Having a 250W capacity, the motor is capable of speeding the bike to 43 miles an hour. No wonder that the bike has been built with strong Brembo disc brakes to bring it to a halt. The intelligence behind the brakes will be appreciated further – when you realize that an off-street variant is available with a 1300W motor. The black frame gives the bike a cool look and a ride on it will definitely be a hair splaying experience! 4. YikeBike Yike The cruising speed is 23mph while the range is 10.2 kilometers. Now, this is a bike that you will not fall in love with, at first sight. And that is what you would expect when you see someone riding a ‘bike’ with handlebars behind the bottom. The initial reaction will be more like ‘Yuck’! But soon, it will get converted into a ‘Yikes’ as the YikeBike shows you some cool features that have been built into it. Neatly fold-able, the bicycle weighs less than 10 kilograms and is made of carbon fiber. A 1kW motor could have powered the bicycle to super speeds if not for the electronically set safety speed limit of 12 miles an hour. A built-in Li battery charges to nearly 80 percent in just 20 minutes and then gives a ride for about 6 miles at a stretch. Priced at $ 3,500, it is rolling in its home turf, New Zealand. Talk around, is that this can be a useful toy for bicycle polo. 5. The Picycle Picycle PiCycle comes with a cutting edge stealth proof mechanism. Shaped like the Greek letter Pi, the Picycle is electrically powered to move at top speeds of 30 miles an hour with an average cruising speed of 15 miles an hour. It is very light and looks real cool but it costs $ 3000. With a range of 27 miles, it would be a good and comfortable means to get to work and back home.

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Five most luxurious electric bikes for the urban commuter

Pocket Gardens Sprout on Paris’s Anti-Parking Posts

August 7, 2011 by  
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A ‘Potogreen’ in Paris. Photo: Anne Mazauric via Paule Kingleur . Necessary as they are to keep cars from blocking the sidewalk, anti-parking posts, or bollards, can be an ugly sight in a city. Parisian artist Paule Kingleur has commandeered some of the 335,000 posts in the French capital as sites for hanging micro-gardens — what she calls a neighborhood “vegetable insurrection.”… Read the full story on TreeHugger

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Pocket Gardens Sprout on Paris’s Anti-Parking Posts

100 Percent Renewable Energy Possible by 2030

January 25, 2011 by  
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A new study published in the journal Energy Policy says that we could achieve 100 percent renewable energy by 2030, and not just U.S., but the world.  The study says that we have access to all the necessary technology, but strong political would have to exist for it to happen. So, how can we get to 100 percent renewables by 2030?  Well, to be exact, the study says we’ll need: four million 5 MW wind turbines , 1.7 billion 3 kW roof-mounted solar PV systems, 90,000 300 MW solar power plants (including PV and concentrated solar ), and a smattering of geothermal, wave and tidal power plants

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100 Percent Renewable Energy Possible by 2030

The Prince of Wales Offers a New Way of Looking at the World

November 16, 2010 by  
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Photo credit: Harper Collins Publishers Some might argue that with offshore wind and vast solar arrays, smart grids and electric cars, pollution limits and trading schemes, and a burgeoning economy of clean technology and services, it is likely that humanity has all the necessary tools to solve the planet’s mounting problems. The challenge, it has been said many times , is to find a way to wield these tools that is quick, just, and effective

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The Prince of Wales Offers a New Way of Looking at the World

Volvo Revs Up Climate Goals with WWF Partnership

November 5, 2010 by  
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The Volvo Group, whose brands include Mack Trucks, Volvo Trucks, Renault Trucks and UD Trucks, has become the world’s first vehicle manufacturer to join the WWF Climate Leaders program. Volvo truck companies have vowed to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions produced over the lifetime of the trucks they manufacture through 2014 by 13 million tons.

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Volvo Revs Up Climate Goals with WWF Partnership

BSR 2010: Conflict Mineral Supply Headed Toward a Crisis?

November 4, 2010 by  
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Under a new SEC rule, a key deadline to file information on corporations’ sources of "conflict minerals" used in electronics is fast approaching. Although industry is working with NGOs, governments and local miners to set up the necessary tracking rules, time may be too short to complete the work.

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BSR 2010: Conflict Mineral Supply Headed Toward a Crisis?

Is BP Backing Out of Agreement to ‘Pay Whatever is Necessary’ in Gulf?

October 18, 2010 by  
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Photo: Infrogmation , Flickr, Creative Commons BP Seeking to Limit Damages to $75 Million in Gulf?

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Is BP Backing Out of Agreement to ‘Pay Whatever is Necessary’ in Gulf?

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