People are using recycled laptop batteries to power their homes

August 23, 2017 by  
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Why spend thousands of dollars on a Tesla Powerwall when you could build your own – for a fraction of the cost? This is a question many alternative energy enthusiasts have asked, and it is ultimately what has led hundreds of people to develop their own versions using recycled laptop batteries. Now that plans for DIY Powerwalls are being shared for free online, several people have created rigs capable of storing far more energy than the Tesla version. On Facebook , YouTube and in forums , people are learning how to safely create their own DIY versions that cost much less than a Tesla Powerwall. One of the most popular powerwall builders is Jehu Garcia . He told Vice, “It’s the future. It’s clean, simple, efficient and powerful.” Joe Williams , another DIY powerwall enthusiast, added ”The end result is being able to rely on something I not only built myself but understand the ins and outs of to power some or all of my electricity in my home. That is inspiring.” There are several DIY versions capable of storing more energy than Tesla’s Powerwall. On the French forum  Diypowerwalls.com , user Glubux said his powerwall can store 28 kWh of energy. “I run all the house with it, in fact I even bought an electric oven and induction cooking plate to use the extra energy during summer,” they said. Australian YouTuber Peter Matthews claims he has created a gigantic battery that can store 40 kWh of energy. Reportedly, it harvests power from over 40 solar panels on Matthews’ roof and stores nearly enough power for his home’s electricity needs. “The only things I don’t run are the big air conditioners and the water heating system,” he said. The alternative energy aficionado created DIYpowerwalls as well as the most popular powerwall Facebook group . Related: Mercedes takes on the Tesla Powerwall with a new battery for buildings Most of the powerwall hobbyists recommend using 18650 lithium-ion batteries for their projects. The batteries are usually encased in a colorful plastic and can be found inside electronics, such as laptops. If sourced online or from a computer store, the batteries will cost more than $5 a piece. If obtained second-hand, from old Dell, HP, Lenovo and LG laptops, it’s possible to save hundreds — if not thousands — of dollars on the project. Of course, one might meet challenges collecting the batteries , as tech companies frown upon their creative repurposing. A positive effect of the DIY powerwall trend is that it reduces waste . According to Carl E. Smith, the CEO and president of  Call2Recycle , approximately 95 percent of consumer batteries which are sold in the US are not recycled and are ultimately thrown away. ”Virtually all batteries can be recycled into valuable secondary products which is the biggest reason why they should not be landfilled and should be recycled instead,” he said. Though it can be time-consuming to source the used batteries, it’s a worthwhile investment according to DIY powerwall enthusiasts. And, if one carefully follows instructions when building their own version (such as those that follow), the risk of burning down one’s house is minimized. Ultimately, there is a risk associated with creating your own energy storage device, but the trend can’t be ignored as it grows in popularity. Via Motherboard Vice Images via  Daniel Römer ,  Jehu Garcia ,  Glubux

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People are using recycled laptop batteries to power their homes

Tesla’s groundbreaking solar roof just hit the market

May 10, 2017 by  
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Get your credit card ready, because Elon Musk announced that Tesla’s Solar Roof tiles are available to order starting today – and the Tesla Solar Roof order page just went live. The innovative roof tiles look like traditional slate, Tuscan or shingle roofing, but they collect sun to power your home with clean, renewable solar. Musk said that the smooth black and textured version of the tiles will be available for order today, with other styles following next year. Musk made the announcement today, as he so often does, on Twitter ,  stating that installation will start this year in the US. He added that Tuscan and French Slate will be available in 6 months. Orders and installation overseas won’t be available until next year. Tesla solar glass roof orders open this afternoon. I think it will be great. More in about 10 hours … — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 10, 2017 Related: Tesla unveils discreet new rooftop solar panels The Solar Roof can be paired with Tesla’s Powerwall battery to power a home entirely on sustainable energy. According to Musk, each tile is unique and looks like a traditional roof tile from the street. + Tesla Solar Roof Via CNET  

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Tesla’s groundbreaking solar roof just hit the market

Australian home builder to include a Tesla Powerwall in every new home

April 4, 2017 by  
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An Australian home builder has announced plans to include a Tesla Powerwall in all new homes. Arden Homes says they will outfit all their new homes with the energy storage technology through a partnership with solar energy company and certified Tesla Powerwall reseller Bradford Solar . The move is expected to slash electricity costs for homeowners. Tesla Powerwalls will now be standard in Arden homes as part of the Bradford Solar ChargePack. Solar panels on home rooftops will gather energy, which can then “be used to power your appliances, fed back into the grid , or stored for later use,” according to an Arden brochure . The pack also includes cloud-based monitoring so people can track energy consumption right from their smartphones. Related: Solar homes with Tesla’s Powerwall 2.0 are already cost-competitive with the grid in Australia The Tesla Powerwall, a rechargeable lithium-ion battery , allows homes to run on renewable energy whether the sun is shining or not, and can even power homes during an outage. Powerwalls can also help homeowners slash electric bills by up to 92 percent; according to Tesla , the battery charges when electricity demand is low, and therefore rates are low, and discharges when electricity demand is higher and rates are more expensive. According to Arden’s brochure, families could save around $2,500 every year on electric costs, and their five kilowatt (kW) Bradford Solar ChargePack allows a family of four to attain 90 percent self-sufficiency a day. Their six kW pack allows an Australian family to live with little dependency on the grid. Arden Homes are also designed to allow plenty of natural light to brighten up their dwellings through sun courts and large picture windows. 15 percent of Australian households – or around 1.5 million homes – are utilizing solar energy, and information released late last year showed the electricity generated in Australian solar homes with a Tesla Powerwall 2 is cost-competitive with the grid. + Arden Homes + Bradford Solar Via Futurism Images via Bradford Solar Facebook and Arden Homes Facebook

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Panasonic investing $256M in Tesla’s Buffalo solar manufacturing plant

December 29, 2016 by  
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Following Tesla ’s recent acquisition of SolarCity, the California-based company just scored another big win. Panasonic will invest more than $256 million in Tesla’s New York solar cell factory. The Japan-based electronics company is already partnering with Tesla to build electric car batteries at its Nevada Gigafactory, and this investment, announced December 27, positions Panasonic more firmly in the automotive industry than ever before, marking the fulfillment of the company’s’s gradual shift away from consumer electronics. Tesla’s production facility in Buffalo is expected to be up and running within just a few months. According to Tuesday’s announcement, production of photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules will begin in the summer of 2017. By 2019, the two companies expect to be churning out the equivalent of one gigawatt of solar power modules each year. Related: Tesla taps Panasonic to build solar panels for their Powerwall and Powerpack systems The news of Panasonic ’s hefty investment in the Buffalo manufacturing plant is the first development since Tesla first named the electronics company as its partner in mid-October, which was contingent on the completion of Tesla’s merger with SolarCity . While that initial announcement came with very few details (in part because the merger wouldn’t be finalized for another month), this update illustrates the enormous scope of Panasonic’s commitment to the solar power market. The PV modules Panasonic produces at Tesla’s facility will be used primarily in the Powerwall and Powerpack systems, Tesla’s off-grid power solutions. While Tesla’s “solar roof” is still on deck, there is no word on when production on that line might begin. SolarCity previously promised the creation of over 1,400 jobs at the Buffalo facility and Tesla’s announcement Tuesday reaffirms that commitment and elaborates that the figure includes more than 500 manufacturing jobs—an important footnote for a city that once relied heavily on blue collar industries like steel and automotive manufacturing. Via Reuters Images via SolarCity and Panasonic

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Panasonic investing $256M in Tesla’s Buffalo solar manufacturing plant

320-square-foot tiny container home packs a surprising suite of amenities

December 29, 2016 by  
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A tiny home owner and California-based designer combined their expertise and experience to design and build a stylish 40-foot long container home . The resulting structure is a 320-square-foot oasis for those who value both mobility and good design, and it is packed to the gills with every amenity you could possibly need. The Intellectual Tiny Home includes one bedroom with a queen-sized bed, lots of storage space and a closet that can be customized. A full-sized bathroom has a washer and dryer combo and a shower, while the kitchen has a full-sized fridge, induction cook top, convection microwave oven, dishwasher and a countertop extension. Related: KODA is a tiny solar-powered house that can move with its owners The living room features an electric fireplace , which brings both real and aesthetic warmth to the space. The tiny house, available on Tiny House Listings for $62,000, is currently located on a plot of land in Longmont, Colorado , where it was built, and needs to be relocated. Via Tiny House Listings

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Tesla slates mysterious product unveiling for October 17

October 10, 2016 by  
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Here’s what we know: Tesla has scheduled an event for October 17 and it’s being called a “product unveiling.” Here’s what we don’t know: what the heck is going to be unveiled. International man of mystery (and, oh yeah, the company’s CEO) Elon Musk shared the news via Twitter , saying the unveil would be “unexpected by most.” In the absence of other details, the auto industry is having a field day speculating about what might happen next week. Many are hoping next week’s announcement will reveal the final design for the Tesla Model 3 , the California-based car company’s long-awaited “affordable” all-electric sports car, which is planned to debut at $35,000. But, is that an announcement that Musk would think is “unexpected by most” or even by anyone? Probably not, since everyone’s been chomping at the bit to learn more about the Model 3 since its initial unveiling back in April. Related: Elon Musk says Tesla will make fully autonomous models by 2018 What else could the secretive entrepreneur have to tell the world? The announcement could have something to do with the Autopilot software , which has undergone numerous updates and fixes since its initial rollout. Yet, Musk just announced two weeks ago that the latest version, featuring radar detection features, was being deployed via over-the-air updates so more news next week seems less likely. The unveil could be related to anything else the company has its mitts in, like a longer range battery. Tesla already has a separate event on the books for October 28, when a big announcement with SolarCity will be made. The focus of that unveiling is no secret, however, as Musk has already let us know that he’ll unveil a solar roof and the long-awaited Powerwall 2.0. An integrated Tesla charger will be part of that package, of course. As usual, we’ll have to wait and see what Tesla and Musk have in store, so check back next Monday to find out what happens when Musk finally lets his proverbial cat out of the bag. Via Engadget Images via Tesla and Elon Musk/Twitter

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Elon Musk plans to unveil solar roof and Powerwall 2.0 on October 28

September 23, 2016 by  
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Moving swiftly after their $2.6 billion merger , Tesla and SolarCity are gearing up to release their first jointly branded product: a solar roof that charges an integrated backup power system . To be clear, this new product combo would not be a rooftop solar array or interlocking solar tiles, but rather a real rooftop made of solar panels. The system would be linked with Tesla Powerwall 2.0, the long-awaited less expensive version of the company’s innovative battery backup. CEO Elon Musk says the launch is planned for October 28 in the San Francisco Bay area. Musk tweeted the announcement on Thursday afternoon, promising the unveil of “new Tesla/SolarCity solar roof with integrated Powerwall 2.0 battery and Tesla charger.” Despite the absence of details in his update, we already have a good idea of what this product will involve, because he’s spoken about it before. Earlier this summer, Musk let it be known that Tesla and SolarCity were developing a solar roof to target customers with older rooftops who may be putting off solar panel installs due to the cost of repairing their existing roof. A solar roof would address both issues at the same time. Related: Elon Musk is developing a roof made entirely out of solar panels The inclusion of a Tesla car charger isn’t surprising, but one might hope that feature will be an optional add-on, since certainly not every homeowner wanting a solar roof will also want (or be able to afford) a Tesla. Even so, a fully integrated clean energy solution that can power your house through the night, or during interruptions in grid power, marks a major milestone in terms of connecting homeowners with emissions-free energy alternatives. The October unveil date is pretty exciting, and renewable energy enthusiasts are eager to learn more about this innovative product, such as its price point and production date. In August, SolarCity’s Peter Rive told Engadget that the solar roof would be a key part of a ramp-up in production around the second quarter of 2017, but that timeline could be impacted by pending lawsuits against the solar company that Tesla says could delay the merger deal. Either way, it’s too soon to say when homeowners might be able to install a roof to power their homes. Via Clean Technica Images via Tesla  and Elon Musk/Twitter

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Prefabricated green residential building is slated for Berlin’s new ‘live-work city’

September 23, 2016 by  
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On a site in Berlin currently home to old, ugly oilfield tanks, a revitalized district called WerkBundStadt is in the works. ingenhoven architects , along with 32 other firms, are designing residential and mixed-use buildings to transform the stagnant space into one of life and activity. igenhoven’s design reinterprets the brickwork commonly seen in older city areas by adding copious amounts of plants throughout the building’s facade. WerkBundStadt will include 1,100 units, including 330 rent controlled units. Each of the 33 architectural firms involved will design one project for the new district, which ingenhoven architects describes as a ” dense, socially and functionally mixed live-work city .” ingenhoven architects’ building includes residential units ranging in size “from apartments to maisonette.” Their building will include some of the subsidized housing units. Related: India’s Magic Breeze villa will be a giant park in the sky Central to the design of the building ingenhoven architects will contribute is the concept of sustainability . The facade of the building includes terraces and balconies bursting with plant life between brickwork to create “protected outdoor areas” that create a “dialogue between residential and urban space.” The facade design also allows for energy efficiency . Facing the south, the building is staggered so more terraces can be incorporated into the design. “Recyclable, prefabricated modular construction” will grant flexibility to the sustainable building. ingenhoven architects envisions that building in this way will allow for “functional and technical changes of uses throughout the life cycle of the building.” Part of their vision is that the designs for the green building will demonstrate a new way of building housing developments that is economically and environmentally responsible. igenhoven architects’ design will be presented this weekend as part of the German Werkbund Day as Werkbund Berlin , the organization behind WerkBundStadt, announces the plans for the new district. + ingenhoven architects + WerkBundStadt + Berlin Werkbund Images via ingenhoven architects/Illustration: Alexander Schmitz, Dusseldorf and WerkBundStadt Berlin

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Prefabricated green residential building is slated for Berlin’s new ‘live-work city’

Luxurious net-zero Stanford home features an earthquake-resistant steel frame

July 21, 2016 by  
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The key to Professor Jacobson’s new net-zero home is BONE Structure’s innovative and lightweight steel frame system laser cut in a factory and delivered for on-site assembly. “The steel frame system allows for exciting design features that would not be possible using traditional building methods,” said Professor Jacobson. “Interior spaces and window lines can run up to 25 feet between columns.” The building’s “net zero ready” shell is designed to produce near zero waste and is 100% recyclable, earthquake-resistant , and impervious to mold and termite damage. The shell of a home can be assembled in just days using a battery-powered drill. Precut openings in the steel structure allow for easy installation of electrical, plumbing, heating, and ventilation systems. Precut insulation panels slot between the steel columns and the shell is further sealed with spray-on polyurethane foam insulation. The net-zero home is powered entirely with electricity and includes Tesla Powerwall energy storage, the Tesla Wall Connector auto charger, a 15kW solar system, and the Nest Learning Thermostat . Related: BONE Structure breaks ground on first net-zero residential project in California BONE Structure has plans to scale up to produce 1,000 residences per year. The net zero energy-ready homebuilder expects to complete 50 more homes in California in 2016. + BONE Structure Images via BONE Structure

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New City of Wine museum in Bordeaux looks like wine swirling in a glass

July 21, 2016 by  
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The shape of La Cité du Vin references wine in a variety of ways; it could be interpreted to mimic gnarled vine stock or wine swirling in a glass. Its round volumes are clad in silk-screen printed glass panels and perforated, lacquered aluminum panels that change appearance depending on the time of day. Related: Italy’s Green-Roofed Antinori Winery is Topped With a Vineyard! Two entrances on opposite sides of the building facilitate and accentuate movement and flow, leading visitors to the highest point of the structure-an observation tower offering expansive views of the city. The ground floor features numerous mirrored surfaces that encourage visitors to move up towards the light, just like a vine plant grows upwards towards the sun. Wooden structural elements visible in the interior are reminiscient of boats, wine, and its travels. + XTU Architects Via World Architecture News Photos by XTU Architects

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