Archives For Renewable Energy

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It’s that time of year. You’re probably starting to think a vacation somewhere warm sounds pretty good right about now. Well, we hear you. That’s why we want to share these incredibly beautiful photographs, to send you on a virtual vacation to the magical mists of Kauai, where photographer Jess Bianchi documented the construction of The Kauai Cottage, an off-the-grid Hawaiian hideaway.

Built and designed by San Francisco artist and surfer Jay Nelson, the philosophy behind the project was to encourage residents of the cabin to “live simply and small and only use what you need,” according to Jess. “In a time of excess when everyone seems to be building bigger and higher, we wanted to experiment with a simpler kind of living.” And at only 200 square feet, it is certainly less living space than most people are used to. But the detail and care that went into crafting the reclaimed redwood structure is evident in every inch, and the natural beauty surrounding the structure is truly inspiring. Plus there’s no TV to distract or take you out of the moment, and you can pick fruit right off the front porch! Isn’t that pretty much the definition of paradise?

If this sounds like a place you need to visit for real, and not just look at on the internet, we have good news: the owners are currently discussing the possibility of opening the cottage to the public in the near future, and have plans to add solar panels, a garden, and possibly build another structure on the property. Until then, take a look at the photos below and drift away on an imagination vacation. Aloha!

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Source: Jess Bianchi

Meet the most energy efficient house in Washington State—the Park Passive House.

Designed by Marie Ljubojevic and Lauren McCunney of NK Architects and built by Sloan Ritchie of Cascade Built, the home’s regal exterior belies its humble objective. According to Freshome, “sustainable features include heat pump hot water, zero VOC finishes, a heat recovery ventilator, high performance windows, 16-inches of insulation in the walls and 20+ inches in the lid, and wiring for solar.”

You can find more photos here.

Photos: Aaron Leitz

 

 

Today marks the 44th Anniversary of Earth Day, so we gathered a few quick eco tips, courtesy of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. As they say, “Environmental responsibility is everyone’s responsibility.” 

1. Save Energy. 

Leave your car at home twice a week and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 1,600 pounds per year.

If every American home replaced just one conventional light bulb with a compact fluorescent light bulb, we would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes a year.

2. Conserve Water. 

A full bathtub uses 70 gallons of water, but taking a five-minute shower saves water by using 10 to 25 gallons.

The average washing machine uses 40.9 gallons of water per load; a high-efficiency washer that needs less than 28 gallons per load.

3. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

Be creative! Not everything needs to go into the recycling bin. Give cardboard tubes to pet hamsters or gerbils. Plant seeds in an egg carton. Make a flower pot out of a plastic ice cream tub. 

Source: epa.gov

 

 

A solar-powered table that charges electronics? Sign us up.

Designer Marjan van Aubel partnered with Michael Graetzel and Solaronix to develop applications for their dye-sensitized solar cells—including the Current Table.

The table generates energy that can charge devices through USB ports. But what makes it so interesting is that the cells can generate power from indoor light, making the table the perfect workspace/charging station for myriad locations, including schools, offices, and more.

Read more about the design and technology on Dwell or watch a video of Marjan describing the project here.