It’s not news that utilities can be budget-killers, and apparently people are getting wise to the fact that energy-efficiency means lower utility bills. A recent Yahoo survey found that energy efficiency is the one feature everyone can agree on when they imagine their “dream home” — ahead of water views, a custom build and all the other things Americans usually aspire to.
Natural gas companies are looking into "super fracking," which uses larger, deeper cracks and draws power from our planet’s yellow sun. West Virginians, Pennsylvanians, and Ohioans are all hoping that Shell will choose to build a petrochemical refinery in their state, because the plant promises jobs. Maybe it's time to abandon Ulysses S. Grant's laws for federal land, which dictate that hard-rock mining is the best use for any plot.
Passive Houses are homes so well insulated that they require no heating at all, even in winter. They're super popular in Europe, because it’s a magical land where everything is made out of chocolate and any sexual encounter that ends in fewer than three orgasms is immediately reported to the happiness police. Journalist Charlie Hoxie realized that most people in America have never heard of the Passive House (or Passivhaus in the original, economical German) building movement, so he embarked on a documentary to spread the word. What follows are a series of excerpts from that film.
The PumPing Tap does not like wasted power. It's an electrical socket with a spring-loaded ejector seat, which pops plugs right out if they're slowly sucking energy when not in active use. The idea is to combat vampire power, the massive amount of energy slowly sapped by idling gizmos, like microwaves that aren’t cooking or chargers that aren’t charging anything. The PumPing Tap (which is still in the design stage, sadly) monitors the flow of energy, and if you don't use a device for 10 minutes -- ptooie! -- it's unplugged.
The Minister's House in Crossville, Tenn., is 10 STORIES HIGH, over 97 feet tall, and supported by six full-grown oak trees. If you're a total purist about your treehouses and believe they need to be entirely off the ground and supported only by limbs, then this doesn't qualify, but screw you because it's awesome.
Homelessness, extreme weather, civil unrest — the 21st century is going to give us a lot of reasons to house people as cheaply as possible. So hobbyist Malcom White came up with a way to create a 118-square-foot "yurt" that can be prefabricated and then transported via flatbed truck to wherever it's needed. Total cost? $300 to $400, or one quarter-ounce gold dubloon once the United States of America has atomized into regional duchies all paying tribute to whichever Paul is president/king in 2018.
These adhesive decals stick to any flat surface and are even PVC-free! Why opt for green energy if you can't remind yourself and your guests about it every time you turn on the light? I'm serious. h/t CleanTechnica
If you're anything like me, i.e. friends with dozens of nerds, your Twitter stream was aflame with talk of the Hobbit trailer last night. I'm psyched about it! It's the only Tolkien book I read, and will therefore probably be the only one of the movies I can stay awake through. Anyway, hobbits are cool now, so this is an excellent time to start building your sustainable hobbit home! The one below, which we wrote about in October, looks like it could come straight off the movie set: But in fact, it was put together for just $5,000 by a …
Congress voted to put sanctions on Iran, which would make it harder for Iran to sell oil, but potentially make oil sales more profitable for the regime overall. After all the work that the anti-Keystone coalition did, Republicans are trying to tack a measure to approve the pipeline onto a bill that extends the payroll tax cut. The White House is saying the president "would reject a proposal that tried to mandate approval of the Keystone project" but won't say the V-E-T-O word. Oh, ALSO. Congress could defund the program that would implement the phaseout of incandescent bulbs. AUGH, CONGRESS. …