Archive for the 'Solar' Category

Flash News — Hot sun makes barn cooler

This is what I’m talkin’ ’bout! This agricultural barn is being cooled with Big Ass Fans powered by solar panels. What a concept! This is so obvious! When the sun is beating down hot, the buildings and people and animals need cooling off. Rather than sucking black gunk out of the ground and burning it to create energy, why [...]

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The irresistible appeal of a tiny house

I guess I'll end up in a tiny house someday because I am irresistibly drawn to them. The one shown in this video is in Olympia, Washington, which is, I gather, a free-thinking community. What I love: The simple life. Being a citizen rather than a consumer. Cedar walls. A loft bed. Off the grid. [...]

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After two years of eco-living with composting toilets and chickens, what works and what doesn’t

 From the L.A. Times: It started with gray water, then escalated to chickens, composting toilets and rain barrels. I’m talking about the two years I’ve spent transforming my humble California bungalow into a test case for sustainable living — an experience that’s cost me hundreds of hours of my time and thousands of dollars, an [...]

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The greenest remodel in America?

If you can’t sell your parent’s former home, why not turn it into a showcase for green remodeling? That’s exactly what Jay DeChesere and his wife did with a ranch style home in Wilmington, N.C. that his parents moved out of and into an assisted living facility. You could say the collapse of the housing [...]

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Are solar panels ugly?

In Santa Monica, California, home of the really pretty people, solar panels are fine as long as you hide them from view. That is according to a blog posting at the L.A. Times. It was the City Council who recently voted 4-1 that for some residences solar panels must be installed "in the location that is [...]

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Q&A: What tax credits can I get for fixing up my home?

Question: How has the new Stimulus bill affected the tax credits for energy efficient home improvements?   Answer from Energy Star:   On February 17, 2009, President Obama signed the "Stimulus Bill" (The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) that made significant changes to the energy efficiency tax credits. These changes apply to products "placed [...]

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Q&A: What tax credits can I get for fixing up my home?

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Peel-and-stick solar panels

See a fast-motion video showing 2.25 kilowatts of Lumeta solar panels installed in 34 minutes. These will be featured at the Pacific Coast Builders Conference June 24 to 27 in San Francisco. These thin panels are only available for commercial use, not residential, but it shows you the direction we’re heading. The company does offer [...]

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The votes are in: coolest green building products

Each year, the Pacific Coast Builders Conference (PCBC) holds a competition for the coolest building products. This year, 125 products were entered into the contest and were voted on by 679 home-building professionals. Here are the 2008 cool-product winners in the green building category: 1. Rinnai LS Series tankless water heater Rinnai’s LS Series tankless [...]

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Want solar? This is the weekend to visit San Diego

The Solar 2008 convention will be held this weekend, May 3 and 4, at the Town and Country Resort and Convention Center in San Diego. The attendance fee for consumers is $5, with a $1 discount if you take public transportation. The event is put on by the American Solar Energy Society, among others. And [...]

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When bad solar fountains happen to good people

You don’t need to share with me the definition of insanity: trying the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Been there (bought junk), done that (had it fail), still slipping into it. Specifically, I’m talking about the solar fountain I bought ignorantly and impulsively at Home Depot last October. I paid [...]

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Hey, John, what’s it like to live solar?

I caught up recently with John Park, who, along with his wife Erin, did an addition to their Burbank home and wrote about it at the Park Haus Addition Blog. Part of the project was adding $14,000 worth of photovoltaics to the addition’s rooftop. You can see John here washing off the panels. John read [...]

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Coming soon: a million solar spats?

The case of one Sunnyvale, Calif., neighbor’s redwood trees versus another neighbor’s solar panels and hot tub ended up in court and is still not settled, according to a story in the New York Times. The story is long and convoluted, with eight redwood trees in question. When were they planted? How tall were they [...]

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Coming to rooftops near you: 65 million square feet of solar panels

I’d rather see solar panels on my rooftop and yours, but this is still pretty cool. A project has been proposed that will place photovoltaic cells on 65 million square feet of commercial building roofs in Southern California. The cells will generate as much as 250 megawatts of electricity — enough to power about 162,500 [...]

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Do-it-yourself solar-powered fountain

After countless vain attempts to locate a solar-powered fountain similar to the one I stumbled upon at my local Home Depot, I’ve decided the better way is to find the components and assemble one myself. The elements are shown above: fountain + pump/solar panel = solar-powered fountain. Fountain: The fountains come from places like OSH, [...]

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Shop — Solar-powered string lights

 Solar-Powered String Lights These solar-powered string lights are available in green and white. Since they aren't tethered to an outlet, they can be used virtually anywhere.  Use them in your yard all year-round to light up a favorite tree, outline an arbor, or wrap a porch railing. Each string is 36 feet long and has [...]

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