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ModCell eco prefabs – green building with straw bale and hemp


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Could this innovative material be a big player in the future of green building?  Though a house made of straw may initially sound sketchy, U.K. based ModCell is creating straw bale cladding panels designed to make large-scale, carbon-negative building a commercial reality.

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The ModCell system incorporates the excellent thermal insulation qualities of straw bale and hemp construction to form locally made, prefabricated panels.  The resulting structures are built utilizing renewable, locally sourced, carbon sequestering materials creating super-insulated, high-performance, low energy ‘passive’ buildings.  ModCell’s green building products are designed for use in:  offices, schools, residential housing and commercial buildings.

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The prefab wall and roof cladding system is designed to be quickly installed and with little waste, creating airtight buildings with thermal performance up to three times higher than current building regulations require.  As a result, in certain climates ModCell buildings can have zero heat requirements — saving money, energy and CO2 emissions.  (more…)

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

track your home’s power use with Oregon Scientific’s Appliance Manager


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Oregon Scientific, traditionally known for its innovative weather gadgets, has started a new Energy Monitoring and Conservation line, which provides consumers with tools to monitor energy usage trends and save energy in the home.  The company sites U.S. Department of Energy data which estimates that monitoring electricity can help consumers reduce usage by up to 15 percent translating to lower utility bills and a smaller carbon footprint.

One of the company’s new products for 2010 – intro’d at this week’s CES – is the Advanced Wireless Appliance Manager: an innovative appliance manager that monitors power consumption, carbon emissions, and the real-time costs of up to eight appliances. The device can also provide long-term energy use trend info.

The eco gadget features an alarm that alerts the user when they inevitably exceed their energy  consumption goal.  MSRP: $99

source: prnewswire

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Lomox creates light emitting wallpaper


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It’s things like this that make me feel like we’re really in “the future” we were promised.  A Welsh company named Lomox has developed wallpaper that emits light using half the energy of a CFL and 1/9th the energy of a traditional lightbulb.  The technology is called OLED lighting (Organic Light Emitting Diodes), and they are essentially just materials that emit light when current is passed through them.  They are free from mercury (found in CFL’s), flexible, thin, and endlessly useful for both design and efficiency.

light_emitting_wallpaper.jpgThe uses for OLED up until now have been largly experimental and design oriented.  PolyPhotonix made a dress out of the stuff, designers make sculptural lamps, and now Lomox makes wallpaper.  The fruits of this experimentation however have larger implications.  The OLED technology can be used in televisions, windows, and large-scale lighting projects.

A few days ago The Carbon-Trust, a government funded nonprofit in the UK awarded Lomox $720,000 to develop OLED lighting like the wallpaper you see here.  The products should be on the market by 2012.  Many think that OLED technology is the future of lighting.  While light-emitting wallpaper is no match for windows in your house, it’s a neat way to save energy and have cool wall art.  Both beautiful and green!

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samtosa clothing – comfy eco yoga wear


Happy New Year!  We’re kicking off 2010 with a Tried and True, Green Products Review of Samtosa Clothing.  Many thanks to Samtosa for graciously provided us with a yoga outfit, (Bija Tank and Shakti pants), which we’ve diligently put to the test.

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I’m not always as mindful as I should be.  But when I’m doing yoga, it’s about as mindful as I’ll ever be.  So it’s an extra good karmic charge to be stretching and sweating in downward dog, knowing that my threads were created in as ecofriendly manner as possible.  Mindful of supporting a sustainable society, founders David Eber and Wayne Malen have ensured that this Made in the USA line has serious eco cred.

Samtosa, (contentment, in Sanskrit), is comprised of 62% bamboo, 27% organic cotton and 11% Spandex, so the fabric is soft, yet durable, and the stretchiness allows for optimum performance.  I fell for these comfy duds the minute I put them on.

yga3.jpgThe Bija Tank with triple spaghetti-strap cross back emits a hip vibe. When I learned Goldie Hawn recently picked up a couple of these at Exhale Spa, I thought, no wonder.  Thankfully, there’s a built-in bra, which as you know, is a must — but sadly missing on tops from so many other brands today.  As far as the bottom half is concerned, it’s also a home run.  The Shakti pant is long and has a fold-over waist; it just feels right all day, everyday.

I also love that there are no annoying tags scraping the back of my neck or lower spine — just the comfy fabric that should be there.  And in terms of size, this line runs true; if you’re a medium, simply order that size, no worries.

Socially responsible, Samtosa donates a portion of profits each year to IOFA (International Organization for Adolescents), a US-based non profit committed to combating child exploitation, especially child trafficking and slavery.

So get moving with samtosaclothing.com.  May a feeling of contentment permeate your being.

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an altcon eco media minute


As we endeavor to bring you all things green and timely — a green stimulus package for your eyes, ears and mind…

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  • Princeton Environmental Film Festival 2010 – now through January 17.  FREE admission to all screenings and talks!  Amazing lineup — don’t miss:  Food, Inc; the Age of Stupid; and Garbage.  Sponsored by the Princeton Public Library in Princeton, NJ.
  • Save the date — Go Green Expo in LA January 22-24.  Eco exhibits galore, while Mariel Hemingway, Jen Boulden, Ed Begley, Jr. and many other experts dish on how to go green.
  • February’s Body + Soul features, among other useful things, 28 Days to a Healthier You — get on board and learn how to be healthy and fit, for life.
  • On newsstands today, (1/5/10), is the first issue of the redesigned Organic Gardening (Feb/March) – start planning those spring plantings for tasty, homegrown sprouts.
  • The National Children’s Museum in DC just launched the digital Launch Zone geared at getting kids to explore their world and learn how to make it better.
  • Looking for a good read, try Remarkable Creatures by, Tracy Chevalier, (who also penned, Girl with a Pearl Earring).  RC is about the life of Mary Anning, a fossil hunter, who lived in the 1800’s, and was a contemporary of Charles Darwin.
  • via Metropolis Mag.com and sponsored by Herman Miller – (almost) last call for entries: Next Generation Design Competition: One Fix for the Future, focused on sustainability – enter by January 29, 2010. $10,000 prize + fame, of course.
  • Enter before January 7 for your chance to win $5,000 in Greener Gadgets’ Design Competition. Feeling geeky?  Plan to attend the Greener Gadget Conference February 25 in NYC.
  • Good news for the Jane Goodall Institute – the U.S. Agency for International Development awarded them with more than $5.5 million to help expand existing conservation programs in Tanzania.
  • Living in Colorado and want to greenovate your home?  It’ll take some cash to enter, but hey, you never know – check it out @ davinciquest.com
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