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zero energy Los Altos Hills house


This 5,000 sq. ft. Los Altos Hills residence proves that, if you’ve got the vision (and the financial resources), a big home doesn’t have to be an energy hog.  The home was designed by California-based, DSA Architects, who specialize in straw bale construction and energy efficient design.



In keeping with the owner’s desires the home is 100% energy independent.  A 17kw Photovoltaic system provides domestic electricity as well as power for the owner’s two electric cars.  The PV solar array is laminated onto the home’s standing seam metal roofing.


Other green building features:  a living roof covers the home’s barrel vaults and ground-source heat pumps and air-to-water exchangers ensure that heating, cooling, and domestic hot water loads are minimized.

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Aloe Cadabra – works like magic


What’s more important than shelter, food and love?  If you’re at that stage in life where you’ve got the first two items pretty well covered, but there are sometimes dry spells in the love department, (and I do mean literally), take heed.  I was given three different samples of Aloe Cadabra’s organic Aloe lubricant and after giving each a whirl, I must say, it certainly does the trick.  It does all that you want it to – it’s not too sticky and gooey, goes on real smoothly, and helps keep both you and your partner nicely lubricated and in the mood.  Be sure to apply generously, the more the merrier.

aloe1.jpg95% of this natural product is comprised of certified organic aloe vera.  According to the company, the remaining 5% of the ingredients “enhance the aloe effect by increasing the thickness and lubricity of the product.  At the same time, they help balance the pH so Aloe Cadabra can be as close to a body’s natural pH as possible.”  And I’d like to mention that the trace amounts of food grade preservatives potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate are there to help keep the product fresh.

It comes in Natural, Tahitian Vanilla or French Lavender; personal fave is the lavender – the scent is refreshing and not overpowering.  We like it so much, we’re selling it in our eco boutique on OpenSky.  If you want to buy it, just click on the Add to Cart link below.

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Hybrid Driving without the Premium – the 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid

Recently, something pretty major quietly occurred in the automotive marketplace.  Lincoln, touting it’s newest addition to the luxury lineup, the MKZ Hybrid, slapped on it a sticker that boasts the same price as the MKZ with a gasoline engine.  Listen closely. That’s the sound of slow and steady mass market adoption.  What was once a pricey option, the gasoline-electric engine now serves as a no-cost upgrade on this luxurious set of wheels.  mkz11_pg_016_int_sm.jpgAND it garners drivers a spiffy 41 miles per gallon in city driving and 36 mpg on the highway.  That’s over 700 miles on a tank of gas.  At roughly $35,000, that’s a decent deal for a ride that’s equally luxe and fuel efficient.  Let’s add to that the fact that the MKZ is easy on the eyes, too.  Naysayers will point to the fact that the MKZ Hybrid is essentially a prettied up version of the Fusion Hybrid, but I’ve got no qualms.  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!  Just add a some new badging and creature comforts and call it a day, no?

In my humble opinion, this marks a giant step in the advancement of alternative auto technologies.  If I were strolling a Lincoln dealership, feasting my eyes on a shiny, new MKZ sedan there isn’t one reason I would opt for a gasoline engine.

Related post: The 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid

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eco news roundup


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