Here's a cool "house," created by inventor Van Bo Le-Mentzel. Called the "One SQM House," it measures exactly one square meter in area, fittingly. We'll do the conversion for you: that's 10.7 square feet.
Yeah, not exactly a house by today's standards. No kitchen. No bathroom.
But it can act as a cozy hang out spot, a meditation chamber and even a bedroom, when tilted down on its side with a mattress inside.
The folks over at Treehugger rightly cite Le-Mentzel's suggestion that his One SQM House would be a perfect shelter for Occupiers.
Here's a cool new App. Inspired by a finding that half of British homeowners admit that they forget to ask the right questions when a contractor comes to do work, TradeMark makes it easier for those questions to be asked.
Yes, this is an App for Brits. But's that not to say we Yanks couldn't find a use here. Most homeowners have been in this position; according to TrustMark, younger homeowners in particular lack the confidence to be up front and a little more demanding when it comes time to have a stranger do work on the house.
So what does TrustMark do? It keeps a record of the conversation with the contractor. It prompts questions and gives advice at every step of the repair process.
Just recently we covered a new garage door opening technology by Overhead Door that alerted homeowners if they had forgotten to close the garage door. This week at CES Craftsman unveiled the Craftsman Aurrelink Garage Door Openers, Remote Light Switch and Remote Light Control, designed to perform a similar function.
The difference with the Assurelink system is that it enables homeowners to control their garage door from almost anywhere, using a smartphone, computer or tablet connected to the internet.
This kind of connectivity is not new in other areas of the home, but incorporating it into the garage door appears to be a growing trend. One can see the value, too, given that most of us have experienced those moments halfway down the road when you can't remember if you shut the garage door or not.
Think of all the gas you'll save with this new technology! No more turning the car around!
You should also note the rise of the DIYer as well as "living smaller." The former might be partially attributed to the rise in the DIY show. But it's not just DIY projects around the house that will be on the increase. Smaller DIY hobbies like woodworking and furniture-making will grow in popularity with the large number of folks retiring.
As for "living smaller," well, that's simply nice to see -- a push back against the McMansion trend that saw giant carbon footprint homes of thousands upon thousands of square feet. Wasted space, wasted energy.
Take a look at the full article to see all the trends. Which one will you be a part of?
Due out early next year, the application will include the following set of features:
Compare energy usage to similar homes. (Sounds questionable. Not sure I want my energy usage information available to others. Although NRDC claims complete data privacy will be ensured.)
Compare energy usage among friends. (This sounds cool on first pass, but this has the potential to create an inferiority/superiority situation among friends. "Oh, I see you used twice as much energy as me last week. Planet-killer.")
Publish conversations about energy to the Facebook newsfeed. (Innocent enough, I suppose.)
Group development -- Cooperation and Competition. (NRDC says this feature will allow communities of people to form teams to help each other achieve collective goals and compete against other groups. It also suggests that teams will be rewarded and incentivized by their utility or "other network partners." I'd love to see if this pans out.)
Privacy issues aside (and there will always be privacy issues when Facebook is involved) I will say that this is worth the attempt. Energy monitoring has not exactly caught on yet, and with the popularity of Facebook this could be a great way to bring it to the masses. For the moment, I'm all for it.
Up here in the Burlington, VT area, we aren't exactly on the cutting edge of things like fashion (GQ recently named it one of the 40 Worst-Dressed Cities) or urban sprawl (for this we are thankful), but we are getting our Smart Grid on.
Back in June a vote was passed for approval of a revenue bond that included $7.2 million that will be used to fund the city's share of the "smart grid project," with the other half of the project to be funded by Department of Energy grants.
As Grimes explains, the first step is to upgrade the system to enable two-way communication between BED and the field systems, which will help prevent and shorten outages. Not only will these ease the stress on homeowners, it will save thousands of dollars of lost revenue for energy-dependent businesses. It's a solid first step.
After a system upgrade--which will also improve distribution--BED will turn to smart meter installations. This is a facet of the smart grid that most people are familiar with, in name at least. It's also one of the more hot button topics, as consumers question privacy issues. I look to successful smart meter pilot programs like the one just completed in Houston, Texas, as promising signs that the smart grid will one day encompass the entire country.
As I gear up for a move back into Burlington proper I'm excited by the prospect of having a smart meter and chronicling the transition into smart grid living.
Are you already living on the smart grid? Tell us about it.
CenterPoint Energy Houston Electric LLC, an electric transmission and distribution subsidiary of CenterPoint Energy, recently released the survey results of a 500-participant smart meter pilot program that took place in the Houston area starting last fall.
According to the survey, 71 percent of those surveyed reported changing their energy usage behavior as a result of the real-time energy use data that the smart meter In-Home Display provided them.
Other results of the survey include:
83 percent of respondents reported turning off lights at night or when not in the room
51 percent of respondents reported adjusting the temperature on their thermostat
93 percent of respondents reported they are satisfied with their in-home display, and
97 percent of respondents reported that they will continue using it
Glad to see consumers are taking to the Smart Grid technology. I think we ought to have similar real-time data devices to track water usage, too. It's the access to real-time usage information that seems to spur the behavioral change.
For an overview of the integrated system that CenterPoint used in the pilot program check out CenterPoint Energy's EnergyInSight page.