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Tuesday , 3 March 2015

Category Archives: Green Living

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Environment-friendly stories, latest technologies, news, tips and how tos.

The battery-powered home; if utilities are worried, it must be coming

Efficient energy storage is the holy grail of the green energy movement. Anyone can set up solar panels on a rooftop and harvest sunlight for electricity, but what do you do with the surplus, if you can’t sell it back to the utility company? More to the point, what do you do when the sun doesn’t shine? If you have to rely on the grid for power when alternative sources like solar and wind aren’t reliable, then you have a problem. The solution has already been found. It’s called a battery. The problem is not making a battery; the problem is making a battery that stores enough energy to power ... Read More »

New sustainability standard covers ovens and ranges

Home owners who prefer that their kitchen appliances are built to the highest standards of sustainability will be happy to know that a new industry standard has been released by the group that represents appliance makers in North America. The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), in conjunction with the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), announced the new standard for kitchen ranges. built-in cook tops and ovens. According to AHAM, the standard, which is voluntary, is based on the now-common lifecycle approach to assessing products’ environmental sustainability. It considers five key areas of environmental impact: materials, manufacturing and operations, energy consumption during use, end of life, and innovation. The new standard ... Read More »

European group working toward intelligent, “Forever Open” roads

Roads that lie passively, dumbly in their beds, endlessly absorbing the relentless shocks and punishments of traffic and the elements until they crumble and have to be closed to users while construction crews rebuild them (which in this part of the world seems to be about once a year) will soon be where they belong: in the past. Today’s dumb roads will be replaced by smart ones, fifth generation roads, adaptable, automated and climate resilient. These roads will be flexible and intelligent, and—here is the best part—always available. No longer will roads need to be closed for months on end while crews repair them using exactly the same materials that ... Read More »

Will real-time cost display make smart meters more effective?

The Smart Meter is an idea that so far has worked better in theory than in practice. Last December, the auditor general of Ontario called the Ontario government’s program to put smart meters in homes poorly planned. Even worse, they have had little impact on energy consumption, though their impact on energy costs has been high. The smart meters are supposed to help consumers use less “peak” time electricity, which costs more, and thus save money. Does this mean that smart meters are of no benefit at all? Not necessarily. In British Columbia, where smart meters are also being introduced, the province’s utility company, B.C. Hydro, is promoting a device ... Read More »

Consumer group targeting toxic products at discount stores

Bargain stores are great for some products, not so great for others. Everybody likes to get a bargain, after all, but there is that inescapable truth about getting what you pay for. Bargain or not, the customer still expects satisfaction. That depends somewhat on one’s budget and one’s expectations, but barring unforeseen catastrophes such as product recalls or complete failure on the first use, shoppers seem to be happy with the bargain stores. Would they be as happy if they knew that many of the products they are buying at those low low discount prices are toxic and could make them and their children sick? In the United States, according ... Read More »

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