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How To Stay Efficiently Cool This Summer

Summertime is almost here, but hot weather doesn’t have to mean skyrocketing power bills and nonstop air conditioning. We’ve compiled these tips to help you maximize your summer comfort and energy efficiency.

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Chicago’s Green Alley Initiative

Urban alleyways. Grubby places that only scrappy cats or cop-show perps could love, right? Not in Chicago, where the Department of Transportation is giving them some serious TLC with its recently implemented Green Alley Program. This city-wide renovation initiative will offer some surprising environmental benefits and improve quality of life for residents.

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Update: Bank Of America Tower, Greenest Skyscraper In The U.S.

A while back, MetaEfficient profiled what could be the greenest skyscraper in America, the Bank of America Tower in New York City. Located in midtown Manhattan at One Bryant Park, the 945-foot tall, 55-story structure is scheduled to open later this year. Here’s a closer look at some of the groundbreaking features that should help the building earn a coveted …

Old Running Shoes Never Die – But Brooks BioMoGo Really Does Fade Away

A critical aspect of a product’s “efficiency” involves not just what it does, but also where it comes from and where it goes after its useful life. Brooks has taken an innovative step to improve the life-cycle efficiency of its running shoes with its biodegradable BioMoGo cushioning material.

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Efficient: Foot Pedal Faucet Controllers

Pedal Works HandsFree Faucet Controller

Foot pedal faucet controllers allow you to control a faucet hands-free. These devices are efficient and hygienic — they are commonly found in commercial kitchens and hospitals. I’m not sure why we don’t see them in more homes. You can reduce water use by 50% using pedal controllers, and if it’s hot water, you’ll be saving power too. At a …

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Efficient Building In Seattle Requires No AC

This new building in Seattle by Weber + Thompson requires no air conditioning. To achieve this feat, the architects made use of numerous passive cooling elements throughout the building. Passive cooling means no electricity or other fuel is needed — instead strategic shading and orientation is used, rather than high-tech gadgetry.

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German Parliment To Use 100% Renewable Power

The German Reichstag is expected to become the greenest parliament building in the world, thanks to a decision to rely solely on renewable energy. From late summer the building is due to swap to green power sources such as water, wind and solar energy, replacing the conventional power that it has largely relied upon until now.

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Christmas Trees Made With Recycled Bottles

These two Christmas trees were made with recycled bottles. Quite an efficient use for all those empties! The one of the left was made with 1050 beer bottles by Paul Deakin, a student at the University of Southampton (the south coast of England). The tree on the right was made with Grolsch beer bottles. Anyone feeling inspired to knock a …

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The Greenest Skyscraper In India?

The India Tower is a 60-story skyscraper in Mumbai that could be the greenest in India. The developer is aiming to get a LEED gold rating for the project. The tower’s unusual rotated design was created by FXFOWLE architects. Each rotated section of the tower has a different use: a retail section, a Park Hyatt hotel, and a section of …

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Spin Dryer From Laundry Alternative

A spin dryer is an appliance that can readily improve the energy efficiency in your laundry. A portable spin dryer like this one from Amazon, uses centrifugal force to dry clothes. The dryer was out of stock for a while, but it is now available again. Spin drying is much more efficient than electric tumble drying, in terms of energy …

Green Building Using Thin-Film Solar

This is the new Ballard Library in Seattle. It’s a state-of-the-art green building which makes use of a sod roof, daylighting, and translucent thin-film solar collectors from Schott. It is listed in the American Institute of Architecture’s top ten green buildings.

Citrus-Based Bike Degreasers

Citrus degreasers are powerful and much safer to use than traditional petroleum-based solvents like gasoline or kerosene. Citrus solvents are non-flammable and 100% biodegradeable. They are also strongly aromatic — so use them in a well-ventilated area or your house will smell like oranges! Best if used on metal parts like chains, bearings and some components. More non-toxic bike cleaning …

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LED Lights: Efficient Indoor Growing

LED grow lights are a good choice if you are interested in growing indoors without a lot of hassle. Traditional grow lights generate a lot of heat and use large amounts of electricity, which raises your monthly electric bill by noticeable amounts. These LED grow lights stay cool, and use only a minuscule amount of energy.

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iT House

Inhabitat reports on the iT House — a prefabricated housing system that uses glass and aluminum frames as its basis. Created by Bosch, the house is only 1000 square feet, and is designed to be constructed in 8 weeks. It makes use of radiant heat flooring and solar panels on the roof. Homeowners can customize many facets of the house …

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Efficient: Wool Carpets by Nature’s Carpet

Wool carpeting is excellent: it’s durable, stain resistant, and completely biodegradable. It has a high initial cost, but the quality of the material justifies the investment. Nature’s Carpet offers all wool carpets. They only buy wool clipped from sheep raised where no herbicides or pesticides are used. The fiber is tested regularly for purity. The wool is washed, spun and …

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Corn Stoves Are Hot Too

Corn burning stoves are similar to pellets stoves but use corn kernels as fuel instead. Most corn suppliers are located in the interior states, so these stoves are most useful in those areas. Corn is a fuel that burns clean and does not require a conventional chimney. You can vent corn stoves outdoors by using a type “L” or “B” …

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Waterless Urinals

These waterless urinals are plainly more efficient than the ones currently in use in most bathrooms nationwide. They can save up to 45,000 gallons of water and more per year per urinal. They also require less maintenance, and are less prone to plumbing problems. They have no moving parts. Urine is contained under a special biodegradable liquid called BlueSeal. According …

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Producing Drinking Water from Rain Water

It is possible to produce pure drinking water from rain water using a combination of devices costing around $300 total. Here’s how to do it: Install a roof washer and a rain barrel ($200). A roof washes diverts the first ten gallons or so of rain water away from your barrel — it contains such things as dust and bird …