March 16, 2010

The 1st Apple Certified Solar iPhone Charger

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I love my iPhone, thus I was excited to discover a solar iPhone charger approved by Apple. The Surge Hybrid Solar Charger for iPhone 3G and 3G S uses the sun to recharge your gadget. GreenUPGRADER explains:
Unveiled about six months ago, the Surge is a lightweight, hard-shell case with an integrated solar and battery system that means you could spend a lot less time charging your iPhone and worrying about its dwindling battery life. With a two-hour sit in direct sun, the Surge will give your iPhone about 3o minutes of 3G talk time...

When fully charged, via sun or USB, the Solar Surge's the lithium-ion polymer battery can effectively double the life of your iPhone or iPod Touch. The additional battery power adds a whole new dimension of freedom for iPhone users. As anyone who likes to run memory-sucking apps knows, iPhone battery life can evaporate right before your eyes.


I have not personally tried this solar case/charger, but I would love to. I am not sure where I would place my phone in direct sunlight to actually use the charger for two hours duration, but the concept is cool.
Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

March 9, 2010

Peugeot Diesel Gets 75 MPG Across Europe

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To see if regular drivers could replicate mileage claims by Peugeot, the car company hosted a Paris to Geneva Eco Cup.  Using regular diesel models, drivers got an impressive mileage, even with larger models.  Autobloggreen explains:

Over the course of the two-day, 622-mile drive, the competitors put up some pretty impressive numbers. The top overall result came in a C-segment 308 hatchback with an overall average of 74.9 miles per gallon (U.S.). Next up was the smaller 207 HDi 90 with 72.5 mpg. Particularly impressive were the 5008 MPV with 70.6 mpg and the new 3008 crossover with 65.9 mpg. Part of the competition included a prescribed time window based on the speed limits along the route to make sure that drivers didn't simply drive at excessively slow speeds.
Too bad these efficient models are not available in the US.  As Peugeot states, "This is a great reminder that, in this dynamic and technology-obsessed industry, genuine environmentally friendly motoring is available for the masses right now." 


Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

February 25, 2010

UN: Electronic Waste to Increase by 500%

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Electronic waste (e-waste) is on the rise, as consumers discard older technology for the latest models. Much of this e-waste ends up in Third World countries. No matter where it ends up, the United Nations (UN) predicts e-waste to increase by 500% in the next decade and "poses a serious threat to health and the environment." The Guardian reports:

Despite a number of conventions aimed at preventing the indiscriminate dumping of e-waste, the problem is snowballing, with billions of people now regularly using advanced electronics.

The problem is particularly acute in parts of west Africa, where ship-loads of e-waste are dumped on a daily basis and scavenged by children who break down the electronics to recover valuable metals that they can sell.


Image: Greenpeace
Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

February 16, 2010

LED vs. LCD: Save Energy with a LED TV

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I live off-the-grid. A couple years ago, we purchased a Sony LCD television, and we were shocked to see the amount of power this TV actually used. It wasn't a huge set, but it did pull a lot of juice out of our batteries. When we had the opportunity to try a LED TV, we wanted to see if it actually did use less power.

We tested out a VIZIO TruLED. According to the manufacturer:

VIZIO's Eco HD models exceed the current Energy Star guidelines by 56% below Energy Star 3.0, which saves you money on your utility bills while limiting the impact on our planet.

In addition to the fact that LED HDTVs are more efficient than standard LCDs, the display's LED backlights do not utilize mercury, an environmentally harmful substance used in other backlights.


Some reviewers on Amazon have complained about the sound on the Vizio, and straight out of the box, I couldn't agree more. There was a strange sort of buzz and the volume needed to be cranked up for watching. The Vizio came set to "flat" in the audio settings. Switching this to "rock" fixed the problem.
 
Even thought this TV is larger than our TV, we noticed it uses less power. Obviously, that's a good thing for all consumers, not just those making their own power like we are. In fact, earlier this year California looked at regulating energy consumption of TVs.  LED TVs appear to be the solution, but I am not sure it warrants buying a new TV.  All of the energy and resources used in manufacturing a new set may not be offset by the energy savings.
Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

February 11, 2010

Houston to Get EV Charging Stations Thanks to Nissan and Reliant Energy

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The city of Houston, Texas is partnering with Nissan and Reliant Energy to promote "the development of an electric-vehicle charging network and policies to support widespread adoptions of electric cars". The Nissan LEAF, an all electric, zero-emissions car, is supposed to be introduced this year, and the car manufacturer is partnering with cities and electric companies to be sure the infrastructure is in place for EVs. Green Car Congress reports:
As part of the agreement, Nissan and the City of Houston, along with Reliant Energy, will develop plans to promote a charging infrastructure for electric cars that encourages home and workplace charging, as well as a public-charging infrastructure. The partners will work to coordinate the establishment of policies and help streamline charging infrastructure deployment. Nissan also has agreed to make available a supply of electric vehicles to the City of Houston and in and around the metropolitan area...

Reliant Energy is working to make the broad adoption of electric vehicles simple by developing an ecosystem of charging infrastructure and services that makes fueling electric vehicles more convenient and affordable than the gasoline alternative.


It's exciting to see a town like Houston with roots in the oil industry to be embracing EVs!
Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

February 9, 2010

iPhone App Helps You Find Fruit on Public Lands

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There is a park in our county seat that is full of heirloom fruit trees. This fruit most often falls to the ground and is consumed by the deer, and I have often wondered about the legality of families collecting this harvest in times of need. A new iPhone app helps solve the problem of wasted food on public lands.

Neighborhood Fruit began as a website to help neighbors share the fruit in their yards. Green Living Ideas explains:

Neighborhood Fruit is a new website that aims to connect neighbors and their fruit trees to share in the abundance...

In a time when many people don't know their neighbors living next door, sharing fruit can be a challenge, but it can also be an icebreaker. Imagine a harvest block party in the fall which would truly be a locavore potluck! Neighborhood Fruit can help you connect with your local community, as well as give you access to delicious, local, homegrown food.

Neighborhood Fruit has released an iPhone app that shares information on free fruit on public lands. Mother Nature Network describes the app:

Right now, there's a pear tree on 17th Street in Philadelphia that I could grab a pear or two from if I wanted. At least, according to a new iPhone app Neighborhood Fruit's Find Fruit there is.

This 99 cent app has mapped out fruit trees on urban public lands and locates them for you according to what is in season at the moment. It also allows you to see what's available during all seasons.

This app also works on the Apple iPod touch too!
Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

February 2, 2010

Apple iPad: How Green is It?

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We are big Mac fans here at Blogpire, and much of the environmental blog world has been a buzz asking the important question: How green is the new Apple iPad?

iPad embodies Apple's continuing environmental progress. It is designed with the following features to reduce environmental impact: Arsenic-free display glass BFR-free Mercury-free LCD display PVC-free Recyclable aluminum and glass enclosure
Shea Gunther at Mother Nature Network explains:
Apple has taken some lumps in the past, particularly from groups like Greenpeace, for using toxic substances like mercury and arsenic in their products. With e-waste being as big a problem as it is considering the huge number of products Apple and other tech companies produce every year, the decision to stop using these poisonous chemicals is a big one. The iPad (and nearly ever other electronic device) have a LONG way to go before they can truly be called green, but they're getting greener and greener every go around.
earth2tech gave the new iPad a grade of B, and during the iPad's announcement, Steve Jobs was sure to tout it's green features. According to Infoworld:
Another green bragging point: Apple claims that the device's specially designed lithium-polymer battery, combined with the energy efficiency of the iPad's A4 processor, means the system can run for 10 hours straight.

The iPad's form factor also contributes to its green credentials. It weighs a mere 1.5 pounds and is half an inch thick. Compare that to the bulkier devices it rivals -- say, a netbook -- and you can see the iPad contains fewer materials. Moreover, unlike a netbook, a keyboard isn't a necessity for the iPad, which means you won't have to invest in yet another hunk of plastic, metal, or the like. (That's not to say the iPad doesn't support a keyboard.)

Being the first to own the latest technology is definitely not green living, but at least consumers are faced more environmentally friendly options when making new purchases. 

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

January 21, 2010

Self-Sufficient, 3-Wheeled Futuristic Concept Electric Car Inspired by Air and Water

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If you are going to design an eco-friendly car for the future, what better place to find inspiration than nature itself! The AERO is a three-wheeled electric vehicle modeled after air and water. Ecofriend explains the AERO's unique features:

The lightweight vehicle can reach high speed consuming a small amount of energy, which too is generated by the vehicle itself...

The self-sufficient vehicle can be recharged by three different systems. A wind power system harvests wind energy and uses it to recharge the onboard battery pack. Two solar panels located between the front wheels absorb daylight to power the batteries. When the sun isn't shining and the wind isn't blowing, the vehicle can be recharged by plugging it into any source of 120V.


Imagine a self-sufficient car!

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

October 5, 2009

Recycled Cardboard Fold n' Play Audio Speakers

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OrigAudio has created "the first-of-its-kind recycled, self-powered, portable speakers".

Specifications:

Two 1 watt speakers
Cube Size: 3.15 x 3.15 x 3.15 inches (8 x 8 x 8 centimeters)
3.5mm Standard Audio Jack Plug
Made from Recycled Materials
NO batteries or external power required
Universally Compatible with any device that has a headphone jack (MP3 players, laptops, cell phones, cd players, etc.)

These speakers are really cool, as they flatten to fit into any small space. They sound pretty good playing off my laptop, but off my iPod touch the sounds is too quiet (this may be my fault with some setting on the iPod). The OrigAudio Fold N' Play Recycled Speakers come in a variety of designs, and you can even design your own!

OrigAudio has also partnered with the non-profit Music National Service.

Music National Service (MNS) is a nonprofit enterprise that supports and expands the use of music to address important civic and social needs. Research shows music to be an effective intervention in: 1) under-resourced public schools and low-income communities to develop more successful students and youth; 2) health care and therapeutic settings for patient recovery and improved functioning; 3) the public domain for increased civic engagement, diplomacy and peace.

I love our OrigAudio speakers, and think they will be great in situations that require portability.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

September 18, 2009

Etsy Finds: Handmade Dual Wooden iPod and iPhone Dock

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I love discovering handmade treasures on Etsy, and I couldn't resist sharing this Dual Wooden iPod and iPhone Dock! Each dock is handmade to order from cedar. It takes three weeks for your custom iPod dock to be made and shipped.  I'd love to have one of these decorating my home.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

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