The gadgets in your smart home now come with software updates.
Nest Labs today released the equivalent of version 2.0 software for its smart thermostat on the Web, iOS or Android. The software tweaks for the $249 Learning Thermostat are designed to help people better understand how thermostat changes affect energy usage.
The update presents energy history data over 10 days, a longer period than before and indicates when heating and cooling systems turned on. It can also show what caused setting changes -- the weather, a manual adjustment, or an auto-away setting.
A new air conditioning feature, called … Read more
Cree is leaning on high design to get LED lighting onto lamp posts.
The company today introduced new lines of streetlights that use long-lasting and energy-efficient LEDs, including AeroBlades lamps which are an array of LED light sources in blade-like strips.
Cree also updated its traditional LED streetlights for overhead lighting and developed a lamp with traditional bulb designed to fit into historic districts.
The products are the first since Cree, which makes LED light sources, purchased Ruud Lighting to expand its lighting fixture business. LEDs are a good fit for street lights in that they last longer than other … Read more
The unveiling of Fisker Automotive's Atlantic model last night proves once again the EV maker can design beautiful cars. But the company's far away from demonstrating it's a healthy business.
The Atlantic extended-range electric vehicle is a luxury, four-door sedan expected to cost about $50,000. Like the sportier and more expensive Fisker Karma, it has bold styling and the high-tech touches of cars in its class. It's also electric, driven by motors and a gas engine that kicks in to keep batteries charged for longer rides.
As a lower-priced car than the $108,000 Karma, … Read more
Social media has officially come to energy efficiency.
Opower today announced the availability of a Facebook application that lets people track electricity use and communicate with friends around home energy. People can set up different groups of friends and compare themselves to similar homes or the most efficient homes.
Sixteen utilities in the U.S. (see list here) are participating in a program which feeds utility bill information directly into Facebook, allowing a person to see total kilowatt-hour usage. Others will need to manually input monthly energy data to compare to regional average and participating friends.
Living in a dense urban environment, I appreciate the practicalities of a small car. While testing the i-Miev, I had no qualms about driving it home every night, knowing that parking would not be much of an issue.
But with only 63 miles range, making it back and forth might have become a problem, except for the fact that San Francisco is only about seven miles wide. As the road distance of my commute comes under five miles, the i-Miev's range was more than adequate.
Sounds like the i-Miev would be the perfect car for my lifestyle, but my … Read more
While most auto manufacturers are focusing their attention on the news and new models being revealed at the New York International Auto Show this week, BMW is setting its sights on the Beijing motor show, where it will debut the latest addition to the i family of vehicles.
Photos of Fisker Automotive's Atlantic luxury plug-in electric are online a day before the company officially unveils the car in New York.
Called Project Nina, the four-door sedan is expected to have the same powertrain as the Fisker Karma (and Chevy Volt) -- the car is driven by an electric motor and a gas engine kicks in to maintain sufficient charge on longer rides.
Fisker is hosting a "reveal" event for the Atlantic tomorrow night in New York, where there will certainly be questions about the company's future.
The company suffered delays in bringing out the … Read more
A story from FuelCellToday shows how Honda has turned the FCX Clarity into a zero emissions electric generator on wheels. The auto manufacturer outfitted the hydrogen fuel cell vehicle with a mobile power supply system, enabling the car to provide 9 kilowatts of electricity continuously for more than seven hours on a full tank of hydrogen at peak generation. At the lower-generation rates needed to power a typical home in Japan, the FCX Clarity could provide electricity for six days.
Nissan and Mitsubishi also have vehicle-to-home power systems, albeit with smaller energy capacities. These systems can be used in emergency … Read more
How do you feel when you're tossing food into the garbage or the waste disposal?
Do tinges of guilt bubble in your throat? Does a soupcon of self-loathing slither around your brain, as you pour that curried cauliflower soup into an unknown beyond?
I bring you news that might assist your psychological health. For just this week, some British people from a clean-tech company called SeaB have been sliding around the Bay Area, trying to get our eco-princes to invest in MuckBusters.
These artfully named objects are containers into which you can shove your leftover spaghetti, tacos, or duck a l'orange and expect, after a little technical machination, to get electricity.
If you believe the estimates, all you need is half a ton of unwanted food to run about 150 computers. Which presents a sobering counterpoint to the impression one has that 150 people sitting at computers in the average office consume at least 150 tons of food.
Some will be wondering how this machine busts your meatballs. Well, you shove your food in at one end and it gets chewed up by bacteria. As often with chewing, a lot of gas emerges. Your friendly MuckBuster does a little filtering, gets itself a methane stream and then slips that gas through a heat and power system. … Read more
We Americans aren't the only ones who have gained weight. Over the past 25 years, our cars have gotten heavier too, says Amory Lovins.
Lovins, chief scientist of the Rocky Mountain Institute, says he believes that ultralight materials like carbon fiber composites can make cars simpler and cheaper to build. At the Cleantech Forum in San Francisco this week, Lovins talked about strategies to make oil-free automobiles.