Whether you want to use Microsoft's new Windows Vista operating system or not, you're almost certainly going to get it if you buy a new Windows laptop. While reviews of Vista have been mixed, one thing is certain: some of Vista's features, such as the Aero interface and Windows Sidebar, can suck the life out of a laptop battery in no time. In particular, the Aero Glass interface has shown to be a major energy drain.
The wind power industry made big strides last year, according to a Worldwatch Institute report released late Thursday.
15,200 megawatts of new wind turbines were installed around the world last year, representing a 26 percent jump in global wind power capacity, according to the study.
By year's end, total wind power capacity exceeded 74,200 megawatts, enough to offset 43 million tons of carbon dioxide, the institute said.
Germany, Spain and the United States are currently the world's top wind power producers, putting out 60 percent of the global total, but the report says the alternative energy … Read more
MIT students James Graham and Thaddeus Jusczyk won first place with the "Crowd Farm," a proposal to produce electricity through stomping feet at the Holcim Foundation Sustainable Construction competition in Japan.
The idea is that the floor would contain a sub-floor made up of several blocks that would slightly depress when someone stepped on it. The slippage of the blocks against one another as people walked would then generate power through the principle of the dynamo, a device that converts the motion energy into that of an electric current.
A single step doesn't pack a lot of … Read more
Wristwatches are hardly the only personal effects that are increasingly harnessing solar energy, but this is the first we've encountered that's used to tame a beard. The "Solar Energy Shaver from Sabeco can operate on the sun's rays alone, according to Red Ferret, though charge times, pricing and other specs weren't available.
It does leave us wondering when, however, such a product would be particularly useful. Usually solar-powered gadgets make the most sense for, say, such venues as camp sites where AC outlets are scarce to none. But isn't that the best excuse not … Read more
The green-tech sector is getting hot for stock investments these days, in part because of some very hot recent solar IPOs, such as that of First Solar. As with everything, personal investors need to do their homework. Here's a few places to get started.
I follow three Web sites (and have occasionally written for or been interviewed by each of them) catering to investors in the energy and green-tech sector.
RenewableEnergyStocks.com is a content-rich site run by financial public-relations firm Investor Ideas, a subsidiary of Econ Corporate Services. Since the company is typically paid by the companies, you … Read more
The most surprising thing about this household energy monitor is that it's made in Japan. Not because the country has anything against green technology, but because the device doesn't have animated penguins or some other irritating example of the country's kawaii culture.
The "Wattson Limited Edition" supposedly can monitor individual appliances and instantaneously provide information on the amount of power it uses and at what cost. OhGizmo notes that it's unclear how the gadget from DIY Kyoto connects or taps into the power lines, but it had better work if consumers expect to recoup … Read more
You can find a decent computer for a lot less than $1,000 these days. But what if you want to pay even less without splurging on software, and can't stand to deal with that oxymoron called "tech support" when something goes awry?
The pay-as-you-go Zonbu PC is a novel new option. This book-size, two-pound desktop lacks a hard drive, instead storing your data on its servers using 128-bit encryption (hands-on here). Zonbu's 4GB flash memory is loaded with Linux and open-source apps.
Similar to cell phone or cable TV service, you'd pay $99 upfront … Read more
Ze-Gen has pulled in a pile of money to make power from piles of trash.
The Boston-based company on Monday announced that it has secured $4.5 million in funding to carry through on its plans to build a facility that converts municipal solid waste into electricity.
As previously reported, Flagship Ventures led the financing which was joined by VantagePoint Venture Partners. The $4.5 million complements an initial $2.25 million in seed funding.
Next week, Ze-Gen will open a test facility in New Bedford, Mass, which will take construction site debris and pass it through a bath of … Read more
OK, so maybe you did have something to do with your uncle's coronary while navigating an RC tarantula his way at the dinner table. You'd be willing to downsize to a robot roach for future pranks, but you don't want to be in the vicinity because you'll get the blame (again).
Don't despair--a solution may be at hand. The "Solar Cricket" will take care of your mischief-making needs all by itself, energized by sunlight so that it can "waggle his feelers and do a little dance " when you're nowhere to … Read more
There aren't enough down-to-earth, Web-based tools to help you visualize a greener home. The Green Building Studio is for architects, while Lucid Design Group's energy dashboard is found only in a slim number of buildings. Yahoo's Green House is pretty, yet it can't be personalized.
But I just wasted a fine chunk of the afternoon playing with a kids' Web site that makes a great model for what I'd like to see for adults. My Abodo is an excellent, Flash-based interface that walks you through building a virtual green home. Created in part by the … Read more