Building Technology Update for August 16, 2009

August 16, 2009 at 9:15 pm Leave a comment

Tonight we have a crop of new and potential products for your building to make it more efficient and more environmentally friendly.

Our first story is vis the Treehugger.com site (http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/07/kirei-board-radical-material-big-impact.php?dcitc=th_rss_design).  This product is from a Japanese company by the name of Kirei.  This board is a wonderfully designed product that makes use of otherwise discarded material and that also provides additional income to the farmers of sorghum.

Excerpt: “Sorghum stalks used in the manufacture of Kirei Board are a rapidly renewable resource left after the edible portion of the plant is harvested. They are currently using the plant in the United States to create syrup. The potential to also use Sweet Sorghum as a viable biofuel has been a big topic in the news. In a Reuters interview with Mark Winslow, an agriculture expert at the International Crops Research Institute:

“The plant has the potential to produce a ‘smart’ biofuel that won’t cut into world food supplies. The U.S. Department of Agriculture studies show corn-based ethanol produces one and a half times as much fuel as the energy used to make it. Sweet sorghum on the other hand, produces 8 units of fuel for every 1 unit of fuel used to make it in developing countries. Even in the United States, where mechanized production uses more fuel, sweet sorghum ethanol should still have 4 times the energy yield of corn-based ethanol.””

Next we have a kitchen designed and manufactured out of what I think of kitchen waste, anyway at least yogurt pots and discarded coffee cups!  The story is on Ecofriend (http://www.ecofriend.org/entry/eco-homes-milestone-shows-uk-s-first-kitchen-made-from-yogurt-pots-and-coffee-cups/) and really represents what is possible if a little forethought and planning are employed into the design of where we live and work.

Our remaining items are very water centric, something that is increasingly on the mind of folks where I live in Southern California!

First we have Surestop and device that brings to your water supply what those systems said to allow you to turn off all of your unnecessary electrical items as you leave. The story on Cleantechnica  (http://cleantechnica.com/2009/07/23/surestop-device-could-give-major-boost-to-water-conservation/) speaks glowingly about the device.  However I see it as a somewhat limited device as it seems to primarily to target the control of leaking appliances and faucets and potential damage prevention due to burst pipes.  Its convenience is wonderful and if I owned a summer cabin in the mountains I would buy one immediately as it would solve that situation excellently.

Next we have a German product called Envii that purports to allow you to turn off the water on your urinals!  This will be truly a boon if it works.  The product is in the traditional cake shape, although green in color familiar to men world wide.  The differnce however is that this cake is made of urine eating bacteria. The full story is on Greenbang (http://www.greenbang.com/a-tablet-to-make-urinals-turn-green-with-envii_10649.html).

Lastly we have another entry in the efficient shower category. This system, called Smart Shower seems to try and be all things to all people at once. Its main selling point from my perspective is the heat exchanger and internalized water heating system.  My experience with these heat on demand systems is less than wonderful. The heat exchanger is a nice though and certainly makes the choice of an electric heater more efficient.  The other features mentioned including the built in basin for washing a baby are simply too much in my opinion but you should read the story and watch the video and judge for yourself. The story is on Ecofriend (http://www.ecofriend.org/entry/eco-gadgets-smart-shower-saves-water-and-harnesses-waste-heat/).

As always I thank you for your time and interest. Please take the time to Digg, Stumble Upon or add to the other social network of your choice to help me spread the word about these issues. Please forward any questions or suggestions to: askthefm@gmail.com

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Entry filed under: Design, Environment, Technology. Tags: , , , , , .

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