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2007 August » Our Sustainable Home
Archive for: August, 2007

Magnetic Refrigerator improves efficiency 60%

August 30th, 2007

Researchers as the University of Denmark have developed a new way to cool using magnets. The technique is completely silent and 60% more energy efficient than traditional compressor-based refrigerators.
The first prototypes, however, will not be available until 2010.

Posted by Colin
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Aerogel Building Materials

August 19th, 2007

We’ve been big fans of Aerogel (aka “Solid Smoke”) for many years and have even considered making some of our own as a fun project.

If you haven’t heard of it, Aerogel is the lightest solid known to man. If you were ti take a fish tank full of Nitrogen gas (pure nitrogen is slightly heavier than air so it will just sit in an open-topped tank) you can ‘float’ Aerogel blocks on the surface of the nitrogen. It also happens to have remarkable insulation properties.

The last we heard, Aerogel had a small defect that prevented it from being used widely: it was quite fragile. But the fine folks at Aspen Aerogels have apparently gotten that problem solved and now offer a wide range of Aerogel products, including some specifically for building construction.

We’ve dropped them a note to ask about pricing. It would be incredible if we could actually manage to incorporate this material into the shell of the house.

Posted by Colin
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Detergentless clothes washer

August 1st, 2007

An interesting posting appeared yesterday about a new detergentless washing machine (french only) from Haier.

As pointed out in the comments of the posting (via Engadget): There is no mention of it having an EnergyStar rating, likely because splitting water into OH- and H+ (the process the machine uses instead of detergent) likely uses quite a lot of electricity.

Still, a very interesting start. (Plus, if I’m right about the near-future promise of solar power, exchanging electricity for cleaner water will be a trade I’ll be happy to make.)

Posted by Colin
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