The MeterPlug Tracks How Much Electricity You Consume By Appliance.

The MeterPlug app screenshot.The MeterPlug is an energy tracking adapter that sits in between an electrical outlet and your appliances. Once connected, the MeterPlug lets you monitor your appliance’s power consumption data in real time and gives you the ability to turn off appliances that are not in use via the MeterPlug app. Using the app, the makers of the MeterPlug determined that a 50″ Sony LED TV consumed a nutty $18.25 worth of electricity in standby mode.

The MeterPlug is currently on fundraising site Indiegogo. [GigaOM]

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Turning On The Rima LED Light Is Like Opening A Curtain. May Be The Coolest LED Light I Can’t Afford.

The Rima light has 56 LEDs and was designed by Matthias Pinkert for the German lighting company Dreipuls. The Rima light lets the user slide its 4 rings, like opening a curtain, to adjust and create the perfect amount of light for their application.

Unfortunately great design does come with a price – the Rima sells for approx $2400 (US). Looks like I’ll be sticking with the “Bite Me” edible LED light until the Rima reaches economies of scale. [Fast Co.Design]

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Home Energy Hogs: Clothes Dryers In The US And Tea Kettles In The UK. Tea Kettles?

The 4%'rs:  Tea Kettle vs Clothes DryerIt seems people in the UK love their tea the way we love our dry clothes. According to an article in the Guardian Sustainable Business Blog, the Brits are loving their tea so much that it’s accounting for 4% of UK household carbon emissions. The 4% is familiar because it matches how much electricity is consumed by clothes dryers in a US household.

How can a tea kettle use so much power? It seems tea drinkers in the UK like their tea hot and due to distractions, have to re-boil the water in their tea kettle 2.4 times per cup of tea. The solution offered by the article was clothesline-simple – whistles on tea kettles.

Easy fix and our only job left is to find a less-dorky Jubbling equivalent website in the UK that will push tea kettle whistles the way we push clotheslines. [Guardian SBB via Grist]

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TimberTower Builds World’s First Wooden Wind Turbine.

TimberTower Wind TurbineInstalled in early November 2012, the wooden TimberTower wind turbine is made out of glued laminated timber panels and will produce approx 1,500 kWh of electricity. The TimberTower wind turbine is 328′ tall and has a guaranteed minimum lifespan of 20 years. According to TimberTower, their just completed wood-built turbine replaced the need for 300 tons of sheet steel and 400 tons of carbon used to build standard steel towers.

Another advantage of the TimberTower is that it can be transported to a building site in standard 40ft trailers. [Gizmag]

Related: “Turbine Blades Made Out Of Vegetables To Solve Wind’s Hidden Pollution Problem”

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Would Solar Power Work At Your House?

Solar PanelsGreat story on GigaOM about Kevin C. Tofel’s personal journey and switch to solar power. The article,“One year with solar energy at home: Mostly sunny!,” covers the costs, tax breaks and the decisions he and his family had to make to go solar. Kevin and his family live in southeastern Pennsylvania and lost power during Hurricane Sandy – here’s how one of their cost-cutting choices came back on them:

“One of the upfront decisions you’ll need to make when planning a solar panel system is will you still be tied to the electric grid? Or will you go off-grid? There are pros and cons to each; the former costs less up front while the latter provides stored power during the evening hours or during an outage. Since we had no power during Hurricane Sandy, you can guess which system we have: One that keeps us tied to the grid.”

If you’re seriously considering switching to solar, read the full article. It’s excellent and focuses on the economics of switching to solar and stays away from the “I’m greener than you” message. [GigaOM]

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Find Ways To Avoid Using Your Clothes Dryer.

Energy Stars vs WannabeGreentech posted the article “Clothes Dryers May Use 35% More Energy Than Advertised” that highlighted the fact that clothes dryers have not received an Energy Star rating yet and may consume even more power than posted on the appliance. Current dryer tests use dampened napkin-size polyester-cotton blended cloths, not heavy cottons, to measure how efficiently a tested clothes dryer removes moisture. In addition, the tests do not capture data as to when each individual dryer automatically shuts-off based on detected fabric moisture levels which is another measure of how one clothes dryer would consume more/less power than another model.

Testing aside, clothes dryer’s account for 4% of the total residential energy use in the United States and Jubbling thinks the best way to reduce that percentage is to avoid their use. Here are some tips on how to avoid using the clothes dryer during the fall/winter seasons:

  1. Santa shorts hanging on a clothesline.Do Your Laundry Based On The Weather Forecast: Just because it’s getting colder doesn’t mean you can’t use your outdoor clothesline. Wait for an above freezing sunny day to do your laundry and let the dry cool air do the work of your dryer.

  2. Hang Clothes Inside: Most home thermostats are set between 65 – 72 degrees which is warm enough to dry your clothes indoors. Hang them over your washer/dryer, bathroom or anywhere you have a rod installed. Looks redneck but so what. Note: avoid hanging your clothes near your kitchen or they’ll end up smelling like last night’s dinner.

  3. Mr. Mom Flannel ShirtWear Your Clothes Multiple Times Between Washings: It’s colder out and you don’t sweat as much. Take this as a challenge and see how many days you can wear the same outfit – especially if you’re married and you no longer impress your spouse.

  4. Wear Less Heavy Cottons Clothing Or Just Wear Them As Outerwear: Heavy cottons are a pain in the ass to dry. But if you like to wear heavy cottons, don’t let them touch your skin and wear them repeatedly between washing/drying (refer back to reason #3 about not impressing your spouse for extra motivation).

Clip-n-Drip clothes dryerI’d recommend using the clothes dryer for socks and underwear to lessen the amount of time you have to spend and to keep space open for larger items. Or you could go with a clip-n-drip solution that’ll hold multiple small items for air drying. [Greentech]

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