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Throwing Water Down the Drain: Simple Steps for Heat Recovery

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Many of us turn a few knobs and, miraculously, hot water comes out without much thought other than our energy and water bills. However, the water that ends up in the drain retains a certain about of embodied energy that is capable of being recovered. This water is now technically graywater, but you’ve paid valuable money for the energy used to raise its temperature. It makes sense to recapture this energy and there are a few great products that can help with this.

Heat recovery is nothing new, however it is becoming more main stream and affordable than ever before. If you’re looking to cut a few bucks out of your energy bill while looking for a relatively easy way to help make a bigger impact on your regional energy footprint, then a small addition to your water circulation lines may be the answer.

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Mobile Device Solar Charging Station

It’s seems that at the moment we are coming closer to achieving 100% 24/7. It’s nothing new and it’s not shocking. However it is certainly convenient. One can argue whether convenience has ever truly been as present as it is today (every generation has always been the most advanced in history). But right now certainly seems pretty slick. And yet there will always be a small part in most of us that wouldn’t mind a quiet, unplugged moment. However, even those who enjoy a fairly analogue lifestyle have been gutted of battery life one or twice. And there is something that just feels wrong about plugging up to a wall socket in an Applebee’s to get a few minutes of precious connection.

Steph and I were taking a stroll through Brooklyn Bridge Park last weekend and stumbled upon one of these.

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nstagram: maegenmichael

An AT&T mobile device solar charging station that boasts the equivalent charging rate of a wall outlet. There where 6 types of adapters that fit most devices. Though I did not need a charge, I couldn’t help but get a little giddy about the thought of soaking up my first ever solar phone juice. The iPhone 5 adapter looked like it had taken a beating in all it’s public glory, alas, it did not work. I have no doubt that in the coming months and years, these devices will be everywhere. So whether you like it or not, get ready for waves of friendly, yet probably very expensive energy to be available right when you need it.

Got Married

 

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Photo by Chelsea Proulx

 

We recently spent some time in the charming old town of New Haven, CT. While previously, New Haven held a sense a professional responsibility, with the occasional apertif, this visit was different, and a little more personal. We came back for a small visit and to get married in the gloriously picturesque Edgerton Park, with a simple reception at Barcelona Wine Bar.  We met while working in New Haven in 2008, lived there for another 5 and then moved to Brooklyn to develop our personal interests in people, cities and, of course, architecture and design. We will get back to posting shortly. Thanks for all the kind wishes and we are incredibly grateful to have each other and such a supportive network of family and friends. Live well.

 

Steph + Mike

 

Rethink Zinc: An Eco-Friendly Architectural Metal

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mage courtesy of Gail Whitney Karn at RHEINZINK

You may not immediately think of the word “sustainability” when considering metal as an exterior cladding material. This is in part due to the harmful processes by which metals are extracted, fabricated and then treated. This can lead to destruction of local ecology by extraction, factory emissions and byproducts and ultimately depending on the coatings, poor indoor air quality once installed.  For example, some ferrous metals such as the always beautiful corten steel have adverse runoff effects into the local water and air supply. However, Zinc stands in a category all its own when considering its environmental impacts via extraction, production and implementation and is gaining popularity especially in the United States. Besides zinc’s beautiful and unique matte bluish-gray patina, if you’re thinking about using metal cladding for your next, or first,  project here are a few reasons you may want to specify architectural zinc panels.

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Harvesting Dew Droplets with Minimal Technology

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A simple and affordable strategy to harvest water (up to 25 potable gallons per day) from naturally condensing dew droplets may finally be upon us. Designer Arturo Vittori is responding to the needs of millions of people in regions where clean, safe water is not readily available. People in some parts of Ethiopia spend a whopping 40 billion hours per year searching for safe, potable water.

The beauty of this design is in it’s simplicity. A woven lattice work of juncus stalks with a polypropylene mesh stretched on the inside aide in the collection of condensed water. Literally bringing potable water to people “out of thin air”. If you’re interested read more in this article from the Smithsonian.

Will technology like this last in the desert? How long until this becomes a commercial application available for the home? Let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

Portable Solar-Powered Window Socket

We are entering into one of the most interesting periods in human history. Our generation will be remembered as having created strong survival strategies generated by a growing sense of responsibility.

Inhabitat recently posted an electrical outlet that can attach to your window, check it out here. What do you think? Is this what we can expect for future DIY energy?

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