Coolest Doghouse Ever by Graypants

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Looking for something different for Fido’s birthday this year? Well look no further. This custom dog house from the architectural duo ‘Graypants’ should do quite nicely. Taking their cue from modernism’s spareness and penchant for glass curtain walls, the design duo has crafted a fabulous little abode for your pampered canine.

(more…)

BLOOMhouse Finds Life After Solar Decathalon

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The BLOOM was one of my favorite contenders at the last Solar Decathalon and now it seems to have found a new home. The famed Texas MacDonald Observatory is the lucky recipient of this great structure, which, in its new environment, seems to be thriving:

From Treehugger:

"When we arrived, Sam pointed out that the batteries were way
overcharged. Even though the state-of-the-art inverters are set up to
divert the excess energy to the three hot water heaters and outdoor
Dutch Tub (which can hold five people by the way), there was still too
much charge in the batteries. Our job was to waste as much energy as we
could to bring the energy stored in the battery bank back down to a
safe level. We left the doors open, while we used the AC, the
microwave, the full size freezer/refrigerator, the convection counter
stove and oven, and we also had music playing through the giant plasma
flatscreen TV for hours. Hap even let the on-demand water heater run for an hour to heat the Dutch Tub.

By morning, we were able to bring the energy storage to just above
its ideal limit capacity. But by then, the sun was beginning to rise
again and restart the cycle. Once the sun gets through its morning
stretching routine, the up to 5 KILOwatts
the panels gather, prevents any appliances from accessing the battery
bank. At that point, all the power comes directly from the panels. Even
the most wasteful occupant couldn’t use more than the energy the panels
can capture. Did I mention the plug in electric cart outside? It
doesn’t put a dent in the system."

Eco-friendly Backpacks at Inhabitat

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Our friends over at Inhabitat have put together a great review of backpacks that will do everything hide your iPod to charge your iPhone. Can’t wait for these to come down in price. Check out the deets here…

My favorite is the Voltaic solar, which charges all your gadgets, and is made of 100% recycled PET. Yay!

Sahara Forest project; Solar Microclimates in the Desert

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Solar week continues with this great project out of the UK which has the potential to actually reverse the devastation caused by current greenhouse technology which is depleting water tables around the globe.

The Sahara Forest project
would marry huge greenhouses with concentrated solar power (CSP), which
uses mirrors to focus the sun’s rays and generate heat and electricity.
The installations would turn deserts into lush patches of vegetation,
according to its designers, and without the need to dig wells for fresh
water, which has depleted acquifers in many parts of the world.

Read the rest after the jump…

2009 Prius Preview: Faster, Cheaper, more Efficient

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As part of Solar Week here at (incli)NATION I wanted to have a look at the solar Prius. Well, it doesn’t seem to be even close to production, and while I’m all for speculative technology, I’ll need to be upgrading my Prius pretty soon. I found a couple advanced images at Road & Track and thought I’d share them here.

"As for the motor/engine, here’s what we uncovered. The displacement of
the inline-4 will grow from 1.5 liters to 1.8, which will result in
more power and torque. The gasoline engine will produce about 100 bhp
and 105 lb.-ft. of torque, and the electric motor generating about 60
bhp, making the new Prius more powerful than ever. We hear it will run
from zero to 60 mph in about 9.5 seconds and reach a top speed of about
115 mph.

With this extra oomph, one would expect the car’s
fuel economy to suffer. Nope. Amazingly, the Prius will be even more
fuel-efficient than it is now. According to our sources, Toyota has
improved its hybrid
system so the electric motor plays a bigger role when driving.
Therefore, don’t be surprised when a slow drive to the corner market is
achieved without using a single drop of gasoline.

Now here’s the real kicker. The price of the all-new Prius will probably be
the about same, perhaps even lower, than the current one. Toyota is
expected to offer three trim levels: base, luxury and eco, with the
base model starting around $21,000. Of course, these prices are at the
mercy of the dollar/yen exchange rate, so don’t take them to the bank
just yet. What is sure is that the next Prius will be as
ground-breaking as the model before it, and Toyota will remain the
global leader in fuel-efficient modes of transportation."

Ecoastarchreview, Designnotes, and Architechnophilia

We’ve had some mentions across the blogosphere lately and thought y’all might be interested in checking out some other great resources out there. So here are some of the blogs linking back to our posts:

http://www.architechnophilia.blogspot.com/
http://designnotes.info/
http://ecoastarchreview.blogspot.com/2008/08/our-fave-20-design-blogs.html

ecoastarch actually included us in their top 20 design blogs [number 8!]

Thanks to everyone!

d.

RoofRay: Residential Solar Reality Check

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After the Labor Day break, we’re doing a solar week theme. Up here in the Northwest we tend to get as much sunshine after Labor Day as before so the theme seemed apropos.

First up, Roofray.com, a new site that integrates Google Maps to give homeowners a ballpark idea of cost/savings benefits of various solar options. Simple to use and fun, Roofray will likely put you off the idea at least until the up-front cost comes down. My system came in at 200K! and a breakeven date 20 years down the line.

Check it out here, http://www.roofray.com/

Elgin Movement Recycled Cufflinks by SteamPunk

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Move over Prina, there is a new kid on the block. Check out these tight cufflinks designed by Watch-cufflinks á la Steampunk; take a defunct designer watch, pull out the guts, slap on a link back and voila! you’ve just upcycled some junk into a fashion accessory guaranteed to start a conversation! Check out the huge selection and get yours here…

Rabbit Lamps will Conquer the Earth

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Just ran across these over at Dinosaurs and Robots and can’t get them out of my mind. And Mister Jalopy is right, they must be used in multiple, all over the house!
more here… and buy them here…

Theo Jansen’s Kinetic Sculpture is Alive! [almost]

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These sculptural ‘animals’ are amazing; like a combination of DaVinci and David Cronenberg. Jansen has hit upon a form that resonates with my sense of the future/past as present; fairy tales, dinosaurs and mythical beasts.

They also make me think of the effects of space and time in the way Thomas Mann used space and time. Mann suggested [in The Magic Mountain] that movement through space has similar effects upon a person as those of the passage of time; distanciation, obfuscation and disorientation. Not ‘time-traveling’ but ‘travel-timing’; faster if not as permanent.

Anyway, check out the video too…

From Inhabitat:

“Theo Jansen has been creating wind-walking examples of artificial life since 1990. What was at first a rudimentary breed has slowly evolved into a generation of machines that are able to react to their environment: “over time, these skeletons have become increasingly better at surviving the elements such as storms and water and eventually I want to put these animals out in herds on the beaches, so they will live their own lives.”

Constructed as intricate assemblages of piping, wood, and wing-like sails, Jansen’s creatures are constantly evolving and have become excellently adapted to their sandy beach environment. The creatures sport legs, which “prove to be more efficient on sand than wheels . . . they don’t need to touch every inch of the ground along the way, as a wheel has to”. .”

read the rest after the jump…

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