Wind Power for the Home

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Good news for homeowners interested in supplementing their electricity with something other than solar power. Southwest Windpower is a company that will soon start offering small-wind generators for homes.Sounds like they’ll be available around August 2006. These mini-turbines will be a great option for people who live in areas that receive less sun. Or areas that get a lot of wind and a lot of sun! After spending this spring getting blown away in the desert southwest, this looks like a great option to me. You can read the full report in the Red Herring on-line newsletter:

“Skystream will change the way many Americans power their homes and take control of their energy costs,” said Andrew Kruse, co-founder and vice president of business development. “Wind energy for the individual is finally mainstream.”

But what’s the deal with cost, installation, etc? Here’s more from the Red Herring Website:

Skystream includes all the inverters, controllers, and other parts integrated in the generator, meaning that electricians only need to wire it to the house and plug it in, said Mr. Kruse.

That lowers the total installed cost to between $8,000 and $10,000—including $5,150 for the generator and between $1,000 and $3,000 for the tower, depending on height and design.

At that cost, and with a life span of 20 years, the system would deliver power for between $0.08 and $0.09 per kilowatt hour, Mr. Kruse said. That compares with a price of $0.15 to $0.20 per kilowatt hour for other small-wind technologies and for solar power, at least in the U.S., he said.


Another Doomsday Report

Guess what dear readers, you’ve got exactly 35 years to enjoy civilization as we know it! In a doomsday report that rivals even James Lovelock’s “Revenge of Gaia” theory, robotics professor Dylan Evans reports that we’ve got less than four decades to head to hills, learn to survive, or perish. That’s why he’s sold all his possessions and is setting up a groovy experimental Utopia in Scotland. He’s invited 200 strangers to go along for the ride. Hmmm…I wonder if he’s selected a few nubile love children to help repopulate the planet after the collapse. Ok, first of all, aren’t there nicer places to set up your commune than the Scottish highlands? Second, how do you come up with a figure like 35 years? Couldn’t you say, “I think that civilization will collapse before the end the century?” Wouldn’t that improve your chances of being right and not looking like an idiot if things are going just fine in 35 years?


Eco-Friendly Home and Health Products in the U.K.

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21st Century Health is a U.K. based business devoted to natural and healthy products for the home. Their basic philosophy is: no harsh chemicals and no animal testing. While they sell a lot of body care products, they also sell an impressive range of natural cleaning products for the bathroom, kitchen, etc. The popularity of these kinds of stores is giving more hope that consumers are really having a big impact on the environment simply through their purchases.


Cool Ergonomic Garden Tools

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The NRG Radius Garden Ergonomic Trowelhas a very cool design that will help save you any aches and pains in your wrist from frequent gardening. This tool was designed by gardeners who were concerned about the number of injuries caused by traditional gardening tools. In addition to a great design, the handles are made of SantopreneTM, which is a non-latex thermoplastic that is soft and easy to handle in both wet and dry conditions.


Green Home Store

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I was doing some research on environmentally friendly companies and products last week and found the Green Home Environmental store. This week I thought I’d share the find with you all. Green Home sells a ton of cool gifts, gadgets, and useful products for a more eco-friendly family and home. From eco-friendly clothing for infants to low-flow shower heads, this is a great place for practical environmentalists to do their shopping. Here’s their history and mission statement from their website.

We are, as we enter our fifth year of operation, one of the longer-lasting environmental stores and resource centers on the Internet. Our offices are still technically in a garage in the Richmond District of San Francisco, though they have gotten upgraded somewhat. There does still remain some question as to whether it’s actually a garage or a tropical spaceship. That part may never change. It did indeed all begin upstairs, in the living room of the founder Lawrence Comras, with a series of discussions among some of the nation’s foremost environmental scientists, writers and thinkers, about what “green” really means. Brought together through an extraordinary series of serendipitous meetings, this core group attracted others of like mind, until about fifteen of us–some huddled in the garage (we now have heat), others scattered across the country, became the Green Home Team.