Net-Zero Energy House

Today, I had a wonderful opportunity to explore the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Net-Zero Energy House.


As its name implies the residential home makes as much energy as it uses. 


It is run by one of NIST’s 7 laboratories, the Engineering Lab’s Energy and Environment Division.


The 2,700 square foot home is super-insulated and hyper-energy efficient.


It runs on only 12,000-13,000 Kilowatt per year compared to a typical home that guzzles 40,000 KW. 


You can see the array of solar panels on the roof and there is a two-way exchange of energy to/from the grid as available/needed. 


There is also solar thermal water heater. 


The home simulates a family of 4 living there cooking, bathing, watching TV, etc. 


There are 600 sensors inside the house that monitor everything. 


The garage maintains the computers and controls for the research. 


Overall, I was very proud to see the wonderful scientific research being done here. 


It was truly impressive and good for the nation and the planet.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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Military-Style ATV For Pleasure Or Kicking Butt

 

This is a very cool all-terrain vehicle (ATV) modeled after the Segway, that is built with military or extreme sports in mind. 

According to Bloomberg Businessweek, the DTV Shredder runs on tank treads, has a motocycle throttle, and the mobility of a skateboard. 

The Shredder is made by BPG Werksand can go up to 30 miles per hour, has a three-foot turning radius, can haul up to 800 pounds over rocky terrain, and costs only $4,000. 

This is a cost-effective, energy-efficient, rugged transportation mule can carry people, equipment, or supplies through friendly or hostile terrain, and it can even be used through a remote controller. 

A precursor transit device from this company was the Uno–a very cool looking, self-balancing, all-electric unicycle–that won Intel’s International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in 2007, was on the cover of Popular Science Magazine(2008), and secured $1.25 million from angel investors. 

When we talk about mobile technology, everyone first thinks of smartphones and tablet computers, but new and improved modes of personal transportation can also be innovative and high-tech with applications for everything from snowmobiling to beach patrol and hunting to overseas deployments. 

End of the world scenarios come to mind too–with a mobile device like this…outmaneuver, outwit, outlast. 

Of course, having to stand for the whole ride can be a bummer, and an open ATV certainly does not imply all-weather, so practicality limits its usefulness, but this is still my cool gadget of the week for fighting or for fun. 😉