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The UK’s Biomass Problem

The McNeil Generating Station in Burlington, Vermont, consumes about 76 tons of wood chips per hour when running at full tilt. The 50-megawatt plant, built for $67 million in 1984, can also run on natural gas or oil. (Photo: Burlington Electric Department / NREL) I’m freshly off a two-week stint in the United Kingdom, a visit that came just as the climate scientists convened by the United Nations released their no-holds-barred report showing what we all need to do to forestall the worst impacts of climate change. In many ways, the UK is making impressive progress toward meeting this challenge:…

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Announcing the Winner of the Fall Pumpkin Porch Coloring Contest

CONGRATULATIONS to Holly B. in Cincinnati, OH! You'll hear from us by email after the holiday weekend. Thank you again for your entry, and thanks to all entrants for their submissions. You can view all submissions for this contest here. You can download FREE coloring pages here.  PLEASE NOTE: THERE IS NO ACTIVE CONTEST BUT YOU CAN CERTAINLY DOWNLOAD ANY PAGE TO COLOR FOR FUN. New coloring contest coming soon! Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! https://www.thisoldhouse.com/ideas/announcing-winner-fall-pumpkin-porch-coloring-contest

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Solar Installer Will Train Its Own Electricians

New England-based ReVision Energy can't find as many licensed electricians as it would like. The solution? Open training centers of its own. (Photo: ReVision Energy) A New England solar installer with operations in three states faced a challenging shortage of licensed electricians in the region’s labor pool. So the solar contractor is opening its own training centers for electricians. ReVision Energy, with 225 employees and more than 7,000 solar installations to its credit, is now training 34 students in Maine and another 20 in Massachusetts, Mainebiz reported. The company has opened the Revision Energy Technical Center in Brentwood, New Hampshire,…

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Square Off Chess Set | Gift Guide 2018

There are chess sets, and then there is Square Off. Handcrafted and exquisitely finished with rosewood accents, the set is as beautiful as it is smart. Square Off is driven by a powerful AI engine, responding magically to your every move. Like something out of Hogwarts, an invisible opponent makes skilled moves in response to your gameplay. Square Off can challenge even the best chess players, with 20 programmed difficulty levels and always-learning AI. Connect your board via Chess.com and play anyone in the community, from anywhere in the world. https://www.thisoldhouse.com/ideas/square-chess-set-gift-guide-2018

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Bringing in the Sheaves: Harvest Table Inspiration from Caro of Somerset

Holiday table forecast: botanical clouds ahead. Suspended like rustic chandeliers, artful bundles of grass have been cropping up all over Instagrammed party spreads. This season we’re taking inspiration from a Nordic supper staged by Caro, Natalie Jones’s design shop, a favorite Remodelista pilgrimage stop in the town of Bruton, in Somerset, England. Jones collaborated with stylist Hana Snow on the natural party decorations. Breath in: the room is subtly perfumed with sweetgrass. Photography courtesy of Caro. Above: “The setting was inspired by a windswept walk through the forest and onto the beach,” explains Natalie—she used glassware as an allusion to water.…

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10 Easy Pieces: Downdraft Range Vents

A bulky overhead range hood can be a blemish on the blueprint of an ultra-streamlined kitchen. Architects despise them; they’re obtrusive and obstructive, but the issue of residual cooking residue is not insignificant. The answer? The downdraft range vent. A slim retractable design that sits flush with the range or countertop and is fairly undetectable when not in use. These are the 10 models we like most, from a range of popular makers for coordinating ranges. (For more on the downdraft see our post Remodeling 101: Nearly Invisible Downdraft Kitchen Vents.) Above: The Gaggenau 400 Series Retractable Downdraft Vent comes…

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