927 Lee Road 268, Valley, AL (706) 773-9274

Power Outages Grew Longer in 2017

U.S. customers lost power for an average of 7.8 hours last year, nearly double the length of time from the previous year. (Photo: Portland General Electric / CC BY-ND / Flickr) The lights went out for nearly 8 hours last year for the average electricity customer in the U.S. as the number of hurricanes and other major weather events rose, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said. The average cumulative outage of 470 minutes was about double that of the year before, and the EIA analysis said that most of the rise could be attributed to major weather events. Excluding the…

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High-Tech Toilets Will Be Game Changers

An enormous market awaits a toilet that doesn't have to be connected to a water source or a sewer system. With the publication of technical standards, competition is underway to develop such a product. Some prototypes are already undergoing testing. (Photo: Bricoleurbanism / CC BY-NC / Flickr) Ready. Set. Go! The race to the high-tech toilet of the future is officially on. In early October, the International Organization for Standards, better known by its English acronym of ISO, published the first technical standard for the attributes and performance of a toilet that fully treats human waste on site, without connection to…

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The Craigslist Factor

The average American generates about 1,500 pounds of garbage annually, and then spends lots of tax dollars disposing of it. Even as recycling has taken off across the country in recent decades, the volume of all this trash has kept growing — albeit at a slower pace. Since I research how people are using the internet to reuse products, share resources, and generally make more sustainable choices, I decided to see whether Craigslist might be helping to at least slow the pace of solid waste growth. New to you Craigslist is the best-known website for buying and selling, or simply…

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Airbnb Will Design Its Own Houses

Airbnb is tinkering with designs for a new type of housing, one that's designed for shared occupancy from the start. The company hopes to test a prototype by next year. (Photo: Airbnb) Airbnb’s network of rental listings includes more than 5 million properties globally, a $38 billion empire built on the idea that homeowners would be willing to rent a spare room, or give up their homes completely while they were out of town. Now the 10-year-old company is working on a new business model: designing prototypical homes that are built specifically with shared occupancy in mind. Airbnb’s future’s division,…

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Frugal Happy: Introducing the Share Shed

Some neighbors slow down when they drive by, while others have even pulled over to grab things off the shelf. Which is funny because we never intended this to be a drive-through! Especially on cool summer evenings, neighbors go out on walks with their families, and we often see them pause at the Share Shed to peruse the goodies. Sometimes we’ll hear children giggling outside and Chris will call to me, “Someone’s at the Share Shed!” And I’ll peak through the window or go out and say hello. I’ve seen people fill their arms with our extra zucchini, kids carefully pick…

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Hydrogen Fuel Is Back in the Energy Picture

This post originally appeared at Ensia. Jorgo Chatzimarkakis was refueling his hydrogen fuel-cell car at one of the 50-plus refueling stations scattered around Germany when a Tesla driver, who was recharging his own car, approached. The man was excited to see a hydrogen-powered car in action, and was brimming with questions. Chatzimarkakis, who is secretary general of Hydrogen Europe, was happy to answer them, and the two talked for several minutes. But by then, the hydrogen car was fully refueled, while the Tesla driver still faced a long wait while his battery recharged. “This is reality,” says Chatzimarkakis. “Nowadays the…

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