Wednesday, 26 October 2011

3 Cool 'Green' Products you probably haven't heard of yet!

Ok, so I'm a bit of a self confessed gadet geek, but I am particularly keen on gadgets that help us to become that little bit greener. So when I came across this on Houze last week, I had to share it.
Electree designed by Vivien Muller  home electronics
Not only is this Electree (designed by Vivien Muller,  - EUR 299.00 [ Visit Store » ]) a masterful piece of artwork, energy produced by the panels during daylight is stored in a base hidden battery. Once charged, this accumulator feeds a USB port. Which can then be used to charge anything via USB! Love it!

I must admit I also love the concept of Sugru. If you haven't ever heard of it, you have to check this stuff out! Sugru is like modeling clay when you take it from its pack. Once it's exposed to air, it cures to a tough flexible silicone overnight using the moisture in the air. You can use it to fix, improve, or 'Hack' as they call it, almost anything!

Now whilst Sugru in itself is not that environmentally friendly (it isn't biodegradable for example)  it does help you to improve the longevity or usefulness of everyday items, so you don't need to throw so much stuff away, reducing waste & pollution in the long run. 

If you've used Sugru before, I'd love to heard what you've 'hacked' and whether you've found it useful.

My 3rd and last 'Cool' product is a simple yet effective item called an EcoSwitch .

If you are anything like me, you probably leave a lot of your electrical items on standby, eating away at your costly electricity.

This little thing makes it easier to turn off those floor switches at the wall and to me, also acts as a reminder to do so. This is probably the biggest selling point for me, as I know I should turn things off standby but it's a case of 'out of sight, out of mind'.

It's not like you couldn't achieve the same effect yourself with a few extension cords and some fiddling around with building a switch, but let's face it, most of us wouldn't & haven't bothered, so why not make it easier and just buy one of these?!

Have you got an EcoSwitch? Do you use it? I'd love to heard your opinions on this product.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Save on Renovating with Skylights

It's the beginning of Spring and judging from the number of people out at our local hardware store this weekend, the 'renovation bug' has well and truly hit the Sunshine Coast.

So for those of you looking to brighten up any dark and dreary areas of your home, the news that Solatube is offering a Nationwide special offer to celebrate 20 years of their tubular skylights, should bring a smile to your face.

Many of us have areas of our homes which are poorly lit or, like a WIR, have no exterior windows. Using a tubular skylight, or Solatube Daylighting System, is a quick and easy way to add natural light to any internal area whilst saving you energy by removing the need for electric lights during daylight hours.

Surprisingly a Solatube Daylighting System can be professionally installed in as little as 2 hrs, with no need for restructuring, rendering or repainting. These unique skylight systems can also be installed up to 21 meters below the roof, so you can even channel light down into ground floor or basement levels! 

So if you have an interior project you'll be tackling at home over the next few weeks and you have been thinking of ways to brighten the space, naturally or otherwise, why not consider installing a Solatube Daylighting System. Not only will it make your room come to life and put the ultimate of finishing touches to your new space, it will save you money of your electricity bills and give you that warm and squidgy feeling inside, knowing you're saving on carbon emissions too!
Examples of Solatube Daylighting Systems installed in homes

Visit our website more information on Solatube Skylights on the Sunshine Coast and Solatubes 20th Year Anniversary Special Offer

Monday, 26 September 2011

Energy & Water Star Ratings - Did you know...

I have been reading up a bit about Appliance Star Ratings recently. You know the ones I mean, you see them everywhere these days, on any almost any white goods, toilets, showerheads and air-conditioners.

They are designed to help consumers differentiate between appliances that are energy or water efficient and ones which are not. As I'm sure you know the higher the number of stars an appliance has been given the better it will perform.

However did you know that as new applicances come onto the market with better technologies, the benchmarks that need to be met to obtain each 'star' become higher and higher. So an Air Conditioning unit that first hit the market in 2009 may have been awarded an Energy Star Rating of 4 stars, but it will not be as energy efficent as a newer model that came out onto the market this year that has also been awarded with 4 stars!*

So if you are considering buying an older model applicance to try and save a few dollars during your renovations, or as an upgrade, remember that the newer ones may have the same number of stars but they will be much more efficient than their older counterparts.

*Source "The CSIRO Home Energy Saving Handbook"

Monday, 29 August 2011

It's Ezy to be Green if you live in South East QLD

Another Energy Saving initiative that is currently being State funded and should be of interest to all SE QLD residents, is the EzyGreen program.

The program offers residents, both renting & owner occupiers, multiple opportunities to save money & reduce their energy consumption long term. The State has partnered with several well known organisations and companies to offer discounted consumer goods, solar power, solar hot water & financial support.

It's a simple program, with a simple aim, to help Queenslanders become more energy efficient. So to see what is on offer to you, just visit their EzyGreen website, enter in your postcode and away you go.

Saving Bundles with ClimateSmart

If you live in Queensland and have been watching TV in the evenings over the last few weeks, it would be hard to miss the latest 'Saving Bundles' advertising adorning our screens.

The latest in a series of Government initiatives for Queenslanders to cut their energy usage, it's a no brainer as far as we are concerned and would certainly recommend to take them up on the offer to help reduce our bills while it is still available.

Here is a caption taken from their website to show you what you'll get if you sign up for one of their ClimateSmart Home Service's.

With similar wireless power monitors retailing at around $100 alone and so many other immediate savings to be had, if you haven't already booked your in home service, what are you waiting for? Call them today on 133 600!

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Home Renovation Lighting Options - The 5 most important things to consider

When you've chosen to spend time & energy renovating your home, you want to get that 'perfect' look. From the right paint or wall paper, to your flooring and the choice of fabrics for your cushions. Everything has been or will be painstakingly chosen for their colour, their texture or fit with the overall scheme.

So when it comes to choosing the right lighting for your room or home, you will want to make sure that what ever solution you choose, it works for you to highlight all of your choices and ensures that everything looks the same, if not better than it looked in the shop/photo online.

So here are some of the most important things to take into consideration when looking at your options:

1) Functionality - What do you need the lighting to do? For example will it be to provide task lighting over small areas, or does it need to generate enough light to fill a whole room? Or a mixture of both

2) Colour Rendition - Is it important to you or your scheme for the colours you've chosen to be lit as closely to their natural colour as possible? In other words, that beautiful pillar box red sofa actually looks pillar box red, rather than a dark red or Burgundy.  If it is important you will want to be using as much natural light as possible during daylight hours, as the majority of electric lights fail miserably in this arena.

3) Energy Efficiency - Is it important to you to use as little energy as possible? If so, again maximising your natural light in any room will help reduce your dependance on lights during the day. However at night when the lights will need to be used ensure you have chosen lighting that will take low energy light bulbs.

4) Glare - If you are going to be using TV/Computer screens of any kind in your room, then you'll want to consider how much glare your lighting generates and choose their positions carefully within the room so as to minimise the potential for glare. Likewise if you are going to have huge floor to ceiling glass doors/windows backing onto beautiful scenery. You'll want to ensure that any additional light used within the room itself doesn't cause glare on the glass and stop you from being able to enjoy you're views!

5) Cost - Don't make the mistake of buying a bargain light only to find out it won't take energy efficient bulbs or will need additional wires or cabling. Take all of your costs into account before making any purchases and that includes, installation, additional cabling, restructuring work, replacement parts and running costs.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Natural Lighting for Aquariums

We have had loads of people talk to us about using our Skylight Systems to light their Aquariums, not to mention the many forum posts worldwide on the subject. 
So why is daylight so important for your aquarium and why are our Solatube systems such a good solution?
  1. The colour. Natural sunlight has plenty of light in all spectrums, and is not only extremely important for the health of your tank, but will make the many colours in your tank "pop".  Tank owners invest a great deal of money on "Full Spectrum" lighting solutions for their tanks. However these solutions are still not 'natural' and don't emulate a naturally lit enviroment. Sun light has a natural cycle, with highs and lows and cloudy periods. This can only be duplicated by a natural lighting system.
  2. Any Aquarium owner knows that they must keep their tanks lit all day, but electric lighting for your tank is not only expensive to install but extremely expensive to run. Not only this, but the heat generated by electric lights often means you then need to spend money cooling the tank down again. A proper daylighting solution will not only reproduce perfect daylight into your tank without costing a cent to run, but our Solatube solution is also energy tested and produces very little additional heat, meaning you don't have to spend anywhere near the normal amount on cooling either! This has already equated to literally thousands of dollars saved per year for several of our existing clients!
  3. You will also save money by reducing the replacement cost of artificial lighting and the costs associated with replacing the lamp bulbs, as these won't need to be used any where near as often, prolonging the life cycle of each bulb considerably!
Now for the fun part. Some pics & videos of tanks that use Solatubes for natural sunlight!

What is more important to you?