Get Rid of Your Electric Power Bill

March 5th, 2008 Posted in eco footprint, eco hero, energy conservation, green construction, green living, off the grid, save money, solar power | 3 Comments » Make sure you like EcoJoes on Facebook to stay updated on green ways to save money and help the environment. Just click the "like" button below. Muchas gracias!


Solar Nanners! Amory Lovins, who won a MacArthur Genius grant back in 1993 (and an Eco-Hero Award just right now), has been living in a house he built since 1983. It looks like a very nice and comfy house, especially when you consider that, despite living 7,000 feet up in the Rocky Mountains (where it gets pretty dang cold), he pays $0 a year on his heating. Not only that, but his house actually generates more electricity than he needs — so he sells the surplus energy to the power company for some extra cash. Here are three ways to cut your electric bill like crazy.

CLICK HERE TO SEE AN INFORMATIVE YET FUN YET NEAT VIDEO OF HIS HOUSE

Insulate, Insulate, Insulate

His secret (one of them) is that he designed his house to be very well insulated. His walls are 16 inches thick, and his large super-insulated windows (made with special glass that insulates as well as 14 normal panes of glass) mean that his house can retain heat quite well.

Passive and Active Solar Heating

Lovins’ house is heated in two main ways: both from sun-rays passing through his many windows, or by means of Amory’s solar panels, which supply his house with more energy than it even uses.

Energy-Efficient Appliances

Much of Lovins’ house is naturally lit by the sun. Besides that, motion-detector lights and energy-efficient bulbs help to cut down on electricity use. His fridge is thickly-insulated, which reduces its energy consumption by quite a lot. His dryer is solar powered, and looks like it uses no electricity at all (watch the video to see how).

Amory Lovins’ home took some extra thought to design and build. It also cost a little bit extra ($6,000). But by cutting his power bill to zero, the extra planning and money spent were easily worth it. If more and more contractors start building this way, you could kiss our “oil prices” and “energy crisis” problems good-bye.

Thankee to Sam for telling me about this homey

Man Transforms Reused Bus into Amazing RV

February 22nd, 2008 Posted in cars, eco hero, green construction, inventions, projects, reusing, save money | 21 Comments » Make sure you like EcoJoes on Facebook to stay updated on green ways to save money and help the environment. Just click the "like" button below. Muchas gracias!


HOLY MOLY, THIS USED TO BE A CHEESE BUS

Look above. That used to be a yellow cheese school bus! Man, when I first saw this, I was too interested. I read all the steps, and looked at all the pictures of what Jake Von Slatt did. What he did was buy a cheap school bus (a little more than $2,000) and transform it into a beautiful, homemade RV. I like his homemade RV for a couple reasons:

  1. He did it cheaply. The bus cost about $2,000, he did most of the work himself (or with his friends), and he got a LOT from the dump, craigslist, or freecycle.
  2. He reused a lot of materials, thereby creating his RV in a very “green” way (reused bus, materials from dump, reused mess off websites).
  3. You can see the process of the bus’s conversion. Seeing all the steps it takes is really interesting, and makes me want to (one day) attempt something like this. It’s really cool, so por favor take a look at it.

Anyhoo, enough with my thoughts. Enjoy this video of Von Slatt giving you a tour of his homemade RV that came from a lil’ ol’ cheese bus.

Map Showing Human Impact on Ocean

February 15th, 2008 Posted in eco footprint, eco hero, ocean, science, water | No Comments » Make sure you like EcoJoes on Facebook to stay updated on green ways to save money and help the environment. Just click the "like" button below. Muchas gracias!


BBC has an interesting article today about people’s impact on the world’s oceans. Give it a looksie.

Ocean impact map

One thing I wish they’d done differently is to say exactly what criteria they used for their ratings. Anyhoo, scientists figure this map will be useful for determining what areas of the ocean most desperately need help. These scientists are now in consideration for the prestigious Eco Hero award.

The Green Bike

January 17th, 2008 Posted in bike, eco hero, electric, health, off the grid, projects | No Comments » Make sure you like EcoJoes on Facebook to stay updated on green ways to save money and help the environment. Just click the "like" button below. Muchas gracias!


A Shocking StoryLast spring, two of my friends went to work building a bicycle generator. They slaved away on it for literally a couple days, but eventually it was ready to be tested. Me and Tiff stopped by for this special occasion; Thanh and Billy had hooked up the bike generator to a lamp. All we needed was a volunteer to ride the electrical monstrosity. After a moment of trepidation, I bravely stepped forward to offer my bike pedaling services, and as night fell in the thriving metropolis of Raleigh, I began pedaling…


Amazingly, it did not explode in a deadly shower of sparks. It worked. We had invented… ELECTRICITY. As that realization hit us, Captain Planet flew into the room, and everybody high-fived. It was awesome.Update: WRAL is going to put this on the news. The bad news is that we have to put the bike generator back together, as it’s been through some mess since last May.

Scrap House

January 16th, 2008 Posted in eco hero, green construction, green living, reusing, save money | 3 Comments » Make sure you like EcoJoes on Facebook to stay updated on green ways to save money and help the environment. Just click the "like" button below. Muchas gracias!


Wow. These people in San Francisco built an entire house using nothing but trash. They got all their material from junk yards or scrap yards, and ended up spending less than $3,000 on the whole house! Take a look at the video, it’s pretty impressive (and cool). It makes you think about all the stuff that we are constantly throwing away instead of finding a way to reuse.

Be sure to check out their site, especially their page on green building. All in all, I’m thinking these people are some eco-heroes.

First Home Remodel to get LEED Platinum Status

January 7th, 2008 Posted in eco hero, green construction, green living | 1 Comment » Make sure you like EcoJoes on Facebook to stay updated on green ways to save money and help the environment. Just click the "like" button below. Muchas gracias!

LEED Living RoomCongratulations to the Live Green, Live Smart people for becoming the first ever to get LEED Platinum status on a remodeled house.  LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum is the highest “green” rating that they give out, so EcoJoes is sending out a hearty “Huzzah” to them, and also making them an honorary Eco Hero.

I suggest you go check out their website and read all about the blood, sweat, and tears that went into making this marvel of a mansion.

Easy To Make Pollution Magnet

November 28th, 2007 Posted in eco hero, inventions, water | No Comments » Make sure you like EcoJoes on Facebook to stay updated on green ways to save money and help the environment. Just click the "like" button below. Muchas gracias!


This magnet is stealing the arsenic right out of the water!Arsenic in water is a big problem in the developing world. It can cause death within 30 minutes. Worse, it is usually odorless and flavorless, so it’s hard for people to detect. Luckily, Dr. Vicki Colvin, a professor of chemistry and chemical and biomolecular engineering at Rice University, has invented a very easy way to produce a “pollution magnet” that will pull arsenic out of water.

How to Make an Arsenic Magnet

Colvin’s process to make an arsenic magnet is very simple and cheap, which is great for developing countries. Here’s how to make an arsenic magnet:

  1. Fry a teaspoon of rust in a mixture of oil and lye. This breaks the rust down into nano-sized pieces.
  2. Use a magnet to pick up the rust dust.
  3. Put rust-covered pollution magnet in water with arsenic.
  4. Pull out arsenic.

The system is up to a hundred times more efficient than existing methods, and the simplicity (and cheapness) of its production means that even dirt-poor people can make these arsenic magnets.

Dr. Vicki ColvinDr. Colvin’s arsenic magnet system could go global as soon as the next five years (if it passes governmental regulations). If her arsenic magnet is mass-produced, it could ease water (and arsenic) worries for millions of people in the developing world. For her invention, I have decided to award her the prestigious EcoJoes Eco-Hero award. Hear hear.