(Welcome to Rachel, one of the finalists for our Green Architect blogger search. She's writing from Los Angeles. Comment away!)
The West Coast Green conference just wrapped up in San Francisco earlier this month. It’s an annual event that started four years ago and is now the largest conference focusing on green building innovation and technology. All of the latest and greatest green gadgets could be found at the tradeshow filling two huge pavilions with over 300 exhibitors. Walking up and down the aisles, I felt like a kid in a candy store. Below are the top three sweetest innovations I found for homeowners...
BrightSpark by Econetix:
It’s a Do-It-Yourself Kit that enables you to manage your home’s energy consumption. The kit includes a touchscreen thermostat, a power strip and three wall outlets; all of which communicate through WiFi. That means absolutely no wiring and the capability to control everything from your computer or iPhone. (Yep, there’s an app for that). All you need to do is plug your appliances into the programmable outlets and instantly see savings on your electricity bill.
Perfect Flush by Brondell:
The beauty of this product is in its simplicity. The system easily installs in your existing toilet leaving you with a dual-flush button on top of the tank. Installing one of these is more sustainable than buying a new energy efficient toilet, performs just as well and can save you up to $100 a year. If you want to conserve water and save money without the headache of replacing your existing fixtures, this is the way to go.
SolarClover by Armageddon Energy:
I have to admit that I was drawn by the name, but you should see this thing, it’s really designed well. A single solar "clover" consists of a triangular frame, a micro-inverter (which converts the solar energy into usable electricity) and three silicon solar panels. Just three SolarClovers on your roof can provide your home with a kilowatt of power. The prefab design also reduces overall cost and installation time. Each system is lightweight, comes in a few cardboard boxes and is roof-top ready. If you’ve put together a dresser from Ikea, you’ll be able to handle this thing. But I suggest getting an electrician to plug it in.
This is just a sample of the latest green innovations out there. I chose these not only for their hi-tech inventiveness but also for their ease of use and installation. If you’re thinking of going green, these products are a great way to start.