Archive for March, 2012

Solar House Powered by Kinect

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

The CHIP House (for “Compact Hyper-Insulated Prototype) was built with the goal of creating a zero-energy home. It exceeded this goal thanks to solar panels that generate three times more energy than it uses. The first thing you notice about the CHIP House is it’s wraparound insulation that preserves the interior temperature of this 750-square foot abode.

The house uses an Xbox Kinect system to allow residents to control lights and appliances by just pointing on them. The Kinect is also used to turn off lights when residents leave a room.

The CHIP house was created by students from Caltech and SCI-Arc. Read more about the house on Gizmag.

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Perfect Porch Style

Saturday, March 10th, 2012

Whether you have an outdoor porch, enclosed porch or sunroom, with a few thoughtful touches it can become one of your favorite spaces. Casual furnishings such as wicker chairs and tables or some Adirondack style chairs can help create the perfect atmosphere for relaxing. You don’t have to spend a fortune on new porch furniture – show your personal style by combining pieces from flea markets and big-box retailers. Revive older furniture with a coat of bright paint.

Decide on a design theme, such as beachy or the cottage style shown above, and then carry it throughout the porch with pillows, lamps and accessories. Add an indoor-outdoor rug to anchor the furniture and provide a bright touch of color.

If you have an enclosed porch, make it a year-round retreat by adding a stove or fireplace. Bring the outdoors inside with plenty of potted plants.

Visit the Better Homes and Gardens website for more porch decorating photos and ideas.

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