This week at TreeHugger: We took at closer look at the diminutive enano computers, a desktop computer with a handheld size. Is phantom energy haunting your house? We have some quick tips to help rid your home of energy hogs that suck juice from the grid even when not in use. Google has gotten some hugs from us before, and now we're giving them a firm handshake and a green pat on the back for their private transit system of 32 biodiesel buses with leather seats, wireless internet and bicycle racks. Lastly, Mexican professional wrestler El Hijo del Santo is throwing the smackdown on enemies of sea turtles, gray whales and other ocean life; the 7-time WWA World Welterweight Champion has pledged to devote the majority of this year to raising awareness about how human actions are threatening the ocean, and everybody knows you don't mess with El Hijo.
Although we don't always think about it, many of our computers are big, noisy, hot, and consume far too much energy for our needs. Most of our mothers don't need a 3D graphics workstation to shop on eBay or buy airplane tickets, so enter enano computers. Consuming less power, producing less heat, and designed to fit into your mobile life, the diminutive enano computer understands we don't always need 500GB, and 140W of power. And enano isn't stopping with just a desktop; they are working on innovations across the board: from laptops to servers, enano has something for those of us who want more than just power — how about style, mobility, scale, and efficiency? The company is committed to providing a different option that fits into a more mobile, increasingly compact life; their computers are quick, nimble, and dedicated to providing a more sustainable future, and those words are music to a TreeHugger's ears.
Chances are that phantom power (also known as idle or vampire power) is haunting your home right now, sucking down power and jacking up your energy bill without your knowledge or consent. Even when they're "off," chargers for cell phones, digital cameras, power tools and other gadgets draw energy whenever they're plugged in, and it doesn't stop there: appliances like televisions, computer monitors and DVD players can also pull electrons from the grid when not in use. All together, phantom energy use can account for about 5 percent of your home's electricity use. Thankfully, there are ways to prevent the vampire from sucking you dry. Unplugging devices is the simplest way to solve the problem, but can be a hassle. Plugging a couple of your devices into a surge protector that can be clicked on and off can make things easier, and when looking for new gadgets, check out a handy online database of products rated by their standby energy use from the Federal Energy Management Program at the U.S. Department of Energy. Don't let the phantom haunt you any more.
Google has gotten hugs from TreeHugger for its flashy solar panels, but we're more convinced they're actively living up to the "don't be evil" motto when they do less obvious, more expensive and really effective things. To wit: they've essentially built their own private transit system of 32 buses with leather seats, wireless internet and bicycle racks. “It’s the most useful Google fringe benefit,” said Wiltse Carpenter, a 45-year-old software engineer. It’s changed my quality of life” Riders can sign up to receive alerts on their computers and cellphones when buses run late and to top it off, they run 'em on biodiesel. The system’s routes cover in excess of 230 miles of freeways, picking up workers as far away as Concord, 54 miles northeast of the Googleplex, and Santa Cruz, 38 miles to the south.
Mexican professional wrestler El Hijo del Santo has announced plans to bodyslam his latest opponent: the enemies of the sea (or, in his native language, "los enemigos del mar"). He'll spend the better part of the next year supporting WiLDCOAST, a U.S.-based environmental organization; the 7-time WWA World Welterweight Champion will be using his powers for good to stop sea turtle consumption in Mexico, defend protected areas on California’s coast, and work to save the gray whales in Baja California. Enemies of the sea, beware — El Hijo is coming to lay the smackdown on you.
TreeHugger's EcoModo column appears every Tuesday on Gizmodo.