EcoModo - The Best of Treehugger

GE is envisioning gadget-covered, net-zero energy homes. A battery rechargeable via shaking might fit in there, but a cigarette lighter cell phone won't. Chuck it, though, and MIT will track it with trashy new devices.

If you're off grid but still needing to use AA-style batteries, wouldn't it be great to be able to add more juice just by shaking them up a bit? That's what the Mint Energy Rechargeable Battery concept would allow us to do...just use a little "shakenergy."

The latest in our un-TreeHugger department is a very odd cell phone idea, that helps you pollute the air with cigarette smoke along with all the other emissions associated with mobile devices. Yes, light up with a built-in cigarette lighter!

MIT has just announced a new project that makes trash a whole lot more technical -Trash Track. The goal is to figure out exactly how much energy and effort goes into taking trash from homes to final disposal, which could help guide consumer choices about products while they're still on the shelves.

They call it the Net-Zero Energy home. It has ground source heat pumps (promising a 30% reduction in energy use), photovoltaic arrays, supplementary wind power, high efficiency appliances and battery storage, all talking to each other through a Home Energy Manager. That's a lot of impressive technology. But are green gizmos the best way to achieve net zero energy?

TreeHugger's EcoModo column appears every Tuesday on Gizmodo.