This week at TreeHugger: We delve into how to get rid of computers and other electronic gadgets without the toxic chemicals, carcinogens and heavy metals coming back to haunt us. Plus, we sit fireside for a chat with Paul Scott, co-founder of Plug In America, a plug-in and electric vehicle alliance, about a gasoline-free, electricity-full future. Anyone in the greater Chicago area can now wash their clothes with solar-heated hot water at the world's biggest laundromat. Speaking of the spin cycle, we check out the Everingham Rotating House, that, as the name suggests, rotates around a central pivot point, allowing it to spin to a position that optimizes sunlight and shade each day.
Computers sure are handy when they are working (the good ol' internet, not to mention TreeHugger, would have a tough time making it without them) but once they've chewed their last byte, things can get a little messy. Toxic chemicals, carcinogens and heavy metals are all part of what makes their clocks tick, and improper disposal can bring them all a little too close for human comfort. When the time comes to send your old machine to the Great Big Motherboard in the Sky, be sure that it ends up in the right hands (and not with a one-way ticket to the dump) with our handy list of recycling tips.
Paul Scott has been instrumental in keeping cars with outlet plugs on the horizon of car technology. When he isn't producing Sundance murder mysteries or tooling around in his Toyota EV, he's speculating on the future of electric personal transportation, and was kind enough to enlighten us with some of his sage wisdom. When will we all be able to plug our cars in each night? It might be sooner than you think...
Inside are a 157 washing machines and 145 dryers. On the roof there are 36 solar hot water panels. So it's big. The "World's Largest Laundromat" saves about $2,000 a month with its new solar array, which displaces around 2 million Btu's of natural gas per day for washing clothes. The 40 square foot panels, arrayed in two banks, heat some 2,400 gallons of water each day, adding up to about 20% of the laundromat's needs; that's a lot of socks and undies cleaned with the helping hand of the sun.
Lastly, we bring news of the Everingham Rotating House, that, true to its name, sits on a central pivot point and rotates 360 degrees, to catch the sun, sit in the shade, or do whatever catches the fancy of the button-pushers sitting inside. Powered by an electric motor "not much bigger than a washing machine motor," its the only (non-floating) house we can think of that might make you seasick, but will never make you sick of the view.
TreeHugger's EcoModo column appears every Tuesday on Gizmodo.