This week at TreeHugger: We discover Tech Networks of Boston, who present their Earth-PC and Earth-Serve machines for our consideration: they use at least 25 percent less power than standard computers, and can save between $20-$45 in electricity costs per year. Once again, life imitates Woody Allen's "Sleeper," with a mirrored glass that that turns transparent at the flick of a switch. The BBC has developed a devilish Flash-based, time-killing game that puts you at the helm of Europe, to stop global warming. Are you up for the challenge, Mr. President? Lastly, we like to promote furniture that serves multiple functions as a way of using less space more efficiently, so how could we pass on a sofa that goes 87 miles per hour?
A small Boston company, Tech Networks of Boston, released their Earth-PC and Earth-Serve machines that use at least 25 percent less power than standard computers, and can save between $20-$45 in electricity costs per year. How do they figure? Well, substantial waste occurs when the AC power from your outlet is converted to the DC power required for a computer. Inexpensive power supplies in most computers not only waste up to 40% of input electricity, but they also generate heat that requires additional energy for cooling. The Earth-PC also uses an 80 Plus Certified power supply, guaranteed be at least 80% efficient.
Once again, life imitates Woody Allen's "Sleeper," with a mirrored glass that that turns transparent at the flick of a switch. While this isn't the first switchable glass we've ever seen, they are usually ridiculously expensive, at least partly because they were based on liquid crystals and didn't do much to stop or reflect heat. This mirror/window is a double-glazed unit with a thin coating of a magnesium-titanium alloy and a thinner layer of palladium; somehow through the wonders of refraction, filling the gap between the glazing with hydrogen makes it reflective, while oxygen makes it transparent. Scientists estimate that having buildings in mirror mode could save up to 30% on air conditioning, meaning we can design buildings like it's 1975 again.
Though it won't fool anyone into thinking it was developed for XBox360, the BBC's new Flash-based, time-killing game does give us illusions of grandeur and a glimpse of world domination. Running the show as "President" of Europe, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to curb carbon emissions and pull in the reigns on global warming without running the economy in to the ground or upsetting your constituents to the point that you're booted from office, and it's harder than it sounds. Coal-fired power plants or solar photovoltaic arrays? Fuel tax or subsidy? Fission or fusion? With so many decisions, it's a wonder the real politicians get anything done in the real world. Think you've got what it takes to lead Europe through a carbon-free 21st century? Click on over and start pulling the strings, Mr. President.
TreeHugger likes to promote furniture that serves multiple functions as a way of using less space more efficiently, so we couldn't pass on a sofa that goes 87 miles per hour. The implications are huge: no more parking spaces required and you can keep it in the living room. The green credentials of this road hog are not terrific; it has a 220 horsepower Rover V8 engine under the cushions, but we are informed that the leopard skin upholstery is fake, and its place in the Guinness Book of Records as the fastest piece of furniture on the planet is nothing to shake a stick at. Who knows — mobile furniture might just be the next big thing.
TreeHugger's EcoModo column appears every Tuesday on Gizmodo.