This week on TreeHugger, crazy arm-powered tricycles, an app that turns your iPhone into a TomTom, wood floors that fold into stools, curvy cubicles for outside offices, and more.
Smiling Switch Makes You Happy to Conserve Electricity
Would making your switches look adorable help you to conserve energy? A design by Zhou Yide, Euphe Mo, Hang Zhou & Christine Liu tests the theory.
That's right, we haven't budged on how much our meters read at the end of each month, despite our refrigerators using about 51% less electricity. Why?
iFixit founder Kyle Wiens points out that even this tear down has a very green side to it, and the stories focusing on the "geek-ness" of it were missing the larger point.
Academics at the University of Derby, UK, figure that there's no better place to study how people react to green issues than in the alternative universe of Second Life. The goal is to find out how likely people are (in real life) to do the green things that help lead to a more sustainable lifestyle.
Farmers' Market Finder iPhone App Keeps You Rolling in Fresh Food
There's another app that recently released an improved version that can add to the list of helpful food foraging tools — Farmers Market Finder.
This concept, which was just unveiled at the Paris Motor Show, is kind of like a better-looking and more advanced Toyota iQ. Of course, the looks are subjective, but the drive train isn't.
For anyone who likes the idea of biking as transportation, but would rather row than pedal, there's a cool concept just for you — the RowRay.
The app shows the best bike-friendly routes to get from here to there, and displays a map for you to check during your journey. It not only keeps you on bike paths, but also shows you short-cuts that can trim time off your ride. And it has a whole bunch of other handy features we like.
Ah, cubicles: you can either ditch 'em for an open-plan office space or put all the bells and whistles you can on them. Or you might even forgo the office entirely to work from home instead — perhaps in your very own eco-friendly version of the backyard office shed, like this one designed by Oakland-based design company Sustainsia.
Here's an artsy twist to showcasing a more 'sustainable sound': take a closer look at these custom-made "sound frames" by Brooklyn-based art duo Rebaroque, made from reclaimed picture frames, fabric and speaker parts. Best of all, you can hook these up as part of your sound system — a combined art- and audiophile's dream.
Another product from Colombian studio DosUno Design (whose Rubix transformer furniture set we reviewed yesterday), Deckstool is a simple wood mat that folds into a stool. Apart from being perfect for small spaces, it's also flat pack and simply produced with few materials.
TreeHugger's EcoModo column appears every Tuesday on Gizmodo.