3 coolest eco-gadgets from Greenbuild 2012

Matthew Grocoff

December 4, 2012

By: Matthew Grocoff, Green Renovation Expert

In: Green Living

This year the Greenbuild International Expo and Conference was the most exciting ever. Over 25,000 people dedicated to making our lives better gathered in San Francisco to share an optimistic vision of the future. With over 1,000 vendors it would take 17 hours to get through the hall if you spent only one minute at each booth.

But I managed to find three exciting products that I think are game-changers for home improvement.

NEST 2.0 learning thermostat

Nest 2.0

I've written about the Nest smart thermostat many times before (read iPhone Godfathers create coolest thermostat ever). But, less than one year after the launch of the ground-breaking Nest learning thermostat, they've upped the anti. Nest 2.0 will now work with virtually any type of heating and cooling system (95 percent of homes), included heat pumps and geothermal systems.

The heat pump balance feature optimizes even the most modern and efficient systems and lets you save even more energy and money. Importantly, Nest will automatically adjust systems with auxiliary heat modes (always way more expensive and energy-intensive) so that the AUX heat only turns on when absolutely necessary -- allowing you to have more aggressive set back temperatures to save you even more money while still keeping you warm and cozy.

The Early-On feature will let you get the temperature you want when you want it. If your schedule says 70ºF at 7a.m., Early-On will start heating or cooling early so it'll be 70ºF when you throw the covers off at 7:00.

The latest nest is also about 20 percent slimmer, giving a lower profile and cleaner look on your wall. And just like the original, you can control the Nest from your smart phone, tablet or computer.

Haiku ceiling fan

Haiku ceiling fan saves energy

Oh, boy. This is design and elegance at its best. Now this fan is pricey. No doubt. But if you want the most quiet, beautiful and energy-saving fan on the planet . . . there is no match.

The Haiku fan comes from Big Ass Fans, the company that gets the most accidental porn search traffic (think about it . . . change the emphasis from the first two words to the second two words . . . Wait for it . . . okay now you get it).

The fan has hand-crafted sustainable bamboo blades designed for optimal efficiency. It has variable speed technology to allow efficient air movement at any setting, and advanced features such as Whoosh Mode, a sleep timer and an infrared remote control provide convenient operation.

Best of all the Haiku uses a meager 3 - 30 watts of energy. For comparison, a typical residential fan can use 50 - 90 watts.

Lutron Maestro lighting control

wireless lighting control

The system seems easy to install and operate. It allows you to control lighting levels with dimmers, switches, sensors and wireless controls -- all with the touch of a button. It can dim lights to watch TV or turn on the hall lights from the bedside table when you get up in the middle of the night. The sensors turn the lights off for you after you leave a room -- which means convenience as well as even better energy savings.

Best of all you can turn off all the lights from a remote by your door or on the visor of your car. You can also turn the lights on inside the house when you drive up the driveway. In combination with occupancy sensors and timers, this will ensure that you'll never leave lights on or waste energy again.



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