The Cloud and Connected Thermostats

It’s refreshing to see the big data movement catch on in the home energy management area. I thought it was interesting how programming a thermostat could be such a catalyst for an application’s use case. Start simple, go from there.

“The application is a good example of how cloud computing can be coupled with connected smart devices to use energy more efficiently.”

Car-Pooling Is Down, But Innovation Should Be Up

Car Sharing


If you read some of the accounts depicted in this NYT story, it certainly doesn’t paint the best picture for hitching a ride with your neighbor. Not to mention the statistics are pretty bleak.

"Today, advocates point to the increase in social networking tools that would make it easier to identify potential ride-sharing mates — yet the national car-pooling rate continues to fall, and today it is below 12 percent of all drivers."

But I think you’ll see the tide turn as more of us are telecommuting and gas prices continue to escalate.  Perhaps one of the bi-products of car-pooling will be coming up with newer ways to share the transportation burden.

One example could be centralized car-charging (Blink chargers, left) stations dispersed throughout neighborhoods. Homeowners become part of a local and highly-connected network that facilitates the best traits of collaborative consumption.

It’s the best of both worlds. Economically, neighbors share the financial responsibility of charging and maintenance, while also gaining exposure to more sustainable ways of transportation, like electric vehicles (EVs).

Image by Jason Rodriguez via Flickr

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The Right Kind Of Competition — Nissan Leaf Lets You Compare Your Driving Efficiency

Nissan Leaf at Tokyo Motor Show (RHD).

Image via Wikipedia

One way to get people to perk up about energy efficiency is to pit them against their neighbors. Engadget has details on a feature of Nissan’s Carwings system that displays the habits of highly effective drivers of the Nissan Leaf. It’ll take a while, but having this kind of data so accessible for our cars and homes will help all of us keep better tabs on our energy consumption.

“As the cars are now rolling out to eager owners we’re learning more about just what its Carwings system can do and another neat trick is the "Regional Rankings" page, where one driver’s driving efficiency is rated against others in the area.


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The Chevrolet Volt Has A New Source For Plastic

Talk about a case of revenge for the electric car. Todd Woody filed a Reuters report yesterday that outlined a plan GM has put in motion to recapture some of the oil-contaminated plastics lingering in the Gulf. According to the story, GM will have enough plastic to supply parts for a year’s worth of Chevy Volts.  That’s the kind of scale around a reuse strategy that needs to be publicized. It also makes the absence of a reuse mentality in our personal lives seem almost absurd.