The National Home Show in Toronto is huge, consumer-oriented and while the much of the show remains a demonstration of five hundred ways to extrude vinyl or dice vegetables, there are definitely nuggets to be found, and every year there it becomes easier to find useful products for green, sustainable and small space living. Here is a look at some of the things I found.
One can complain about globalism all day, but the fact is that because of Chinese manufacturing, the price of solar is dropping like mad. Five years ago one might pay ten thousand dollars for an evacuated tube solar water heater; now you can pick this baby up for C$ 2700. Globe Solar Energy President Gorden Xiao says it will save $ 600 in gas bills and reduce 2.2 tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year. 92% of sunshine energy is converted to thermal energy for heating, there are no pumps or moving parts, it all runs on city water pressure and the sun. More info at ::Globe Solar Energy.
Living in small spaces means a smaller footprint, so we often show items that are not necessarily bright green, but have design ideas that can be useful for living well with less space and less stuff. Here are two:
Back in the late fifties when TVs were really expensive, my mom put the old Admiral on a turntable, so that you could watch in either the dining room or the living room. When I wanted to do it during a renovation 10 years ago, my carpenter pointed out that it was much cheaper just to buy a second TV. Now that TVs are flat and expensive again, Spiros Christopoulos reinvents the idea for the modern TV in the small condo: why have two when you can just spin it around? Better pictures and more information at ::Spinscreen360
For those of you like the poor bloggers profiled in the New York Times who do nothing but work and sleep in tiny studio apartments, Joseph Gelfand has the answer. To the left is a murphy bed that folds down; to the right is a very effective L-shaped work area with more than enough room to crank out your posts. It is a very clever design, if a bit dark in this iteration. ::Closetorganizer.ca