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With the advancement in technology - everything from cable services to iphone carriers - are allowing consumers to program settings in their homes and their cars remotely. Now, Honda and UC Davis are joining in with this high-end technology. Honda has built their Smart Home on the campus of UC Davis to study and learn more "Green" efficient technologies for "Smarter Homes". This home is built from FSC certified lumber, metal roofs, and other materials of the highest standards.

Businesses and consumers alike are opting for technologies that will save us money when cooling our homes, or recharging our electric cars! How about the actual design of smart homes from the framework up?

Google, Bosch and GE are all using their technological skills to design thermostats, heating pumps, and sensors for the next smart home.

Solar Design:

Honda's Smart Home, technology, electric car, solar design, environment friendly, green, hydroponics, hydroponic garden

Using their best technical minds, they have studied the best ways to reduce cooling and heating costs by studying various angles of the sun and various times of day - when full sun or shade come into play.

Construction:

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Using Grade A exterior double stud walls made from two 2x4 stud walls on 24" centers that eliminate thermal bridging, except at the fire blocking. Wall cavities are insulated with cellulose, and windows are constructed with triple-glaze. The home is tested at 2.0 air changes every hour at a difference of 50 units of pressure.

Concrete:

Honda's-Smart-Home,technology,electric-car,solar,design,environment,friendly,green,hydroponics,hydroponic-garden

Concrete is accountable for 5% of all man-made emissions. These emissions are the result of producing concrete by heating limestone to more than one thousand degrees Celsius. This form of heating requires burning fossil fuels which causes a natural porous variety of volcanic ash. This is then injected into the Honda Smart Home's concrete, replacing the typical amount of cement needed. Post-tensioning is a technique that uses steel cables to compress the concrete slabs and thereby reduces the amount of concrete and steel normally used.

Intricate Ground Resources:

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This home also has the most intricate, complex heat recovery systems anywhere. Gray water travels into tanks in the garden, and is then renewed and placed through heat pumps for heating and cooling the home. The downside is these systems are extremely expensive and not necessary for high-efficiency homes in the first place.

On the other hand, combining domestic hot water and the use of radiant cooling and running everything out of one heating pump, is highly cost efficient. This would lead to savings in hardware and software.

Lighting:

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Honda has worked with researchers at California Lighting Technology Center at UC Davis to look into a new day-to-day color control lighting. This copies natural light throughout the course of the day and provides the best lighting alternatives for night hours. At night, hallways will provide ample light for one to walk through without overbearing light fixtures.

Electricity:

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Should the electrical grid become overloaded, this smart house is perfectly capable of restoring back power. This will allow for the distribution of renewable energy to electric vehicles without deterring the grids reliability.

With the level of technology being poured into this smart house, the most impressive aspect is the house and car working together. This alone, will equate to zero energy consumption and zero carbon emissions. It doesn't get any better than that!

The Honda Smart Home is revolutionizing technology for the future of home building and electric cars.

Hydroponics and The Future:

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Hydroponics has grown in leaps and bounds due to consumer concerns regarding healthier, green living. Imagine tending your hydroponic garden 24/7 with an iPhone. Such technology is steadily on the rise for gardeners today. Adding nutrients on time, or setting timers on plant lights, has never been easier. It's literally a click away!

Photo credit: AMERICAN HONDA MOTOR CO

0 Comments | Posted in News Hydroponics Details Indoor Gardening By Karen B. Vance

food,healthy,diet,weight loss,hydroponics,tea,green

Is Green Tea Really a Weight Loss Solution:

Did you know outside of water, tea is the most consumed beverage in the world?  There are many reasons tea is so popular. It offers cleansing components and in some cases can remove stress for a higher level of health.  Green tea has been used for a long time in assisting people who need to lose weight.  Drinking green tea along with a well balanced diet has proven to be quite successful.

Should Green Tea Be Consumed Before Meals:

Water, green tea or low calorie drinks do curb one's appetite allowing the intake of less food.  You should show moderation with teas or other beverages that are high in caffeine, as these drinks can cause dehydration and have a negative effect on your overall health.  Some nutritionists believe that consuming green tea with meals will allow the caffeine to  serve as a fueling agent for your metabolism vs drinking the tea by itself which can cause blood sugar issues.

Some dieters prefer their tea with added sugar but realize an excessive amount of sugar will defeat their dietary goals.  According to the Mayo Clinic, taking in more than 6 - 9 teaspoons of sugar daily will lead to weight gain. Many soft drinks, such as soda, will use up your daily maximum sugar intake with one can or bottle.  Many dieters find there is a need for something sweet to satisfy their cravings.  If you suffer from sugar cravings, try adding sweets that are low in sugar content.  Some fruits, such as watermelon have zero calories and yet is naturally sweet.

Green tea, by itself, is not going to have much effect on weight loss if you continue consuming high calorie desserts, snacks or high-sugar beverages.  If you need cream and sugar in your tea, go for sugar alternates and use low fat milk.

How Often Should You Consume Green Tea Daily?

Studies have shown consuming 2 - 3 cups of caffeine-free green tea daily will offer overall benefits.  Two to three cups of green tea offers 240 to 320 milligrams of polyphenols which are antioxidants associated with anti-aging benefits and reducing the risk of heart disease.

Caffeine vs Caffeine-Free Tea:

Most people have a good tolerance toward caffeine if consumed in moderation.  Excessive consumption (500 milligrams or more) can cause insomnia, anxiety, nervous stress, high blood pressure and digestive problems.  It is recommended that you stick with caffeine-free green tea for overall good health and steer clear of the caffeinated varieties.

Adding Fresh Nutrients To A Diet Can Ramp Up Your Dietary Goals:

Many people wishing to improve their overall health and take off excess pounds have found fresh fruits and vegetables are a perfect alternative to processed, high-calorie foods.

Hydroponic Gardens And Your Dietary Needs:

Hydroponic gardens are becoming extremely popular for a number of reasons.  They are easy to grow and you can enjoy healthy, fresh foods everyday of the year.  Setting up a grow box or grow room, adding appropriate plant lights and purchasing the appropriate nutrients is not difficult to do and the end result is fresh, tasty, non-toxic foods for you and your family.

Fruits and vegetables purchased from your local supermarket are becoming extremely expensive and not necessarily fresh produce.  You should always wash these foods before using them because of unknown pesticides and other elements that have been added to grow them.

With a hydroponic garden you add nutrients that are safe, you never need to add pesticides and using water filters keeps your plants healthy and robust.

Conclusion:

Diets can often be something no one looks forward to starting, but are necessary for overall good health.  Incorporating healthy nutritional foods, drinking lots of low-calorie or calorie free beverages and staying focused will bring you to your dietary goals.

Pay attention to the warning signs that you will encounter along the way.  Keep your caffeine level as low as possible, incorporate caffeine-free green tea and run from excessive sugar intake.

0 Comments | Posted in News Fruits & Vegetable Gardening By Karen B. Vance

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We all have a plant or two that are favorites and we want to continually harvest from. Whether you are taking cuttings from your outside garden or want more harvesting from your indoor garden, it's essential that you go about it correctly.

Before you even start considering a constant supply of cuttings, you must start with a mother or donor plant. This plant should always be productive or abundant and healthy.

Choose a plant to grow that offers as many nodes as possible. An abundance of nodes will assure the plant's stress will remain low when you are making your cuttings. Also, be sure your mother plant is well watered at the time of cloning, as dehydration can be a serious problem for the clones.

Cutting Your Branches:

You are going to cut the side of the branch, approximately 6 inches long. Then emerge the cutting under water and make a second cut about two to three inches in from the cutting's end. This is to prevent an air bubble entering the inside tissue of your clone.

Once you have completed the above step, dip the clone in the rooting gel and place it in your choice rooting medium.

Rooting Gel:

A rooting gel is better than a powder because the gel will stick to the end of the clone and not wash off when watered. The gel also serves as a capping element for the end of the clone, preventing embolisms. IBA is a hormone that generates essential root formation.

Please Note: Never dip your clones into the bottle of gel. This could contaminate the gel for any future use. Pour a sufficient amount into another glass container or place on wax paper.

Rooting Medium:

Rockwood and peat plugs seem to be the favorites for root mediums. You can see the development of the roots without having to tug on the clones to find out if they are taking root.

Minimize Moisture Loss:

You want to make sure your cuttings have a high level of humidity by using a flat cover to maximize the moisture. This is important because moisture is lost during transpiration Transpiration is the passage of water through a plant from the roots and then into the atmosphere.

If you cuttings have large leaves, cut them in half to decrease moisture loss.

The Hydroponic Cloning System:

If you are planning on having many clones on a regular basis, you might want to seriously consider buying a hydroponic cloning system. These systems offer a much higher rate of returns on your rooting success. These systems do not require a medium to plant the cuttings into before they root. Clones can either remain in these systems or can be planted in soil afterwards.

The two most popular systems:

Bubble Cloners:

You can make a bubble cloner very easily, all you need are:

  • One three to five gallon bucket
  • One Air Pump
  • One Stone
  • Some 2-Inch Net Cups
  • Neoprene Collars

Maintain a water level that is just under the net cups in order for your stems to remain moist.

Aeroponic Cloners:

Although these systems are somewhat expensive, they offer the easiest and most efficient way to clone your plants. You should see visible root growth within 8 to 10 days and in some cases as briefly as 5 days.

You can then transplant your rooted cuttings into soil, a hydroponic medium or a soilless medium. Whatever you choose!

Cleaning:

It is very important that you keep your cloning system clean. This will prevent the chance of bacteria and fungi developing, which will rot your clone's stems very quickly.

Between uses, run H2O2 through the system for a few hours. Should you find areas that are not cleaning well, take a brush and dilute H2O2 or a bleach solution and apply to the stubborn spots. This will also insure there are no micro-organisms remaining in the system.

To Sum It Up:

Make sure your 6 inch cuttings have few large leaves and maintain a temperature of 75 degrees. Provide anywhere from 60% to 80% humidity.

Use cloning gels that contain micro nutrients with IBA hormones to hasten root development. Water your cuttings with a light, liquid fertilizer that is made specifically for clones and seedlings.

Cloning plants can be a great way to have extra harvests throughout the year. If you are new to cloning, ask your local nursery for assistance. If you are interested in purchasing a hydroponic cloning system, check with a nursery that specializes in them.

1 Comments | Posted in Fruits & Vegetable Gardening By Charles R. Sword

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When the Fukushima nuclear plant suffered a massive radiation leak in 2011 after the record-magnitude earthquake 9.0 and the tsunami, it seeped into the soil surrounding it. This included the soil of the farming village Kawauchi, located 19 miles from the plant, bringing to halt farming and possibly the village’s future.

Before the leak, Kawauchi was the country’s fourth-largest rice producer. However, in 2012, it slipped into seventh place because the amount it outputted slipped 17 percent. Over 105 billion yen has been lost from the nearly 100,000 prefecture farmers since the catastrophic event. Many farmers cannot even begin farming again including the imperial-family suppliers Sonoko and Yoshitaka Akimoto.

Despite repeated lab tests that showed there was no cesium in their crop last year, both farmers are suffering. Certificates have shown that they have organic produce but the nuclear blasts that decimated their area have also decimated their livelihood because no one trusts the food to be free of contamination.

In fact, not even half of the farmers have come back to the area after the disaster to revive the farming industry.

Factory Farming and Hydroponics

Hydroponics is a sub-category of hydroculture and is used to grow plants, not in soil, but with mineral nutrient solutions or another kind of medium like mineral wool, gravel, expanded clay pebbles, perlite, coconut husk, etc. The method is widely used in teaching and biology research.

Although the method was initially discovered in the 18th century, hydroponics didn’t really gain a foothold until the 20th century. In fact, the method, which is now being used to rebuild and revive the contaminated area, was initially tried in the country in 1945 by U.S. occupation forces. Why did they try it? Several local area farmers were fertilizing their fields with human excrement.

Enter in Local Government Official Takeo Endo who came up with the idea of farming without soil to combat the problem with soil contamination. Endo, along with a local government team, has pioneered a project to cultivate food in a sealed-off hydroponics factory.

The factory, which will be the size of a soccer field, is currently being constructed and will be able to grow 8,000 heads of lettuce every day. And, if all goes well, more factories will be built to grow strawberries, tomatoes and other fruits.

The 36-year-old said he was worried farmers were not going to be able to cultivate vegetables and rice for at least 10 years, and growing them in a building ensures that contamination from radiation doesn't happen.

Using a water-solution mixed with fertilizer and LED growing lights, people who once thought they were out of a job may find themselves back in one thanks to the cooperation of the government, researchers and the industry who wants to give farmers an opportunity to compete in the market and let Japanese consumers know their food is safe for consumption.

No Limits To Hydroponic Farming

Hydroponics doesn’t have to be limited to decimated areas; it can be also used in urban areas like New York City, which has a large proportion of people living in it and little farming space to grow food. Hydroponics factory farming could reduce the time it takes to get fruits and vegetables to grocery store, which also reduces the costs paid for the transportation of these foods.

The Past and Current Costs Behind Factory Farming

A big reason factory farming didn’t take off is how much it costs to do. However, with some time and development, the costs have dropped significantly. For a head of lettuce it costs 60 yen to grow; 10 years ago, it cost 300 yen. Today, hydroponically lettuce needs just one percent of water with 25 percent of fertilizer.

Last year, roughly 100 fruits and vegetable factory farms were developed and used in Japan. In 2009, that number was only 34.

Kawauchi’s Factory Farms

The lettuce plant is going to use filtered groundwater and is free of contaminants, and about 25 employees will be hired initially. The produce is set to be sold in supermarkets around Fukushima and will be labeled Kawauchi.

Hydroponics works for fruits and vegetables, because it doesn’t take long to grow the foods. For now, grains cannot be cultivated using this method because they still take months to grow. It’s a new kind of farming that will assist the community affected by the contamination to move forward in the industry.

1 Comments | Posted in Fruits & Vegetable Gardening By Charles R. Sword

More people have become environmentally aware, and work in various ways to be greener. One such way people have become greener is to create and cultivate roof gardens. And, once limited to buildings and other similar structures, roof gardens can now be found on moving vehicles.

That’s right! Moving vehicles like buses and vans. That means the next time you are waiting for the bus, you could get an environmentally friendly ride to your destination. Roof gardens on bus tops are showing up in various parts of the world.

How Are Rooftop Gardens Created On Vehicles

Now, you might be wondering, how in the world can gardens be grown on rooftops of vehicles? That’s a good question. And, it’s not as hard as one might think. These phytokinetic gardens created out of aquaponics foam are rooted in a steel grid that ensures the plants stay in place even in cases of sudden stops. A sedum carpet of succulents keeps the flower bed moist along with ferns and small shrubs. The entire area is covered using a protective mesh.

The vehicle’s air conditioning system waste waters the plants. And, with rooftop gardens, the buses see an automatic cool-down of 3.5 degrees Celsius, which saves on the vehicle’s air conditioning.

A roof garden also helps to reduce how much weight is on the roof of the bus. And, since soil isn’t used, additional weight isn’t a concern.

Hydro, Hydroponics, grow plants, grow lights, grow shop, grow room, grow box, herb garden, plant lights,

What Benefits Are Associated With Rooftop Gardens?

There are several worthwhile benefits to the rooftop gardens of moving vehicles including but not limited to:

  • It increases the aesthetic value of the bus.
  • It provides both Thennal and Acoustical Insulation
  • It increases the absorption of CO2 emissions.
  • It reclaims real estate that has long been forgotten.
  • It boosts public awareness and recreation.

What’s so popular about moving roof gardens? Well, the idea behind them is to lessen the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere while also boosting the amount of overall vegetation and bio-diversity in crowded cities, especially in cities that are limited in space due to infrastructure such as Tokyo, Barcelona, etc.

One Creator of Rooftop Gardens

There hasn’t been just one creator of the rooftop gardens, and the design’s birth was for various reasons. One such creator is New York City designer Marco Cosio, who used the idea from his graduate thesis. He designed rooftop gardens to make use of forgotten space on the city buses while also bettering urban life with greenery.

A prototype of his design was installed on the BioBus’ roof. The BioBus is a mobile science laboratory and has become the first bus to have the detailed green roof system. It’s been seen in areas around New York City and has even traveled to Ohio and other places in the Northeast United States. Of course, the BioBus is just one several other mobile gardens, which have been found on trains, trucks and other various other moving items.

Cosi said the public transit buses have a surface space of 340 feet with the Metropolitan Transit Authority owning about 4,500 buses. The amount of green space in the city could expand exponentially. Basically, that means an additional 35 acres of green space.

With so many benefits behind this concept, and the ease in which to implement it, it can definitely be viewed as being the wave of the future. And, there is little doubt that moving roof gardens – be it in the form of buses, trucks, cars, or trains - could be the best in carbon-neutral motoring. You can create one yourself, if you think a home roof garden of plants is doable, than you should go and take part in saving the planet. 

1 Comments | Posted in Plants & Flower Gardening By Florence B. Harrell

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