Starting Your Smart Home Transformation

With the aid of modern technology, it's now possible to convert virtually any ordinary house into a smart home filled with features that make daily tasks more convenient. These technologies allow for greener living, customization of your living space to personal tastes and the peace of mind that you can control key home systems with your smartphone.

Converting to a smart home may seem like an intimidating task at first, but if you break the process into manageable steps you'll find it's not so hard to choose and install the best smart devices for your home and lifestyle. You can begin turning your house into a smart home by following these three simple steps.

Set a budget.

All of the technology and gadgetry that comprise today's smart homes were once viewed as luxury, reserved for the rich and famous and those whose lives played out on the big screen. What once seemed impractical for the... MORE


Renewable Power for Community Emergency Center

The Hartley Nature Center has installed a Sunverge Solar Integration System (SIS) to provide reliable backup electric power to meet operational needs during power outages. Storing power from the center's solar panels, this installation—the first of its kind in the state—will ensure vital Center operations never miss a beat, even when the grid goes down. The SIS will also allow the Center to serve as a community charging resource during times of disaster, keeping citizens connected with the people they need to contact.

The project is the result of a broad set of partnerships and community support. Funding was provided by the U.S. Department of Energy's SunShot program, the Clean Energy Group, the University of Minnesota-Duluth and the City of Duluth. Other partners include renewable energy non-profit group Ecolibrium3, as well as the University of Minnesota Extension Service, Lake Superior College, the Minnesota Power Foundation, Werner Electric, Innovative Solar Inc., Solar Market Pathways and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (Chapter 242). The system was installed by Great Northern Solar, a Sunverge Authorized Installer.

"We're thrilled to bring this unique emergency resource to the people of Duluth," said Tom O'Rourke, executive director of Hartley Nature Center. "We are committed to... MORE


President Obama Designates the World's Largest Marine Protected Area


Last Friday, President Obama expanded the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument off the coast of Hawaii, creating the world’s largest marine protected area. Building on the United States’ global leadership in marine conservation, today’s designation will more than quadruple the size of the existing marine monument, permanently protecting pristine coral reefs, deep sea marine habitats, and important ecological resources in the waters of the Northwest Hawaiian Islands.

Following this historic conservation action, the President will travel to Hawaii next week. On Wednesday evening, he will address leaders from the Pacific Island Conference of Leaders and the IUCN ... MORE

Getting Off the Grid In Honolulu


The term "off the grid" usually refers to people who choose to isolate themselves from society. But for Holu Energy, a tenant in Real Office Centers' Honolulu, Hawaii office, getting off the main grid isn't about retreating from society — it's about helping it to be more energy efficient and connected.

"We aspire to be the preeminent energy development company in the Pacific region," says Ted Peck, the CEO and lead developer at Holu Energy. "We currently have a focus on micro-grids powered by solar."

Micro-grids are smaller power grids within a community, such as a neighborhood or university, that exist to serve the specific needs of that smaller area. Because they have a narrower focus, micro-grids are often more reliable, more efficient, and more affordable for consumers.

Holu Energy is a leader in micro-grid development both in Hawaii, and in the entire Pacific region. The company is currently working to spread awareness of micro-grids, and to make them a leading source of energy for Hawaiians...MORE

Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel-Building the Sustainable Orphanage: Poultry Possibilities


Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel started their journey to self-sustainability in June of 2013, when the first round of chicks was delivered to the empty coop, which constructed in hopes of reducing the cost of food for the orphanage. After realizing the potential to raise more chickens than the residents of MAEC could possibly consume themselves, and Danielle made the decision to educate the teenagers on how to properly butcher the animals, package them accordingly and sell the entirety of the excess meat to local restaurants, hotels, and ...MORE



Rapid, Affordable, Energy Transformation

Christopher Clack is a research scientist for the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado Boulder working with NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory. Clack received his first class BSc (Hons) in mathematics and statistics for the University of Manchester in the UK in 2006. He then went on to research applied mathematics and plasma physics at the University of Sheffield in the UK in 2009. During his PhD, Clack completed an area of study centered on nonlinear resonance theory within the framework of magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) that remained unsolved for 20 years. The theories derived have helped our understanding of the Sun as well as possibilities for fusion reactors, such as ITER.In 2010, Clack moved to the United States with his wife to pursue a career in mathematics to investigate the emergence of sunspots on the surface of the Sun. During this time, he became increasingly interested in global warming and its impacts. Therefore, he sought a position to work on modeling the grid to try and determine some answers. He  started work at CIRES for NOAA in 2011, and several years later the NEWS simulator was created. He now leads the development of the NEWS simulator and all its associated components.