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The Solar Decathlon: Tech Culture

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Tech Culture: The Solar Decathlon

4:11 /

In the Green Show this week, we stop by the Solar Decathlon, find out what causes 17 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, and look at why Volkswagen would invest in high-tech stairs.

>> Mark Licea: Hey I'm Mark Licea and this week Volkswagen gives an incentive to take the stairs. Find out what causes 17% of green house gas emissions and our green tech editor stops by the Solar Decathlon. The Green Show starts now. ^M00:00:16 [ Music ] ^M00:00:23 >> US Department of Energy funded Solar Decathlon is open to the public in Washington DC this week. If you're not familiar with the event our senior editor of Green Tech takes us there. [ Background music ] >> Martin LaMonica: Hi this is Martin LaMonica with CNET. I'm here at the Solar Decathlon which is a competition between 20 colleges to build the best solar home and I'm standing in front of a home that's powered entirely by sun. It's from Team Germany and its one of the more high tech entrants. You have solar panels on the roof but you also have solar panels on the siding. These are thin film solar cells that generate all together potentially 11 kilowatts of electricity and that's a lot. Not only that, these panels have specially designed material that's super insulated and that's very tight enveloped. This house is also equal to build a 2 story home which is different than all the other entrants and like the others they have an energy monitor inside so you can control your appliances. Now these are real high tech homes but some of them are actually pretty simple in terms of their design and the idea is so that people can come and get some ideas for their own home. This is Martin LaMonica with CNET. Thanks for watching. >> Mark: The overall winner of the decathlon will be announced on Friday. Deforestation causes 17% of green house gas emissions. You can learn more about deforestation and other climate change facts with 3 new videos in Google Earth. If you go to Google.com/cop15 you can watch and send out links to Google's new climate change videos. >> For a long time neglected we know today that these forests are one of the largest terrestrial carbon reservoirs but this storage is no longer safe. When [inaudible] are drained, the stored carbon is released into the atmosphere through dehydration and wild fire, contributing to climate warming. >> Mark: They're created in preparation for the UN climate Change Conference in December and they raise awareness on the endangered species in Sambongaou [assumed spelling] National Park and the deforestation in Madagascar and the Amazon. Studies show that just being aware of the energy consumption in your home can help consumers reduce power use by 15%. Power meters are 1 way to raise awareness in Google's power meter software now works without your utility company. Starting at $200 the Ted 5000 or the Energy Detective pairs with Google power meter. You install the device in your home electric panel and Google can track your power bill using a smartphone or the web. A good investment if you keep getting surprises on your power bill, not so much if you need a constant reminder to shut off the lights before you leave the house. Engadget got a hold of some footage showing Hitachi's new face recognition display. Similar to the Sony VE5 it senses motion but this model powers off when it detects a face looking away from the screen.^M00:02:59 [ Background sounds ] ^M00:03:11 >> See now that is useful if you like to read the newspaper in front of your power guzzling big screen TV, like the lady in the video. Yeah that's very practical. Speaking of practical: A lot of energy would be saved if people just took the stairs instead of riding an escalator or an elevator plus there's also the health benefits from getting more exercise. Of course we all know this but Volkswagen found that there's a way to get 66% more people to take the stairs. ^M00:03:36 [ Music ] ^M00:03:54 [ Background music ] >> Turns out most of us just want to be entertained and make music. Try climbing the stairs while listening to your MP3 player and that's it for this week. Send your feedback to Greenshow@cnet.com. I'm Mark Licea. Thanks for watching.

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