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The Green Show: The Living Zero Home TourOn the Green Show this week, we look at a home that demos energy efficient products, Microsoft says it's tweaking Windows 7 to be more green, and an industrial designer shows his futuristic concept on water distribution.
[ Music ] ^M00:00:01 >> Hey, I'm Mark Licea, and this week the Living Zero Home lands in New York City, Microsoft says Windows 7 is getting greener, and a futuristic concept on water distribution. The Green Show starts now. ^M00:00:13 [ Music ] ^M00:00:21 The Living Zero Home tour is an on-the-road home that demos energy efficient products. The tour hit New York City last week. Take a look. ^M00:00:28 People spend a lot of money heating and cooling their homes. What they don't know is a lot of that energy escapes through windows. Here's an easy solution. We have here a demonstration that shows two different types of glass. Now, you can see in the ordinary two-pane glass, there's a lot of energy escaping versus what they're calling "low-e insulating glass." Some of the other examples they have in this house are bamboo floors. Bamboo takes about five to seven years to grow versus wood, which is around 60 to 100 years. They also have recycled wood and bamboo countertops, which is something that's relatively new. One of the important things to remember is that all of these appliances are Energy Star compliant. What that means is you'll save a lot more money. A 2009 Energy Star qualified refrigerator will run you around $48.00 versus a refrigerator purchased about 30 years ago will cost you $259.00. Now, an easy way to gauge your savings and energy usage is to look for the energy guide. It's in almost all appliances. You can find more information at Livingzero.org. ^M00:01:30 Would you consider switching to a new OS based on its greenness? According to Amazon's end user blog, developers at Windows have been working on incorporating new energy saving features into the Windows 7 OS. Changes include adding new energy consumption tools, tweaking how Windows 7 runs services in the background, and cutting energy consumption on computer displays, in some cases as much as 40 percent on mobile computers. Of course, some of these power saving features are only as good as the user that programs them, but you might ask yourself, how much power can you really save from tweaking an OS? Well, a study a few months back estimates that improvements in Windows Vista sleep mode function could benefit the environment as much as taking 380,000 cars off the road. ^M00:02:12 The New York Times is reporting on a study that pretty much confirms what most of us already assume. Buying a digital album online is a lot more green than buying a CD. The study, funded by Microsoft and Intel, shows that purchasing an album digitally reduces CO2 emissions by 40 to 80 percent. That estimate is based on a best-case CD purchasing scenario, meaning having the CD delivered by the greenest method possible. Reasons like album artwork are still an incentive to purchase a hard copy, but if you're more likely to walk to the store, you can rest easy. The emission comparison to digital downloads is nearly equivalent, just a bit more time consuming. ^M00:02:48 Moving right along, an industrial designer by the name of Oliver Craig proposed a water distribution concept that hydrates and gives you points. The method would allow you to purchase a reusable bottle that can be refilled using a special fountain. ^M00:03:02 [ Music ] ^M00:03:09 The fountain would grant the user points that are transferred to the vendor's log through RFID technology. Of course, the issue of sanitation and consumer acceptance are just a few hurdles, but I can imagine something like this implemented in a school or the Starship Enterprise. ^M00:03:23 Sony announced a new kind of lithium ion rechargeable battery that the company claims will give a lot more power, close to four times more. The materials in the new battery are comprised of Olivine-type lithium ion phosphate, which basically means more power and longer life. The batteries will also charge up in 30 minutes and live for about 2,000 charging cycles. They'll first be supplied in Sony power tools and gradually roll out to consumer electronics. ^M00:03:47 That's it for this week. Send your feedback to Greenshow@cnet.com. I'm Mark Licea. Thanks for watching. ^M00:03:53 [ Music ]