Greener Gadgets

OpSPLASH Cleans Up Long Island

Greener Country Grand Opening

Earth Hour 2009- March 28-8:30PM

green living expo

groovy mind

nature conserve


friendship bag


U.S. Innovators Sweep 2009 Greener Gadgets Competition

Among the top 50 entries in the 2nd annual Greener Gadgets Competition, held last month in New York City, were some exceptional green product designs from all over the world. Beating out over 1,000 entries, all top honors this year went to solo and collaborative design teams from the United States.

1st Place: Tweet-a-Watt, A Twittering Power Meter

Using "off-the-shelf hardware", the design team of Limor Fried of Adafruit Industries & Phillip Torrone of MAKE magazine have modified a Kill-a-Watt(TM) power meter to "tweet" (publish wirelessly) the daily KWH consumed to the user's Twitter account (Cumulative Killowatt-hours). “We are releasing this project as an open source hardware project, in other words, anyone can make these, modify them and make a commercial product from the ideas and methods” said Fried and Torrone.

Here's how it works: The modified Kill-a-Watt uses a "super-cap" to slowly recharge itself. Once there is enough power it turns on the Xbee wireless module which transmits the data to a nearby computer (or internet connected microcontroller, like an Arduino). Once the power usage for the day is recorded it uses a predefined Twitter account (it can be your own) to publish your daily KWH consumption for the day. Multiple units can be used for an entire household.

The team will publish the source, schematics and the idea for others to run with. Energy change and consumption can happen many ways. “We feel there is a social imperative and joy in publishing one's own daily KWH. By sharing these numbers on a service like Twitter users can compete for the lowest numbers and also see how they're doing compared to their friends and followers” they added.

2nd Place: Power-Hog

From the design team of Mathieu Zastawny, Mansour Ourasanah, Tom Dooley, Peter Byar, Elysa Soffer, and Mathieu Turpault comes this winning kid-friendly consumption meter.

What it Is and How it Works: Power-Hog is a power consumption metering piggy bank designed to sensitize kids to energy cost associated with running electronics devices. Plug the tail into the outlet and the device into the snout; feed a coin to meter 30 minutes of use.

It's designed to capture the interest of parents and kids alike and serve the wider environmental cause. Power-Hog visually and symbolically associates power conservation with savings by using the iconic piggy bank as a visual reference. Kids can use their allowance to turn on the TV or video game by feeding the Power-Hog with loose change. The Power-Hog meters consumption and blinks red when time is running out. It also helps parents meter the amount of time spent watching the tube. The Power-Hog is made out of Xenoy iQ1103-U grade resin from Sabic. Their upcycling process using recycled PET allows good performance at a cost similar to less friendly materials. It is 100% recyclable and its packaging has been developed following the sustainable coalition packaging guidelines.

3rd Place: Indoor Drying Rack by Rod Podell

According to designer, Mr. Rod Podell, this sustainable, indoor drying rack for clothing will help the 96 million people in the United States live in apartments, most without access to a clothesline. 45 million of them do not have dryers in their apartment buildings. The typical clothes dryer is the 2nd largest energy-consuming appliance in the home, costing an average of $85 a year to operate. Clotheslines are great, but many suburbs do not allow them, and they are only useful in warmer climates. Also, most females cannot dry their undergarments in a dryer, nor do they want to hang them outside for everyone to see.

Constructed of bamboo laminate and recycled aluminum, it can be recycled easily, and is constructed from sustainable materials. Bamboo is also naturally hypoallergenic and resists mold and mildew. Predrilled holes allow the user tweak the mounting location side to side while still hitting studs, and it ships flat for maximum energy savings. This indoor drying rack gives millions of people the choice to conserve energy while drying their clothes naturally and privately in their home. When not in use it folds out of the way and adds a modern touch to any interior.

There were many great eco-ideas that landed in the Finalist and Semi-Finalist categories as well. Entries came from all over the world including Malaysia, United Kingdom, Germany, Korea, Turkey, Spain, Finland, Poland, Denmark, Taiwan, Australia, the United States, and the Czech Republic. Congratulations to all the talented eco-minded designers who entered the competition as well as the winners. To learn more about the finalists and the winners, visit



Join the OpSPLASH March 14th Island Clean-up

March 14, 2009, 9am-Noon,
South End of Woodcleft Avenue, Freeport, NY

On Saturday March 14, Operation SPLASH boats will pick up volunteers and ferry them to remote islands along our south shore for OpSPLASH 19. For the 19th year in a row, volunteers from all over the area will donate their morning time to help clean up our waterways. Last year 37 people collected more than 67 bags of garbage, 35 huge pieces of dock Styrofoam, 7 tires, lots of big lumber, and several coconuts…in just three hours. More volunteers are invited to help make OpSPLASH 19 even more successful.

Most people are unaware that ordinary street litter gets washed into storm drains, which empty—unfiltered—directly into south shore waterways. This is an eyesore and an endangerment to local marine life. To combat this problem, Operation SPLASH organizes special clean-up events. This year, volunteers will be treated to a noontime BBQ feast at the famous 1957 Remsen Bay House, and get a rare opportunity to see how beautiful and peaceful living on a bay can be.

Located in Freeport, Operation SPLASH is a grass-roots all-volunteer organization dedicated to improving life along our western bays. Since 1990, SPLASH has collected over 305 TONS of trash, and is working on other important projects to help protect and preserve our fragile south shore estuaries.

Call now to volunteer for OpSPLASH 19: (516) 378-4770, e-mail, or visit


Long Island Welcomes
Greener Country


Greener Country, a retail store for environmentally preferable products, designed for LEED certification, will celebrate its grand opening on Saturday, March 14, 2009 from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The new store is located in Jericho at 457 North Broadway (Route 106/107) at the Jericho Commons Shopping Center four doors down from the Whole Foods Market.

“A research study proved what we suspected; that Long Island consumers are interested in environmentally preferable products. We offer green and fair-trade products that are hard to find locally, along with everyday items like cleaning agents and bath products. We have solar backpacks, rain barrels, and kitchen composters on display. Things you won’t find anywhere else,” said Robert Meinke, proprietor of Greener Country.

Like Greener Country’s online store,, the new store will offer energy-efficient lighting, recycled and biodegradable office supplies, fair-trade jewelry, handbags and home goods made from recycled and sustainable materials, solar and rechargeable products, and composting and garden supplies. Contractors can also purchase building supplies such as paneling, adhesives, zero VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) paint, and moulding made from sustainable materials. Many product suppliers have received Green America’s Business Seal of Approval. Green America is a non-profit member organization that identifies businesses that have made firm commitments to sustainable, socially-just principles, including the support of sweatshop-free labor, organic farms, fair trade, and cruelty-free products.

In keeping with Meinke’s beliefs about environmental stewardship the Greener Country store has been constructed and re-modeled according to the US Green Building Council’s Green Building Rating System. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Efficient Design) certification recognizes a building project for its environmental impact.

“LEED focuses on five main categories: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality, and an additional category for Innovation and Design,” said Carmela Zino, sustainability advisor on the design and construction for the store. “Greener Country took the opportunity to reuse materials where possible. This made financial sense, but also diverted material that could have potentially ended up in a landfill, and also saved the extraction of virgin materials to make new products.”

In terms of projected cost savings for the energy efficiency of the store, “Energy modeling can show, with the use of the building elements incorporated, that the overall cost to operate the store as compared to a non-LEED certified store will be less. The use of the high efficient HVAC [Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning] equipment, energy efficient lighting, and lower flow water fixtures all contribute to the reduced operating cost of the store,” stated Andrew Braum, engineer for the store.

“In today's economic environment it is even more important to build with the community's best interests at heart. With Greener Country choosing to build to LEED standards they have embarked on a sustainable design that will lead to enhancing the "Triple Bottom Line" - an economic impact that benefits the People, the Planet and the Profits of our local companies,” stated Arthur R. Desin Jr., Chairman/Board of Directors of the US Green Building Council Long Island Chapter.

To benefit local companies, Greener Country sources vendors and products locally, where available. As an example, the Friendship Gift Bag™, a re-usable gift bag, is a product of Simply Re-Gift It in Wantagh. In addition, the store will be a pickup location for a Community Supported Agriculture program. Sang Lee Farms, a certified organic farm on the North Fork of Long Island, is currently accepting applications for membership. Members will receive a weekly supply of fresh organic, local produce.

Local Feng Shui practitioner and interior designer for the store, Joan Stigliano, incorporated design elements in the store that create “a sense of physical well being and emotional equilibrium for customers because of the balance of yin and yang elements and positive Chi flow throughout the space,” she said.

Greener Country is also committed to providing education on how consumers can become more aware of the many ways consumers affect the environment through the purchasing decisions they make. Product information and instructional videos for projects such as composting and rain barrel installation are on display in the store. Demonstrations and lectures will be presented at the store. Environmental organizations are encouraged to contact the store to schedule speakers.

For additional information, contact Robert Meinke or visit


Earth Hour

The Power of the Switch

From melting glaciers to increasingly intense weather patterns, we know that climate change is already impacting life on our planet.

On Saturday, March 28, 2009, at 8:30 pm, people around the world will participate in Earth Hour—the world’s largest global climate change event. By simply turning out all non-essential lighting for one hour at corporate buildings and in our own homes, we will join tens of millions of concerned citizens throughout the world in calling for action to save our planet for future generations.

Led by the World Wildlife Fund, more than 50 million people in 370 cities around the world took part in Earth Hour last year. The lights went out at Sydney’s Opera House, Rome’s Coliseum, the Empire State Building and the Golden Gate Bridge. This year, Earth Hour will be even bigger.

To get a better sense of the magnitude and inspiring nature of the event, take a moment to watch WWF’s video about Earth Hour 2009 by visiting

Participating in Earth Hour is easy, fun, free and a great way to educate today’s kids about conserving energy and its impact. To find out more, visit