Monday, August 26, 2013

The Peepoo

I found (through the @Sweden twitter account) an interesting startup company with the slightly silly name of Peepoople. Their mission is to provide sanitation to the millions of people in the developing world who suffer from a lack of sanitation.

The idea is simple; it is in essence a bag like the ones we take along for Ollie's walks. But the difference is that the Peepoo quickly sanitizes its waste thanks to chemicals in the bag. Also, the bag itself is biodegradable, so the whole thing turns into valuable fertilizer.

Cheap, simple, and turning something bad into something good. I think it's a great idea!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Sweden’s Quest To Be The First Oil-Free Nation

I read an interesting article about plans by the Swedish government to become the world's first oil-free economy by 2020.

The use of ethenol has really grown recently. Just in the years since we've begun building our house, I've seen many more flex-fuel vehicles, and the "E85" signs at petrol stations are increasingly common.

Sweden is also leading on obtaining their ethanol from better sources. The most common sources are food crops (such as grains), or importing from sugar cane sources (Brazil being the main supplier). Sweden is working on 'secondary' sources of ethanol, such as waste material or cellulose-based crops. Both of these approaches are more sustainable and environmentally friendly.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Click & Grow

I found a cool little device over at kickstarter. It's called a "click & grow" and it is designed to allow automated growing of herbs and other small plants.

I just love my gadgets, and Sooz likes her fresh herbs. We might be able to start growing at our April/May visit, and then enjoy fresh greens in the summer! It is something fun to think about.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Ceiling Fans

We have them all over our Texas house. They do a great job of keeping air moving on these muggy days. There's also one in our stuga; I blogged about it at the time, and there's even a photo of its installation on the flickr page.

Sooz thought it wasn't really necessary at the time, but we've both come to appreciate having the airflow when the sun beams in the big windows and heats the house in the summer (not to Texas levels, of course!)

This past visit, we found our bedroom becoming stuffy. The shades have to be drawn because of the constant sunshine, which reduces fresh air, even if the windows stay open. We both thought a fan would be handy both in cool and warm environments.

The room is small so we want a fan that isn't too big and looks classy. This took me back to, and a model called the Altus. It comes with a small light, a remote control, 220 volt wiring, and is available with 36-inch blades. Perfect.

We're thinking about bringing one along on our next visit this fall.

Sunday, August 11, 2013


I've blogged previously about the growing use of wood in commercial buildings.

The concept is gaining momentum, as the Economist blogged recently about 'plyscrapers', which I think is a witty name for tall buildings made largely of wood.

There are environmental advantages; sustainably-harvested wood locks in carbon, rather than releasing it as does the manufacture of steel and concrete. (Cement alone accounts for 5% of the world's Carbon Dioxide emissions, for example.)

The photo on this post is of an eight-story residential block in East London. More details on this building, and the use of wood in bigger and bigger buildings, are on the blog.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Cabin Porn

I found a cool website with a number of user-submitted photos of cabins around the world. It has the slightly unfortunate web address of, but it is very much worth a look (and it is safe for work!)

And, yes, I have submitted a photo of our little stuga. I'll update this post if it is accepted.