Google and Project Sunroof

Mapping the planet’s solar energy potential, one rooftop at a time

Screen Shot 2015-08-14 at 10.03.49 AM

Project Sunroof

The cost of solar power is at a record low. A typical solar home can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars per year on their electricity bill.  But, as a volunteer with the Boston-based solar program Solarize Massachusetts and a solar homeowner myself, I’ve always been surprised at how many people I encounter who think that “my roof isn’t sunny enough for solar,” or “solar is just too expensive.” Certainly many of them are missing out on a chance to save money and be green.

Enter Project Sunroof, my recent 20% project. Project Sunroof is a new online tool we’re testing to help homeowners explore whether they should go solar. Available in the San Francisco Bay Area, Fresno (in central California), and the Boston area for now, the tool uses high-resolution aerial mapping (the same used by Google Earth) to help you calculate your roof’s solar energy potential, without having to climb up any ladders.

 

If you’re in one of our test regions, simply enter your address and Project Sunroof will crunch the numbers. It first figures out how much sunlight hits your rooftop throughout the year, taking into account factors like roof orientation, shade from trees and nearby buildings, and local weather patterns. You can also enter your typical electric bill amount to customize the results. The tool then combines all this information to estimate the amount you could potentially save with solar panels, and it can help connect you with local solar providers.

Google has always been a big believer in zero-carbon energy, and solar power has been a central part of that vision — from accelerating the growth of rooftop solar, to helping finance the largest solar farm in Africa, to building one of America’s biggest campus solar arrays here in Mountain View. While Project Sunroof is in a pilot phase for now, during the coming months we’ll be exploring how to make the tool better and more widely available. If you find that your address isn’t covered by the tool yet, you can leave your email address and we’ll let you know when Project Sunroof is ready for your rooftop!

Images courtesy of Google

The Most Important Hour of Your Life

Step 1: If possible get out into nature where you can feel the natural pace of the earth and not the hyperactive and inhumane pace of modern life.

Step 2: Write down the question “What would I do if I only had a week left to live?” and take 10 minutes to write down your answer.

Step 3: Write down the question, “What would I do if I only had a month left to live?” and take 10 minutes to write down your answer.

Step 4: Write down the question, “What would I do if I only had a year left to live?” and take 10 minutes to write down your answer.

Step 5: Write down the question, “What would I do if I only had five years left to live?” and take 10 minutes to write down your answer.

Step 6: Write down the question, “What would I do if I only had a life left to live?” and take 10 minutes to write down your answer.

Step 7: Finally, take 10 minutes to reread all of your answers while asking yourself, “How can I design my routine this week to more closely align with these answers?”

Job Site Tiny House Consulting

I spent time with Alex helping him with a complicated site built door set.

One Step Forward… Two steps back

Two steps back.

It has been awhile since we have posted anything, and as usual, it feels like so much has happened.  We had so much that we were excited to update you all on, until today when we hit a bit of a…speed bump.  I’m going to give you all a quick update on the past 2 weeks first though.

The French doors, oh boy, those French doors.  The deal that we got on the doors fromReFit on Mississippi ended up costing us just as much as the original sliding glass patio door (not including my sanity, which I lost quite a bit of).  After a week of taking a crack at them on my own, I called in reinforcements.  Tiny house curious engineer extraordinaire, John, came to the rescue.  After another three days of work, we ended up getting those doors in correctly.  What I learned from this whole project?  Buy pre-hung doors.

20150301_150635

John fixing one of my mistakes

image

Thar she swings!!!

20150222_174757

Still standing!

How To Have the Perfect Workday

You might think the perfect workday includes a promotion or a raise, or perhaps your evil boss getting fired. Sadly, such monumental events don’t happen very often.

The good news is that there are plenty of little things you can do to improve both your productivity and your happiness if you feel stuck at your desk all day.

One simple trick is to structure your time better — which includes taking more breaks. In fact, the highest performers work for 52 minutes consecutively before taking a 17-minute break, according to a recent experiment conducted by the productivity app DeskTime.

Other helpful habits are even easier to pick up: Just going outside or taking a few minutes to watch the latest cute cat video can help make you a better worker.

Sure, you might realistically not have enough time to incorporate all these suggestions in your daily routine, but every little bit helps. That’s why we’ve pulled together research and anecdotal evidence from a variety of sources to build the perfect workday.

via [Huffington Post]

BestWorkday