• Four Things Every Landlord Should Know

    Posted in Other Stuff on October 16, 2020

    If you have just inherited a property or you are in the middle of renting out your home because you want to move somewhere else, becoming a landlord can be tricky.

    Fortunately, there are various detailed guides to renting your home that can help. However, most of the time you just need a list of the important things you need to remember. Here is a guide to the top four things every landlord should know before diving into the world of property letting.

    1.You are Obligated to Make the House Liveable Before Tenants Move in:
    There are certain landlord obligations that come with renting out a property, some of which will be about the property itself. Is your property a turn-key property, or does it need renovations to make it liveable? If it is the latter, it is your duty to make adjustments before your tenants move in. Your property must adhere to strict requirements for it to be legally compliant for letting out to tenants. You need to find out what they are first.

    2. Your property has Strengths and Weaknesses:
    You need to consider what type of tenant you would like to attract. Will you be a student landlord, or will you provide rental property to young professionals? These tenants are different and will have varying expectations of their landlord and the experience they want from their future home. For example, should you transform the 4-bedroom family home near a good primary school into 4-single-occupancy flats? Probably not. Reflect on the strengths of your property and position and plan accordingly.

    3. There is a Learning Curve
    There will always be bumps you will encounter on the road of renting out property. For example, when you contact an exterminator for a mouse problem, he may spot mould in a crawl space. Before you know it, a small issue becomes a big and expensive problem. Experienced landlords are generally better at spotting potential issues, so don’t despair when there are problems – rather learn from them.

    4. Emergencies are Inevitable:
    It is crucial that you are always prepared as a landlord and protect your residential property investment. Set aside a certain amount of money for insurance in case anything goes wrong. If your property is vacant all of a sudden, you need to ensure that you can pay for the mortgage without rental income.

    Set money aside for unexpected problems. No matter how new property is, wear and tear and bad weather can easily lead to the need for repairs and maintenance.

    5. The Bottom Line:
    At the end of the day, it’s all about the welfare of your tenants, good communication, and documenting agreements in writing. If you are thinking of employing a property manager, get in touch with an experienced and trained property professional who can make the experience of letting out your property less stressful and more profitable.

  • Nissan unveils a 100% electric emergency response vehicle concept – Nissan RE-LEAF

    Posted in Transport on September 30, 2020

    Nissan today unveiled a 100% electric emergency response vehicle concept- RE-LEAF1, designed to provide a mobile power supply following natural disasters or extreme weather. The Nissan RE-LEAF1 working prototype is based on the world’s first mass-production electric car -Nissan LEAF. Alongside modifications to navigate roads covered in debris, the RE-LEAF features weatherproof plug sockets mounted directly to the exterior of the vehicle, which enable 110- to 230-volt devices to be powered from the car’s high-capacity lithium-ion battery.

    The RE-LEAF can be driven into the center of a disaster zone and provide a fully mobile power supply to aid the recovery process. The integrated energy management system can run medical, communications, lighting, heating and other life-supporting equipment. The RE-LEAF uses the LEAF’s bidirectional charging ability, a standard feature of the model since its introduction in 2010. This means the LEAF can not only “pull” power to recharge the high-capacity battery, but also “push” it back to the grid through V2G (Vehicle-to-Grid) technology, or directly to electric devices through V2X (Vehicle-to-everything).

    Natural disasters are the biggest cause of power outages. A 2019 World Bank report found natural shocks and climate change caused 37% of outages in Europe between 2000 and 2017, and 44% of outages in the U.S. over the same period. When a disaster hits, the time for electricity supply to be restored is typically 24 to 48 hours, depending on the severity of the damage. During that period, electric vehicles like RE-LEAF1 can provide zero-emission mobile emergency power.

    Nissan created the RE-LEAF to demonstrate the potential of electric vehicles in disaster recovery. Nissan EVs can also act as mobile storage batteries to supply homes and society with electricity during non-emergency situations through Nissan Energy Share, creating a distributable energy model that can be used to help stabilize supply and demand. Acting as a portable power station, the latest generation Nissan LEAF e+ with a fully charged 62 kilowatt-hour battery can provide enough electricity to power the average European household for six days.

    As a disaster recovery vehicle, the RE-LEAF can power multiple devices simultaneously like Electric jackhammer, 10-liter soup kettle, 100-watt LED floodlight etc for 24 hours. Once electricity is restored to the area, EVs can be recharged and provide zero-emission transport – up to 385 kilometers2 on a single charge of a LEAF e+ battery.

    Bosch announces SmartGrow Life- an all-in-one indoor gardening system at IFA 2020

    Posted in Awareness and Hype on September 3, 2020

    At IFA 2020, Bosch Smart Home will be presenting their SmartGrow Life. SmartGrow Life is an innovative, all-in-one indoor gardening system for growing herbs, greens, and even tomatoes at home. Thanks to its patented lighting and irrigation technology, users can grow healthy and aromatic plants that contain four times as many vitamins as the herbs all year round.

    In addition to providing fresh greens, SmartGrow Life is an eye-catching complement to any kitchen counter or table and can even be mounted on the wall. Following the sustainability principle, all materials used for the device, accessories, and packaging can be reused, reprocessed, or recycled.

    World’s First Fuel Cell Heavy-Duty Truck Hyundai XCIENT Fuel Cell Heads to Switzerland

    Posted in Biofuels on July 7, 2020

    Hyundai Motor today shipped the first 10 units of the Hyundai XCIENT Fuel Cell, the world’s first mass-produced fuel cell heavy-duty truck, to Switzerland. Hyundai plans to ship a total of 50 XCIENT Fuel Cells to Switzerland this year, with handover to commercial fleet customers starting in September. XCIENT is powered by a 190-kW hydrogen fuel cell system with dual 95-kW fuel cell stacks. Seven large hydrogen tanks offer a combined storage capacity of around 32.09 kg of hydrogen.

     The driving range per charge for XCIENT Fuel Cell is about 400km, which was developed with an optimal balance between the specific requirements from the potential commercial fleet customers and the charging infrastructure in Switzerland. Refueling time for each truck takes approximately 8~20 minutes. Fuel cell technology is particularly well-suited to commercial shipping and logistics due to long ranges and short refueling times. The dual-mounted fuel cell system provides enough energy to drive the heavy-duty trucks up and down the mountainous terrain in the region.

    Hyundai is developing a long-distance tractor unit capable of traveling 1,000 kilometers on a single charge equipped with an enhanced fuel cell system with high durability and power, aimed at global markets including North America and Europe. Hyundai plans to roll out a total of 1,600 XCIENT Fuel Cell trucks by 2025, reflecting the company’s environmental commitment and technological prowess as it works toward reducing carbon emissions through zero-emission solutions.

    World’s Largest Fully Artificial Indoor Vertical Farm Starts Operation in Japan

    Posted in Other Stuff on July 6, 2020

    Tokyo Electric Power Company along with three other companies launched an indoor vertical farm in central Japan with production capacity of 5 tons a day — one of the worlds largest for facilities relying solely on artificial lighting. The three companies established Saisai Life in April 2019 for the purpose of conducting a leafy vegetable production and sales business centered on lettuce. Saisai Life started the operation of the farm with a total floor space of about 9,000 square meters last Wednesday in the city of Fujieda, Shizuoka Prefecture in Japan to grow leafy greens such as lettuce by utilizing light-emitting diodes.

    For the construction of the factory, they have utilized the farm ship know-how that has a track record of operating plant factories, adopted unique LED lighting that enables more effective cultivation, and optimized the cultivation space, etc. The leafy vegetables from this artificial indoor vertical farm will be shipped to food processing plants mainly in the Kanto, Chubu, and Kansai areas, and the sales channels will be expanded to produce full capacity in one year. In addition, by cultivating in a hygienic environment without being affected by the external environment, it becomes possible to maintain high freshness longer than usual, leading to reduced food loss. This facility also provide solutions for some of the problems faced by Japanese agriculture industry, such as a decline in the number of farmers and the aging of  farmers still working in the field.

    Hyundai Motor Launches Eco-friendly Electric Minibus for Korean Market

    Posted in Transport on June 29, 2020

    Hyundai Motor today introduced its first electric minibus for the Korean market – Country Electric. The Hyundai electric minibus provides an economical, eco-friendly, safe, and convenient alternative to diesel-powered buses. The 7,710-mm-long County Electric is equipped with a high-efficiency and high-power 128-kWh lithium-ion-polymer battery that provides a range of 250 km on a full charge. The 128-kWh battery can be fully charged in 72 minutes using a standard Combo 1 DC system(based on 150kW charging), which helps ensure reliability. The bus can be charged using a household 220V outlet, which takes 17 hours (220V charger is provided as an option).

    County Electric’ Minibus has equipped the bus with the latest safety technologies to prevent accidents when passengers get on and off. Various sensors located near the middle door, including an ultrasonic sensor, prevent the door from closing while the passenger is getting on and off. The sensors also trigger an alarm when a body part gets caught in the door and automatically opens the door to prevent injury. The ultrasonic sensor is also connected to the bus’s acceleration pedal, which prevents the bus from moving forward from a stop when passenger movement is detected. County Electric also comes with a virtual engine sound system and rear parking assist system to warn pedestrians and prevent accidents.

    Not only is Country Electric economical and eco-friendly, but it is also powerful. Within the 50 to 80 km/h range, Country Electric provides a 30-percent faster acceleration compared to diesel models. In addition, the bus is equipped with an electronically controlled, air-over-hydraulic(AOH) brake system with more robust brake discs to handle increased vehicle weight due to the battery. Hyundai Motor will offer the bus in configurations with 15 to 33 seats. The bus is available with a twin swing-type rear emergency door, seats with a 220-mm-higher backrest, and a new seat belt system that can reduce abdominal pressure during emergency braking.

    Amazon pledges $2 billion to projects fighting climate change

    Posted in Other Stuff on June 24, 2020

    Amazon on Tuesday pledged to invest $2 billion in projects aimed at combating climate change, stepping up efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of the tech giant and others.  Amazon founder Jeff Bezos will look to invest in the visionary entrepreneurs and innovators who are building products and services to help companies reduce their carbon impact and operate more sustainably. 

    The pledge follows an announcement by Bezos last year that Amazon would accelerate its own efforts to cut its carbon footprint while encouraging others to join his “Climate Pledge” aimed at meeting goals of the Paris accord on climate ahead of schedule. The pledge has been joined by other companies including Verizon, Reckitt Benckiser and India-based tech giant Infosys. Amazon is on track to run on 100 percent renewable energy by 2025. It also will deploy more than 100,000 electric delivery vans to replace gasoline-powered vehicles. 

    The new fund will invest in companies in multiple industries, including transportation and logistics, energy generation, storage and utilization, manufacturing and materials, circular economy, and food and agriculture. The news comes amid growing concerns on climate change and with the US administration on course to withdraw from the global agreement aimed at curbing emissions. Some scientists have warned that climate change is accelerating, making mitigation efforts more urgent. The last five years have been the hottest on record, as has been the last decade, according to the European climate monitoring network.

    Logitech to Empower Consumers with Detailed Information on Products’ Environmental Impact Across the Portfolio

    Posted in Gadgets and Tech on June 18, 2020

    Logitech today pledged to communicate the carbon impact of all its products on packaging and the company website. Logitech will be the first consumer electronics company to provide detailed carbon impact labeling on product packaging across the entire portfolio. In doing so, it intends to empower and collaborate with consumers, informing the purchasing choices they make. It also wishes to galvanize an industry-wide shift to dramatically lower the impact of carbon on the environment. Logitech expects the first carbon impact labeling to appear on its gaming products later this year, followed by a rollout across the full portfolio.

    As an award-winning design company, Logitech designs for sustainability across all its brands, looking for ways to reduce the impact its products have on the environment throughout the design process. Until now, the carbon impact has not been visible to consumers looking to better understand their individual impact on the environment. Logitech’s carbon transparent labeling will quantify that impact, communicate it to consumers, and empower them to make more informed purchasing decisions.

    Carbon transparency further extends Logitech’s commitment to sustainability across its products, packaging, and operations. In 2019, Logitech neutralized the carbon in its gaming product portfolio, announced its support of the Paris Agreement, pledging to limit its carbon footprint to support the ambitious 1.5oC goal and committed that the Company will be powered exclusively by renewable electricity by 2030.

    Korean Researchers Develops Eco-friendly Plastic Production Technology

    Posted in Other Stuff on February 19, 2020

    The Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology has developed a new technology to produce eco-friendly polyethylene furanoate (PEF) plastic. PEF has been spotlighted as a new bio-alternative to replace PET plastic and is made of glucose, a sugar substance originating from plants. The PET alternative is made by turning glucose into fructose, during which the common practice of using enzymes was known to be costly since enzymes cannot be recycled.

    Another shortcoming has been that expensive devices are required to separate the remaining glucose from the fructose that has been created. The research team combined butanol with the commonly used hydrotalcite-based catalysts to create a new catalyst that is chemically stable and effective. The new catalyst costs only half the price of the enzyme-based manufacturing process since it can be reused, and expedited production is possible since it doesn’t require glucose to be separated from the fructose.

    Adidas to Launch New Fabrics from Recycled Ocean Plastic and Polyester

    Posted in Recycle on January 29, 2020

    Adidas will launch new fabrics made from recycled polyester and marine plastic waste and expand the product lines that use them after the success of shoes made with the Parley for the Oceans initiative. Adidas first teamed up with Parley in 2015 and gradually ramped up production of shoes using plastic collected on beaches and coastal regions to make more than 11 million pairs in 2019, still only a fraction of a group total of more than 400 million. Since 2012, Adidas has innovated new products and processes with sustainability-focused partners like Parley for the Oceans, Stella McCartney and the U.S. International Space Station.

    This year Addidas will launch PRIMEBLUE and PRIME GREEN performance fabrics, two new sustainable technologies where 100% of the polyester used is recycled. PRIMEBLUE, a performance fabric that contains Parley Ocean Plastic, is now included in some of the brand’s most iconic and visible performance products like Ultraboost shoes and in the uniforms of some of the biggest leagues and teams in the world.  In total, the German firm will produce 15-20 million pairs of shoes using ocean plastic in 2020.

    PRIME GREEN, a performance fabric that contains no virgin plastic, will be available later this year and will also be featured in key competitive products. Adidas wants more than half of the polyester it uses to be recycled in 2020, ramping up to 100 percent by 2024. Both performance fabrics will play a significant role in Adidas reaching more than 50% total volume of recycled polyester at the end of 2020 and its commitment to END PLASTIC WASTE. Nike uses recycled polyester yarn for the uppers of its popular Flyknit shoes, saying that it has helped it divert more than 4 billion plastic bottles from landfills.