Office at Home

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These offices are called MOSS offices which are designed by American designer Victor Vetterlein. MOSS,  stands for Micro Office Systems Space. These offices are meant to be bought by companies to give and install into their worker’s backyards so that they can work at home and avoid a daily commute. As you all know, commuting to your workplace often takes quite a long time and uses gas which transmutes to money. With this portable office, workers can now be more efficient by saving time and money.

Victor Vetterlein says “MOSS provides each employee with a direct visual, audio, and data link to the main office and also a professional environment to hold small business meetings. The user of MOSS feels a good separation from home and work life while not having to commute to the office.”

“The exterior of MOSS is hard edged to form a protective shell against the outside world,” says Vetterlein. The “bunker-style” birch plywood interior is quiet opposite as it is “soft, warm, and welcoming,” he adds. The MOSS has an octagonal aluminum shell which will protect the unit from rain, snow and high winds.

MOSS by Victor Vetterlein

The unit is said to be warmed through energy-efficient underfloor heating and a wood stove, with solar panels and a wind turbine on the roof providing electricity. However, the basic model will not have running water or a toilet but can be expanded to fit a portable toilet, a small kitchen and a waste water tank.

For more information on the interior design and floor plan, click here.

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Bathroom Lighting

A bathroom is a place to relax and recharge after a long and perhaps stressful day. Making a bathroom comfortable pays off and lighting is an important aspect to consider in bathrooms. A good lighting provides a suitable amount of light for where it is needed like such as for showers, shaving, or putting on makeup.

Some technical specifications or requirements include the consideration of types of lights, different light bulbs, and the dimming of lights. The 3 basic types of lighting are Ambient lighting, Task lighting, and Accent lighting. Ambient lighting is a substitute for natural light; also known as general lighting which provides an area with a wide illumination. Task lighting assists people in doing specific tasks such as reading, grooming, preparing and cooking food, doing homework, and playing games. Accent lighting adds emotion and drama to a room by shining lights at certain angles to complement objects (usually artwork or decorations).

Light bulbs used in bathrooms come in different types like Incandescent, Fluorescent, to LED, and Halogen light bulbs. Incandescent bulbs are the most common and cheap; they are good because they can be used with a dimmer switch but a downside is that they produce more heat than light making them extremely inefficient. Fluorescent bulbs are energy efficient, produce little head, and last a long time, however they are quite expensive. LED bulbs last by far the longest (50 000 hours), contain no hazardous materials, but they can also be very pricey. Halogen bulbs produce a very bright white light which is good for displaying things; on the contrary they can be very dangerous if placed close to flammable materials (Halogen bulbs can get up to 650 degrees Celsius). There is no “best” light bulb since different people prefer different things, but it is argued that fluorescent lights are over all the most suitable as they are energy efficient yet create a soft and natural light which is comfortable for peoples’ eyes.

Dimmers are extras in lighting; they allow control of lights meaning they also have control of the mood in a room.   In very small spaces like a powder room, having dimmers can allow an all-in-one ambient, task, and accent lighting. Furthermore, dimming the lights can also conserve energy and prolong the life a light bulb.

Safety is the most important aspect when it comes to lighting. Paying attention to aesthetics doesn’t discard the importance of safety. Remember to consult a certified electrician before working on even the most basic lighting projects. Canada’s electric code requires all outlets in bathrooms to be GFCIs (ground-fault circuit interrupters) which protects people from electrical shocks and fires. Even with a GFCI, freestanding plug-in lamps should never be placed near a sink or tub. If there are fixtures that are going to be close to the bathtub or shower (usually 6 feet, though local codes vary) bust be “wet” or “shower-location” rated to prevent accidents and injuries.

Bibliography

Arnold, Susan. “A Lesson in Bathroom Lighting.” This Old House. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Apr. 2013. <http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/article/0,,403815,00.html>.

“American Lighting Association.” Basic Types of Lighting. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Apr. 2013. <http://www.americanlightingassoc.com/lighting-fundamentals/3-types-of-lighting.aspx&gt;.

Eisenbraun, Blair. “ELightBulbs Lighting Blog Best Bathroom Bulbs.” Best Bathroom Bulbs. N.p., 1 July 2010. Web. 24 Apr. 2013. <http://www.elightbulbs.com/lighting-blog/Best-Bathroom-Light-Bulbs&gt;.

“The Pros and Cons of Halogen Bulbs.” The Family Handyman. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Apr. 2013. <http://www.familyhandyman.com/DIY-Projects/Lighting/Home-Lighting/the-pros-and-cons-of-halogen-bulbs/View-All&gt;.

“Color Temperature Chart.” Light Bulbs Direct. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Apr. 2013. <http://www.lightbulbsdirect.com/page/001/CTGY/ColorTemp&gt;.

Thorium Reactor – Liquid fluoride thorium reactor (LFTR)

How it works:

  1. Thorium and uranium-233 are dissolved in molten lithium fluoride salt in the reactor. As fission (radioactive decay) occurs, heat is released and free neutrons start changing more thorium into uranium-233.
  2. Heat from the reactor is transferred to another loop of molten salt not containing nuclear materials.
  3.  Heat is transferred to helium gas turning turbines to power a generator.
  4. As an emergency measure, if the system gets too hot a plug designed to melt at a specific temperature will melt and release the reactor’s components into dump tanks.
  5. Liquid salt waste can be removed while the reactor is still working.

5 changes required to make it commercially viable:

–          Nuclear waste

Although thorium produces far less waste than uranium, the problem is that it still produces waste.  For example uranium-233 is a resultant of using thorium, but can be separated into another reactor to generate electricity.

–          Renewability

There are high amounts of thorium 1,781,000 tonnes (estimated) but it will not last for ever, it is necessary to find a reliable source. There are plans to extract thorium from space, such as from the moon and mars.

–          A working reactor

People are skeptical about nuclear energy due to disasters such as the one in Fukushima Japan. If a thorium reactor is built and proves itself being effective and without problems, other countries will start building them too.

–          Dangers

Thorium breaks down into uranium-233 which can be used to make bombs. As a result, thorium reactors will need to be protected from groups such as terrorists.

–          Awareness

People must be aware that other ways of generating electricity such as wind or burning coal is not effective or is actually worse than nuclear power plants. Wind power requires too many resources to build and land to build on to be considered as efficient. While coal is adding to global warming (which is an issue that cannot be over looked) and actually carries into the surrounding environment 100 times more radiation than a nuclear power plant. Therefore, thorium is actually a good choice for generating electricity.

5 companies/groups leading in advancing thorium reactors:

–          Lightbridge Corporation

Lightbridge is a leading provider of nuclear energy consulting services to commercial and governmental entities worldwide, and is developing next generation nuclear fuel technology that will significantly reduce nuclear waste and proliferation.

–          India

India has a quarter of the world’s known thorium reserves and plans to meet 30% of its electricity demand through thorium-based reactors by 2050.

–          China

China’s aim is to break free of the old pressurized-water reactors fueled by uranium and move on to thorium which produces far less waste and is less dangerous.

–          International Thorium Energy Organization

IThEO is an organisation that campaigns internationally to make Thorium Energy a reality.

–          Thorium Power Canada Inc.

Thorium Power Canada Inc. offers a clean, green, safe and cost effective solution to the growing global energy requirements through a partnership with DBI Century Fuels Inc. taking advantage of abundant and widely available thorium deposits.

5 impacts:

–          Social

Cheaper electricity means cheaper products and services, which can mean the overall quality of life will become better. Having this new source of energy may completely change the way we live, such as the idea of space elevators or even colonizing other planets.

–          Political

Thorium reactors actually existed back in the 1960’s but nuclear power plants are currently used due to the result of the Manhattan Project. Their goal back then was to make the atomic bomb and not energy which is why thorium reactors just died off. Thorium is located in some countries more than others. When the world switches to using thorium reactors as a main source of energy, countries will have to depend on each other for resources resulting in better relationships with one another.

–          Economic

Thorium reactors can produce more money by creating more electricity at a lower price; it will also create job opportunities.

–          Environmental

By replacing uranium and burning coal, the amount of waste and pollution will decrease. Global warming will slow down dramatically if coal stops getting burned for electricity.

–          Health

Uranium-233: a resultant of thorium can treat cancer. The goal of radiotherapy is to kill cancer cells without killing healthy cells and bismuth-213 (a decay product from uranium-233) can do just that.

 

 

Bibliography:

McDonald, Norris. “Nuclear Fuels Reprocessing Coalition.” Blogger. N.p., 1 Aug. 2012. Web. 22 Feb. 2013. <http://nfrcoalition.blogspot.ca/2012/08/thorium-reactors.html&gt;.

“Nuclei.” A Review of the Universe – Structures, Evolutions, Observations, and Theories. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2013. <http://universe-review.ca/F14-nucleus.htm&gt;.

Hvistendahl, Mara. “Coal Ash Is More Radioactive than Nuclear Waste: Scientific American.” Scientific American. N.p., 13 Dec. 2007. Web. 24 Feb. 2013. <http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=coal-ash-is-more-radioactive-than-nuclear-waste&gt;.

Katusa, Marin. “The Thing About Thorium: Why The Better Nuclear Fuel May Not Get A Chance.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 16 Feb. 2012. Web. 24 Feb. 2013. <http://www.forbes.com/sites/energysource/2012/02/16/the-thing-about-thorium-why-the-better-nuclear-fuel-may-not-get-a-chance/&gt;.

Siegel, RP. “Liquid Fluoride Thorium Power: Pros and Cons.” Triple Pundit. N.p., 23 Apr. 2012. Web. 24 Feb. 2013. <http://www.triplepundit.com/2012/04/liquid-fluoride-thorium-power-pros-cons/&gt;.

Forsberg, C. W., and L. C. Lewis. Uses For Uranium-233: What Should Be Kept for Future Needs? Rep. N.p., 24 Sept. 1999. Web. 24 Feb. 2013. <http://moltensalt.org/references/static/downloads/pdf/ORNL-6952.pdf&gt;.

“Nuclear Energy For the 21st Century.” Lightbridge. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2013. <http://ltbridge.com/&gt;.

Pritchard, Ambrose Evans. “China Blazes Trail for ‘clean’ Nuclear Power from Thorium.” The Telegraph. N.p., 6 Jan. 2013. Web. 24 Feb. 2013. <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/ambroseevans_pritchard/9784044/China-blazes-trail-for-clean-nuclear-power-from-thorium.html&gt;.

“IThEO.” IThEO.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2013. <http://www.itheo.org/itheo&gt;.

“Company & Leadership.” Thorium Power Canada Inc. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2013. <http://www.thoriumpowercanada.com/&gt;.