Category Archives: Materials

Touch Technology in the Kitchen

So apparently Intel Labs is working on an interactive kitchen countertop system called OASIS (Object-Aware Situated Interactive System), which projects displays directly onto the counter. You could place several food items on the counter, for example, and OASIS would generate a recipe using those ingredients.  The system also generates helpful hints and nutrition information for the items placed on the counter. You may also be able to access virtual “drawers,” activated by the touch motions similar to those you use with an iPad, which can store recipes and other virtual data related to your food and a kitchen’s contents. According to information on Intel’s website, the OASIS platform could have applications in other rooms of the house, and “is easy to retrofit to any home, any room, and almost any horizontal or vertical surface.”

No word yet on when this technology might be available.


Portland-area Paint Company Makes World More Colorful

Do you love color and buying from local companies? Well then you have to check out this great article from Seattleite Magazine with Gretchen Schauffler, founder of Portland based Devine Color.  Read more here.


Color Trends for Fall 2011

Ready to think about Fall?  Yeah me neither, but those in the know are already predicting what colors are going to be hot this in Fall of 2011.  See below.

Taking cues from the great masters, sepia tones of old Hollywood, Chinese opera, cityscapes and countryside, designers are paying close attention to texture, contrast and color for fall 2011 – pairing menswear with feminine twists, warm prints with cool metals, incorporating both old and new influences, and creating an intriguing balance between colors.

See the colors and read more here.

Products: Green or Greenwashing?

Green product labels and certification systems are complex and easily misunderstood.  How do you know which products are green and which ones are just greenwashing?

Here are some links from to help you understand…

Watch for more in this series from coming soon.

What’s Your Color?

Found a fun website to help you pine away a few minutes of your day today. helps you discover your birth color and what it says about you.  See a few examples below.

Kohler Flickr Page Provides Lots to See

Karbon® wall-mount faucet

Articulating fauces like the Karbon by Kohler above are becoming increasingly popular.  Plus many have low-flow aerators to deliver up to 45% water savings over traditional 2.75 gpm faucets.  Check out more eye candy at Kohler’s Flickr page.  Including this Tides Self-Rimming Lavatory

Tides Self-Rimming Lavatory

and this Flipside™ Showerhead

Flipside™ Showerhead

Federal Tax Credits Extended for 2011


The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 signed by President Obama on December 17, 2010, extended tax credits for qualifying energy-efficient, residential water heaters and boilers placed in service between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011. The structure is similar to the 2009-2010 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, however, the credit amount has changed. Water heaters are still required to have an energy factor >= 0.82 or a thermal efficiency >= 90%, and boilers must have an AFUE >= 95.

Effective Dates: January 1, 2011 through December 31, 2011.
Product Qualifications and Credit Amount
•Product: Tankless Water Heaters
•Qualifications: Energy factor (EF) >= 0.82
•All current Rinnai condensing and non-condensing tankless water heaters qualify with the exception of the R98LS
•Product: Boilers
•Qualifications: AFUE >= 95
•All Rinnai condensing wall-mounted boilers qualify
•The Rinnai tankless water heater or boiler must be “placed in service” between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011. The IRS defines “placed in service” as when the product is ready and available for use.
•The Rinnai tankless water heater or boiler must be installed in or on the taxpayers’ principal residence in the United States.
•The tax credit is ONLY available for existing homes.
•There is an overall cap of $500 for fiscal years 2006 – 2011 combined. If you have ever claimed this credit in the past, it counts toward the $500 cap (but does not affect the $1500 limit available for 2009 and 2010). So, for example, if you claimed $300 in 2007, you can only claim $200 in 2011; if you claimed $800 in 2009, you cannot claim any more credit.
How to Claim Your Tax Credit for 2011
•Purchase and install a qualifying Rinnai tankless water heater or boiler between Jan. 1, 2011 – Dec. 31, 2011
•Save your proof of purchase along with a copy of the 2011 Manufacturer’s Certification Statement (available soon).
•When filing your 2011 taxes, use IRS Form 5695 (2011 version) – it will be available late 2011 or early 2012. Consult a tax professional for further details.

Still need to apply for your 2010 Federal Tax Credit? Download and save the 2010 Manufacturer’s Certification Statement along with a copy of your proof of purchase. Consult a tax professional for further details.