As I was flying to the expensively heated grounds of Singapore, captivated by Time Magazine's Science vs Religion feature, I came across the magazine's Best Inventions of the Year. Well, do I have to mention the overtly famous YouTube as the number one discovery? Lets not act surprised here. Amongst the new toys and transportations, the things that caught my attention were the hug-stimulating shirt, the floating bed, the appealing flexible flat lights and the hospital-helping robot, but I found the power saving knick-knacks, highlighted in the article, the most stirring of all.

As an architect, I am fascinated and intrigued and almost willing to invent, about saving energy, greenhouses, sustainable environment, etc. We have heard about hybrid cars and such, but these newbie devices are really cool and how I wish they will soon be available here in Manila, with a discount please.

The silver-hued flower light had a fresh, contemporary concept with a flash of energy-saving wonder. This is an environment-friendly, flower-shaped light which monitors the energy usage in your home. Pretty neat huh? It actually discerns the power consumption, if it's low, the light blooms and shows its charming beauty! But when it senses high usage, it gets shy and closes. The Swedish Company, Static! invented this Flowerful home piece to increase energy saving awareness, with a modern and quirky design. availablity? its not yet for sale. To learn more, see www.tii.se/static

As much as we want to use solar power in our buildings and homes, sometimes, designers and even homeowners are wary on how those huge and protruding solar panels will look on top of their newly-built tower or house. The good news is, reportedly in 2008, the most dependable and thin film material for generating electricity from sunlight power, generating glass, steel, metal and polymers, making possible a new generation of solar energy units and photovoltaic construction materials will be out in the market! Time Magazine gave a thumbs-up to HelioVolt's FASST, a revolutionary solar-panel designed so slim, it can actually be part of that modern, minimalist building you just designed or admired! Now that's Slim, Shady and Solar-powered. Price is yet to be announced. Let's cross our fingers on this one! To learn more about this, visit www.heliovolt.com

We are all familiar with turbines and how it contributes to power saving techniques but this supposed best invention marks another notch in turbine technology. The Skystream 3.7 is a wind turbine designed especially for home use. Now, we can contribute in saving the environment! Installed on a 35-ft. vertical piece, it attaches to typical utility hookups and starts rotating in drafts as low as 8 m.p.h. The article states that it can generate up to 80percent of the average household's electricity and shave of approximately 600 bucks or more off annual utility costs. That's the good news. The downside is, it's about $10,000, including installation. OUCH. Hhhmmm, I wonder if this can also cut down its price? To learn more visit skystreamenergy.com

Of course, we have to face the irony of these things, the technology that costs the manufacturers to come up with these remarkable ideas are indeed veritably expensive yet helpful. Is this like a science versus religion discussion? maybe style vs substance? is it like buying a fast food burger over a gourmet, organic sandwich? Do we continue to emphasize and draw light to new and costly concepts? Or do we retrace our steps and just do the simplest deeds? Like switching off the light when you go out perhaps? but some issues are not that easy to solve, especially when it concerns our health, the environment, our lives. Think about the long-term effects these intially costly devices will give. lesser consumption means lesser decimal points on those bills!

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