Magnetic Refrigerators
Magnetic Refrigerators
Oak Ridge National Laboratory and General Electric have teamed up to create a revolutionary new type of refrigerator that uses magnets to create cold, also known as the magnetocaloric effect (lowering or raising the temperature of the material by changing the magnetic field).
Ultra-Efficient Heat Pumps
Ultra-Efficient Heat Pumps
The Building Technologies Office is ushering in the next generation of heat pump systems, which warm and cool your home by moving heat from one space to another. A fuel-fired, multi-function residential heat pump that can reduce primary energy consumption by 30 percent.
Clothes Dryers
Clothes Dryers
The same concept behind heat pump technologies that keep your home comfortable can also be used for another important application: drying your clothes. Oak Ridge National Laboratory and General Electric are developing a new type of clothes dryer that uses a heat pump cycle to generate hot air needed for drying.
Smarter, More Connected Homes
Smarter, More Connected Homes
We live in an increasingly connected world -- the same is true for our homes. New electronic devices and appliances can now be linked to the Internet to provide real-time data that makes it easier to understand and lower energy use.
Next-Gen Insulation
Next-Gen Insulation
Insulation is one of the most important ways to reduce your home heating and cooling costs. The Industrial Science & Technology Network is developing new foam insulation made with environmentally friendly and advanced composite materials that ensure heat doesn’t escape from the attic, walls and other areas of the home during cold winter months.
Advanced Window Controls
Advanced Window Controls
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Pella Windows are working on new highly insulated windows that use sensors and microprocessors to automatically adjust shading based on the amount of available sunlight and the time of day to ensure proper lighting and comfort, saving consumers energy and money.
Reflective Roofing Materials
Reflective Roofing Materials
Cool roofs coated with materials containing specialized pigments reflect sunlight and absorb less heat than standard roofs. Expect these types of roof systems to get even “cooler” due to new fluorescent pigments developed by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and PPG Industries that can reflect nearly four times the amount of sunlight of standard pigments.

Energy-Saving Solutions

From heating and cooling to electronics and appliances, it takes a lot of energy to power our daily lives. Our homes use 37 percent more energy today than they did in 1980. But without energy efficiency -- through technology innovation and federal energy conservation standards -- this number would be a lot higher. In fact, even though our total energy use has grown, our energy use per household is down about 10 percent, despite that our homes are larger and contain more devices.

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10 Ways to Virtually Connect with Friends and Family

The holidays might look different this year, as the pandemic may influence many families to limit how many to invite to this year’s holiday celebrations. And New Year’s Eve might not be the spectacular celebration of fireworks, champagne toasts and...

The post 10 Ways to Virtually Connect with Friends and Family appeared first on HomeSelfe.


The holidays might look different this year, as the pandemic may influence many families to limit how many to invite to this year’s holiday celebrations. And New Year’s Eve might not be the spectacular celebration of fireworks, champagne toasts and...

The post 10 Ways to Virtually Connect with Friends and Family appeared first on HomeSelfe.

The holidays might look different this year, as the pandemic may influence many families to limit how many to invite to this year’s holiday celebrations. And New Year’s Eve might not be the spectacular celebration of fireworks, champagne toasts and late night parties we typically enjoy.

While celebrating might mean staying in and celebrating with a home-cation, you can still connect with loved ones for those big holidays you normally enjoy together. Here are 10 ways to virtually connect to friends and family during socially-distanced holidays.

Virtually Connect with Friends and Family

1.   The Virtual Personal Hello

If you’re missing one-on-one time with mom, dad, a sibling or best friend, schedule a virtual chat. But don’t just pick up the phone! Use your favorite virtual meeting platform to have a face-to-face holiday conversation. Whatever platform you use, power up the tablet, the laptop or your smartphone and pretend your favorite person is right there…because they kind of are right there in the room!

If no gifts are being exchanged (maybe it’s a friend or perhaps this is a New Year’s conversation), pick a favorite backdrop to create a fun ambiance. The beach? Maybe a crackling fire? There are so many fun backgrounds for virtual meetings and chats. Pick your favorite.

Virtually Connect with Friends and Family

2.   A Virtual Gift Exchange

If you’re celebrating a gift-giving holiday, call loved ones ahead of time so that you can plan to unwrap presents via the virtual platform. While it won’t be quite the same as sitting together in the same room, handing out presents and tossing that paper everywhere, you can still appreciate the joy and happiness of opening a special gift.

You might even plan to do a humorous white elephant exchange. Pick some fun and crazy gifts and ship them out (hopefully, you still have time to ship!), and plan to do an unwrap and unveil during the virtual meet-up.

3.   Make Virtual Cookies!

How do you eat virtual cookies? How do you plan to exchange virtual cookies? Holiday cookies are a tradition that many families love and schedule each year. Some families bake cookies a few weeks before the holidays, others bake cookies a few days from Christmas.

If grandma or other relatives can’t join you this year because of the pandemic, bake those cookies together virtually. This involves planning, though. Schedule a day when everyone can bake together, make sure everyone has the right ingredients, then set up the tablet somewhere safe so everyone can talk.

Make sure, though, you don’t get distracted and burn the cookies! And be sure to set up the tablet somewhere away from the oven. Be safe when baking!

4.   Decorate the Tree or Light the Menorah Virtually!

The Middletons will be decorating their tree with the help of royal grandchildren, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis plus grandson Arthur (whose mom is Duchess Kate’s sister Pippa)…but they’re doing it virtually. Be like the Middletons! If you have grandkids who help decorate the tree, let them give their guidance via a virtual call. Focus the tablet’s camera on the tree, then present each ornament and the grandkids can direct where each decoration should be placed. This is how the Middletons will do it!

If family members light the menorah together, do this virtually, too! Or virtually chat with each loved one to show off decorations for Hanukkah or Christmas.

5.   Ring In the New Year…Virtually, of Course!

The countdown to 2021 can’t come soon enough; 2020 was crazy. While many might stay indoors for a home-cation for New Year’s Eve, you can still celebrate. Just plan ahead. Purchase some wine or champagne or ingredients for a special New Year’s dinner. Maybe watch the ball drop on television.

If you can’t see loved ones, plan to call them a few minutes before the New Year begins so you can celebrate together. Missing a partner? You might kiss the screen together at midnight!

Virtually Connect with Friends and Family

6.   Schedule Virtual Story Time

Grandparents may miss seeing their grandkids during the holiday break. Schedule a virtual story time between kids and their grandparents. This could include special holiday stories or just a few favorite books that the grandparents love to read.

This is a great way to ensure kids get to spend some quality time with their grandparents…even when no one can get together.

7.   Schedule a Girl’s Night

The holidays might not involve kids. Not everyone has children. So schedule time with friends. Have a girl’s night. Or a guy’s night. And do it virtually.

Maybe this could include wine and conversation. Or have a virtual dance party. Plan something original and fun that you will all enjoy. Get creative!

8.   Virtual Game Night

Yes, your family can host a virtual game night. Just make sure everyone on the virtual call has the same game. This can get a little complicated, though, as everyone needs to move pieces for other players to keep up to speed.

The craziness can be fun, though!

 9.   The Virtual Date

Not everyone was fortunate enough to be able to stay in the same place as their partner. If the pandemic is keeping you apart, plan a virtual date together. Think of something fun you both can enjoy and spend some time together virtually.

Need some ideas? The Cut offers nine great virtual date ideas, including a drawing challenge! 

10.   The Virtual Vent

Honestly, sometimes we all need to vent. During the holidays, being apart from friends and loved ones can be sad, lonely and simply heartbreaking. Schedule a night to vent together. Just plan a night that everyone on the virtual call agrees that it’s just going to be a let-it-all-out chat. Listen to each other. And let it out.

The holidays and the entire winter may be a time when we can’t always see our loved ones, even during the big celebrations that we normally enjoy. Take solace in video calls, and plan chats, games and dates to keep everyone communicating.

The post 10 Ways to Virtually Connect with Friends and Family appeared first on HomeSelfe.


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