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Plicopá iPad case/base

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Discount code for 10% off*: s7u9s9t1y3
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What is it? Plicopá is a new take on the iPad cover-stand combo designed by a pair of London-based Brazilians.

What makes it susty? Believing great design combines form, function and footprint, the pair chose Plicopá’s inks, adhesives and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified cardboard to minimise environmental impact. Each product is printed digitally, locally, on demand to reduce production and transport waste.

What makes it sexy? Compared to the Apple-designed ‘Smart Cover’, Plicopá offers better protection as a case and a wider range of positions as a stand. It also allows for greater customisation, offering a few dozen illustrations created by its international community of ‘friend-designers’. And it costs less, to boot!

My verdict: It was a shaky start. Despite my engineering degree, I was incapable of interpreting the instructions on how to fold my Plicopá into a stand. The online video, however, shows it’s really quite simple. And frankly, I just can’t help but be totally charmed by this plucky, entrepreneurial casal and their vision, determination and commitment to great design.

At the end of the day, I think this is BOTH sexy and susty. 

*Order by 3 Feb 2014 for guaranteed deliver before Valentine’s Day.

Paradigm Hub’s Fridge Friend

fridge_friend2What is it? The idea for Fridge Friend came out of a recent brainstorm we did with the folks at Paradigm Hub. It combines a refrigerator that senses when food is starting to go off, and an app that tells you when and how to use that food before it spoils.

What makes it susty? Customised for your shopping habits, the fridge would be filled with modular compartments for different kinds of food—fruit, veg, meat, dairy, eggs—each fitted with industrial food safety technology, scaled down for consumer use. Using a colour signal to tell you when items are starting to turn (rather than just relying on often inaccurate sell-by dates) the Fridge Friend could significantly reduce food spoilage, a major source of household waste. By optimising the temperature of each compartment for its specific food type, energy and money would be saved along with food.

What makes it sexy? The fridge itself would compete with Smeg on looks (who knows, maybe Smeg could make it). The accompanying app would notify you anywhere, most helpfully at the grocery store, of items in danger of spoiling. Recipe suggestions including those items might encourage a little more creativity in the kitchen.

My verdict: Neither the idea nor the name are totally original (see here and here), but this goes further than the current app-centric thinking out there. We loved the new take on the fridge itself—an essential, overlooked and energy-guzzling appliance that hasn’t seen any real innovation in decades.

Worthy of a post here, we think it’s BOTH sexy and susty. (Thanks to Paradigm Hub for inviting us, and for being full of energy and ideas!) 

SodaStream

sodastreamWhat is it? SodaStream lets you make carbonated water and soft drinks at home. The system includes a countertop machine, plastic one-litre bottle, carbonation canister and flavoured-syrup container.

What makes it susty? The obvious benefit is reducing packaging waste. The reusable bottle cuts down on the billion cans and bottles that end up as landfill or litter each day. It also saves energy by reducing the need to manufacture, fill and transport so many drink containers all over the world. It doesn’t even use batteries or electricity, just the power of compressed gas.

What makes it sexy? Convenience, for one thing: it saves you from lugging, storing and binning bulky bottles and cans. Customisation, for another: with 100 flavours—including diet, fruity, tea and energy varieties—you can mix, match and bubble to your heart’s content.

My verdict: There’s nothing healthier about SodaStream’s fizzy sugar water than anyone else’s, and it turns out it probably won’t save you much money. Then there’s the whole issue of their West Bank manufacturing plant.

Tough call, but overall I’m gonna go with SEXY on this one. 

Nest thermostat

What is it? Nest is a new kind of thermostat. Trust me, it’s a lot cooler than it sounds. Read on.

What makes it susty? It senses when you’re asleep or away from home and adjusts the temperature to conserve energy. A bit like Nike+ for your home, it uploads data onto the web where you can track energy use over time and get tips on how to heat and cool your home more efficiently.

What makes it sexy? If Apple made thermostats, they’d be like this. But since it doesn’t, two guys left Apple and started Nest. You can control it from your mobile device, and over time it learns when you like it warmer or cooler and adjusts itself automatically. This can lower heating and cooling bills by up to 20%.

My verdict: It’s this kind of beautiful, smart, user- and eco-friendly technology that offers a glimpse into a better, brighter future. And I’m not the only one raving. Nest was valued at $800 million last week. If I have a complaint, it’s the little green leaf that’s displayed when the device is adjusted in a way that saves energy. Très cliché. I’d prefer a smile.

Still, if ever there was something BOTH sexy and susty, this is it. 

Plumen lightbulb

What is it? Plumen is a compact fluorescent lightbulb produced by British design company Hulger.

What makes it susty? It uses 80% less energy than a traditional incandescent bulb and lasts 8 times longer. It’s true, fluorescents contain traces of mercury, so if your local recycler doesn’t take spent bulbs you can send it back to Plumen.

What makes it sexy? There’s a reason why all the hippest coffee shops have these. The light emitted by Plumen is a warmer white than that blue glare you get from most fluorescents. And you can’t miss its design, which has been recognised by none other than New York’s MoMA, London’s Victoria and Albert Museum and that ultimate authority on sexiness, GQ.

My verdict: Fluorescent bulbs typically have an unattractive, sterile, mass-produced look. Plumen proves that fluorescents can be not just tolerable but beautiful. Low-energy bulbs are pricey as it is, so for the right room and light fixture I’d have no qualms about paying a little extra for a Plumen.

For me, it’s BOTH sexy and susty. (Thanks to the fabulous Catherine Kent for suggesting we review this product!)

EnergyEGG energy-saving device

What is it? Developed by Scottish start-up TreeGreen, EnergyEGG automatically switches off your appliances when you leave the room.

What makes it susty? Most wireless energy-saving gadgets make it easy to turn off appliances by letting you do so from a single conveniently-located device. But you still have to remember to hit the switch on the monitor. With EnergyEGG, even the forgetful (or lazy) can save energy.

What makes it sexy? EnergyEGG’s nifty motion sensor can tell if you are out of the room or just sitting still. That means it won’t turn the TV off at an exciting point in the match.  But its main selling point is that it helps you save energy without doing anything differently.

My verdict: According to the company’s energy saving calculator, if I used EnergyEGG in my house I’d save £41.68 per year. With a £40 price tag, it would take a year to pay for itself, by which time it may well be obsolete. And for a device that has to be out in the open to work properly, the design isn’t quite as sleek and beautiful as its name implies.

For me, this one’s mostly SUSTY.  (Thanks to the nice people at Green Monday who suggested we review this product!)