California Startup Pays Users to Consume Less Energy

iStock
iStock

You may know that turning off the lights when leaving a room or lowering the thermostat before bed are smart habits, but with no way to see their immediate impact, they can be hard to keep. OhmConnect is built around the premise that more people would follow through with these actions if they had a little motivation. As Fast Company reports, the San Francisco-based startup rewards California residents for their green choices with real cash.

The mission of the company is to prevent energy grids from using costly and dirty emergency power plants by encouraging customers to conserve power when demand outweighs supply. During “OhmHours,” users receive a text suggesting energy-saving practices. They can choose to opt out or agree to make an effort to lower their consumption. If their usage in the next hour is lower than the average for their home on that type of day (weekdays are compared to the weekday average; weekends to the weekend average) they receive points which can be redeemed for money. The more people participate on a regular basis, the more points they’re able to earn.

Participants in homes equipped with smart devices like a Nest thermostat or Belkin smart switches can program them to automatically consume less during those times. Nearly a fifth of the user base chooses some type of automatic response.

Someone living in a small apartment participating once a week has the potential to make $40 to $50 a year, while a family living in a larger home can earn up to $200. The California energy grid has also reaped the benefits: Since launching in 2014, OhmConnect has saved the state a total of 100 megawatts (the equivalent of not running two emergency power plants at high-demand times). California residents who get their energy through Pacific Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison, or San Diego Gas & Electric can sign up to participate online. If you don’t live in the state but are interested in the service, you may get a chance to try it out soon: OhmConnect plans to expand to Texas, Toronto, and potentially the East Coast.

[h/t Fast Company]

The "World's Cleanest Garbage Can" Won't Stink Up Your Kitchen

Canbi
Canbi

Modern living has removed a lot of the sights and smells that people find unpleasant. Exhaust fans sweep away cooking odors. Toilets make waste vanish in seconds. But there's still the dreaded plume of stinking garbage that wafts up every time you open the kitchen trash can.

Enter Canbi, a sharp-looking and cleverly engineered kitchen garbage can designed to both reduce odors and improve the entire waste disposal process. The product, which is currently being funded on Kickstarter, uses an environmentally-friendly deodorizer that utilizes baking soda and activated charcoal to reduce smells coming from the can. It also features a "nesting" liner system that keeps bags from collapsing into the opening and eliminates the chore of fumbling with new bags. Pull one out for disposal, and another is already lining the can. The latex liners are also biodegradable, reducing your reliance on plastic bags that clog landfills.

The large and small sizes of the Canbi garbage can are pictured
Canbi

Canbi is designed to be flaunted, not hidden. Unlike most trash receptacles that are made to be stuffed under the sink or behind a cupboard, the sleek can, which comes in two different sizes, is made to be proudly displayed in your kitchen. The customizable accent rings come in three styles—gold, platinum, and rose gold—so that you can match your can to your favored kitchen aesthetic.

Buy it on Kickstarter. The 3-gallon can is available at the $29 donation level, while the 12-gallon version starts at $52. A 25-pack of replacement liners will be available on Canbi's website for roughly $7.49. Replacement deodorizers, which last three months, will run about $3.75. The trash cans are expected to ship in July.

Oscar Isaac Responds to Rumors He's Being Considered for Next Batman

Noam Galai, Getty Images
Noam Galai, Getty Images

Ever since Ben Affleck officially vacated the role of Batman, fans have been desperate to find out who will next be handed the keys to the Batmobile. The Caped Crusader has been rebooted many times and reincarnated by eight different actors in the past 75-plus years. Now it’s about to happen again with Matt Reeves’s new film, The Batman. Ever since Armie Hammer denied that he had any involvement with the project, fans have made Oscar Isaac their next superhero target.

Instead of beating around the bush, Isaac has responded to the rumors directly in a new interview with Metro, where he shut down all the current talk. "I have only read it online like everyone else," he said of the persistent headlines. "I haven’t had any conversations about Batman, unfortunately, but I am sure it is going to be great. Matt Reeves is such a great director."

While Isaac was presumably being honest in saying he hasn’t had any talks about taking over the superhero role, he also seemed to hint that he wouldn't be opposed to the idea when he added that, "Yeah, [Reeves] can get my number.”

Even if Isaac did want to become the next Dark Knight, it's difficult to see how he could make the time for such a massive commitment in his already jam-packed schedule. His biggest project this year is, of course, Star Wars: Episode IX, which is followed by an animated version of The Addams Family, out later this year, and Dune, which is currently filming.

The Batman is believed to explore a younger version of Batman and will reportedly be set during the 1990s. Filming is scheduled to begin in December, so it shouldn't be long until we hear who'll be taking on the role of Bruce Wayne next.

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