For all its good intentions, the environmental movement has historically been plagued by aesthetic ineptitude.
AN : As the TED Talks exhibit on the integration of Technology, Entertainmernt and Design, the overlap of design principles to technology goes a long way to communicating the message, importance, implications and impact of the technology. Great thought provoking short piece from the FastCoExist publication which Sustain Our Earth scooped on their site.
Although off-grid photovoltaic technology still represents a relatively small market segment in the solar industry, for many, the technology has become vitally important.
"The pyramid-shaped power structures found in nearly every company across the globe are no longer able to appropriately respond to the demands of an ever more complex world, he maintained. Thus the authority to make decisions should no longer be provided solely to bosses or department managers, but rather to teams that more or less democratically reach decisions within the group."
According to the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, an energy storage system that cools air until it becomes liquid could compete with batteries. The liquid is then stored inside a vacuum flask to keep it in a cold, liquid state until it is needed.
When we introduced the topic of social sustainability for our recent #citytalk tweetchat, we knew we had a challenge on our hands. Luckily for us, hundreds of Twitter users shared their thoughts on designing socially sustainable communities.
Wind power and solar power from new power plants in Europe is significantly cheaper than electricity from fossil fuel or nuclear power plants when you factor in health and environmental damage, according to a new report.
At the end of 2010 a Spanish Google search for “consumo colaborativo” only rendered few results, among them this note from the Discovery Channel Latin America and an article on Argentina’s Rolling Stone website (2011), which were mostly focused on American examples. We are now in 2012 and I am pleased to report that collaborative consumption projects in Latin America have exploded. Would you like to learn more about some of these interesting projects?
There are collaboration zones, houses-within-houses, and a slew of other features that are designed to foster “curiosity and creativity.” That’s according to Vittra, which runs 30 schools in Sweden. Their most recent school, Telefonplan School (see photos below) in Stockholm, could very well be the school of the future.
C. F. Møller Architects have designed a proposal for the pilot-project Housing+, for 60 zero-energy housing units on the Aalborg Waterfront. The design adhered to stringent energy goals through a combination of architectural design and user-focused technical innovation.
The Housing+ concept sets the ambitious target of a zero-energy housing scheme, which also includes the tenant’s primary household energy consumption. The complex will thus be 100% relying on renewables.
Central to the concept is the use of integrated energy-design to generate the concept of tomorrow’s housing, producing more energy than it consumes. This is achieved by optimizing the inherent passive gains of the main volume, and shaping it to take advantage of the orientation and potential for active solar energy-collection.
Visit the link for more images and details on this contemporary, green design that incorporates solar, passive strategies, and on-site renewable energy.
The future of solar power is about to get a little brighter with new developments in black silicon, a material that can absorb almost the entire spectrum of light – including infrared. Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institutein Germany were recently able to double the efficiency of black silicon solar cells, and the team is also hoping to combine a conventional panel (which can only capture three quarters of the spectrum) with black silicon to create a super-efficient cell that can harness the the full power of the sun.
"...a recent report by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory indicates that lower soft costs are not just a result of aggressive federal-level policy support. In reality, Germany’s low costs are the product of a mature market for solar and they point to a direction of where we need to go."
Photovoltaic energy could have a more robust role to play in Brazil’s energy sector if the cost of this technology continue to fall, according to the new Decennial Plan for Energy Expansion until 2021, published by Brazil’s state-run energy...
A new skill set to improve the old one.... psychologists, neuroscientists, economists and educators have envisioned a new direction for education emphasizing on a different set of qualities, that are—for a lack of a better term—“non-cognitive skills.” In other words: soft skills or social skills. It’s empathy. And empathy pays off, according to researchers at McGill University in Montreal. .. Empathy can help reduce the damaging effects of repeated stress in human children—like it did for the rat pups in the McGill University laboratory—which seems to suggest that empathy has tremendous implications for achievement, both socially and intellectually. Empathy isn’t just something for youth, either. It’s a skill that can transform a community and build social capital.
Crowned with three gables and painted in hues of gray and white, the suburban home in Lake Forest doesn't look much like the domicile of the future.
But as summer heat radiates off the fresh asphalt outside, the home runs comfortably at full tilt indoors. Recessed lights shine, radios blare and air-conditioned splendor greets hot skin. Despite all systems going, the property is producing more electricity than it can consume on a warm summer day — and that's the goal.
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