TAG: Energy

Solar Panels Will Soon Make Utilities Obsolete

solar-panel

In a report released last January, the Edison Electric Institute heralds in relatively blatant terms a great success in renewable energy – and the impending death of utility companies. The news comes as utilities face the risk of losing customers to renewables due to rate reductions and technological innovation. Utilities have remained predominantly unchanged for the better part of a century, with no real competition. As such, the growing prosperity of renewable sources may find them ill-equipped to concoct a plan for battling their losses. Instead, it appears they’ll dedicate time to preserving the ‘integrity’ of their image and product…. read more

Harnessing Waste to Generate Renewables

sewer_drainage

Despite the widespread notion that we have inadequate means to support our energy consumption, the US actually has enough from wind, solar, and tidal & wave to produce a total of approximately 6,987 terawatts of power per year. That’s far beyond the 3.9 terawatts the country currently uses. However, much of this prospective energy goes unharvested. Still, we are coming closer to attaining free energy, and the move to renewable energy has opened up a lot of room for experimentation and discovery. Beyond utilizing sources that harbor seemingly infinite promise, we are finding ways to deplete existing waste by converting… read more

This Hill House Is A Social Magnet

This Hill House Is A Social Magnet

Architects Andrew Maynard and Mark Austin, who work with lifestyle designs, had an imaginative idea to accommodate a family’s wish for an addition to their existing home. Located near Melbourne, Australia, the Hill House takes a vertical approach and completely revolutionizes the look of the exterior with a slope built directly into the landscaping. The spot faces north, which before the addition caused the backyard and parts of the indoors to be darker. When a 2-story extension was added, it further restricted the natural solar availability and made portions of the yard and home even more shadowed. For the new addition,… read more

Recycling Reminders

Recycling Reminders

When it comes to some items, like disposable containers, their toss away exterior may have an effect on whether or not they make it to the recycling bin. One study published in the Journal of Consumer Research looked at what prompted consumers to throw away items or recycle them. It was found that the perception of usefulness may be correlated to whether or not an object is recycled. The more worth something holds to the user, the more likely it is to be recycled. In relation to everyday convenience products, this could offer some perspective into recycling behaviors and the… read more

C02 – Glowing, Glowing Gone With Algae Lamps

C02 - Glowing, Glowing Gone With Algae Lamps

An interest in renewable energy is often the inspiration behind clever, and sometimes unusual, ideas that try to harness resourceful venues for their potential benefits. Examples of innovative attempts to turn everyday products into designs with naturally free power can be found in the following 2 lamp models. A parking area in Bordeaux, France is housing a prototype of an interesting streetlight concept. Biochemist Pierre Calleja has developed an edition of a street lamp that contains microalgae and a battery. The luminous green algae charge up the battery by way of photosynthesis, soaking up the sunlight during the daytime and eerily glowing in the… read more

Harvesting Tidal Energy with an Underwater Kite

Harvesting Tidal Energy with an Underwater Kite

A new sort of tidal energy device that looks like an underwater kite offers the promise of clean energy generation from low-velocity currents in the ocean. Many tidal energy solutions require a location with higher velocity currents, or to be at or near the surface of the ocean, which limits their application, but the Deep Green device is said to be suitable for operating in deep waters with low velocity currents( 1-2.5 m/s), which greatly increases the number of possible locations. Combining a tethered wing and a turbine, the Minesto Deep Green device “flies” underwater, using the ocean current to… read more

Is This the Fuel Cell We’re Waiting For?

Is This the Fuel Cell We're Waiting For?

Generating clean power at the point-of-use seems like a great idea, both for the main electrical supply and for backup power, but the options for many locations in urban areas are kind of slim. Wind turbines aren’t efficient where there is a lot of turbulence, such as in urban areas, and even then they either need some form of energy storage to balance peak production and demand, or they are grid-tied (and when the grid is down, so is the turbine). Solar panels are an option, but also need to be tied to the grid or have battery storage, and… read more

Masdar City Development Promises Eco-Metropolis

Masdar City Development Promises Eco-Metropolis

Many examples of sustainable communities can be found across the globe, however there is one currently in the construction and development phase that is breaking the blueprint mold. Called Masdar City, the sprawling multifaceted area is located in the United Arab Emirates in Abu Dhabi. Masdar literally means ‘the source’, and it is planned to be an efficient, environmentally designed metropolitan expanse. The project actually began many years ago and had hoped for a finalization date sometime soon, but now developers are looking at a completion date of 2015 for Phase 1 of the design. It assures an upgraded lifestyle… read more

Grass Roof Looks Good and Reduces Bills

School With Green Roof and Biomass Power Plant

The Hotchkiss School in Connecticut in the US has cut a six-figure sum from its winter energy bill by replacing its outdated oil-burning boiler with woodchip biomass ones. Designed by Centerbrook Architects, the undulated green roofed building is situated at the bottom of a sloping landscape, blending beautifully with their own surrounding farm, golf course and marshes. As well as being a great insulator and attracting plenty of wildlife, the luscious green roof structure collects and filters rainwater that is used for the garden and flushing the toilets. Under its undulating top, a massive Biomass Power Plant produces clean energy… read more

Search Walk Score and Walk Some More

Search Walk Score and Walk Some More

In metropolitan areas the foot commute can be a part of the everyday. Walkways can often be overlooked in places where concrete tends to take over the greenery. Community walk paths that are arranged around nature and not intruding upon it can be found in several designs. Safe, easily cleaned and synthetic materials kept to a minimum, these paths actually encourage walking. Great for sneaking in exercise and improving health, walking as opposed to riding saves environmental energy while increasing individual energy levels. So, how does your neighborhood or favorite spot do on a walkabout? You can find out at Walk… read more