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Thomas Goetz, owner of the ‘Maison d’envie’ (House of Desire) brothel, is offering discounts to customers who arrive on bicycle or who can prove they took public transport. “It’s very difficult to find parking around here, and this option is better for our environment,” says Goetz.
Hat Tip: cbsnews.com
“Humor is merely tragedy standing on its head with its pants torn.” This Irwin Cobb quote is the context for this Friday’s Focus: Oily to Bed, Oily to Rise: 7 whimsical views of the BP Oil Spill. The last one’s the best. Ha ha ha.
More of same at theonion.com.
Taurus – a single-seater bike that’s reminiscent of a Segway – is powered by electric motors so is doesn’t produce carbon emissions. And it looks…well, let’s just say it doesn’t produce carbon emissions.
HAT TIP: www.atcrux.com
At first glance, it seems that interest in hydrogen fueled vehicles has cooled recently. Ford and Renault-Nissan canceled their hydrogen car R&D efforts last year, and General Motors CEO Fritz Henderson noted that GM had reduced its hydrogen program because the cost of building hydrogen cars was too high. However, Daimler has spent has spent $1.23 billion so far developing fuel-cell vehicles (since 1994) and Toyota kicked off development back in 1992 and shows no signs of stopping. Plus, in February of 2010 Lotus Cars announced that it was developing a fleet of hydrogen taxis in London, hopefully in time for the 2012 Olympic Games. Only time will tell who will make serious headway in the consumer market but clearly this race is not over.
Wind power is currently one of the great hopes for long-term sustainable energy technologies… so you might be surprised to learn how long it has been around. The earliest known windmill design dates as far back as 500 A.D., to ancient Persia, where they were used to grind grain and pump water. Reeds were bundled together to create vertical paddles that spun around a central axis. More windmill history here.
WHO KILLED THE ELECTRIC CAR? This 2006 documentary film explores the development, marketing, and systematic destruction of the General Motors EV1 in the early 1990s. This film is all the more remarkable given the number of electric cars now gearing up for production. Irrefutable evidence of the shortsighted nature of the American automobile industry.
Next time you’re in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, New York, check out the world’s only, LEED-certified bowling alley. Brooklyn Bowl uses 100% wind power and energy-saving LED stage lights, provides huge-capacity bike racks, and has spruced up the neighborhood by planting 16 trees. If you can’t make it to Brooklyn Bowl in person, you can visit their website at brooklynbowl.com.
HAT TIP: inhabitat.com.
Lorenzo Gets “The Gas Face” (Alternatively Titled: “Lorenzo Has Gas Pains”), originally uploaded by lorenzodom
The Army has come up with a idea that could reduce the number of dangerous and expensive convoy missions to remote base camps in Iraq, AND reduce the amount trash at those bases. Covanta Energy Corp. is using a $1.5 million boost from the Army Corps of Engineers to develop technology that converts garbage into diesel that would be indistinguishable from oil-based diesel fuel, for use in military vehicles and generators.
Hat Tip: scientificamerican.com.
Adam Gardner of the band, Guster, speaks about what he and the band are doing to do their part to help the environment, and about REVERB, the company he created to help other musicians go green.
Starting in 2010, the New Chitose Airport in Hokkaido, Japan will collect snow in the winter to cool the terminal building in the summer. The snow will be covered by heat-insulating materials, which should retain about 45% of the snow collected. The remaining snow will then be used to chill the liquid of the building’s cooling system. The process could result in a 2,100 ton reduction in CO2 emissions every year.
Hat Tip: green.yahoo.com
You can’t afford not to buy a Bantam. Successor to the American Austin, it was built from 1930 to 1934 and it got 60 miles per gallon. That’s right, 60 mpg! Better than a Prius and arguably, better looking.
Hat Tip: www.yourememberthat.com
How do you created LED light bulbs from salmon DNA? Simple. Just add fluorescent dye to the DNA and spin the DNA strands into nanofibers. Cover an LED light with the nanofibers, and presto, you can read your Kindle in the dark. So say researchers at the University of Connecticut who managed the feat in the laboratory. Cod willing, the discovery may help scale-down the price of high-end LED lighting.
Hat Tip: fastcompany.com
A tip on the first day of winter: lowering your thermostat by just two degrees (and raising it two degrees in the summer) prevents the production of as much as 2000 lbs. of carbon dioxide emissions. It’ll also save you about a hundred bucks. Cool.
We missed a rather significant bit of architectural news in our green building posts last week. The “largest solar-powered office building in the world“ was recently completed in Dezhou, China. The design of the Sun-Moon Mansion is based on the sun dial and “underlines the urgency of seeking renewable energy sources to replace fossil fuels.” Aside from the obvious sustainable nature of the solar panel-clad exterior, other green features include advanced roof and wall insulation practices resulting in an energy savings of 30% more than the national standard.
A revolving door in the Netherlands is being used to produce electricity for a train station coffee shop. When the door revolvdes, a generator collects its kinetic energy and stores it in a supercapacitor. The energy is used to power the cafe’s LED lights.
Hat Tip: cleantechnica.com
Chilean designer, Camila Gimeno, believes that “Christmas can be a beautiful time for us, but a really hard one for environment, considering the massive increase of energy and material we consume.” She points out that even Santa is taking steps toward saving energy and suggests that we all follow his example.
Hat Tip: designboom.com.
originally uploaded by DjJoha
The following is from Adbusters: “An ecological footprint is the amount of productive land area required to sustain one human being. Globally, there are about 1.9 hectares of productive area per person, but the average ecological footprint is already 2.3 hectares. So we would need 1.5 Earths to live sustainably.
The largest footprint belongs to citizens of the US, at 9.57 hectares. Five Earths would be needed if everyone in the world consumed at that rate.”
You can calculate your own personal ecological footprint here: footprintnetwork.org.
Artist/designer Sang-Kyun Park has created an ingenious way to show how rain can be a source of renewable energy. Using an experimental material called polyvinylidene fluoride (or PDVF, for short), he’s harvesting the kinetic energy of raindrops to power LEDs in a whimsical, illuminated umbrella. The harder the rain, the brighter the light. Brilliant. HAT TIP: yankodesign.com.
If only ideas would jump up in my face. Maybe if I poured myself a drink. Yeah, that’s the ticket.
This Friday’s Focus is Green Advertising. 13 samples. Good enough to make most of us ad folk green with envy. Enjoy:
The all new, 100% electric BRAMMO Enertia Powercycle is the perfect commuter vehicle for the environmentally-conscious visionary. The Enertia’s Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries are very safe, do not contain any heavy metals, and can be recycled for many other uses. BTW, top speed is 60+ miles per hour. Price: about $8000. Details at brammo.com.
It’s called Vampire Power because it involves devices with “two sharp, pointy teeth that latch into your charging (2) turn-off your wall sockets and suck blood…errr…electricity night and day.” You can begin to vanquish the vampire by turning off your electronic devices when you’re not using them. Including, yes, your computer. And remove chargers from the wall when you’re not charging. And? Click here for more.
Voltree Power, a company created by Physicist Andreas Mershin and MIT undergraduate Christopher Love, is harvesting electricity from trees which it uses to power radio-equipped sensors that can be deployed to monitor climate conditions, detect illegal radioactive materials at border crossings, and even warn of wildfires. Honest. You can read more about this remarkable technology at conservationmagazine or .xconomy.com.
Just a year and a half ago, California alone was using more gasoline than any country in the world (except, of course, for the United States as a whole). In short, by consuming more than 20 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel, the state used more fuel than China, Russia, or India. Puts our gas guzzling in an interesting light, doesn’t it.
Hat Tip: www.wired.com.
originally uploaded by muha….
A unique foundation called the Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF) is determined to fight two of our planet’s most pressing issues – climate change and global poverty – with one of the Earth’s greatest resources: the sun.
SELF is working all over the world, targeting those places and issues that need critical attention, or wherever their work can have the greatest impact. In Burundi, for example, they’ve collaborated with Partners In Health to install a solar electric generating system that’s helping medical personnel treat thousands of patients suffering from HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria.
This remarkable group really is onto something – transforming the sun’s energy not only into power, but into hope. Learn more at www.self.org.
Living a greener life doesn’t necessarily relegate you to the slow lane. While many hybrids may be lacking in both looks and power, a few green car makers are working to ensure that you get where you’re going in style. You may have heard about the flashy Tesla Roadster, but the as-yet-unreleased Karma by Fisker Automotive represents a new breed of luxury hybrids, with a top speed of 150-mph. Pre-order yours today for just under 90k. Where? karma.fiskerautomotive.com.
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Eco-pods-by-Howeler-+-Yoon-Architecture-and-Squared-Design-sq1, originally uploaded by Fast Company
No doubt there has been some slimy business conducted in downtown Boston, but nothing quite like one budding architect has imagined. In response to a Boston Globe request for imaginative redesigns for stalled building projects, nearly twenty forward thinking designers responded with a range of solutions, including a futuristic stack of pods to grow algae for use in alternative fuels.
Hat Tip: www.asylum.co.uk.
PHOTO: Team Germany, winner of the 2007 Solar Decathon, has entered this year’s competition with a cube-shaped dwelling that has a unique solar skin.
The U.S. Department of Energy is hosting the 2009 Solar Decathlon – a competition in which 20 teams of college and university students compete “to design, build, and operate the most attractive, effective, and energy-efficient solar-powered house.” You can follow the action at solardecathlon.org.
Hybrid automobiles get great gas mileage but it takes 113 million BTUs of energy to manufacture a car like the Toyota Prius. That’s the equivalent of 1000 gallons of gasoline (or roughly 46,000 miles of driving). Keep this in mind when you purchase your next vehicle. A fuel efficient used car from the early 1990s might be the most responsible – and least expensive – solution. For example, to match the carbon savings from a 1998 Toyota Tercel (which gets 27mpg city/35mpg), you’d have to drive a Prius 100,000 miles. For more information, visit www.wired.com.
The prime minister of Bangladesh is requiring government employees to help ease the country’s energy shortage by no longer wearing suits, jackets, and neckties. Even ministers now will no longer be expected to wear suits and ties. The new dress code (which even allows men to wear their shirts untucked), is expected to reduce the demand for air conditioning during the hot months between March and November.
The government intends to ask private businesses to follow its example.
Chetwoods Associates’ Wind Dam Project employs a giant spinnaker sail suspended in a mountain gorge near Northern Russia’s Lake Ladoga. Here in abbreviated form, is the way it’s meant to work: The 17,000-square-foot Kevlar sail’s conical shape directs air to three turbines enclosed in a tube. The wind spins each turbine’s blades and turns an axle that runs into its gearbox that transforms the movement into electricity. Presto! Hat Tip: inhabitat.com.
The Polymer Energy company has been working hard for years and claims to have struck oil in a most unexpected place – your local landfill. Using a process called “catalytic pyrolysis,” the company claims to have developed a viable way to turn plastic waste (including disposable shopping bags and household cleaner containers) into crude oil. Finally – a domestic energy source we can all get behind. Learn more here.
The city of Masdar – a planned community near Abu Dhabi that’s due to be completed by 2016 – is slated to become the world’s first zero carbon, zero waste city powered entirely by renewable energy sources.
The city center (which includes a plaza, retail shops, entertainment complex, convention center, and two hotels) will be covered by giant “sunflower umbrellas” which will provide shade, store heat during the day, and warm the area by night.
Hat Tip: designboom.com
A company known as Humdinger is developing the world’s first non-turbine wind generator. Known as the Windbelt, the device captures energy using fluttering fabric. Windbelts are made of kite fabric and, at a cost of about $1 per watt of capacity, are also cheaper than solar panels. For more information, visit humdingerwind.com.
Sydney’s solar-powered ferry was put into use during the Sydney Olympics and can carry over 100 people. The “wings” double as a sail and also help the boat move through the water. The same basic technology can be used for anything from cruise ships and tankers to unmanned naval vessels.
Hat Tip: freesolarpro
At Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport, a device called the Eco-box is being used to capture human breath exhaled by travelers and convert it into fuel for the airport’s diesel vehicles and heating system. If the project is successful, the airport plans to expand the carbon recycling system to collect 289,000 gallons of fuel. But why waste our breath. Read more here.
Hat Tip: livescience.com.
Wind power is more than just a large-scale industry. Small wind turbines can be used by schools and individual homes and excess energy can even be sold back to the grid. Chad Maglaques’s 3-foot high micro-turbine, for example, can be mounted on any rooftop and plugged directly into a standard residential household electrical socket. The device is a semi-finalist in Google’s 10 to the 100th contest which offers a pool of $10 million for the five ideas that help the most people. Chad believes that, mass-produced, the turbine would cost about $200.
Hat Tip: mywindpowersystem.com.
The world’s first commercial wave farm is located in Agucadoura off the coast of northern Portugal. The farm uses snakelike, semi-submerged devices that generate electricity with hydraulic rams driven by waves. San Francisco based Pacific Gas & Electric will soon become the first U.S. utility company to commit to wave power and will hopefully being delivering wave-powered electricity to the grid by next year. Hat tip: inhabitat.com.
The Sky Sail was invented by a German company of the same name to help “tow” a ship through water in order to reduce fuel consumption. Resembling a large parachute, the device was tested in 2008 by the cargo ship MS Beluga Skysails on a trip across the Atlantic Ocean. Estimates of fuel savings ranged from 10 to 35%. Several ships are currently being outfitted with Sky Sails with improvements based on the Beluga voyage. Hat tip: bustachange.com. For the latest information re. Sky Sails, visit www.skysails.info.
originally uploaded by dkamida
The East Japan Railway Company is testing an experimental system that produces electricity as people pass through ticket gates. JR claims that this sort of human-powered electricity generation system may provide a portion of the electricity consumed at train stations in the future.
Hat Tip: pinktentacle.com
Camper Bike, a functioning sculptural piece, built in April 2008. A stand alone piece and the subject of a series of paintings.
In 1973, using fully stock production gasoline engine powered vehicles with engine modifications limited only to changes in fuel mixture and ignition timing, Shell Oil Company began hosting an open competition in fuel efficiency. The result? A two-door, full-sized production car drove off with first prize by achieving 376.59 mile in normal driving conditions using a single gallon of fuel. Hat Tip: www.opel