Ever balked at installing solar panels on your roof because it's pretty damn expensive or you're not sure how much power it would actually generate, or a combination of both? Well, a new venture from Google is aimed at taking the guesswork out of weaning your household off the grid. Powered by Google Maps, Project Sunroof can tell users how much sun is hitting their roof and how much they might be able to shave off their power bills.
A new initiative by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) has taken a surprisingly low-tech approach to water conservation, by covering the LA Reservoir in 96 million black "shade balls." It's an attempt to combat water loss through evaporation, and to heighten water quality.
Three French students will travel from Bangkok, Thailand to Toulouse, France on an electric tuk-tuk in an effort to demonstrate that electric power will be sufficient for our future mobility needs. They plan to cover 20,000 km (12,427 mi) through 16 countries in 120 days on their modified three wheeler relying on two giant batteries, a solar panel and the generosity of strangers.
The world's growing population faces a constant string of tradeoffs. On the one hand, we need more rice to feed ourselves. On the other hand, control of greenhouse gases is a major priority and rice growing generates a lot of methane. It seems like a Catch 22, but a team led by the US Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) has come up with a genetically engineered strain of rice that not only produces almost no methane, but also more grains.
Scientists at Northwestern University and the U.S. Department of Energy have found that perovskite cells, one of the most promising solar technologies of recent years, can repay their energy cost over 10 times faster than traditional silicon-based solar cells. The finding confirms that, once issues related to cell longevity are ironed out, perovskite cells could soon bring us solar energy on the cheap, and do so with less impact on the environment over their lifetime.
Nobody knows exactly how climate change will play out in the coming decades, but the Poles are already being affected as ice melts away. Man-made sites in the region are also under threat as ice vanishes and, because of this, a Canadian researcher is on a mission to visually record one place that could soon become just a memory.
Smog affects many major cities around the world and can cause health problems for those breathing it in. To highlight this issue, Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde is building what he calls the world's largest air purifier. The Smog Free Tower is designed to allow people to breathe clean air in a city ... plus it also turns the smog into jewelry.
Google has teamed up with Aclima to incorporate environmental sensors into its Street View cars. Initially tested on three vehicles in the Denver metro area, the partnership should lead to a better understanding of overall air quality in urban environments.
Vertical farms present an efficient, cost-effective and sustainable means of producing food in the face of growing worldwide population. A see-through, mobile vertical farm project called Isabel is aiming to take this message on the road.
A community space, garden and kitchen in the King's Cross area of London
is feeding its customers with food grown in skips (aka dumpsters). The Skip Garden is
designed to be easily moved around unused development spaces. It is
built with recycled materials and employs organic farming techniques.