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Environmental

A major urban redevelopment is taking place in Sydney, Australia, as it attempts to become one of the word’s most liveable green cities within a 20-year time-frame as part of the “Sustainable Sydney 2030” vision. One remarkable inner city project passed a major milestone this month as part of its contribution to the eco plan. The development, named “One Central Park,” had its 110-tonne steel heliostat frame hoisted into place during the early hours of February 1st. Read More
Researchers at the University of Burgos in Spain have developed a portable and inexpensive new method of detecting levels of mercury in water. The simple test uses a sheet that changes color when inserted into mercury-contaminated water, with results visible to the naked eye. Read More
An ivy covered building is a lovely thing, but ivy roots can rip into brickwork and the vines are a highway for vermin looking for a way inside. Modern vertical gardens try for the same aesthetic effect with some added environmental advantages, but they’re often complicated things full of hydroponics gear and difficult to maintain. An alternative is being developed at the Structural Technology Group, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Barcelona, where a team led by Antonio Aguado has come up with a “biological concrete” designed to act as a substrate for vertical gardens that is simple, low maintenance and requires little or no attention. Read More
Researchers have found an eco-friendly alternative to the metal ores currently favored in the electrodes of lithium-ion batteries. The new non-toxic and sustainable battery uses purpurin, a red/yellow dye extracted from the root of the madder plant that has been used for dying cloth for at least 3,500 years – meaning the substance can simply be grown rather than mined. Read More
Edmonton International Airports Living Wall has been greeting passengers now since May of this year and continues the success of Vancouver based design company Green over Grey in the trend of living vertical installations. The 1,420 square feet (132 sq m) vertical canvas consists of over 8000 plants and includes several species identified by NASA as being more efficient than mechanical filters at purifying the air of toxins. Read More
As the old adage says, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” And in an age when technology is changing at an unprecedented rate, that old saying is truer than ever. Looking to give consumers an easy way to recycle their unwanted mobile phones and MP3 players while also providing a cash incentive, ecoATM has developed an automated kiosk that can differentiate between various devices and provide monetary compensation on the spot. Read More
There is no shortage of smartphone apps that compile information from official weather monitoring sources, but if you’re looking to get some info on conditions closer to home – or inside it – then the Urban Weather Station from Netatmo could fit the bill. Designed specifically for iOS devices, (but also supporting Android devices), the cylindrical units monitor a range of environmental elements inside and out. Netatmo also hopes to use the Wi-Fi-connected devices to create “the largest weather and air quality monitoring network ever established.” Read More
Some people believe that there’s no problem that peanut butter, chocolate and whipped cream can’t solve. These people could be onto something with news that a team of researchers has developed a new, safer oil dispersant that uses edible ingredients found in the aforementioned trio of treats. The new dispersant could save the lives of thousands of birds and animals caught in environmental catastrophes. Read More

The Cessna Aircraft Company is looking to make small planes a little cheaper to fuel and greener to fly with its new Cessna Turbo 182 NXT. Unveiled on Monday, July 23, at the 2012 Airventure airshow in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, the aircraft is a single-engine prop plane that is the first to burn Jet A aviation fuel. This change makes the plane cheaper to fuel, get better mileage and performance, as well as operate more environmentally friendly. Read More

The Romantik Hotel Muottas Muragl located in Switzerland has recently been awarded the highly-coveted Swiss Solar Award 2011, Milestone 2011 Tourism Award and the PlusEnergieBau (PEB) Solar Award 2011, the only prize in the world for buildings that generate more energy than they consume. The 104-year old Berghotel underwent extensive renovations during 2010 to transform it into an environmental-friendly location, giving rise to the first plus-energy hotel in the Alps. The hotel's recent success demonstrates that luxury accommodation can be implemented within the framework of a plus-energy building concept even at 2,456 meters (8,058 ft) above sea level. Read More
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