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Photovoltaic


— Home Entertainment

Charge while you groove with OnBeat solar headphones

By - July 10, 2013 9 Pictures
The rain-soaked streets of Glasgow have provided the unlikely backdrop for the development of the PV-packing OnBeat Solar Headphones. As the sun beats down on these on-ear cans, custom-molded polycrystalline silicon photovoltaics on the headband and side hinges harvest its energy to charge up powerful batteries within the housing. A charging cable connected to the USB port on the right cup can be plugged into your smartphone or digital music player, topping up your device while you listen to some cool tunes. Read More
— Architecture

NuOffice hailed as world's most sustainable office building

By - July 9, 2013 10 Pictures
A recently-completed Munich-based commercial property, dubbed NuOffice, is being hailed as the world's most sustainable office building. Commissioned by Haupt Immobilien, and created with the help of both European-funded research group DIRECTION and the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics, NuOffice breezed through LEED Platinum certification. It snagged the highest rating ever issued by the body for a building of its type. Read More
— Environment

Crowdfunded solar-powered classroom leaves the grid

By - July 5, 2013 3 Pictures
Aaron Sebens and his class of fourth-graders from the Central Park School for Children in Durham, North Carolina hit Kickstarter back in March to try and raise enough money for their classroom to go off-grid. A rather modest target of US$800 was smashed within a day by the kindness of the international community and, at campaign end, the kids found themselves with the handsome sum of $5,817 to spend on the purchase and installation of a roof-mounted solar energy harvesting system. A wind turbine was added to the shopping list, and just two months later, the 208ers threw a huge "Flip the Switch" party to celebrate leaving the grid. Sebens reports that the classroom has been running on renewables ever since. Read More
— Architecture

The Porter School of Environmental Studies highlights sustainable building in Israel

By - July 2, 2013 16 Pictures
A new building at Tel Aviv University features a standalone EcoWall that aims to provide vertical garden space and research facilities for its faculty. The university's Porter School of Environmental Studies (PSES) hopes that its new green building design will not only join the small number of LEED certified buildings in the country, but will also highlight sustainable methodologies for future buildings in Israel. Read More
— Mobile Technology

Street Charge solar charging stations for smartphones make New York debut

By - June 25, 2013 18 Pictures
Telecomms provider AT&T has partnered with portable solar power systems developer Goal Zero and Brooklyn design studio Pensa for the roll out of Street Charge public solar charging stations in New York. Each station is topped by PV panels that charge up a powerful internal battery to provide smartphone and tablet users with a free juice up. The first units debuted at Riverside Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Fort Greene Park and Governor's Island on June 18, and will be followed by another 20 or so stations in the coming months. Read More
— Architecture

Former porn megastore transformed into world's largest net zero building

By - June 10, 2013 16 Pictures
Originally constructed in 1972, the former Castle Boutique Megastore in Phoenix, Arizona, has been transformed from an adult-themed store into the new headquarters of sustainable-building firm DPR. Despite its origins, it would be a mistake to underestimate DPR's new premises, as the building received both LEED-NC Platinum certification and Net-Zero Energy certification from The International Living Future Institute, thus making it currently the largest net zero building in the world. Read More
— Environment

MIT maps solar potential of Cambridge, Massachusetts with record accuracy

By - June 5, 2013 9 Pictures
MIT researchers have developed a new technique that can be used to accurately predict the annual yield of a photovoltaic solar array located anywhere on the planet, taking into account local climate, panel orientation, and obstructions from nearby buildings. As a proof of concept, the scientists have mapped out the 17,000 rooftops of Cambridge, Massachusetts and created a user-friendly web interface that residents can use to look up their homes and get an accurate projection of the cost and return on investment of placing a PV panel over their heads. Read More
— Electronics

Making solar cells with a kitchen microwave

For most people, experiments involving a home microwave typically don't go much further than inflating a marshmallow like a balloon or reheating leftovers in plasticware – both with messy results. For metallurgists though, microwaves are sometimes employed to efficiently process metals, which is how researchers at the University of Utah found themselves using a secondhand kitchen appliance in their lab. Their resourcefulness paid off recently, when the team discovered a method for creating solar cell material with just a few basic ingredients and an old microwave. Read More
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