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Sustainability

The modern Astonyshine design is focused around a freestone structure

Italy and France have joined forces to create the "Astonyshine" 100 percent solar home concept as part of the 2012 Solar Decathlon Europe. The international competition is open to universities from around the globe and promotes research into the development of efficient housing. Astonyshine is a modern reinterpretation of the classic Mediterranean villa, and is the result of the combined efforts from Polytechnic of Bari (Italy), University of Ferrara (Italy), Ecole Nationale Superieure d'Architecture Paris-Malaquais (France) and Ecole des Ponts ParisTech (France).  Read More

The upper outside walls of the McGee house are made from over 100 salvaged car roofs

While the McGee house may look like any other new designer home in the neighborhood, its walls tell a different story. Designed by husband and wife team Karl Wanaselja and Cate Leger of Leger Wanaselja Architecture, the upper outside walls of the house are made from over 100 salvaged car roofs. In a pursuit to build a house that utilized green technologies and reused materials, the couple sourced car roofs from a selection of gray-colored cars that had been left for parts in local junk yards in Berkeley, California. Their biggest challenge was sourcing car scraps that were in relatively good condition, without dents and with a good paint finish. The scraps were then cut into long tile-like shapes and used to complete the upper outside walls of the house, rendering a similar appearance to slate.  Read More

Six different float designs undergoing tests in the wave pool of the Institute for Hydrome...

Israel's Eco Wave Power is just entering the second phase of proving its new wave energy harvest and conversion system that's claimed to produce cheaper energy than existing coal-fired power plants. Energy is captured by the influence of rising and falling waves on two proprietary float designs called the Wave Clapper and Power Wing, which are installed on existing, stable structures. The floats are said to be capable of gathering energy from both high and low waves, which is fed through undersea cabling to a land-based power plant for conversion to usable electricity.  Read More

The De Soto T1 Wetsuit in action

Over the past few years an unlikely material has found its way into wetsuits: limestone. One would think that using rock to create rubber might cause a wearer to sink, but the porous yet closely-packed cells found in a limestone-based rubber is said to make the wearer more buoyant. De Soto Sports, a San Diego-based company that makes clothing and gear for triathlons, developed its own brand of limestone-based rubber, GreenGoma, to use in its wetsuits. Starting with the 2012 line, which first hit stores this past fall, all of the company's T1 wetsuits are made with GreenGoma, which eliminates the use of petroleum products in the line.  Read More

A new process has been developed for removing trace amounts of heavy metals from water (Ph...

Once released into the environment from industrial sources, trace amounts of heavy metals can remain present in waterways for decades, or even centuries, in concentrations that are still high enough to pose a health risk. While processes do exist for removing larger amounts of heavy metals from water, these do not work on smaller quantities. Now, however, scientists from Rhode Island’s Brown University have combined two existing methods, to create a new one that removes even trace amounts of heavy metal from water.  Read More

Green Mountain Data Center reuses existing mountain halls

Upon completion, Norway's Green Mountain Data Center will be the world's greenest server farm - according to its developers, at least. By piping cool water from a nearby fjord into the mountain halls that will house the server racks, its creators hope to eliminate the need for the power-hungry electric chillers that the sadly fjordless majority of the world's data centers require.  Read More

O1M shoes are a light, biodegradable and inexpensive choice for barefoot enthusiasts

Minimalist, "barefoot" shoes have been one of the biggest stories of the footwear industry for several years. Some companies won't be happy until you're essentially wearing a micro-thin sole on your naked feet. The latest step toward that future is the O1M One Moment shoes.  Read More

Sony's battery breaks down paper to create power (Photo: PhysOrg)

We've heard of gadgets being powered by some pretty crazy stuff, but how about paper? Sony recently showed off a new bio-cell battery that breaks down paper in order to create power. A paper battery sounds a little bit far-fetched, but the technology works, and could potentially change how we power devices in the future. So how does it work? The process starts with an enzyme suspended in water. When paper is dropped in, the enzyme starts to break it down and produce glucose that can then be harvested and used to power a battery. Sony described the break down process as similar to how a termite might eat and break down wood.  Read More

The facade of Big Tree Farm's all-bamboo chocolate factory

We've seen cutting boards, bicycles, floors, even houses made of bamboo, but an organic chocolate factory? Evidently, when Ben Ripple and Frederick Schilling, the two co-CEOs of specialty food company Big Tree Farms (BTF) talked about sustainably building their new plant, they put their money where their mouths are. Now, the Indonesian island of Bali is home to what BTF claims is the largest all-bamboo commercial building ever constructed, and soon, it'll be cranking out tasty chocolate bars by the thousands.  Read More

bioWAVE is a wave power system, inspired by the swaying motions of kelp plants

Anyone who has ever been scuba diving in a bull kelp forest will tell you - the stuff does not stand still. The marine aquatic plant consists of a long skinny-but-tough stem (or stipe) that is anchored to the sea floor and topped with a hollow float, from which a number of "leaves" (or blades) extend to the surface. The result is a seaweed that extends vertically up through the water column, continuously swaying back and forth with the surging waves. The researchers at Australia's BioPower Systems evidently looked at that kelp, and thought, "what if we could use that swaying action to generate power?" The result was their envisioned bioWAVE system, which could soon become a reality, thanks to a just-announced AUD$5 million (US$5.1 million) grant from the Victorian Minister for Energy and Resources.  Read More

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