Energy waste can take many different forms, such as failing to turn the lights off when leaving a room. Now, with Cactus, this is no longer an issue. Cactus is a power bar which connects to the household WiFi, and allows users to turn devices which are plugged into it on and off using a smartphone. It also has a sensor that turns the lights on when someone enters a room and then turns them off again when they leave. On average, “standby power” accounts for 10% of American energy bills, which can total over $100 a year. With Cactus this can be easily managed. The video posted below was made by the inventors to promote Cactus as a crowd sourcing project, but it also shows the device in action. They have since met their monetary goals and are developing their prototypes. These power strips can currently be ordered for about forty dollars, which is the least expensive of the smart power bars on the current market. Check out the article that creator Giuseppe Crosti wrote for the Huffington post about his journey to make Cactus an energy saving reality, and developer Paul Rolfe’s blog entry about the device!
After over a decade of testing and prototype work, Atlantis’ MeyGen tidal array is set to move forward! Over the next two years, two tidal turbines will be installed on the sea bed of the inner sound of the Pentland Firth. By 2020 that number will increase to 61, and when the project is fully installed the number will reach 269 turbines! This will power 150,000 homes, and take 100 people to maintain. The project has been financed by many large grants from different levels of the UK government and corporations; the funding totals at £50m! Set to begin construction later this year, this tidal array will be the first of its size and type in the world! Read the full report at BBC Scotland: http://bbc.in/XMmGaz.
Altaeros Energy’s Buoyant Airborne Turbine, or BAT, is the beginnings of a new step for Wind Energy. This turbine is not on a tower, but a helium blimp housing a turbine which is tethered to the ground from about 300 meters in the air (making it the worlds highest wind turbine!). The air is not only more powerful as you climb higher into the atmosphere, but the technology is less prone to problem. Without the massive steel tower, and yaw mechanism which rotates the turbine to face the wind as it changes, the maintenance is much less significant. The turbine also is quieter, while producing more energy! Although this technology is only in prototype phase, tests have been positive. Now being tested over Alaska, CEO Ben Glass predicts to provide power at about $0.18 per kilowatt-hour, about half the price of off-grid electricity in Alaska.
It seems like this is a win for energy efficiency and standards of living! Kudos to Altaeros! Find a full article, from The Spirit Science here: Wind Turbines Take to the Skies to Generate a Magnificent Quanta of Energy VIDEO! , as well as from IEEE Spectrum here.
A lot of the time we consider environmental issues to be that of wildlife, or resource depletion. How often do we consider the clothes we put on our bodies? How are they made? Natural dyes are one way to ensure the fabrics closest to our bodies are not harmful! Monika is a passionate natural dyer, her products are sold on Etsy, and documents her work on her blog – Red 2 White. She posted last month attributing some of her knowledge to Michael Garcia, master dyer! If you want to give it a try, check his books or DVD’s out to get some know-how, and Monika’s blog for ideas and product reviews!
A lot of the time, sustainability and pro-eco choices are made at home, like composting or air-drying our laundry. This business takes eco-friendly to new and unusual level! Firstly, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum is only LEED certified. The LEED certification stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. It is a certification developed by the U.S. Green Building Council which rates the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of green buildings, homes and neighborhoods. It hopes to encourage and help owners and operators to use resources responsibly and efficiently. The building utilizes geothermal heating and cooling, solar power, carbon dioxide detecting ventilation sensors, low flow plumbing and daylight sensing lights which automatically dim and brighten lights in accordance with the amount of natural light currently available; recycled plastics, rubbers, re-purposed woods, even sunflower hulls, are used whenever possible instead of new materials.
Moreover, the museum’s exhibits are specifically tailored to sustainability. Attendee’s could learn about geothermal and solar energy, water conservation or recycling, and why they are important to our future as a planet. The museum holds summer camps, and provides educational material for teachers to utilize in the classroom, as well.
As the first “green” museum, they really due set a tone for what we are capable of within the commercial sector. Steps small and large can be made throughout out lives, home, work, and recreation.
Check out their website for more information on educational tools, green sites in the city, and to plan your visit to the first green museum!!
The Cradle to Cradle Certification is just one way to begin revolutionizing how we as a society harvest materials, manufacture products, and most importantly, what we do with them once they are not longer needed. Product Design must play a factor in a more sustainable future! For more information on the current environmental choices being made, stop by What’s New in Eco-Materials.
I’m not really a big fan of “certification”. I understand the reasons for it and I know that many who offer it are morally ethical with only the highest intentions but it is also based on distrust and buying integrity with dollars. Still, I really like the Cradle to Cradle Products Institute video I’ve shared above. Certainly, I do believe that product designers, architects and ordinary consumers should take such considerations into account, when creating a new product, conceptualizing a new structure or purchasing a product. And I believe it is both important for NOW and for our future generations, already alive and growing up on this planet.
The thing is that “certification” has been recognized as a definite revenue generator, so that now there are so many possible systems to validate one’s self with, that it would cost a small fortune to sign on with all of them. This…
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Based in Vancouver, Canada, LUSH Handmade Cosmetics’ mission is to make effective products from fresh organic fruit and vegetables, the finest essential oils, and safe synthetics. The cosmetics company purchases ingredients only from companies that do not conduct or commission tests on animals, and they only test their products on humans. Furthermore, LUSH invents its own products and fragrances, making its products fresh by hand using little or no preservative or packaging and using only vegetarian ingredients.
The company’s inventors started making products by visiting farmer’s markets and flower shops, bringing their fresh fruits, vegetables, and flowers back to their labs, and infusing them into their newest inventions. In fact, LUSH has its own ingredient encyclopedia called LUSHopedia. LUSH keeps track of all of the ingredients it uses in its products and lists them alphabetically in LUSHopedia (from African marigold oil to zinc oxide).
In addition to using as little packaging as possible, LUSH’s commitment to environmental stewardship includes finding ways to eliminate waste. The company works hard to ensure that the majority of its output from making and transporting products is recycled, composted, or re-used. Also, LUSH makes it a priority to use ingredients that are produced in a sustainable way. In keeping with this fresh, eco-friendly philosophy, LUSH uses almond and olive oil—not mineral oil—partly because the company thinks (as they state on their website) that “fields of trees make our lives much richer than oil fields.”
By the numbers: Just this year at LUSH, responsible buying of recycled supplies for the company’s administrative offices helped save over 300 trees; 511,363 liters of water (135,000 gallons of water); and 675 gallons of oil. Moreover, LUSH’s responsible buying also helped to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 28,000 CO2 equivalents. Thus, LUSH’s commitment to environmental stewardship has had and continues to have a significant, positive impact on the environment.
To visit LUSH’s website, click here.
To peruse the complete list of ingredients LUSH uses in its products, click here.
To learn why LUSH made the 2014 list of Canada’s Greenest Employers, click here.