The Latest News – Sustainable Solutions

  • Indigenous Communities Moving Away From Government Utilities

    sustainable citiesIndigenous communities are rejecting non-indigenous energy projects in favour of community-led sustainable energy infrastructure. The switch has led to some improvements in economic and social development as well as capacity-building for self-governance, according to a study from the University of Waterloo.   "Many indigenous communities decided to take back control of their own energy production and not rely so heavily on government utilities," said Konstantinos… Read more…

  • Live in an Earthship on Mars

    mars colony planviewMost people try their best to avoid residing six feet (or more) underground. But if you want to live on Mars, that might be your only option. This week, SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell sat down for an interview with CNBC. During a chat about the synergy between Elon Musk’s various companies, she made a bold prediction about humanity’s potential future on the Red Planet.… Read more…

  • Communities Turn to Reusing Wastewater

    orange county anaheim millerWith the era of dam building coming to an end in much of the developed world, places such as California and Australia are turning to local and less expensive methods to deal with water scarcity, including recycling wastewater, capturing stormwater, and recharging aquifers. When California’s Orange County Water District began distributing drinking water derived from sewage in the mid-1970s, it acted out of simple need.… Read more…

  • Affordable Housing and the Triple Bottom Line

    Affordable Community HousingThink of a net-zero energy (NZE) home, and it's likely that you imagine a single-family house in a well-to-do neighborhood, with a roof covered in solar panels and an electric car parked in the driveway. This is a pleasant picture, but it highlights two underlying assumptions many of us have: that NZE homes are available only to the wealthy, and that new-build, single-family homes in… Read more…

  • 7 ways cities can encourage better energy performance in rentals

    sustainable construction cold climatesMay 15, 2018  |  By Alisa Petersen   Today, Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) released a new report, Better Rentals, Better City: Smart Policies to Improve Your City’s Rental Housing Energy Performance, which aims to inform city leaders on mechanisms that can boost energy performance improvements in rental housing that benefit tenants, landlords, community leaders, and the environment. While much of RMI’s research and analysis on… Read more…

  • 6 Ways to Teach our Children about Sustainability

    sustainable development kids projectSustainability can be a hard concept for adults to grasp, let alone children. The talks I have with my two young children about our "green lifestyle" take time and patience, but they are worth the effort. Here are a few of the most effective strategies I've found for incorporating eco-friendly practices into our family routine. I suggest focusing on one new habit at a time… Read more…

  • Is the Golden Era for renewables around the corner?

    Renewable EnergyIn the past few years, there has been a lively debate about the increasing role of renewables at the expense of fossil fuels, particularly in power generation. Some say that renewables are not an existential threat and believe that they might take only a small piece of the pie by 2040, due to high costs and vital government subsidies. On the other hand, others believe that… Read more…

  • Alan Turing’s chemistry hypothesis turned into a desalination filter

    catchwater cistern earthshipTuring structures at the nanoscale Turing structures arise when imbalances in diffusion rates make a stable steady-state system sensitive to small heterogeneous perturbations. For example, Turing patterns occur in chemical reactions when a fast-moving inhibitor controls the motion of a slower-moving activator. Tan et al. grew polyamide membranes by using interfacial polymerization, where the reactions occur at the interface between oil and water layers. The… Read more…

  • Solar Panel performance on hot days

    Bifacial solar panelsAlthough solar panels absorb energy from the sun, hotter temperatures actually make them less efficient. Surprisingly, they perform worse as the temperature rises! Solar panels work by using incoming photons to excite electrons in a semiconductor to a higher energy level. But the hotter the panel is, the greater the number of electrons that are already in the excited state. This reduces the voltage that… Read more…

  • Lets think about sourcing our food more intelligently

    FARMWORKERS, FOOD SECURITY, AND A FAIR WAGESince the turn of the century, food retailers have patched together an impressive global food supply chain. On my food shelf right now in Ireland are baby corn from Thailand, salad onions from Kenya, asparagus from Mexico and baby carrots from South Africa. The last of these may catch your attention. South Africa, source of the baby carrots, has been in the spotlight recently because… Read more…

  • More Efficient Solar Panels from Tiny Dents

    crystal deformation previewLooking for a way to make solar panels more efficient? Why not try putting a dent in them? No, it’s not a “fix the TV by banging your hand on it” solution, but an actually demonstrable discovery from researchers at the United Kingdom’s University of Warwick. This isn’t something you could do with your own home solar panel by way of a ladder and a… Read more…

  • Is Texas Becoming the Greenest state of them all?

    Earthship360Here is my Earth Day reflection: No single person, politician, political party, or nation can solve the climate-change or sustainability crisis. The responsibility falls on every human being on planet Earth. Young and old, left and right, and rural and urban citizens must unite, collaborate, and cooperate. Business and industry, and federal, state, and local politicians must enact public policy that reflects sustainability. The first… Read more…

  • An Energy Revolution is coming. Who ends up on Top?

    The cost of producing solar power is rapidly declining: It now costs $50 to produce one megawatt-hour of solar power, according to a new analysis. Coal, on the other hand, costs $102 per megawatt-hour to produce. This recent change could be a sign that the world is on the verge of an energy revolution. The cost of solar power is decreasing so rapidly, it's now… Read more…

  • Panel: Make sure affordable housing units are energy efficient

    Circular Studio Earthship Tiny HomeAs the Charlottesville region seeks to increase the inventory of affordable housing units, members of the city’s emerging green-energy sector see an opportunity to reduce area greenhouse gases while lowering utility costs. “Historically, when it comes to clean-energy programs and investments, communities of color and low-income communities have not been the beneficiaries of that,” said Charity Pennock, director of the Charlottesville Renewable Energy Alliance. “Having… Read more…

  • How farmers on the Great Plains are changing the local climate

    convective precipitationNew crop practices trap more carbon in the soil, increasing rainfall and adding profits. For the past century, the world’s climate has rapidly warmed, spurred by a precipitous increase in the concentration of greenhouse gases that trap the sun’s heat in the atmosphere, preventing it from rebounding into space. However, around 30 years ago, one region in North America began bucking the trend. A decline… Read more…

  • Amazing products made of trash: the resource of the future

    ecovativeEnvironmental concerns have become more important to consumers, leading many companies to design products around sustainability principles. But there's a big question that remains to be solved: Will a broad segment of society pay a premium to feel better about the environment? A 2017 study in the Journal of Mechanical Design revealed that people were more willing to buy green if a product highlighted sustainable… Read more…

  • Apple Becomes Leader in Renewable Energy

    On Monday of this week, Apple announced that all of their facilities are officially powered by 100 percent clean energy. The announcement encompasses all of their retail stores, offices, data centers, and co-located facilities in 43 countries, including the U.S., the U.K., China, and India. In addition to all of their facilities, they also announced that nine additional manufacturing partners have committed to power all… Read more…

  • the Public Housing Crisis Nobody’s Talking About

    The shuttering of public housing complexes in two small Midwestern towns raises big questions for residents, HUD and Congress. To tell the story, I could use your help. It’s a Sunday morning in late February at the tiny Baptist church atop the hill in Thebes, a remote village of about 400 people in the southernmost part of Illinois. I'm here for a story assignment, but to know… Read more…

  • House Plants for each room of your green building

    snake plantTHE BEDROOM — SNAKE PLANT (SANSEVIERIA TRIFASCIATA)  A plant that produces oxygen while you snooze. The snake plant is a no-fuss tropical plant that has thin, upright leaves with irregular banding resembling reptile skin. It’s often positioned as a low-light, or even no-light, plant, but snake plants actually prefer medium to bright light. But unlike other common houseplants, they can tolerate very low light levels. (They won’t thrive… Read more…

  • Tesla Solar Roof Testimonial Cost and Installation

    Tesla Solar RoofOne of the first known Tesla Solar Roof residential customers has shed some light on the process for installing the unique energy producing glass roof tiles, and its costs Read more…

 
 
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