Day: July 28, 2011

A smarter looking way to collect rainwater

Read the full post at SmartPlanet.

Consumers with the best intentions of reducing outdoor water waste by collecting rainwater are most commonly limited to buying large blue barrels or terra cotta cisterns.  For the ecologically minded yet style sensitive set, a rainwater collector designed by Philadelphia firm Shift_Design (Shift Space Design) offers a sleek alternative to the bulbous barrels normally used to collect rain from gutters and downspouts.

A design concept to solve the challenges of transporting wind turbines

Read the full post at Smart Planet.

Manufacturers of wind turbines and their components are challenged with figuring out how to transport the gigantic structures efficiently. Turbine blades can reach up to 260 feet in length, translating into large, heavy, and expensive cargo loads. Parts must be carried on a variety of trucks, trains, and ships from factories to installation sites. So the act of transporting wind turbines presents necessary situations that aren’t quite eco-friendly, in terms of carbon footprints. But an ambitious conceptual project by two young Danish designers, Mads Thomsen and Rune Kirt, is winning awards and gaining attention for its elegant, sustainable, although theoretical solution to the wind-turbine-transportation problem. Their proposal? Use dirigibles powered by solar energy.

The Plastic Bag Wars

Read the full story in Rolling Stone.

The world consumes 1 million plastic shopping bags every minute – and the industry is fighting hard to keep it that way

Middle school student designs library rain garden

Read the full story in the Daily Herald.

After learning about the ways in which plants can provide cleaner water to the environment, a Prairie Crossing Charter School student decided to put his knowledge to good use.

Brian Mace, an eighth-grader from Grayslake, spent a total of 12 hours preparing and planting a rain garden at the Grayslake Public Library as part of his service project, and plans to continue to maintain it.

Which Emits the Most CO2 in Home Construction: Steel, Concrete or Timber?

Read the full post at Climate Progress.

The climate-conscious home builder may ask him or herself: “What’s the most C02-friendly method of building a home?” We wanted to find that out as well, so we compared three different materials — steel, timber and concrete.

Surprisingly, it’s not timber. The answer is steel, which has a CO2 Index of 1 compared to 1.52 for concrete and a 4.44 for a timber-framed home.

How Chicago Can Make an Even Bigger Impact with Building Retrofits

Read the full post at GreenerBuildings.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently announced a program to make the city’s buildings more energy-efficient. Now that he’s taken a bold step to save taxpayer dollars and create hundreds of jobs by shaving the energy consumption of City Hall, the Harold Washington Library and other government buildings, what’s next?

Emanuel plans to issue a request for proposals from energy service companies (ESCOs), that — upon being selected — will analyze each of the nearly 100 buildings for energy saving opportunities.

The Atlanta BeltLine: The country’s most ambitious smart growth project

Read the full story at Grist.

Cross-posted from National Resources Defense Council.

I once called the Atlanta BeltLine “the country’s best smart growth project.” I still haven’t seen one that is better in concept. But now, with a few years of history, how is the implementation coming along? Is the reality matching the vision?

4 Reasons Why Cloud Computing is Also a Green Solution

Read the full story at GreenerComputing.

Cloud computing has arrived, big time. Forrester estimates that worldwide spending on public cloud computing services will grow from $25.5 billion in 2011 to $160 billion in 2020, a 22 percent annual growth rate. Businesses are increasingly substituting cloud-based for internal resources to capture benefits like faster scale-up/scale-down of capacity, pay-as-you-go pricing, and access to cloud-based applications and services without buying and managing on-premises infrastructure.

But we’ve heard little so far about the efficiency and green attributes of cloud computing. That is starting to change as we hear from cloud or as-a-service providers about the architecture and power sources behind their cloud infrastructure, and as we all start to analyze customer implementations of cloud resources vs. on-premises alternatives.

Cloud infrastructure addresses two critical elements of a green IT approach: energy efficiency and resource efficiency. Whether done in a private or public cloud configuration, as-a-service computing will be greener for (at least) the following three reasons.

ISU researchers find corn yields with perennial cover crop equal to traditional farming; recommend Kentucky bluegrass

Read the full post at Green Car Congress.

Soil quality, water quality, and possibly even farm profits will all benefit by using a perennial cover crop on corn fields that allows for similar yields to traditional farming methods, according to Iowa State University research.

Architects Turn Gas-Guzzling Hummers into Earth-Friendly Micro-Homes

Read the full post at Good.

We didn’t shed a tear when we heard that General Motors planned to phase out the Hummer starting last spring. It felt like poetic justice for the gas-guzzling, military-turned-luxury vehicle favored by the former governor of California.

Yet a pair of architects may have found a way to redeem the environmentally disastrous vehicle. Craig Hodgetts and HsinMing Fung of the firm HplusF recently released designs for their “Hummer House,” a prefabricated micro-home made from reincarnated Hummer parts. The Los Angeles architects, known for their work on local landmarks like the Hollywood Bowl and Egyptian Theatre, decided to take on the project after examining the car’s materials and discovering that the sheet metal in its shell is rugged enough to serve as the exterior of a dwelling.

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