Here are some lanterns that can be charged via the sun or via human power. Freeplay’s Indigo is a well-designed, rugged lantern. It’s one of those products that, when you hold it, feels extremely solid. This lantern shines with a cluster of seven bright LED bulbs. It won’t brighten a room, but at full power,… [Continue Reading]
These two Christmas trees were made with recycled bottles. Quite an efficient use for all those empties! The one of the left was made with 1050 beer bottles by Paul Deakin, a student at the University of Southampton (the south coast of England). The tree on the right was made with Grolsch beer bottles. Anyone… [Continue Reading]
Optimal gift wrapping comes from renewable sources and does not contain toxic substances. Virgin forest fiber, bleach and heavy-metal inks need not be a part of gift giving. What are some of the better choices? One of the more optimal ways to wrap gifts is Furoshiki, a traditional Japanese technique of wrapping gifts using cloth.… [Continue Reading]
Hewlett-Packard has announced it will install a 1-megawatt solar array in its San Diego facility. The installation will be made up of 5,000 panels on seven buildings. It’s a large solar array, but smaller than Google’s 1.6-megawatt solar array, which is thought to be the largest corporate installation to date in the United States.
This is highly optimal. In Austria, cars can now fill up on a renewable, locally-produced fuel. The fuel is called “biomethane”, and it’s created by fermenting meadow grass (Poa pratensis). The grass is grown without the input of synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. And it’s a true ‘cellulosic biofuel’ — it doesn’t rely on grains and oilseeds.
LED Christmas lights are efficient — they use 90% less energy than incandescent bulbs. They are also brighter, less prone to breaking, and cool to the touch. Less optimal is the fact that almost all Christmas lights are made in China using questionable labor practices, and then transported half way around the world. You can… [Continue Reading]
A group at MIT has unveiled a scooter that folds in half, and collapses to the size of a suitcase. The low-cost bike could be carried on a bus or stored under your desk at work. A prototype of the new design was recently unveiled at the Milan Auto Show. According to William J. Mitchell… [Continue Reading]
Scheduled for release in early 2008, the iZip Express is an electric bike that will operate without a throttle. Instead, the bike has a special torque sensor that applies power as the rider requires it. Basically, the harder you pedal, the more the motor assists you. Test drivers have said that this automatic drive system… [Continue Reading]
Personally, I find combination of clean energy and art to be compelling. Michael Jantzen‘s designs certainly embody both ideas. Pictured above is his “Wind Shade Roof” concept – it’s a swimming pool complex with wind turbines integrated into the roof. The turbines provide power for night lighting, pool heating and pumps. I’m sure the design is… [Continue Reading]
Here’s another solar innovation that could reduce cost of solar energy by as much as 50%. A company in Japan has developed a novel way of making solar cells with arrays of thousands of tiny silicon spheres surrounded by hexagonal reflectors. The key advantage of the system is that it reduces the total amount of… [Continue Reading]