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Living Roofs

Living Roofs

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A Solar Grill Prototype for a Greener Tomorrow Students at MIT are working on a case study for a new type of solar powered outdoor grill. Based on the technology from MIT professor David Wilson, this grill would collect thermal energy from the sun and store it to allow cooking times for up to twenty five hours at temperatures above 450 degrees Fahrenheit. The study is being conducted by Derek Ham, Eric Uva, and Theodora Vardouli, all part of an entrepreneurship course called “iTeams.” I-Teams, (short for “Innovation Teams”) is a unique MIT course that assembles cross-disciplinary teams of students from across MIT. The goal of i-Teams is to teach students the process of science and technology commercialization focusing on how to judge a technology’s commercial potential. Each team has access to faculty, practitioners, business mentors, and fellow students throughout their project.

Reciprocating Roof Research Welcome to Winter, everyone! Winter at Milkwood Farm is research time (in addition to winter farm chores) and currently we’re nutting out how to create super affordable, warm and not necessarily permanent housings for our crew come Springtime. We’ve been mulling over yurts primarily, but recently, the beauty and economy of reciprocating roof roundhouses are got us thinking about hybrid natural building projects that we could realize next season. There’s a lot to love in these constructions… – via Huckleberry – via Elke Cole

The Limits of the Earth — Part 2: Expanding the Limits (Credit: NASA) This is part two of a two-part series on the limits of human economic growth on planet Earth. Part one details some of the environmental and natural resource challenges we’re up against. Part two, here, looks at the ultimate size of the resource pool and solutions to our problems. How Big a Backyard Would You Need to Live Off the Land? posted by Dave Llorens on January 4th, 2011 What’s One Block Off the Grid? One Block Off the Grid makes it easier and more affordable for homeowners to go solar by negotiating great solar deals on their behalf.

The Limits of the Earth — Part 1: Problems (Credit: NASA) This is part one of a two-part series on the limits of human economic growth on planet Earth. Part one details some of the environmental and natural resource challenges we’re up against. Part two, on the ultimate size of the resource pool and solutions to our problems, will be published tomorrow and linked here. Both parts are based on Ramez Naam’s new book, The Infinite Resource: The Power of Ideas on a Finite Planet The world is facing incredibly serious natural resource and environmental challenges: Climate change, fresh water depletion, ocean over-fishing, deforestation, air and water pollution, the struggle to feed a planet of billions.

Help Build A Sustainable Off-Grid Friggebod With Floda31 It must be nice to be former Swedish housing minister Birgit Friggebo; She is now immortalized for her removing of the requirement for building approval for structures under 150 square feet, known forever as Friggebods, a portmanteau of her name and bod, or shed. It led to an explosion of innovative design and opportunity for young architects and designers. At Floda31, "a laboratory for innovation and creativity", Marije de Haas and Richard Holland and their students are building a Friggebodar, a" completely sustainable off-grid mini-house that can function at a climate ranging from +30C to -30C. " It's made of my favourite materiel-du-jour, Cross laminated timber. Floda31 Friggebodar from Marije de Haas on Vimeo.

Portable Solar Desalination 'Plant' That May Aid In Third World Water Woes By Meera Dolasia on September 14, 2012 CCSSNAS-1NCSS-3Word Search 'Water, Water everywhere, not a drop to drink' - That, unfortunately, is the situation faced by millions of residents in developing countries who are surrounded by oceans, but have no access to fresh drinking water. Now thanks to this ingenious portable ceramic desalination 'plant' created by Milan-based designer Gabriele Diamanti, there may be a viable solution. The Eliodomestico works just like a coffee percolator except, upside down. It comprises of two ceramic pieces that sit on top of each other.

Could Composting Toilets Save Cities Millions in Waste Water Treatment? Image credit: Biolet From the humanure approach of pooping in a bucket to the rough-and-ready "tree bog" composting toilet, I've posted plenty of low tech DIY options for dealing with human waste. But my fellow TreeHugger writers, to their credit, have often had more ambitious, mainstream plans for saner sanitation. Carbon tax to earn R8-billion a year South Africa committed in 2009 to reduce its carbon emissions by 34% by 2020. Every government department was then told to do its part, and treasury chose a carbon tax. In this year’s Budget speech, Pravin Gordhan said the tax would start on January 1 2015. The tax would force the external costs of fossil energy – health problems and environmental damage – to be included in the cost of anything produced by this energy. This would change behaviour and make renewable energy sources more attractive, said treasury in the policy paper.

re:farm the city I will share here a low cost solution for the recycling of organic waste, appropriate for apartments and urban housing that do not have a piece of land or an outdoor area. This construction is inspired by the Cadico earthworms nice project. The photos are from the composter I made here at home : ) It’s called a Vermi composter because we use worms in the process, uhuuuuu big thanks to the worms, they deserve! To make this kind of composter, it is important to use stackable supports to separate the different stages of composting. In this case, I used 3 buckets of margarine 15L reused. You can ask for them for free at local businesses such as coffee shops, bakeries, juice houses, etc..

Four Amazing Green Greenhouses Built 40 Years Ago By Michael Jantzen All images credit Michael Jantzen Artist and designer Michael Jantzen is best known for his visionary building ideas like his M-House, covered recently in Fast Company, but I was really excited by his older stuff like his Autonomous House, that I called a Thirty-year old green wonder. Trolling the older work on his site, I found some amazing looking greenhouse structures, and called him to find out more. What he built and what he said is really remarkable. In fact, it's amazing. In 1980 he built this commercial greenhouse to raise seedlings prior to the beginning of the gardening season in Illinois.

Energy: Choices made in government's IRP2010 need to be revisited The recent difference of opinion between the national planning commission (NPC) and the department of energy raises some interesting points for discussion with regards to the energy sector in South Africa. While the department's energy policy and planning head Ompi Aphane may feel that the NPC researchers do not have the full view of what is happening in government, they certainly do have a much broader, intersectoral approach to energy provision and management than we have seen in department of energy sponsored plans like the integrated resource plan of 2010. They also raise some very valid concerns that the department of energy should not be so hasty in brushing aside. The first key issue is the demand forecast that the energy department has been using. It would also make sense to incorporate existing national energy efficiency targets (12% in general and 15% for industries by 2015) in the forecast modelling, which has not occurred as of yet.

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