Solar Trees May Light Up Europe

This is a great innovation — the streets of Europe could soon be lit by "solar trees". These self-contained streetlights could save cities energy and money too. Unlike regular streetlights, they do not require costly underground wiring to install, and they are immune to blackouts. Designed by Ross Lovegrove, the lights have 10 solar panels arrayed at the top of …

U.S. To Phase Out Incandescent Light Bulbs

Photo credit: USA today After being passed by Congress, Bush just signed into law a massive energy bill that will, among other things, spell the end of traditional light bulb. USA Today reports that the bill will phase out the venerable (but power-hungry) incandescent bulb over the next dozen years in favor more efficient fluorescent, halogen, and LED bulbs. Specifically, …

The World’s First Biodegradable Umbrella

The Brelli is said to be world’s first biodegradable umbrella. Inspired by asian parasols, the Brelli’s handle and frame are crafted from bamboo (sustainably-harvested), and the canopy is made out of an innovative bioplastic. The canopy can be composted in conventional landfills  —  it has passed stringent tests certifying that it will fully biodegrade in one to two years.

Solar Film Debuts: Cheapest Solar Panel In The World?

Nanosolar has just announced that, after five years of development, it will be shipping its innovative “solar film” product. Basically, Nanosolar is able to print solar panels on machines that resemble printing presses. The company, whose backers include Google’s co-founders, say it is producing the world’s lowest-cost solar panel, costing as little as 99 cents per watt.

Optimal: Natural Rubber Pacifiers

Pacifiers that do not contain toxic materials are efficient. Infants are much more susceptible to chemical contamination that adults. A company from Denmark, Natursutten, makes 100% rubber pacifiers using natural latex from the tree Hevea brasiliensi. These pacifiers have no artificial colors, chemical softeners, parabens, PVC, or phthalates. They are softer than pacifiers made of silicone or plastic.

Italian Town Runs On 100% Renewable Power

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Varese Ligure, a town in Northern Italy, runs on 100% renewable power. The town uses a mix of wind, solar and small-scale hydropower. The town has reaped benefits from the energy network through added jobs, and an additional 350,000 euros [US $514,000] in revenues that are handed over to the council each year. Varese has also seen a six-fold increase …

26-Acre Green Complex Planned For New York

The Hudson Yards is a huge swath of land located on the Far West Side of Manhattan. The land, which is the largest undeveloped site left in Manhattan, is owned by the Metropolitan Transit Authority. Now, five teams of architects are in the running to develop a 26-acre site in a sustainable way. Pictured here are a few of the …

UK Plans 25 Gigawatts Of Offshore Wind

  The UK plans to build offshore wind farms that generate a total of 25 gigawatts. This is in addition to an existing 8 gigawatts of planned construction. This vast increase in wind power, in addition to the wave and tidal projects being tested in the Orkney islands, could power all of the UK’s homes by 2020.

Strida: An Ultra-Portable Folding Bike

  The Strida was designed from the ground up to be a very low-maintenance folding bike. It weighs 19-22 pounds and folds down in about ten seconds. Once folded, you can wheel it around (instead of having to carry it like most folding bikes). This makes it easy to bring the bike on trains or into the office. In place …

Highly Efficient “Kid Friendly” Trains

I’ve never been on a train like this. Here are two superbly designed trains from Japan, that take the idea of ‘child-friendly public transport’ to the next level. Designed by Eiji Mitooka, the two trains seen here are the ‘Omoden’ (toy train) and ‘Ichigo Ec’ (strawberry train). They are a couple of regional trains which travel on a daily basis …