March 31, 2010

Maryland Students Build Portable Solar Classroom

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Pre-engineering students from Washington County Technical High School in Maryland designed a portable classroom with solar panels, grass walls, a green roof and other eco-friendly features. The display was so innovative that State Farm Insurance and SkillsUSA gave them a grant of $10,000 to make their design become reality. The group plans to use it to buy panels, an inverter and other materials.

Via Herald-Mail

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March 31, 2010

Solar T-Light Doubles as Tea Light

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Smart Solar's glass Mosaic T-light is suitable for garden, deck or any other outside location. At a size of 4.5 x 4.5 x 4.7", the amber lamp is powered by an integral solar panel and rechargeable Ni-MH battery that will provide 8 hours of light. The lamp can also house a standard tea light or candle inside.

Via Smart Solar Mosaic T-light

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March 30, 2010

Chevron Tests 7 Solar Technologies

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Chevron is conducting a test to determine what kind of solar technology gives the most bang for the buck. The 8 acre Project Brightfield, located in Bakersfield, California, is trying out 7 different types, with six of them thin-film and one a crystalline-silicon photovoltaic technology, like the one shown above. The 7,700 solar panels are not just there for scientific purposes. The 740kW power generated will go to local utilities and Chevron's oil production operation.

Via Chevron
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March 30, 2010

Site 'O the Week - First Solar

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Even solar panels will not last forever, so First Solar will provide packing materials, shipping costs and recycling services at no charge after a request for collection. The company claims that they can turn about 90% of each module into raw materials for new ones. Of course, this applies only to their customers but hey, at least they can take care of them so that they do not end up in a landfill. We admire the concept enough to make them our SOW this week.

Via First Solar

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March 29, 2010

Solar Yurts Gain Popularity

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Yurts were originally used in central Asia as more protection than your basic tent with wood foundations and felt covering. Eco-minded companies have turned them into even more efficient buildings. The dome still exists and solar skylights, rain diverters, insulated windows and wind power have been added.

Via Green Diary

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Solar Ivy is Flexible Energy

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Sustainably Minded Interactive Technology's pet project, Solar Ivy, is a system made with polyethylene leaves, plastic organic photovoltaics and stainless steel mesh to hold it all together. Each leaf produces about a half watt of power and leaves can be replaced if they malfunction. SMIT seems to have gotten it together as they seem anxious to get some backing and sell their systems. We have to admit we certainly like the design and flexibility.

Via Solar Ivy

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March 26, 2010

Power Pak Charges By Solar, AC or USB

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This handy Power Pak can charge three ways, solar, AC and USB. The charger renews the power for your iPhone/iPod, Blackberry and Kindle. With a 1400mAh power cell, it can be recharged up to 1,000 times. A 60 minute charge provides up to 180 minutes of talk time or 72 hours of standby after sitting in the sun for 5 - 7 hours.

Via Power Pak

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Landport Solar Speakers

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Landport's black or white Speaker has lithium-ion batteries to charge via solar power and a USB panel for those overcast days. Connect your small electronic device through its stereo mini input for 5 - 8 hours of playback on a full charge. At a size of 19.5 × 11.2 × 5cm, look for its availability later this month in Japan at a price of ¥5,250 (~$58.00.)

Via Akihabara News

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March 25, 2010

Birchway's Aesthetically Pleasing Eco-Community

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The Birchway Eco-Community was built in the London Borough of Hillingdon. Twenty four affordable 1 and 2 bedroom curvy housing units are available. The homes were pre-fabbed and already had kitchens and bathrooms installed. Designed by Acanthus LW Architects for Paradigm Housing, they feature solar thermal and panels, rainwater capture, high insulation, passive ventilation, heat recovery and a biomass boiler for heat and hot water.

Via Birchway

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SilverTree Tower Ready by 2010 Olympics

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A new residential tower may be built in the Borough of Newham, UK in time for the 2010 Olympics. The SilverTree will be 24 stories high with 2 colored panels that will supply energy from its solar panels as well as shading. Another side will house a vertical garden with terraces and balconies. Designed by Studio RHE, additional energy will be generated by a ground source heat pump. When completed, it will house 161 residents, an open deck, and has space for retail and business offices below.

Via World Architecture News

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March 24, 2010

GS 109 Solar Cell Phone Does More

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ZTE and OKWAP teamed with Intivation to produce a more advanced solar phone. The GS109 features an SD card slot, Bluetooth capability, camera, radio and MP3 player. The phone can produce 70mA of power on its PV cell that will charge its battery and keep the phone going. The $40.00 GS109 should debut sometime this month.

Via engadget

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Novothink Solar Surge Chargers

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Combine a solar panel and lithium-ion battery and pack them into a non-slip case and you get the Novothink Solar Surge charger. After 2 hours of solar charging you get 30 minutes of 3G or 60 minutes of 2G talk time. Available in two models, choose between the case for iPhone 3G/3GS or pre-order the Metallic Green iPod touch case.

Via Novothink

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March 23, 2010

Thanko Solar Charger

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Thanko, maker of all things you didn't know you needed before they made them, has created a minute charger that runs by pulling an 18cm cable that turns a dynamo and a 30cm cable for charging by solar power. At a size of 70 x 70 x 29mm, it comes with three adapters to fit most electronics at a price of 1,886 円 (~$22.00.)

Via Thanko (Japanese)

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Site O' the Week: Design Your Own weeHouse

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Looking for a greener prefab? Alchemy Architects' weeHouses come in many shapes and sizes and start at a price of $48,000 for the 20 x 12 x 10' Studio model. The features a custom steel base, an IKEA kitchen wall, natural bamboo flooring, electric wiring set-up, insulated walls, cedar decking and an EPDM rubber roof. There are more floor plans and other options that include solar power and larger living spaces. With so much to choose from, we name Alchemy our SOW this week.

Via weeHouse

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March 22, 2010

Muzach's mini-Power Station

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Muzach has released the planet's supposedly smallest solar dock that will charge iPhones and most iPods when attached to its port. The MZH-1200 Power Station has a capacity of 1000mAh, a weight of only 9.8 oz. and an LED power charging indicator. The company promises a lifespan of 2,000 charges or at least 4 years of usage and comes in blue, black, silver, green or white at a price of $49.95.

Via Muzach

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UCLA Devises New Energy Policy

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J.R. DeShazo, the director of the Luskin Center for Innovation, in conjunction with other UCLA colleagues, has come up with a new energy policy for LA. Included is a "feed-in tariff," that encourages residents to install solar systems. Already in place in Germany, Europe, Vermont and Florida, the system allows those that do to sell excess energy back at above market level.

To accomplish this, rates would be 2.7 cents more/kwh with 0.7 cents going to a lockbox that funds energy efficiency and the solar power feed-in. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa claims that 8,000 new jobs would be generated over the next 10 years once the program is initiated.

Via UCLA

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March 19, 2010

Neil Kaminar Simplifies Solar Projects

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"Solar Basics" was penned by Neil Kaminar, a solar engineer with 40 years of experience behind him. The book is written in simplified terms and details financing, installation, testing, repair, recycling and maintenance of solar modules. One hundred illustrations are also included. Neil also wrote "Solar Design", a how-to make your own system book that comes with a CD with extra tips.

Via Neil Kaminar

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FPL Group Building Natural Gas/Solar Plant in Florida

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The FPL Group is in the midst of building a hybrid natural gas and solar plant in West Palm Beach, Florida. At a cost of $476 million, when completed it will be the second largest array on the planet. The company believes that it will reduce the use of natural gas by 1.3 billion cubic feet per year, enough to power 18,000 homes. At the same time, carbon dioxide emissions will be reduced by 2.75 million tons over the next 30 years. This is equal to about removing about 19,000 cars off the road.

Via NY Times

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March 18, 2010

Super-Powered Solar Joos Charger

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The Orange Solar Joos supposedly offers 30x more power than any existing solar charger, enough to power up 4 empty iPhones, 6 regular cell phones or 3 portable game systems. It does this with a micro-processor controlled energy management system. At a size of 8 x 5", the charger is waterproof, shockproof and operates in low light. The target date for its debut is June with a $100.00 price.

Via Solar Joos

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Skyscraper To Purify Jakarta Water System

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The city of Jakarta was conceived as a water city but the 13 rivers that cross it are now polluted and have flooded the city. The Ciliwung Recovery Program will purify it again with a new skyscraper. When water runs through the building from the river, garbage is separated and contaminants are removed while good minerals are added. Finally, household waste gets reprocessed and the water is sent back to the river. The building also doubles as an energy generator that produces wind power and solar energy with a large reactor on the roof.

Via designboom

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March 17, 2010

Zep'lin, Spokesboat for Renault

Designer Damien Grossemy's Zep'lin is a vertical flying sailboat conceived for Renault. Solar panels tilt towards the sun for energy and lithium ion batteries store the extra energy. Expected to be built by 2015, the vehicle will be used to promote the car company's electric cars.

Via Damien Grossemy

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Versatile Solar Path Lights

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There is nothing worse than falling not getting up no matter what your age. Save yourself from the pain and embarrassment with a set of six solar Path Lights. Use them in a driveway, garden or front stoop. Heavy-duty and waterproof, the 3 x 1.5" ultra-bright LEDs come on automatically at night.

Via Solar Lighting

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March 16, 2010

PRO-AMX Solar City Concept Car

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PRO-AMX, aka Mexican Automotive Projects, was started in Mexico in 2008 to build clean vehicles. They now have two concept cars in development. The SGT-HC combines a 4-cylinder engine with an electric motor. The Solar City needs nothing but the sun to keep it going with cells located on the awning and glazed area of the car.

Via Autoblog

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American School First LEED Platinum Certified

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The Michael J. Homer Science and Student Life Center in Atherton, CA is the first American school to be LEED Platinum certified and has a living roof with native foliage to insulate and reduce storm water that will be tended by faculty and staff. Part of the Sacred Heart School, there are also 73 skylights for natural lighting in classrooms and a 40k solar photovoltaic system. The building uses 69% less energy than most schools and has the benefit of a 10,000 square-foot organic garden that will be tended by faculty and staff.

Via Sacred Heart Schools

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March 15, 2010

UK Develops More Efficient Extraction By Solar Power

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Scientists in the UK have extracted hydrogen from water with an outstanding 60% efficiency by using solar energy. Nanoclusters of indium phosphide on a gold electrode allowed the absorption of light photons. Their next step is to find a less expensive material that will perform as well as gold.

Via Treehugger

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Solar Rickshaws at Commonwealth Games

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When the Commonwealth Games begin in October in New Delhi, India, the government and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research have arranged for 1,000 solar powered rickshaws to carry the competitors around. The Soleckshaws are both pedal and motor vehicles that can move about 10-15 km/hr with a 240W,36 volt BLDC hub Motor. The CSIR believes this to be a demonstration of what they can do and hope that they will be utilized when the games are over.

Via Energy Matters

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March 12, 2010

Solar Birdbath Keeps Water Flowing

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We are not sure if birds prefer a warm bath, but at least with this handmade Turkish copper Birdbath it will not freeze up during the long winter. No wiring is needed and the water is constantly recycled by pump when direct sunlight hits the panel.

Via Turkish Solar Birdbath

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Site O' the Week: Ma Modular

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Ma Modular uses 15 x 36 ft. and 15 x 60 ft. modules in combination with a connector module to create your dream home. Our SOW this week allows you to design your Ma home with green materials such as cork and bamboo. Green options include photovoltaic panels, geothermal HVAC, tankless water heating and a rainwater harvesting system. At $125 a square ft., you have to provide your own foundation.

Via Ma Modular

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March 11, 2010

Mini-Racer Runs on Solar Energy

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The Solar Powered Racer is a fun vehicle that comes in a kit for both kids and adults. There are 8 parts to assemble and when completed, will run on moderate sunlight or one very bright bulb. Start your solar engine for £7.45 (~$11.00.)

Via EnviroGadget

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Marines GREEN is More than Uniforms

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The Marine Corps has gone green with their Ground Renewable Expeditionary Energy System. It utilizes stackable 1600W panel arrays and deep cycle batteries to reduce the fuel needed for generators and resupplying fuel in remote locations. GREENS supplies a continuous output of 300W up to 1000W of power. Tested at the Naval Air Warfare Center in China Lake, California, it supplied 85% of the energy needed.

Via Energy Matters

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March 10, 2010

India To Build More Solar

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India has been steadily rising in the solar PV market. What started out as a 10 member sector a couple of years ago now has 30 module and cell suppliers. The country is looking for investors to produce PV modules and cells, system components, silicon wafers and polysilcion feedstock. In addition to creating, the government is promoting solar energy in the form of solar farms, roof top systems and rural usage to make up for some of their power deficit.

Via Solar Feeds

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Coleman Trickle Charger

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Coleman's Solar Trickle Charger can be used even on an overcast day with its battery or inside your car via your 1.5W 15V cigarette lighter. It will maintain a charge for your car, small boat, riding mower, etc. and has reverse current protection when not in use. The 17.3 x 4.4 x 1.3" charger comes with the lighter connection and alligator clips for attachment.

Via Coleman Chargers

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March 9, 2010

LDK CEO Says Solar Power to Dominate

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Peng Xiaofeng, CEO of China's LDK Solar, claims that solar power will supply 60% of the planet's energy supply 100 years from now. He believes that existing energy sources, such as oil, will run out. The Chinese government wants 20% of their power to come from renewable energy by 2020.

LDK is located in Xinyu, now nicknamed 'Solar Power City,' and also houses most of its 14,000 employees. Peng also says that people underrate the cleaner energy and we have to agree.

Via New Energy News

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Man Treks to Key West In Solar Stroller

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Bruce Maynard, who used to run marathons, now has some knee problems but still wants to travel 30 miles a day from Bellingham, UK to Key West, Florida. To accomplish his lofty mission, he is traveling in a solar- and battery-powered stroller. Nicknamed "Sam", the vehicle has a foldable solar panel that doubles as a work table and computer stand. The 74 year-old former businessman will also carry along a tent for shelter during his ambitious trek. Although he is not doing this for any charitable reason, he plans to participate in any green events that he runs across. Bon voyage, Mr. Maynard.

Via Bellingham Herald

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March 8, 2010

Mo-Du-Lo Rides 3 Ways

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The "Mo-Du-Lo" is so named because the modular car can be made into three different versions. The Mo is a monocycle operated by pedals. The Du is a 4-wheeled car with two monocycles that can accomodate 2 and can be run by batteries that have gotten their power from photovoltaic cells. The Lo version connects many cars and monocycles to create trains and can be used for long distance traveling. The concept was part of the Michelin Challenge Design Showcase.

Via Michelin Challenge

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OC's First LEED Platinum Certified Home

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Developer Steve Blanchard built the Costa Mesa Green Home in the OC, the first to receive LEED Platinum certification. The home is a huge 5,000 sq. ft., and has 7 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms and a three-car garage. It has enough photovoltaic panels to power up the entire home, and has water recycling, high efficiency HVAC equipment, Energy Star lighting and was built with highly insulated walls and windows. Don't get too excited. The purchase price of the Costa Mesa home is $2,999,000.

Via Costa Mesa Green

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March 5, 2010

iPhone Solar Charger

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This Solar Charger is made to fit both the iPhone 3G and 3Gs. It easily attaches and features a power button and LED lit gauge. You can also use a USB cable to make it a charger for laptop, camera or small electronics.

Via Solar Chargers

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Wonder Wheel Gets Solar Revamp

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If you have ever seen the Wonder Wheel at Coney Island in New York in the 80's, you were already impressed with its, well, wonder. Deno Vourderis, whose family has owned the structure for 3 generations, has decided to make it greener. The bulbs that lit it up back then were removed for safety reasons, but it looks like the ride will get a second chance to light up the night with the installation of solar panels on the tops its 16 cars. The wheel will have a battery to save the sunlight during the day to light it up at night.

(Thanks to Mike Wrathell for image.)

Via NY Daily News

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March 4, 2010

Pelican Solar Tire Gauge

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You often hear how you should keep your tires inflated for better fuel efficiency and the Pelican Tire Gauge from PowerPlus takes the idea one green step further by working without batteries. The solar tool's LED displays in bar, psi, kPa or kg/cm². You can also measure the tread depth of your tires. The gauge has auto off-on for those who tend to forget and a price of £11.99 (~$18.00.)

Via Nigel's Eco Store

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Monaco Pavilion Part of World Expo

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When Shanghai hosts the World Expo this year, this "rock surrounded by the dancing light of a perfect sea" will be one of the attractions. The Monaco Pavilion, designed by Naco Architecture, is a 2000 sq. meter building that projects light ripples on its LED face. The system features a miniature pool behind it and constant changes are reflected in the building. The solar pavilion will trap the sunlight by day and light it at night.

Via designboom

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March 3, 2010

Sanups Monitors Solar Power Without Humans

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Sanyo's Denki Sanups PV Monitor displays quantity of power generated and a trend graph at large solar power generation stations. If there are any problems, an email is automatically sent and if personnel send a query, it will answer in turn. This eliminates the need for humans, at least on one end.

Via Fareast Gizmos

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Radiometer Works With Sunshine

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Who didn't have a Radiometer as a kid? We did, but never really new how it worked. It seems the vanes inside transfer heat from the sun to each other. The lighter vanes reflect the rays and the darker ones absorb them. The more sun there is, the faster the vanes move.

Via Radiometer

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March 2, 2010

Sustainable City Lights from Philips

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This prototype from Phillips Design is a simple concept in lighting. The Sustainable City Lights unfurl in the day to capture solar and wind energy, and are only triggered at night when people are around. Any excess energy returns to the main grid.

Via Philips

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Home of the Future Debuts at Olympics

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During last week's Olympics, the Home of the Future was put on display at the BC Hydro Power Smart Village in downtown Vancouver. Made of 2 shipping containers and covered in cedar and pine beetle wood, the 680 sq. ft. home has solar panels and a plug for the owner's electric car, of course. The home has smart appliances and an energy management system. A green wall acts as insulation, filters pollutants and can grow veggies for dinner.

Via BC Hydro

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March 1, 2010

Cube Tube Adjustable Workstation Lighting

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CubeTube, from Solaroad Technology, uses ambient light, indoor fluorescent and incandescent lighting to create energy for solar workstations. Available in different sizes, if there is not enough light to charge the photovoltaic electrical generator, a back up Lithium Polymer/Ion battery kicks in. If that fails, AC power can be used. Expect the real thing in 2011.

Via Solaroad Technologies

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Solar System Stores Heat on Sunny Days

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It's a good thing to have a solar heating system, even better if it could also store power for overcast days. This house in New Zealand is being built with a prototype system that does that. Solar panels on the roof are stored in a heat core of dirt that is insulated by polystyrene below a concrete pad. On bad weather days, the heat is transferred from the pad to heat the house. The eco-friendly home will also have thicker exterior walls and double glazing.

Via ODT

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