Monday, 30 November 2009

You Find Freedom Inside

Image: YPI
© The Prem Rawat Foundation

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Solar Powered Treehouse Classrooms

The Elleray Preparatory School in the Lake District National Park in the UK unveiled an incredible set of tree-top classrooms. The three green-built class pods stand on stilts connected by a central platform made from recycled plastic milk bottles and wood shavings. It has been built to have a low impact on the environment while accommodating the school’s expanding student body.

The three pods were designed and built by Robert Gaukroger of Kita Design Company. Each unit is constructed from a ribbed timber frame set upon Douglas fir stilts and then clad in English chestnut shingles. In the summer the deck will be used as an outdoor classroom.

As with many of Gaukroger’s projects, the Treehouse School is focused on “up-cycled, re-cycled and low-impact Architecture and design”. The pods feature a high efficiency heating and cooling system that utilizes a ground-source heat pump. Rainwater is collected to cut down on potable water use, and solar panels are mounted along the centre of each roof to provide lighting for each building.

Rob Gaukroger says, “It wasn’t a state funded project and the budget has been tight from day one, I didn’t charge a design fee for the three years it took to take this project from an idea, through the planning process to the built solution today. I have constructed a lot of the building myself with a small team of joiners on site. The bursar at the school has kept a tight hold on the purse strings and he has got good value for money.”

Via: Dezeen
Photos by Sean Conboy

Monday, 23 November 2009

Ecovative Design Wins Opportunity Green 2009 Competition

Earlier this month, the Opportunity Green Business Conference 2009 was held in Los Angeles. At the conference the 25 finalists in the Opportunity Green Competition (OG25) were showcased and the winner, Ecovative Design, was announced.

The OG25 open business competition recognizes the most promising start-ups committed to building a new green economy and highlights initiatives in clean technology, product design, mobility, social innovation, water and resource conservation, food systems, community development and more.

Below, you can see a video about the Ecovative Design product EcoCradle™ . From creation to composting, EcoCradle™ packaging fit into nature's recycling program. The materials that go into EcoCradle™ are all naturally occurring waste products, like buckwheat hulls, rice hulls, or cotton burrs. Because materials are grown without lots of heat, pressure or petroleum, the process is extremely energy efficient. And once youre done with an EcoCradle™ packaging buffer, it can be used as mulch in your garden, composted or even thrown away.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

World Toilet Day

World Toilet Day may sound like a joke, but for the 2.5 billion people in the world who don't have access to toilets and sanitation, it certainly isn't. November 19, 2009 is World Toilet Day.

I would just like to post some facts here for you to think about.

2.5 billion people worldwide don't have access to proper sanitation, risking their health, stripping their dignity, and killing 1.8 children a year.

Diarrheal diseases kill five times as many children in the developing world as HIV/AIDS.

That's 5,000 children DYING EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Disease kills more children than either malaria or AIDS, stunts growth, and forces millions - adults and children alike - to spend weeks at a time off work or school, which hits both a country's economy and its citizens' chances of a better future.

The majority of the illness in the world is caused by fecal matter.

Lack of sanitation is the world's biggest cause of infection.

One gram of feces can contain 10 million viruses, one million bacteria, 1,000 parasite cysts and 100 parasite eggs.

Safe disposal of children's feces leads to a reduction of nearly 40% in childhood diarrhea.

If you would like to find out more or get involved, you can visit the World Toilet Day site or the WaterAid site. Take a look at this short video as well - and share it!

Monday, 16 November 2009

Cow Dung To Heat 1,100 Homes In Netherlands

A cow dung-powered plant opened last Friday in the Netherlands, which hopes to provide 1,100 homes with the heat generated via anaerobic digestion of cow dung.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Solar Parking For Electric Cars

This design offers a dual solution to parking and charging of electric vehicles. It proposes wireless transmission of charge from the solar canopy to the charging coil embedded in the asphalt and later, to the car battery. After sensing an electric car parked, the parking system automatically starts the wireless charging process. Once the car’s battery is full, the sensors embedded in the asphalt stop the charging process.

Romanian designer Nejur Andrei said this about his design is "A parking place designed to promote electrical cars by offering free electricity produced by the sun. Owners of electric cars dont have to worry about fuel anymore when parked here."

Via: Designboom

Thursday, 12 November 2009

The Journey Of A Biscuit To The Philippines

The World Food Programme (WFP) has distributed over 230 tons of High Energy Biscuits in the Philippines as part of its response to the recent typhoons. The video below shows how the biscuits travelled the 9,374 kilometres from the factory to the beneficiaries, and in particular, one little boy called Antonio (photo above).

These biscuits (HEBs) are ideal for the sort of relief operations that follow natural disasters because they’re easy to transport and they don’t require cooking. In addition, they are full of minerals, vitamins and energy so they can keep people going for several days if there's no other food available.

In the Philippines the biscuits have also been useful as a way of making sure mothers and children don't lose out on important nutrients as they deal with the floods and devastation left behind by a series of typhoons.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

LightSail: New Project By Planetary Society

LightSail-1 Artists rendition of LightSail-1 by Rick Sternbach. Credit: Planetary Society

The Planetary Society, with its new project called LightSail, announced its plan to propel a spacecraft on sunlight alone by the end of 2010. Under this new programme, three separate spacecrafts will be launched over a period of several years.

LightSail-1 Prior to Sail Deployment Credit: Planetary Society

The project was unveiled on the 75th anniversary of astronomer Carl Sagan ’s birth and will start with LightSail-1, which will demonstrate that sunlight alone can propel a spacecraft into Earth orbit. It will use three Cubesat spacecraft, out of which one will form the central electronics and control module, while the other two will house the solar sail module. Cameras, additional sensors, and a control system will be added to the basic Cubesat electronics bus.

The solar sails are propelled by reflected light pressure and not solar wind. The LightSail-1 will launch with its four triangular Mylar sails packaged in a volume equal to about three quarts and unfurl to an area of more than 340 square feet, resembling a giant diamond-shaped kite. It will orbit at an altitude of nearly 500 miles and operate for just a few days to determine if it can be controlled, and to measure the orbital acceleration.

The LightSail-2 spacecraft is planned for higher altitude orbits, while the LightSail-3 is intended to be sent to the Sun-Earth Libration Point, L1, where solar sails could be permanently placed as solar weather stations, monitoring the geomagnetic storms from the sun that potentially endanger electrical grids and satellite systems around Earth.

Via: UniverseToday

Saturday, 7 November 2009

TPRF: Food for People raises most funds in Causes Giving Challenge on Facebook

Following my previous post about TPRF:Food For People participating in Cause's Giving Challenge on Facebook, I wanted to follow up to say that the Challenge ended yesterday and TPRF:Food For People raised the most money - $222,950! However, since the challenge was based on numbers of donations and not amount, they didn't win the first prize of $50,000, but won $25,000 which will be added to the amount of donations!

TPRF have said that, thanks to the tremendous effort and generosity of donors, they can now start planning the third Food For People facility. To see more about the Food For People programme go here.

To see the unofficial results of the Causes Challenge, take a look here.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Wind Turbine That Flaps Like A Bee

Inspired by the wing movements of bees, Green Wavelength have designed the XBee Wind Turbine, the prototype of which they recently showcased. Green Wavelength have said that they are “committed to finding ways of applying nature’s solutions to our man-made energy problems,” and the small, 19-foot wind turbine was designed with inspiration from the movement of bumblebees, hummingbirds, and dragonflies.

The wings are made of aluminium and carbon fiber and rotate to and fro (like bees, hummingbirds and dragonflies) to produce wind power suitable for homes and small businesses.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Portable Light Blanket Helping Africans With Info On HIV And TB

The iTEACH program and Project Masiluleke in South Africa are piloting a project with the Portable Light iTeach Blanket to tap the mobile device as a high-impact, low-cost way to broadcast healthcare information encouraging positive actions such as HIV testing, and connect patients to their care providers.

The project will bring together health care information dissemination via text-messages, clean solar energy with a renewable home lighting and cell phone charging system and a comprehensive home-based MDR TB treatment training program in KwaZulu-Natal.

Local women integrate flexible solar kits into a locally produced African cloth fastened to an emergency blanket, making a detachable solar textile lantern. By day, the patient uses the blanket to stay warm while exposed to the outdoors. Sunlight charges the unit in three hours, creating 6 watt-hours of energy stored in a rechargeable battery. At night, Portable Light powers a cell phone and provides ten hours of bright white light to facilitate the night time home care treatment established by the iTEACH Program.

The next day, the Portable Light blanket is recharged by the patient, who helps to power his or her own treatment, while providing renewable energy and light for family members.

Monday, 2 November 2009

TPRF: Food For People On America's Giving Challenge

Many of you - especially those of you on Facebook - may already be aware of America's Giving Challenge. It is a 30-day national competition that encourages people to help win cash awards that will total $245,500 on behalf of their favourite nonprofit.

Participating causes in the Challenge are competing for daily and overall cash awards based on the number of donations generated for a cause, not dollars raised. Awards will be given to the nonprofit beneficiaries of the causes that garner the highest number of unique daily donations (the same person can donate every day and it's considered a unique donation each time) between 3:00 p.m. EDT October 7, 2009, and 2:59pm EST on November 6, 2009.

I have been supporting the cause TPRF: Food For People - "Helping to break the cycle of poverty through nutritious food and clean water... Because everyone deserves a life of dignity and hope." You can see a short video about their work here.

The cause with largest overall number of donations (not necessarily dollars raised) by November 6th will receive the $50.000 in addition to the donations given. TPRF: Food For People is currently lying 3rd and we are trying for a final push to get more unique donations ($10 minimum) and reach overall 1st place to get the $50.000 for the cause. There are also 3 awards of $1500 for those that get the most donations on particular days - TPRF: Food For People won that yesterday!

To find out more and help this cause, you can visit the page on Facebook here TPRF: Food For People Watch Matt Damon talk about America's Giving Challenge on this short video.

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