Clean Energy Technology has Arrived – Funding Stalled

from Green Options by Elizoebeth Jensen

The House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming recently heard from a panel of leading edge scientists and industry executives on the state of existing U.S. clean technology and the lack of funding for developing and scaling the technology into commercially viable products and services.

The primary technologies discussed were solar and carbon capture technologies. Dr. Brent Constantz, CEO ofCalera Corporation, which focuses on a transformational technology that converts CO2 into green building materials such as cement and aggregate, argues that this process is better than traditional CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage or Sequestration), as it represents a permanent CO2 conversion from gas to solid material.

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IDSA Announces Winners of 2009 International Design Excellence Awards

from Bustler.net News by Vanilla Hustler

The winners of the 2009 International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) competition—a celebration of year’s most innovative and exciting product and product concept designs and one of the world’s most prestigious and recognizable design competitions—exhibit a focus on sustainability, functionality and, in some cases, breathtaking aesthetics. Additionally, a recent trend toward designing products and concepts for underserved or underprivileged markets continued to be in evidence when BusinessWeek, the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA)Target and Autodesk announced the winners yesterday.

Out of 1631 entries, 31 were awarded the coveted Gold award, while 47 received Silver awards and 72 won Bronze awards, while 349 finalists were named in addition to the winners. This year’s jury, an international cross-section of design leaders led by Andrew Hartman, Philips Design’s design director, new business, bestowed this year’s “Best in Show” award to Nike’s Trash Talk, a performance basketball shoe made from manufacturing waste. This shoe, championed by NBA star Steve Nash, incorporates as many leftover materials—leather and synthetic leather, foam and rubber—as possible without sacrificing any of the performance that comes with shoes made from virgin materials.

Demonstrating the continued value of the IDEA program internationally, 66 designs from 15 countries outside the US were given an IDEA Award: Australia, Brazil, Canada, People’s Republic of China, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Italy, The Netherlands, Singapore, South Korea, Sweden, Taiwan and the United Kingdom. 2009 also marked the second year of IDEA/Brasil, organized by Objeto Brasil and endorsed by IDSA, to spur interest in design from Brazilian corporations as well as to heighten global awareness of Brazil’s rich design heritage. Six winners were honored with IDEA Awards this year, a testament to the exceptional design being created in Brazil as well as the remarkable success of the IDEA/Brasil program for another year.

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Gold Award: NAVE building; Category: Environments; Client: Oi Futuro (Brazil); Design: Jair de Souza, Rita Sepulveda, Ana Carolina Montenegro, Vinte Zero Um (Brazil)

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Gold Award: Nymphenburg Store; Category: Environments; Design: Alf Hackenberg, Martin Langkau, SIGNCE Design (Germany); Joerg Richtsfeld, Nymphenburg (Germany); Axel Hofstadt, Hofstadt Architekten (Germany)

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Gold Award: Havaianas Flagship Store; Category: Environments; Client: Alpargatas (Brazil); Design: Isay Weinfeld, Domingos Pascali, Elena Scarabotolo, Marcelo Alvarenga, Luciana Siqueira, ISAY Weinfeld (Brazil)

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Gold Award: iCASTS; Category: Interactive Product Experiences; Client: University of New South Wales (Australia); Mines Rescue (Australia); Design: UNSW iCinema Design Strategy & Research Centre (Australia); Mines Rescue (Australia)

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Gold Award: Project Masiluleke Home HIV Test Kit; Category: Packaging & Graphics; Client: Pop!Tech (U.S.); iTeach (South Africa); Design: frog design (U.S.)

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Gold Award: SEED transport system; Category: Student Designs; Design: Matthew Vergin, Ryan Callahan, College for Creative Studies (U.S.)

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Gold Award: ICON A5 Amphibious Sport Aircraft; Category: Transportation; Design: Steen Strand, Diego Miralles, Kirk Hawkins, Matthew Gionta, Jon Karkow, ICON Aircraft (U.S.); Randy Rodriguez, Steve Moneypenny, Jim McJunkin, Brenda Parkin, Bruce Campbell, Nissan Design America (U.S.); Troy Lee, Troy Lee Designs (U.S.); Bill Moggridge, David Kelley (U.S.); Stewart Reed, Art Center College of Design (U.S.)

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Gold Award: Better Place Charge Spot; Category: Commercial & Industrial; Client: Better Place; Design: Gadi Amit, Mike Massucco, Chad Harber, Justin Porcano, and Barbara Stettler of NewDealDesign (U.S.); Nekuda DM (Israel)

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Gold Award: Apple LED Cinema Display; Category: Computer Equipment; Design: Industrial Design Team, Apple (U.S.)

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Gold Award: Human-Centered Design Toolkit; Category: Design Strategy; Client: International Development Enterprises (U.S.); Heifer International (U.S.); International Center for Research on Women; and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (U.S.); Design: Tatyana Mamut, Jessica Hastings, Fidel Calderon, Scott Tong, and Sandy Speicher, IDEO (U.S.)

The commitment to sustainability was the hallmark in products such as the Better Place Charge Spot, Dell Studio Hybrid, Energy Seed and Coca-Cola Refresh Recycling Bin. A sense of social responsibility drove the creation of winners such as the Kitten Scanner, the Project Masiluleke Home HIV Test Kit and The Next Generation Perkins/APH Mechanical Braille Writer®. And the striking aesthetics of Apple’s MacBook and 15-inch MacBook Pro, Samsung’s BD-P4600 Blu-Ray Disc Player and LED 7000 Series (the world’s slimmest LED TV) and the ICON A5 Amphibious Sport Aircraft were also among those products recognized by this year’s jury. The continually-increasing number of student entries and student winners from across the globe demonstrates the future of the design profession is in good hands.

Samsung of South Korea was the top winner from the corporate world, claiming eight awards, while Apple claimed seven, Dell Experience Design Group claimed six and GE Healthcare claimed five. The jurors were captivated by the WEDZE Virtuous, a ski jacket with a removable, inflatable vest that allows you to decide how warm you want to be; impressed by Teneo® Storage Furniture, a storage system whose 20 parts can be used to create 80 different products, and wowed by the BTS! Dual-Cooking Oven, which offers the versatility of a double oven in one oven, prompting juror Claudia Kotchka, Affiliate IDSA, to remark “this is an entry which falls in the ‘why didn’t I think of that?’ category.”

Among design firms, IDEO captured eight awards this year, while NewDeal Design received four awards, and ASTRO Studios, frog design and fuseproject each received three awards. Korea’s Samsung Art and Design Institute/Samsung Design Membership Program topped the list of college wins with a total of eight awards, while Art Center College of Design received five.

The 2009 jury, comprised of 20 world-renowned designers and design thinkers, spent weeks previewing entries online and two-and-a-half days of intense, face-to-face evaluation and debate on IDEA. Judging criteria for each entry focused on eight areas of industrial design excellence: design innovation; benefit to the user; benefit to the client/business; benefit to society; ecological responsibility; appropriate aesthetics and appeal; usability testing; rigor and reliability (Design Research category); and internal factors and methods, implementation (Design Strategy category).

A “People’s Choice” award will also be presented when the winners are honored in a formal ceremony at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel in Miami on Saturday, September 26, the final day of the anticipated 2009 IDSA International Conference, followed by a gala celebration. Winners will be displayed in the Conference Design Gallery. All 150 winners with descriptions, photos and contacts are now featured on BusinessWeek and IDSA’s web sites.

Eco-Docks Designed to Float in NYC’s Nasty Rivers

from Green Options by Bryan Nelson

Eco-docks

A professor and student team have designed a network of modular floating docks to harness clean energy for New York City.

The eco-docks would generate the energy by harnessing tidal power from the city’s rivers; they should also help to add much needed green space above the dirty waters.

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nissan: new forest AC aromatherapy

nissan‘s new ‘forest air conditioning’ system controls cabin temperature and ventilation as well as aroma and humidity to help benefit the driver’s mental state while driving.

nissan worked with the tokyo university of science, to better understand the effects that aromas have on human mental activity. their findings resulted in the new ‘forest AC’ system which will be implemented into the new fuga model.

the ‘forest AC’, intermittently and alternately sprays two aromas, borneol (kapur wood, lavender and essential oil) and leaf alcohol, which is meant to ‘alleviate boredom and stimulate the driver’s brain.’the relaxed state allows the person to calm down from external conditions or the consequences of what he or she has done and achieves mental acuity, resulting in good work’ says professor kikunori shinohara of the tokyo university of science.

another feature of the ‘forest AC’ is ‘breezy air’, which fluctuates natural breezes by changing the volume of air flowing through the upper and front vent outlets. it can detect sunlight and outside temperatures and control the ventilation patterns accordingly. the AC system also incorporates humidity control and high performance filter for pollen, odors and allergens. the air inside the cabin is ionized by the deployment of plasmacluster ions, achieving 10 times higher ion densities than in current systems.

via autoevolution


nissan fuga

‘think outside the parking box’ international design competition
designboom and nissan motor company are looking for YOUR artwork that illustrate your perception within the theme ‘think outside the parking box’. challenge conventional urban parking! playful enhanced parking technology, robotic facilities, safety, dynamic services, green parking … creative solutions that address urban parking problems, statements of objections, creative-innovative-and-hilarious ideas in form of videos, art- design objects and illustrations can be submitted. register for free here

Small Wind Sucks, Test Finds

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer

Interestingly, while big wind can generate far cheaper power than big solar, small wind turns out to do quite the opposite.

A comparative turbine test performed over the last 12 months in Zeeland, Holland revealed that small wind turbines generate very little power for the money. The smaller the rotor, the less power. So I did some comparisons between small wind and solar. I found something surprising.

Small wind could cost 10 times the cost of residential solar to make the same power.

The energy yield was measured in an average wind speed of 8.5 mph over the year.
Here are the results, translated for the U.S. reader, with the comparative solar costs:

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The Austonian: Dog friendly high-rise touted to become tallest residential building in North America

 The Austonian: Dog friendly high-rise touted to become tallest residential building in North America July 28, Austin

Luxury loving dog owners seeking a new abode that offers pet friendly amenities definitely need to visit the Austonian in Austin, Tex. The Austonian is a 56-story condominium development that is being developed by Grupor Villar Mir. A completely pet friendly luxury high-rise, it offers its dog loving prospective buyers an outdoor pet park, a pet grooming area and a staff of personal assistants available around the clock…more.

Milan Announces the World’s Largest Solar Rooftop Array

Milan Announces the World’s Largest Solar Rooftop Array July 27, Milan

Italy’s Milano Fiera trade fair facility announced that it will be getting a major eco update in the form of the world’s largest solar rooftop solar array! The massive photovoltaic system will cover 2.9 million sq ft of the roof, and carry a peak capacity of 18 megawatts. Due for completion in 2010, the project stands to snag the world title from Zaragoza, Spain’s General Motor’s factory, which currently holds the record for largest rooftop solar plant at 12 megawatts…more.

Coke Extends Commitment to Reduce Carbon Footprint

from Green Options by Ruedigar Matthes

In 2002 the Coca-Cola Company used 3.12 liters of water to produce every liter of poduct. The company, which has captured the taste buds of drinkers worldwide used .57 megajoules of energy and averaged 12.54 grams of waste per liter of product. It’s no wonder that the Coke Kingdom has been less than popular among environmental groups.

With concern for the environment rising among pop culture, however, Coke’s pop has begun to lose its fizz with more than just special interest groups.

Since 2002 the Coke Kingdom has made some changes in order to become more sustainable. In India, the company has worked to offset their water usage by establishing local rainwater harvesting facilities. Over the last two years, Coke has installed 320 rainwater harvesting structures across 17 states in India.

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landor rebrand melbourne

the australian city of melbourne was recently rebranded by landor. the new ‘M’ logo replaces the leaf logo which had been in use for the past fifteen years. the city’s mayor robert doyle says ‘the new design will become an icon for melbourne, synonymous with the modern, vibrant, cool city melbourne is today and will continue to be in the future.’

the new design hopes to achieve better identification of services the city of melbourne is delivering, greater brand impact and flexibility, more cost and time-effective in-house design and brand management.

Popout

‘it was deemed necessary to rebrand when an extensive audit and review revealed the ‘leaf’ logo to be outdated. after 15 years this was understandable. the creation of one strong masterbrand is an opportunity to build a new identity that resonates with our staff, our community, our customers and for the city of melbourne as an local, national and international destination. looking at other cities such as london or new york you see the strength of their single brand.’

the ‘leaf’ was found to be weak when stacked up against other national and international city brands and there was also little understanding of what the ‘leaf’ represented. In addition, the proliferation of additional logos resulted in a lack of shared understanding of the city of Melbourne exposing a fragmentation of our identity.

the cost for the new design was 147,906 AUD in addition to developmental work which cost 91,652 AUD.

full details of the rebrand can be found here.

rafael vinoly architects: curve


image by peter cook

the curve theatre in leicester is the first building in the UK by rafael vinoly architects. the new building
turns the typical theatre configuration inside out, putting the backstage operations on show. through the
clear glass faced, the public is free to look at the theatre building up productions, involving them in the
process. the glass facade is also covered with a louvered curtain wall that covers the building’s four stories.
the two auditorium spaces are also visible from the outside, conceived as islands within the public foyer
around them. the offices and other facilities are all located in an l-shaped wing at the back, containing all
the spaces in a more private setting. the theatre also has a cafe on the ground level that is open outside
performance hours

http://www.rvapc.com

NASA Releases First Image of Mysterious ‘Night Clouds’

from Green Options by Andrew Williams

NASA has released the first ever images of mysterious polar night clouds that form 50 miles above Earth’s surface, and says that they might be linked to global warming.

The startling images were captured by NASA’s “AIM” satellite (Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere), and show night clouds above 70 degrees north latitude on May 25. Since then, eyewitnesses on the ground have reported seeing the formations on June 6 over Northern Europe (see image after the jump).

When viewed from space, the mysterious clouds are known scientifically as Polar Mesospheric Clouds, or PMCs, when seen from the ground they are called Noctilucent or “night-shining” Clouds.

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Garbage Trucks to Troll the High Seas

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer

Shared by 

Here’s a real shifting baseline. Fishing catches may be decreasing, but inadvertent ocean litter pickups of mostly plastic debris are increasing. Fishermen don’t actually go out looking for plastic debris to pick up. These ocean garbage pick-ups are accidental. For now.

But soon, fishermen may be paid to bring garbage back to port.

Already, ocean garbage levels are damaging fishing catches. Dealing with garbage is now costing fishermen an ever increasing amount of time.

Everyone has read different estimates of the size of the giant plastic trash dump now swirling in the Pacific. The Air France crash added evidence of just how big of a problem ocean litter is becoming when oceantrash was mistaken for crash debris.

Currently several organizations are starting to pick up ocean litter:

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Save Amazon With Nuke Waste, Says Environmentalist

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer


In desperate times, people look at desperate measures.

James Lovelock – - who is one of the leading environmentalists on the planet has made a startling proposal: that the best way to save the Amazon from being destroyed is to turn it into a repository for nuclear waste.

He argues in “The Revenge of Gaia” that animals and plants don’t perceive radioactivity as a danger. What is far more threatening to ecosystems are people — who create extensive farming or mining and construction sites.  So to keep humans out of valuable ecosystems, we could dump our nuclear waste there.

That will keep people out.

Oddly, both plants and animals have increased around the areas of Belarus that were heavily radiated after the accident at Chernobyl, although radiation reduces their lifespan.

The lack of human intervention may make nuclear wildlife refuges more beneficial overall:

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Whole Foods Removes GMOs from Grocery List

from Green Options by Zachary Shahan


Whole Foods Market made a big step in food retail this month. The corporate giant that dominates the healthfood market is leading their customers away from GMOs. The company joined the Non-GMO Project’s Product Verification Program this month. The Non-GMO Project is a consortium of people, businesses, and organizations who are committed to cutting GMO’s out of our food stream. This non-profit organization has now established the first scientifically-based, third-party system in North America for identifying if a product is GMO-free — the Product Verification Program.

The fairly new Product Verification Program is what Whole Foods has been searching since GMOs came to the US, the company says.

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New Electricity 42% Wind Says DOE

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer

Last year almost half the new electricity capacity added to the grid (42%) was wind power, according to Secretary Chu of the U.S. Department of Energy.

Texas led all states with 7,118 MW of total wind capacity installed, followed by Iowa (2791 MW) and California (2517 MW). Seven states now have more than 1,000 MW installed, and 13 have more than 500 MW.

$16 Billion invested in wind projects in 2008 made the United States the world leader in added capacity last year, says  This the fourth consecutive year that the United States has been the world’s fastest-growing wind power market.

Wind power added 8,558 megawatts of new electricity to the grid – - and 8,400 new jobs to the economy.

The American Wind Energy Association estimates that now about half of the components needed for wind turbines are made in the United States.

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Experts surprised by audacity of proposed Hanoi master plan

Experts surprised by audacity of proposed Hanoi master plan July 21, Hanoi City

Hanoi authorities reviewed an ambitious plan for Hanoi’s development to 2030, with a ‘vision’ to 2050. The plan calls for the city’s evolution as ‘the first sustainable capital city.’ It is the work of PPJ, a consortium made up of the US design and architecture firm Perkins Eastman and Posco Engineering & Construction and Jina from South Korea. The Vietnam Institute for Architecture, Urban and Rural Planning (VIAP) also contributed. However, the draft plan is drawing fire from Vietnamese experts…more.

China Invests $30 Billion in Renewable Energy; Economy Rebounds

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer

China’s economy makes stunning rebound:

China’s economy grew nearly 8% in the second quarter of 2009, the government said, in a stunning turnaround for the Asian powerhouse that offered some hope for the rest of the world.

Analysts said the rebound in China would offer a boost of confidence for the global economy as it struggles out of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. To fight the downturn, the government had begun implementing an internal infrastructure stimulus package from November last year.

China’s exports dropped 21%.
Yet its overall industrial output actually expanded 9%!

Wait. How can that happen?

Because China is investing in its own renewable energy infrastructure:

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What we can Learn from China’s Heavy Investment in Solar Energy

from Green Options by Jeff Wolfe

Solar Energy in China

As I write this I am preparing to board a very long flight to China, where I’ll be talking to a few Chinese PV module manufacturers, as well as our existing inverter supplier, Motech, in Taiwan. This will be a chance to meet and greet potential future suppliers on their own ground, and review factories as we consider sourcing more materials from China, but there are many things I already know before embarking.

New York Times Columnist, Tom Friedman is right. China is investing heavily and preparing to leave the rest of the renewable energy world in the dust. In the past two weeks Suntech, currently the largest solar module manufacturer in the world, signed 2 GW (2000 MW) of projects in China. Those 2 GW represent merely the contracts of a single company. Last year – and likely this year – the total U.S. market is 350 MW (0.35 GW). Granted, not all the Chinese projects happen this year, but plans are on paper – there is a schedule.

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Timber is tops for environmentally friendly buildings – Teatro Naturale

Timber is tops for environmentally friendly buildings
Teatro Naturale
The study considered the full life cycle of the buildings including the initial embodied energyof the materials used, maintenance, transport, 

England’s homogenised woods are bad for biodiversity

The woodlands of lowland England are becoming less diverse, even though most woods contain just as many species as before.

4 New Eco-Design Rules for the EU — Saving as Much Power as Austria and Sweden Use Annually

from Green Options by Zachary Shahan

The EU is cutting electricity use equivalent to Sweden and Austria’s annual usage. In total, after previous ecodesign regulations, the savings will be greater than Italy’s total consumption by 2020.

The European Union (EU) agreed to cut carbon emissions by 20% by 2020 earlier this year. They stated: “The challenge is to spark a new industrial revolution that will deliver a low-energy economy, whilst making the energy we consume more secure.” In another move to spark this new industrial revolution, the European Commission added 4 new eco-design standards this week to the 5 they had previously set.

The four new eco-design measures will save as much electricity as Sweden and Austria use annually. Combined with the previous five measures, the electricity savings will be more than the total annual usage of Italy!

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