Posts Tagged ‘sustainable’

Beautiful wind powered lighting

April 13th, 2010 1 comment

Sometimes I fantasize about living off the grid (how I’ll ever get by without my laptop really is a fantasy if you ask me)… but the dream is always shattered when I start thinking about practical things, like light. Where will my light come from after dark, because I’m not buying a year supply of candles or kerosene. Leave it up to the fine folks at to come up with the perfect answer.

Bamboo Flow Lights from Igendesign.

The bamboo flow lights are a self-sustaining public lighting solution that is based on the principle of vertical wind power plants. Not only are they beautiful but they can catch the wind from any directions. In addition it is made entirely from bamboo (an abundant, sustainable and renewable resource) and recyclable electronic components (LEDs, wires and dynamo).
Initially designed for the coastal areas in Columbia, where they can’t get connected to the grid, this design is about to be tested in several other places. So keep your eyes open as these could be popping up in a city near you.


12 things x-mas list, part 4

December 15th, 2009 No comments

This is post of unreasonable things that I know I will never get but just want to fantasize about having…

First, the Brammo Enertia Electric Motorcycle

So first things first, it’s 100% electric. All its components can be recycled, including the batteries. It has a range of about 42 miles and can reach up to 65mph. And the batteries can be charged in about 4 hours, with 2,000 recharges possible.
For more on the specifications, check the Brammo website.

An interesting point on this bike is that the production requires less than 10% of the material resources needed for an average car, and it is manufactured in the US so the transportation costs in getting it delivered are minimal.

Also, they just dropped the price from $11,995 to $7,995. And since it is 100% electric you can also qualify for a government rebate so the final cost will be $7,195.
I love it. It looks great and is perfect for my needs. Of the three items in this post, this is the most accessible.
Check out your local Best Buy to test drive one (weird, I know, but whatevs).

Via Inhabitat Green Holiday Gift Guide

Going a little deeper into fantasy land we have the BMW Vision, a diesel plug-in hybrid that gets 63 mpg.


It can go up to 31 miles on electric only, perfect for commuters, and has a total range of 431 miles on 6.6 gallons of diesel.
Unfortunately this is a concept car and only prototypes have been produced. But this is a beautiful car. I mean, it’s gorgeous, actually. I love it. And I bet it’s a dream to drive. Too bad I’ll never get to. Sigh!


And finally, the show stopper. A car so beautiful and so futuristic looking as to inspire me to think of it as a hovercraft with wheels, the e-Wolf e2 all electric car.


Inspired most notably by Lamborghini and Ferrari, this all electric sports car should be going into production in 2011. Yes, that’s right. They are actually making this one!
So, specs?
0-60mph in under 4 seconds.
Top speed of 155 mph.
Possible range of 187 miles per charge (getting very near the Tesla range of 200 miles).

Maybe someday I’ll be able to race this thing along the pyrenees mountains and pretend that I’m a Bond girl, being chased by supervillians that want to destroy the world for their own financial gains and my mission is to stop them by using super gadgets, kung fu, and killer sports cars.
Ok, probably not, but a girl can dream, can’t she?

via Boing Boing gadgets

12 things x-mas list, part 3

December 4th, 2009 No comments

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but I am a bit of a type A personality. I like things to be organized. But sometimes I get lazy about it so whenever I find something that aids in my quest to have an organized life I get super excited.
One of the things I don’t have very organized currently is my recycling station. It currently consists of one bin and one empty plastic kitty litter box (which itself is getting recycled).
I’d much rather have this:


The Mode Premium All-in-one Home Recycling center with mechanical compactor.
I believe there is a model without the can crusher. I almost never have aluminum cans to crush so I don’t need that. But the sleek design and separate compartments for different recyclables would be a smart addition to my apartment, and would look much much better than the makeshift bins I’m currently using (and take up less space).
And I like that you can get recyclable bin liners for it as well (for an extra $6.49).
The only question is if it is really worh the $250 price tag from
It seems kinda pricey for the capacity to be honest. If it was $100 less I probably wouldn’t hesitate.

via Inhabitat Green Gift Guide

12 Things X-mas list, part deux

December 2nd, 2009 No comments

Part 2 of my “12 Things That Would Be Really Cool To Have For Christmas” list relates to items found on the Inhabitat Green Gift Buyers guide.

First, the Macally ECOFAN Bamboo Laptop Stand with Fan from ($36.69).


I’m on my laptop a good portion of every day and yes, it does get hot, even with the Lap Desk I currently use. Not only is the bamboo laptop stand stylish, but it has a built in fan to keep my laptop cool.
Strangely the Pro version, which features three height adjustable levels, is actually cheaper. But I still haven’t found one I can comfortably put on my lap (my preferred modus operandi).

Keeping in the sustainable and stylish spirit of bamboo, next is the VerseAudio iPhone Bamboo Hard Case.


$39.99 from Vers Audio. It’s beautiful, practical, sustainable, and not too expensive. Except that I’d also have to get an iPhone for x-mas (hint hint). Excellent dual gift, imo.

Finally, if I do get said iPhone for x-mas, well then it would only make sense to get the first Apple-licensed iPhone solar charger to go along with it.


The Surge for iPhone, $70 from SolarArcadia. Two hours of direct solar exposure provides 30 minutes of talk time on a 3G network, or 60 minutes of talk time on a 2G network.
It also includes a USB port so you can charge or sync with your computer without taking it out of the case.
My preferred color is green, btw.

New sources of plastic

September 22nd, 2009 No comments

One of the things we (consumers) take for granted is how much plastic we use. We all know plastic is made from oil (at least I hope we all know that). So I was curious to know what people were doing to figure out what to do when there is no more oil, or at least when it’s so scarce that making plastics out of it becomes no longer an option.
In an attempt to be green I’ve been trying to eliminate a lot of plastics. I don’t buy water in plastic bottles. I got a Klean Kanteen and fill it up from a filter. I use glass jugs and a metal ice cube tray. I have reusable grocery bags and don’t put produce in plastic bags. But this all adds up to a very minimal savings in plastic use. Realistically there is no way to get away from plastic in this day and age. recently had a few pieces on new plastic technology that I hope will really take off.

First, plastic made from plant glucose. Scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have discovered a way to convert glucose from plant cellulose into something called HMF (5-hydroxymethylfurfural), a basic building block for fuel and other petroleum-based chemicals. And they’ve done it in a way that doesn’t create unwanted byproducts.

Next, scientists at Genomatica Inc have developed strains of bacteria that are able to produce plastic without the use of oil or natural gas. The process uses little more than sugar and water to produce butanediol (BDO), which can be manufactured into everything from plastics and fibers to pharmaceuticals. And the best part is that they estimate that the energy-efficient process will cost less than the current hydrocarbon process within a YEAR!
plastic bacteria 1

Finally, and this is a little different than the above since the following process is about recycling plastic, not making it (but I wanted to figure out how to get all the plastic articles into one post!)… A company in DC called Environ claims it can turn plastic into an oil-like fuel for just $10/barrel and it can be blended with other components and used as either gasoline or diesel. What’s significant about this is that the company has come up with a process that results in a net GAIN of energy (82% of all material that goes in is transformed into fuel). Previous attempts at turning plastic into fuel have resulted in a net loss of energy.

Flow Kitchen shoots for no waste

September 15th, 2009 No comments

Flow Kitchen1
The flow kitchen is a concept designed to be a sustainable system where drying dishes helps water plants and composting food waste helps to fertilize them. It was designed by Oregon-based Studio Gorm, which has quite a few other interesting items I recommend checking out.

Drying dishes hanging from a vertical storage rack drip onto herbs and edible plants, which are grown in carefully positioned containers below. A double-walled terracotta container acts as a refrigerator, keeping the inside cool as water evaporates through the outer wall, while food scraps are broken down by worms in a composter and the resulting fertilizer is used in the herb boxes to grow more food.

This particular design may not be suitable for most indoor home kitchens, but it’s a good start. And it’s perfect for an outdoor kitchen, much like the one at Punta Mona, a sustainable living retreat I stayed at in Costa Rica several years ago.

Not too many people have outdoor kitchens though, so I can only hope that the Flow Kitchen is used as inspiration to create similar, more practical sustainable indoor flow kitchens that could realistically be built into just about any home.
I already know someone here in Austin who is using their kitchen runoff to water their outdoor garden. All you need to do is use biodegradable soaps and pipe the water where you want it to go (i.e. to the garden), and viola, no more wasting water and you have healthy green plants.