The idea that technology will fix complex and systemic problems like climate change, poverty, the housing crisis or health care is simplistic to say the least. We need a radical shift in how we live, and designing for environmental and social sustainability cannot simply be about applying new technologies to our existing models of living.
Perhaps it’s my inborn bias towards news about technology companies (in my former journalism life, I covered the high-tech industry), but my mind keeps wandering this week back to the revelation in early November that software company VMware not only plans to build a microgrid at its Palo Alto, California, headquarters, it also is teaming up
An exclusive interview with Professor Xiongwei Liu, from Entrust Microgrid of the Lancaster Environment Centre in the UK, explores smart micro-grids based on hybrid DC/AC networks, for environments with renewables. What in your view are the challenges to the energy sector in Nigeria and the region? The challenges facing the energy sector in Nigeria and broad
Achuar indigenous communities in Ecuador are turning to the sun to generate electricity for their homes and transport themselves in canoes with solar panels along the rivers of their territory in the Amazon rainforest, just one illustration of how indigenous people are seeking clean energies as a partner for sustainable development. “We want to generate
Palm oil is the most widely consumed, yet one of the most contentious, vegetable oils on the planet. This high-yielding and versatile food commodity pervades half the items on our supermarket shelves, but not without a cost: deforestation and degradation of critical ecosystems, climate change and abuses of labor and human rights. As demand continues
More and more breweries are investing in practices to save energy and reduce greenhouse gases. Will it pay off? A study by Indiana University researchers suggests it may. Drawing on survey research, they find that a majority of U.S. beer drinkers would be willing to pay more for beer produced with sustainable practices. On average,
Young people – a growing population segment in developing countries – are intrepid innovators and entrepreneurs who can help solve pressing climate and development challenges today. Believing in the potential of the youth, the Seoul-based Global Green Growth Initiative (GGGI), in partnership with Student Energy and Youth Climate Lab, has developed a new platform for
From airplane wings to overhead powerlines to the giant blades of wind turbines, a buildup of ice can cause problems ranging from impaired performance all the way to catastrophic failure. But preventing that buildup usually requires energy-intensive heating systems or chemical sprays that are environmentally harmful. Now, MIT researchers have developed a completely passive, solar-powered
The idea of using energy from the sun to evaporate and purify water is ancient. The Greek philosopher Aristotle reportedly described such a process more than 2,000 years ago. Now, researchers are bringing this technology into the modern age, using it to sanitize water at what they report to be record-breaking rates. By draping black,
The batteries of the future may be made out of paper. Researchers at Binghamton University, State University at New York have created a biodegradable, paper-based battery that is more efficient than previously possible. For years, there has been excitement in the scientific community about the possibility of paper-based batteries as an eco-friendly alternative. However, the
Seed oil components of an ornamental flower could provide a direct pathway for designing a new class of environmentally friendly lubricants. Researchers at the School of Science at IUPUI identified the compound in the seed oil that is produced in a manner unlike any other fatty acid. The study was published today online in the
Leaders of 19 cities around the world have all committed to eliminate carbon emissions from buildings as part of the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Declaration. The agreement, which was signed by various governors and mayors, states that new building portfolios will have zero carbon emissions by 2030, with this applying to all buildings by 2050.
Looking to boost badly needed decentralized energy in Sub-Saharan Africa, a business-to-business microgrid company in Boulder, Colo. says it has jump-started a pipeline of more than 550 mini-grid projects via its web-based project management software. Odyssey Energy Solutions is streamlining development of mini-grids (the term used in Africa for microgrids) via software tools that link
Imagine what life would be like without access to modern-day energy sources, like electricity. This is energy poverty. For millions of poor people across the globe, their livelihoods, well-being and health are affected by the harmful energy options they are left with. Here are five facts you should know about energy poverty. Living without electricity
We debate an age-old chicken-and-egg question when we get together with other sustainability leaders: Are sustainable businesses more successful? Or are successful businesses more sustainable? And, honestly, does it really matter which came first? Sustainability and good business go hand in hand, whether sustainability drives business results or is the result of good business practices.
Twenty years ago, a company could say it was sustainable and consumers would get excited with little questioning. But in an era of greenwashing lawsuits, consumers are demanding transparency when a business claims it's socially or environmentally responsible. To meet these demands, many organizations have turned to third-party sustainability certifications. Given the recent emergence of
Tesla is more than just a car company. According to Miriam Tuerk at Forbes, “The electric-car company is working to decentralize power distribution and offer an alternative to today’s utility… Tesla is demonstrating that if the challenge goes unmet by traditional power utility companies, they’ll have their lunch stolen.” Tesla first took on the auto industry, “reinventing
U.N. Environment and Yale University have teamed up together in collaboration with UN Habitat to debut an eco-friendly tiny home aimed to spark public discussion and fresh ideas on ways architects and city planners can provide forward-thinking design for affordable housing, while limiting the overuse of natural resources. With a kitchen, bathroom, dining area, and
The Sustainable Green Printing Partnership (SGP), the leading authority in sustainable printing certifications for print manufacturers, announced the release of the SGP Impact Tracker. In an effort to streamline the certification process for sustainable printing facilities, SGP has partnered with Sustainability Dashboard Tools, LLC to create this new tool. The Impact Tracker gives printers a
Apple today announced a new first-of-its-kind investment fund in China to connect suppliers with renewable energy sources. As part of Apple’s commitment to address climate change and increase the use of renewable energy within its supply chain, 10 initial suppliers and Apple will jointly invest nearly $300 million over the next four years into the