I’ve watched solar still design for several years now and have written posts on them as well in the past. Often, low tech designs go overlooked until someone realized the subtle power behind the idea: Looking Backward to Move Forward: Solar Stills Could be the Low-Cost Leader in Water Desalination : TreeHugger.
I’ve always been interested in solutions that will help homes have lower to off-grid demand. I’ve worked with many data center battery power systems where I’d wondered when this technology would be applied to houses. Tesla has been looking into alternative uses for the technology that it has developed during its car research. This is an excellent example: Teslas Electric Car Battery Tech Could End Up Powering Your Home : TreeHugger.
Geothermal has significant value potential. It also has potential risk (whether to geologic stability, water supplies…) as indicated by seismic activity occurring in areas where geothermal drilling has taken place. The idea of taping sources such as warm bio mass storage areas (sewer systems) can be extended to any location that may have decaying biomass (landfill composting locations, sewer pipes, reclaiming steam pipe radiant heat or other). There may be a great deal of options through creative innovation. Geothermal System Taps Sewage Instead of Bedrock : TreeHugger.
Electric motorcycles seemed more likely to be realized sooner for mainstream road use than the electric car simply because of vehicle weight. With this impressive release they are clearly close to being a fully capable road bike. I am interested in what their ideas around fast recharging are. Brammo to Unveil the 2012 Empulse Next Generation Electric Motorcycle Next Month : TreeHugger.
What technologies are available now that can make a home more sustainable (lower impact and more economical)? Can these solutions not only fit in with design but even enhance it? There are new solutions emerging every day that we can intergrate.
Lighting: Very efficient and emerging LED. Development cycle follows Moore’s law so prices will drop in the near future.
- LED lamps: Read More, and note the first comment as it gives very useful specs for first time LED bulb buyers (hat tip Lance Cole).
- Low cost (under $5), no frills LED bulbs for those interested in trying. Read more.
- Philips announces availability of 10 Watt L Prize LED bulb to replace 60 Watt incandescent bulbs (a 50 Watt savings). Keep the Watt savings and lifespan of the bulb in mind when comparing bulbs. This is good for household lighting. Read more.
- I put together a page on water systems and harvesting for world water day. Some communities have laws defining regulation for water harvesting so be aware of these but a smart design can help in addressing issues. Read more.
- Solar Thermal has a 70% capture rate in commercial and residential uses today. Although rapid advances are occurring in R&D, solar photo-voltaic only has about a 20% capture rate from the sun. Solar thermal is a very simple, low tech and cost effective technology. It is used in several New England houses during the winter which illustrates its effectiveness. Integrating solar thermal for hot water, radiant floor and base board heating can significantly reduce your on-grid energy use and help you focus on incrementally replacing the remaining on-grid energy demands with emerging efficient energy supplies (e.g. wind, photo-voltiac…). New England Solar Hotwater www.neshw.com is an example of an active solar thermal system integrator.
This inventor is using biomimicry to capture moisture from the desert air. The smart design has won the James Dyson Award (read more).
These seven technologies and strategies for accessing water more efficiently now and in the future are worth paying attention to. We have seen water provisioning costs rising with our residence and are looking for ways to offset accessing water from municipal suppliers and keep impacts sustainable. See here
MIT Research uses 3D design to increase capture rate 20%. See here.