Sunday, January 27, 2008

Wind Power Without the Drawbacks: Aeroturbines

Wind energy is clean and green, but has its critics and its drawbacks, including noise pollution, and the possibility to harm wildlife (birds fly into the turning blades). But, a company from Illinois has come up with a design that seems to have revolutionized the wind turbine industry. Aerotecture International.

From their site: "Aeroturbines are wind turbines designed for urban settings. Invented by University of Illinois industrial design professor, Bil Becker, Aeroturbines are a new development in wind turbine technology. Aeroturbines can be installed on existing rooftops or built into the architecture of new buildings to provide clean renewable electricity at its site of consumption. Aeroturbines are uniquely suited to urban environments because they are:

  • Noise and vibration-free
  • Safe for birds
  • Able to utilize multi-directional and gusting winds
  • Self-regulating (no overspeed protection required)
  • Low maintenance
  • Made from low-cost and readily available materials

The structural features of the Aeroturbine allow for its easy integration into new or existing buildings: the modular/stackable cages are additive and can be mounted in a vertical, horizontal, or diagonal orientation."

These urban wind turbines basically look like a huge helix. They are apparently quiet, can be made safe for the birds, and it seems they are on track to be acceptable for zoning in many major cities due to their unobtrusive design. Check out Aerotecture International. It is the future of wind power.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Nice Bunny Paper Dolls Updated!

A quick note: Nice Bunny has updated their site and added an obvious link to their very awesome Paper Dolls Artist's Series. Its art for the rest of us. Collect them all! Buy other stuff from these amazing artists!

Image credit to Matt Hawkins and Nice Bunny.

Dutch Playgrounds Cage Kids!

Those crazy Dutch designers are at it again... good design is so common in the land of wooden shoes that they need to lock their kids into it to appreciate it! The photo is of playground equipment designed by Carve, a Dutch firm that is rethinking the playground.

One might have a niche if they moved in on the Dutch designers and started designing bad stuff, or just churned out completely "un"designed designs. Carve turns out crazy looking playground furniture, while our "non-designer" could design a pole... stuck in the ground... for kids to run around. BRILLIANT! Bad design becomes good because it is not!

Just kidding. Obviously those Dutch have a culture of looking at solving design problems differently than a lot of the rest of the world.

Anyway, check out Carve, they sincerely have revolutionized the playground. Can't wait for the U.S. playground equipment manufacturers to catch on and start copying these ideas in old growth redwood!

A nod to the Cool Hunter for doing the hard work and bringing this to our attention. Thanks Cool Hunter! You are so cool... cool!

Photo credit to Carve or the Cool Hunter.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Green Resolutions for 2008

Welcome to 2008! I'm going to go the predictable route and make some resolutions for the new year... green resolutions. We'll look back at the end of 2008 and see how I did. I figure if it is a matter of written record, I almost have to stick to some of these!

1. Take shorter showers. Showers usually save more water than a bath, but to add some additional water savings, if I can simply cut the average length of my shower down by 1 minute, it adds up to a savings of approximately $100 over the course of a year! (I heard that on T.V. a bit ago.)
2. Probably the most cliche, over used, over invoked resolution of all... I want to get into better shape. How is this green? I could walk or bike to the store. Save gas. I'll watch less T.V., saving a bit of power. And, best of all, being healthier, saves money for us all because I'll spend less time at the Doctor's office over the course of my life. You don't even want to get me started on the cost of medical treatment in this country!
3. I'll try and catch my car pool more often. Overall, I've been doing a better job of catching my car pool this year, just because gas prices have been so high, (that's right, if it comes to money, I'm all about it.) but I need to hit it 100% of the time. Plain and simple. Save gas.
4. I'd like to start composting table scraps. I have a garden, we throw away a ton of food. Could just as well be fertilizer for my garden and landscape. Less waste in the landfill.
5. My ultimate resolution is to put together a rain water catch system to use for irrigation of my landscaping and garden. Its a bit nerdy, but I'll save more water, and save some cash too... all in the name of saving the planet.
6. I'm going to switch out all the light bulbs in my house with compact fluorescents. Duh!