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News articles on Green Design
Mongabay.com news articles on Green Design in blog format. Updated regularly.
(07/31/2006) Australian researchers have developed a strong, lightweight building material that they believe could serve as the base for "green construction" in countries like as China and India. Dr Obada Kayali and Mr Karl Shaw of the University of New South Wales have developed building materials that can be manufactured entirely from waste fly ash, a fine powder that is a byproduct of coal-burning power plants. The researchers say that their "unique manufacturing method traps any harmful chemicals, creating an eco-friendly construction material that saves on construction costs and reduces generation of greenhouse gases." Further, the building materials are at least twenty percent lighter and stronger than comparable products made from clay, and take less time to manufacture.
Northern Ireland madantes green energy for new buildings
(07/25/2006) The changes, which all apply to all new homes, company and public buildings, will make micro-generation, such as solar panels to heat hot water, solar photo voltaic panels on roofs to generate electricity or small wind turbines for houses, mandatory in under two years.
High school students compete in solar car race
(07/13/2006) Beginning on July 16th, high school students from the US, Puerto Rico and India will travel to Texas Motor Speedway to compete in the 11th annual Dell-Winston School Solar Car Challenge, a race tasking students to design, build and race their own solar powered cars.
Consumers want environmentally friendly computers
(06/26/2006) A study conducted earlier this year by Ipsos-MORI on behalf of Greenpeace found that consumers say they would be willing to pay more for an environmentally friendly computer. The amounts ranged from $59 in Germany, $118 in UK, $199 in China and $229 in Mexico.
Africa's deforestation rate may be underestimated
(06/22/2006) Africa's deforestation rate may be underestimated by satellite imagery according to a researcher at the University of Wisconsin. Holly Gibbs, a Ph.D. candidate at the Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment at the University of Wisconsin, presented her findings at a conservation conference held in Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar.
Venture Capitalists, China and Green Technology
(05/24/2006) A Bay Area venture capitalist with a storied past, has set his sights on "green technology" and ultimately China, after some compelling remarks from state representatives at a recent conference. Early this spring, Chinese officials named solar and clean coal technologies as two of their three pre-eminent priorities for investment and development in the near future. For a country with burgeoning energy needs surpassing what power is presently available, this is both realistic and positive news for environmentalists and economists alike. Hoping to capitalize, John Doerr and his associates are now funneling cash into the emergent green technology sector, which he, and an increasing number of other investors believe to be the next big thing.
US has low-cost alternatives to oil; peak oil frenzy and human-induced climate change avoidable says Columbia University
(05/14/2006) Surging oil prices have fueled calls for the United States to develop new sources of affordable and secure domestic energy. While renewable energy -- especially biofuels, wind power, and solar technologies -- is an area of particular interest, researchers from the Earth Institute at Columbia University say that the U.S. already has relatively low-cost alternatives to imported oil, including coal, tar sands, and oil shale. These resources can be extracted and used at a lower cost to the environment than some might expect. In a report published in the most recent issue of Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Klaus S. Lackner and Jeffrey D. Sachs argue that "coal alone could satisfy the country's energy needs of the twenty-first century." They say that "coal liquefaction, or the process of deriving liquid fuels from coal, is already being used in places and with expanded infrastructure could provide gasoline, diesel fuel and jet fuel at levels well below current prices." Further, Sachs and Lackner suggest that "environmental constraints such as increased carbon dioxide emissions arising from greater use of coal and other fossil fuels could be avoided for less than 1 percent of gross world product by 2050," a sum far less than others have estimated.
Private sector trying to improve environmental, social performance says UN report
(05/11/2006) A growing number of business and industry groups are making efforts to improve their environmental and social performance, especially in such fields as global warming, but more still needs to be done, according to a new United Nations report released today.
Taking Care of Business: Diapers Go Green
(04/02/2006) Every year some 20 billion disposable diapers are dumped into landfills throughout the United States, generating approximately 3.5 million tons of waste which can take 500 years to biodegrade. Besides creating huge amounts of trash, most disposables are made from materials whitened with chlorine in a process that produces dangerous toxins such as dioxin, furans and other organic chlorines. Cloth diapers--often touted as environmentally superior to disposables--have drawbacks as well, requiring large amounts of water and pesticides, in addition to going through a similar bleaching process. So what's the ecologically responsible alternative? Well, it may come from the land down under. An Australian couple has developed a diaper that is not only biodegradable but serves as a benchmark for green design in that it gives more to the environment than it takes. "gDiapers", as the product is known, was recently awarded the prestigious "Cradle to Cradle Design Certification Award" from MBDC, a design consulting organization that stresses green design. The diaper is the first packaged consumer product to be so honored.
Wind turbines could power China says expert
(03/09/2006) Wind could become China's second-largest source of electricity according to a Chinese energy expert. Wang Weicheng, an energy professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing, told reporters that China has the potential to install up to 100 gigawatts of wind power. Wang's comments come as China has been aggressively expanding its interests in renewable energy sources including wind, solar, biofuels, tidal, and small hydroelectric dams.
Largest solar power plant in a generation to be built in Nevada
(02/09/2006) The groundbreaking for the largest solar thermal power plant to be built in 15 years takes place this weekend in Boulder City, Nevada. The 64MW Nevada Solar One power plant will generate enough power to meet the electricity needs of about 40,000 households and follows in the steps of the 354MW solar thermal power plants located in California's Mojave Desert. While California's solar plants have generated billions of kilowatt hours of electricity for the past two decades, the Nevada Solar One plant will use new technologies to capture even more energy from the sun
The Greening of Wal-Mart?
(02/08/2006) While Wal-Mart is a favorite target for a broad spectrum of activist groups, the world's largest retailer has taken a number of steps in recent months to improve the environmental sustainability of its operations.
Without recycling, world metals face depletion finds Yale study
(01/26/2006) Researchers studying supplies of copper, zinc and other metals have determined that these finite resources, even if recycled, may not meet the needs of the global population forever, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
California adopts massive solar energy project
(01/13/2006) The California Public Utilities Commission approved a $2.9 billion program to make the state one of the largest producers of solar power in the world.
Nanocrystals could boost photovoltaic solar energy technologies
(01/04/2006) Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists have discovered that a phenomenon called carrier multiplication, in which semiconductor nanocrystals respond to photons by producing multiple electrons, is applicable to a broader array of materials that previously thought.
Businesses can now host solar energy project without up-front costs
(12/21/2005) 3 Phases Energy Services announced today its launch of a new service, "Daylight Savings", a model for financing large-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) projects. Daylight Savings allows businesses and institutions to host onsite photovoltaic systems while eliminating all up-front capital requirements and providing a long-term hedge against fossil fuel prices.
California plans $3 billion for solar energy projects
(12/13/2005) Tuesday the California Public Utilities Commission announced an ambitious program to expand the market for solar power, proposing to provide $2.8 billion of incentives toward solar development over the next 11 years.
Disposable solar panels developed using nanotechnology
(11/20/2005) Scientists at the University of Cape Town are exploiting the nano-scale properties of silicon to develop a super-thin disposable solar panel poster which they hope could offer rural dwellers a cheap, alternative source of power.
Solar projects in California desert could help state's energy problems
(11/17/2005) Two large solar projects in the desert of California could boost industrial-scale development of solar technology according to an article in today's edition of The Wall Street Journal.
Photovoltaic solar energy conversion can be cost-competitive by 2030
(11/16/2005) Professor Andrew Blakers from The Centre for Sustainable Energy Systems at the Australian National University will today report to the Greenhouse 2000 Conference in Melbourne that photovoltaic (PV) solar energy conversion can be cost-competitive with any low-emission electricity generation technology by 2030.
Organic solar cells will help spur viability of alternative energy
(10/10/2005) Organic solar cells being developed by a team of scientists from New Mexico State University and Wake Forest University could help spur viability of alternative energy. Unlike existing solar panels made of brittle silicon, these cells are made of plastic that can be wrapped around structures or even applied like paint. This flexibility could revolutionize the solar market.
Green elementary school opens in Chicago
(10/01/2005) Youngsters at Tarkington elementary started their first day of classes Tuesday at a school where flowering plants grow on the roof. It's one of the nation's small but growing number of environmentally friendly schools, a stand-out because it sits in a major city better known for towers of steel and concrete.
High oil prices make Asia pursue green energy
(09/09/2005) For energy-hungry Asian governments, the answer could literally be blowing in the wind. Across the region, renewable energy such as solar, wind and geothermal power is gaining ever greater credence as a way to curb the region's appetite for oil and cut runaway import bills.
Vegetation growth in Arctic could add to global warming
(09/08/2005) Warming in the Arctic is stimulating the growth of vegetation and could affect the delicate energy balance there, causing an additional climate warming of several degrees over the next few decades. A new study indicates that as the number of dark-colored shrubs in the otherwise stark Arctic tundra rises, the amount of solar energy absorbed could increase winter heating by up to 70 percent. The research will be published 7 September in the first issue of the Journal of Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences, published by the American Geophysical Union.
Urban planning and environmental design pioneer, Francis J. Violich, dead at 94
(08/28/2005) Francis J. Violich, a professor emeritus of city planning and landscape architecture at the UC Berkeley and one of the founders of UC's Department of Environmental Design, died a week ago Saturday at his home in Berkeley. He was 94.
Cow manure + sunlight + metal ore = hydrogen fuel?
(08/11/2005) Researchers led by Michael Epstein at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel think they may have an energy efficient way of collecting solar energy to generate hydrogen, a key input for fuel cells.
Wal-Mart builds environmentally-friendly store
(07/26/2005) Wal-Mart Stores Inc.' has built an experimental environmentally friendly store in a northern suburb of Dallas, where the world's biggest -- and notoriously cost-conscious -- retailer is trying to determine whether being green can also be profitable.
Design of new Mercedes-Benz bionic car inspired by fish body shape
(07/10/2005) DaimlerChrysler is using a new concept vehicle to examine the great potential of bionics for automobile development, and has achieved outstanding results for fuel consumption and emissions with a combination of pioneering diesel engine technology and innovative emission control methods. The Mercedes-Benz bionic car study will have its world premiere at this year's DaimlerChrysler Innovation Symposium in Washington.
Mayors agree on 'green cities' environmental pact
(06/05/2005) Mayors from around the world on Sunday signed an international treaty to make their cities more environmentally conscious that calls for boosting use of public transportation, drastic cuts to the volume of trash sent to landfills and ensured access to potable water.
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