World’s First Skyscraper That Is Covered With Solar Panels

The Co-operative Insurance (CIS) office building is the tallest building in Manchester, UK. But the most interesting feature isn’t the height of the building, it’s the 400 foot tall solar panels covering the three faces of the CIS Tower that makes the building unique.

The unique project is the world’s first and so far, only such project where solar panels were used on such a large scale to provide power for a metropolitan building. The solar panel arrangement is the largest in all of Europe and consists of 7,244 80 Watt photovoltaic panels that generate 390kW of electrical power. The solar panels generate enough power on an annual basis to power 55 homes with power for one year.

The project, costing £5.5 million, was a creative solution that came about when the mosaic tiles placed on the face of the building started falling off after only six months. Besides the solar panels, the roof of the building has 24 wind turbines that generate 10% of the building’s power requirements. The CIS Tower is an excellent example of green technology in modern times, and the title of Europe’s largest vertical array of solar panels is an added bonus. Images of this unique skyscraper can be seen below.

Courtesy: http://wonderfulengineering.com/

Solar-powered Water Purifying Affordable Homes Can be Donated or Purchased

Mesocore offers a container-sized housing solution that purifies rain water and is solar-powered. The potential return on investment for donating one to a family in need is very large. If you consider that there are millions of people around the world living without housing, electricity or clean drinking water, Mesocore self-contained micro homes could drastically improve their quality of life.

For example, in disaster areas devastated by hurricanes or typhoons, there is no dry, warm housing left remaining for stranded residents. Also, there may be no buildings left safely intact at all. A Mesocore pre-fabricated structure can be shipped and assembled on site in order to create a new medical clinic, school, command center or community center. Multiple Mesocore structures can be shipped and quickly built to provide housing for sleeping and cooking as well.

Charitable giving sometimes focuses on specific needs, such as donating for water to people who have none for drinking, cooking, washing or storage for emergencies. This type of giving is perfectly valid, but people in need often require more than one essential thing to help them survive.

Mesocore structures are designed to help collect and store water, provide safe housing and generate clean electricity (rather than from diesel generators). So, the intention is to solve several problems with one donation, though obviously a large one.

The success of a Mesocore structure in providing basic needs does depend on there being a reasonable amount of rain to collect and sunshine to generate electricity via the solar panels. A rainwater collection system on the roof is about 1100 square feet, and is inward sloping. An estimated 700 gallons of rainwater can be collected per inch of rainfall. This water is directed to a 2,000 gallon tank for storage. Before use, it is filtered through three cartridges and treated with UV purification light. Collected water can also be heated with a roof top thermal solar collector.

Up to 18 solar photo voltaic panels can be installed on the roof and when combined with 24 maintenance free, fully charged Absorbed Glass Mat batteries the system is designed to generate about 8,ooo kilowatt hours of electricity per year.

It should be noted that in areas with reasonable amounts of rain and sunshine, a Mesocore structure could provide both water and electricity with no utilities.

Considering the very high cost of housing for many, and the huge number of people living in poverty, the donation of a self-contained, utility-free home would be a gift that would keep on giving for many years or even decades.

Courtesy: http://planetsave.com/

Tips to Stay Eco-Friendly and Chic for Christmas

Sadly, in recent years, Christmas has shifted away from its (already controversial roots) into a consumerism centered holiday. So what can you do, if you want to have a green, eco-friendly celebration, but still cherish the warm Christmas spirit? Here’s what you should do:

Find the Right Tree

The Christmas tree is at the heart of any celebration, so it’s understandable that many people don’t want to skip it. But with over 1.000.000 trees being cut (and not planted afterwards), is a living tree really a green option? No, not really. I’ve already discussed how you can green your Christmas tree or how to get other, creative alternatives, here’s the gist of it:

Real trees: most of them come from tree farms, not virgin forests, so cutting them down is not really as bad as it seems at a first sight, but I wouldn’t really consider them a renewable, sustainable resource. Furthermore, fossil fuels are used to harvest and transport them. The best thing to do would be to replant the tree, or at the very least recycle it for compost or even wood.

Fake trees: not really as green of an alternative as you think. They use petroleum and PVC in their fabrication process and contain small quantities of lead. However, if you buy one and use it for years and years, you use less and less resources. If you go for a fake tree – stick to it !

Potted Trees: Quite possibly the perfect idea, keep in mind that most potted trees can survive for only approximately 14 days indoors, and they need an outdoor environment, so you have to either plant them outside, or at lease place them on your balcony after your Celebrations are over.

Real trees: most of them come from tree farms, not virgin forests, so cutting them down is not really as bad as it seems at a first sight, but I wouldn’t really consider them a renewable, sustainable resource. Furthermore, fossil fuels are used to harvest and transport them. The best thing to do would be to replant the tree, or at the very least recycle it for compost or even wood.

Fake trees: not really as green of an alternative as you think. They use petroleum and PVC in their fabrication process and contain small quantities of lead. However, if you buy one and use it for years and years, you use less and less resources. If you go for a fake tree – stick to it !

Potted Trees: Quite possibly the perfect idea, keep in mind that most potted trees can survive for only approximately 14 days indoors, and they need an outdoor environment, so you have to either plant them outside, or at lease place them on your balcony after your Celebrations are over.

Buy Organic, Healthy, and only what you can finish!

I know, Christmas is the time when you just forget about the diets and go crazy with food. But every year, 1.3 billion tons of food are wasted on Christmas ! That’s an incredible 1.300.000.000.000 kilograms! Each and every one of us can contribute, and only buy what you know you can finish; also, there’s nothing wrong with eating yesterday’s leftovers – especially when they’re delicious.

Have a merry green Christmas, and an eco-friendly New Year!

Courtesy: http://www.zmescience.com/

Five Tips for an Eco-friendly Christmas

The holidays don’t typically translate to eco-friendliness. It’s a time of later shopping hours, massive light displays and increased travel—all things that only increase your carbon footprint. But with these five easy tips, you can make your Christmas a little greener this year.

 

1. Make your tree selection carefully.

There are several options when it comes to what kind of Christmas tree you buy and each has its pros and cons. An artificial tree, for example, will last forever. Although it might seem like a renewable investment, fake Christmas trees often look warn after a few uses and typically get thrown away. And because they are made out of a kind of plastic that doesn’t decompose, they really will last forever—just in a landfill.

A live Christmas tree is usually considered a greener option. Although a tree must be cut down, it can be repurposed. Many cities offer a recycling program that turns Christmas trees into mulch. And the large tree in New York’s Rockefeller Center is donated to Habitat for Humanity each year so the organization can use it to build a home. But the greenest option for the centerpiece of your holiday is to choose a potted Christmas tree. You can bring it into your home and decorate it however you want. Once Christmas is over, just remove the decorations and plant it in your backyard.

2. Use energy-efficient lights

Lights are a big part of the holiday season. But by choosing to use only energy-efficient bulbs this year, you can lower your carbon footprint and save on energy this holiday season. The priciest but greenest option is to invest in solar-powered lights for your outdoor displays. You can buy light stands, nets or even Christmas pathway lights that are powered completely by the sun, adding nothing to your holiday energy bill.

However, the most popular energy-efficient option is LED. They use 75 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs and last up to 25 times longer. While they cost a little more up front, they will certainly save you a lot on energy costs over their lifetime. Battery-powered lights are another eco-friendly option. Though they still require energy from batteries, rechargeable batteries can be used again and again to make this type of light an eco-friendly choice.

3. Choose environmentally friendly wrapping paper.

The majority of Christmas wrapping is just thrown away each year, including 38,000 miles of ribbon, according to the Clean Air Council. But there are plenty of eco-friendly alternatives that won’t put a damper on your carbon footprint. For example, you can use recycled materials, such as paper grocery bags or the comics section of the newspaper to wrap your gifts. You might also consider presenting your gifts in cloth bags that can be used again and again. And if you simply have to purchase paper, go for a roll of plain brown paper. Not only is it recyclable, but it can be used to wrap gifts all year. You can even spruce it up by drawing holiday pictures on it.

4. Reduce food waste

Food waste is a huge problem year round, but it can be even worse during the holidays. With a number of parties and big family meals, it’s not uncommon to throw large amounts of uneaten food in the trash. But there are easy ways you can reduce your holiday food waste. The easiest option is to buy what you need and nothing more. And if you do have extra, save the leftovers (or freeze them) so you can use them later. If nothing else, you can always donate your extra goodies to a family in need or an organization that helps feed the homeless.

5. Be green when you travel

Jet-setting all over the globe isn’t the greenest way to spend your holiday, but there are some measures you can take to ensure your travel has minimal impact on the environment. For instance, instead of flying to your destination consider driving. Airplanes use a lot more fuel than your vehicle, so opting to drive can help reduce your environmental impact. You should also remember to unplug your electronics and appliances before you leave. Many devices continue to suck power from the outlet if they are left plugged in. And if you can, choose to stay in eco-friendly accommodations.

Keith Patterson is a freelance writer and designer for all things green. His work promotes responsible energy production and consumption while continually looking to better the balance between man, machine, and our environment.

Courtesy: http://2greenenergy.com

Make Mine Mushrooms!

When you unpack that new TV, you get Styrofoam that ends up in landfill whether you like it or not…so why not use the magic of mushrooms to make a packaging material that’s completely compostable?

Courtesy: todaysgreenminute.com