Electric cars had their moment some years ago and suddenly plummeted in numbers. Luckily we have them making a comeback, and how. Los Angeles will be leading the welcoming party for electric cars by announcing the lease of 160 electric vehicles as part of a Sustainable City Plan. The move, announced by Mayor Eric Garcetti, makes Los Angeles host to the biggest fleet of city-operated electric cars in the States. The fire, police and general services departments will be graced with the presence of fully-electric as well as hybrid cars. The LAPD is landing some rather cool cars, thanks to this decision. They will be loaned a Tesla Model S P85D and a BMW i3. How cool is that?
France has just done what pretty much the whole world should. A new law has been passed by the country that makes it necessary for new buildings and establishments to develop rooftops that either have a solar panel on them or plants, whichever is easier to maintain. This simple idea could inspire the way the world looks at tackling pollution and nonrenewable energy. Plants greatly contribute by creating an isolating effect to help reduce the energy needed to heat or cool houses. Another great advantage of having a garden on your rooftop is the ability of plants to absorb water and thus avoid leaks. Germany and Australia have already taken the challenge of expanding their use of solar panels.
The Prius by Toyota has oftentimes been the butt of many jokes. The forerunner in the world of hybrids has seen a generation of hybrid cars come in, and how. Toyota were well-braced for better looking and better performing competition along the way, which is why they went on to give the Prius an overhaul it deserves. Their renewed zeal is towards delivering greater fuel economy, lesser emissions and enhanced efficiency. From the looks of it, this fourth generation Prius sure wins in the hybrid pageant category. Under the hood, the car has efficiently managed to achieve more than 40 percent thermal efficiency. The size of the components have also been worked upon to create a clutter free environment and reduce the weight. The battery seems to be a better performer.
Sydney is now host to the world’s very first building to leverage solar energy to harness heating and electricity form the same source. Thin solar PV and solar thermal technologies have been combined in an array that doubles up as a roofing solution. The Australian steel manufacturer Bluescope made this possible thanks to their alliance with Australian Renewal Energy Agency. “Today we are witnessing an exciting new technology solution moving from the lab to be prototyped on everyday Australian rooftops for the first time,” explains Ivor Frischknecht, CEO of ARENA. “The old corrugated steel roof on this house in Glebe has been completely replaced with the first integrated photovoltaic (PV) thermal system in Australia, generating reliable renewable energy for the residents. A tile roof in the Illawarra region has also been replaced with the integrated PV system, demonstrating its versatility. In addition to PV panels, an innovative thermal duct system warms and cools air to supplement air conditioning in the homes. These first installations are an important step as the technology moves towards commercialisation and cost competitiveness with conventional rooftop PV.”
There is a fear that the not-so-distant future may be waterless. This acute shortage may have inspired something in the design of the WaterDrop, a conceptual solar-powered drop. The idea has been conceptualized by Ap Verheggen. The WaterDrop employs condensation to create water out of air by leveraging sunlight, which is commonplace in most ‘warm’ regions. “If temperatures rise, the air contains more water,” Ap said. “Normally, higher temperatures also mean more sunshine. So, why not focus on harvesting water out of the air, powered only by renewable solar energy? In this way drinking water and water for agriculture become available in most dry parts of the planet.”
Some folks love being left alone. Wait a minute. It isn’t some. In fact that vast majority of this planet could do with some solitary peace and quiet. It’s the places we seek this refuge that differs. For instance, when Kevin Miller sent his drone soaring up a wind turbine, the last thing he expected to find was one search peace-seeker dozing comfortably on the top of it. But that’s what luck had in store for him. The video has surely hit the viral wave and now we’re wondering how often the man did this and how did he get up there (that’s something most of us want to know).
Hybrids are arriving in drones and we’re happy that they’re getting more efficient and stylish. The pinnacle of this inflow is the GinzVelo human-electric hybrid vehicle. Built to accommodate one person, the vehicle is powered by a 500 W electric engine that is capable of supercharging your pedal power to an impressive 30 miles per hour! And that’s not all. A single charge can take the GinzVelo to a distance of 100 miles. With performance comes great style. The outer shell is a protective one that shields the occupants from weather conditions. The three-wheeled vehicle comes with headlights, turn signals and brake lights.
Brad Sewell and Raul Molina are former Apple engineers who have started Campaign, a green furniture line based out of San Francisco Bay Area. Their first offerings include a loveseat, a chair and a couch. Their effort is to create furniture that is good to look at while being sustainable. All of this, made available through an affordable pricing. The company’s vertically-integrated manufacturing process reduces waste. Even the parts used are sturdy, durable and eco-friendly. Being ultra-durable the furniture can be shipped using regular parcel post. Brad Sewell and Raul Molina are the brains behind this initiative that may aspire for IKEA-level dreams.
Fashion brand Hennes & Mauritz, more popularly known as H&M, may be the world’s second largest garment manufacturer but they’re soon to make a name for themselves among the eco-friendly. The brand is promoting recycling of garments after critics pointed out that the damage being caused by a throwaway culture has been the key influencer in rising clothing sales. The Swedish giant is now launching a line of jeans that contain recycled cotton, in the coming week. The company is also allocating a million Euros as prize money for those who come up with innovative means to innovate and recycle clothing. “No company, fast-fashion or not, can continue exactly like today,” said CEO, Karl-Johan Persson. “The largest potential (of this endeavor) lies with finding new technology that means we can recycle the fibres with unchanged quality.”
What better replacement for a traffic-congested than a serene park with fountains and walkways? Mexico City will soon see the construction of an elevated promenade about the bustling 10-lane road that runs west to east, connecting Chapultepec Park to the city center. The elevation is said to be a treat for pedestrians by offering a beautifully constructed walking path, cafes and even fountains, all flanked by flora of every sort. The path will be named Cultural Corridor Chapultepec and it will give the 16th century street to some beautiful landscaping. Pedestrians can enjoy a walk without bring surrounded by traffic and pollution. Being elevated may even reduce the sound levels.