Magnetic Refrigerators
Magnetic Refrigerators
Oak Ridge National Laboratory and General Electric have teamed up to create a revolutionary new type of refrigerator that uses magnets to create cold, also known as the magnetocaloric effect (lowering or raising the temperature of the material by changing the magnetic field).
Ultra-Efficient Heat Pumps
Ultra-Efficient Heat Pumps
The Building Technologies Office is ushering in the next generation of heat pump systems, which warm and cool your home by moving heat from one space to another. A fuel-fired, multi-function residential heat pump that can reduce primary energy consumption by 30 percent.
Clothes Dryers
Clothes Dryers
The same concept behind heat pump technologies that keep your home comfortable can also be used for another important application: drying your clothes. Oak Ridge National Laboratory and General Electric are developing a new type of clothes dryer that uses a heat pump cycle to generate hot air needed for drying.
Smarter, More Connected Homes
Smarter, More Connected Homes
We live in an increasingly connected world -- the same is true for our homes. New electronic devices and appliances can now be linked to the Internet to provide real-time data that makes it easier to understand and lower energy use.
Next-Gen Insulation
Next-Gen Insulation
Insulation is one of the most important ways to reduce your home heating and cooling costs. The Industrial Science & Technology Network is developing new foam insulation made with environmentally friendly and advanced composite materials that ensure heat doesn’t escape from the attic, walls and other areas of the home during cold winter months.
Advanced Window Controls
Advanced Window Controls
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Pella Windows are working on new highly insulated windows that use sensors and microprocessors to automatically adjust shading based on the amount of available sunlight and the time of day to ensure proper lighting and comfort, saving consumers energy and money.
Reflective Roofing Materials
Reflective Roofing Materials
Cool roofs coated with materials containing specialized pigments reflect sunlight and absorb less heat than standard roofs. Expect these types of roof systems to get even “cooler” due to new fluorescent pigments developed by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and PPG Industries that can reflect nearly four times the amount of sunlight of standard pigments.

Energy-Saving Solutions

From heating and cooling to electronics and appliances, it takes a lot of energy to power our daily lives. Our homes use 37 percent more energy today than they did in 1980. But without energy efficiency -- through technology innovation and federal energy conservation standards -- this number would be a lot higher. In fact, even though our total energy use has grown, our energy use per household is down about 10 percent, despite that our homes are larger and contain more devices.

Save Energy Systems

21 March 2019

Italy is facing a major climate change crisis as the country’s olive harvests continue to decline. Italy’s olive industry has witnessed a 57 percent decrease in olive production, and climate scientist claim that extreme weather is the main cause of the crop shortage. Olive tree farms across Italy have been devastated by weather-related events this past year, including heavy rainfalls, unpredictable frosts, droughts, and powerful winds. All of these weather patterns coincide with what climate...

If you’ve purchased a TV or other appliance in the past few decades, you’ve experienced the massive chunks of polystyrene foam that came with it. Plastic foam as it is known, also commonly called by the brand name Styrofoam, has dominated the packaging and insulation industries for many years and brought with it tons of waste. Taking an estimated 500 years to break down, the product leaves much to be desired from a sustainability standpoint. There is no doubt that plastic foam is one of the least...

V-planet, the San Francisco-based company which manufactures 100 percent vegan products for dogs, has just expanded its market to Israel. Israeli shoppers can now buy vegan pet food through Vegpet, v-planet’s online store. Why Israel? “Israel is one of the most vegan-friendly countries in the world with more self-identified vegans per capita than any other country,” said Lindsay Rubin, vice president of v-dog. “With so many consumers interested in transitioning their dogs to a vegan diet,...

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International Women’s Day is on March 8th, and it's just one of the 365 days per year that it is important to recognize and celebrate the contributions of female leaders. Below are eight women from around the world who are making headlines for their innovation and impact in environmental, conservation and sustainability fields. Melina Laboucan Massimo Indigenous Rights & Clean Energy Campaigner (Canada) Massimo, a member of the Lubicon Cree First Nation, grew up in a small community where...

Drawing inspiration from the midcentury Case Study houses, Osmington-based Archterra Architects designed the Wilderness House, a contemporary elevated home with treetop canopy views. Located on a secluded bush block in coastal banksia woodland near Australia’s iconic Margaret River, the home was created to take advantage of its rich and remote environment with large windows and a natural materials palette. The client’s desires for long-term durability and low-maintenance also informed the design...

Imagine having silky smooth, intensely hydrated skin, even in the dead of winter. This dream can be a reality with Lalicious, a brand we discovered earlier this year at the Indie Beauty Expo. We instantly fell in love with the company’s whipped sugar scrubs, body butters and our personal favorite, a magical product known as the “velour body melt.” With a passion for luxurious, cruelty-free skincare at an accessible price point, Lalicious has made a permanent home in our daily skincare routines. Many...

Officially launched in California on February 28, 2019 and targeted to expand to new markets throughout the year, Cove brand 100% biodegradable water bottles have become available as a sustainable plastic alternative. Cove offers an eco-friendly solution for water on the go at every phase of production and regardless of the disposal technique used.   <!--more→ Single-use plastic water bottles have made the headlines in every fight for sustainability for years for good reason--they...

Toronto-based + Atelier Kastelic Buffey Related: + Atelier Kastelic Buffey Via Freshome ski chalet, Alta Chalet, ski chalet design, ski chalet toronto,

Mardi Gras would not be the same without its plastic beads. For the past 200 years, people have given out freebies to parade attendees in New Orleans, starting with nuts and glass ornaments back in the day to the plastic beads partygoers have grown accustomed to today. While the colorful beads have become a staple for the iconic celebration, the leftover Mardi Gras beads end up littering the streets of New Orleans and eventually make their way to the city’s landfill. Fortunately, one researcher...

The goals of the Green School are anything but small, yet they are simple: Take care of the local community and teach children to be stewards of our planet and leaders of sustainability in the future. <!--more→ The baby of John and Cynthia Hardy, the Green School was inspired after the retired couple viewed the Al Gore film, The Inconvenient Truth. With four children of their own, the couple decided to make a difference and, in 2006, broke ground on a new type of school, an educational...

Scientists in Belgium have invented a solar panel that produces hydrogen as a source of fuel to heat homes. Using moisture in the atmosphere, the solar panel converts sunlight into hydrogen gas, producing somewhere 250 liters of gas every day. The team of scientists, lead by Professor Johan Martens, have been developing their hydrogen solar panel for the past ten years. When they first started, they were only able to produce small quantities of hydrogen gas, but now the gas bubbles are visible...

A Chesapeake Bay retriever named Train is playing an important part in wildlife conservation. Train, who was too energetic to make it as a drug dog, is lending his nose to sniff out endangered species by smelling their poop. Train is helping conservationists like Karen DeMatteo track down some of the world's most elusive animals, such as oncillas and jaguars, by finding their scat in the wild. DeMatteo and her colleagues are focusing their research in Argentina, and Train is helping them discover...

OMA’s New York office has unveiled striking designs for the Greenpoint Landing mixed-use towers—two dramatically stepped buildings that appear to be two jagged halves of a whole. Designed to frame views of Greenpoint and vistas of Manhattan beyond, the project is “a ziggurat and its inverse…carefully calibrated to one another,” says OMA Partner Jason Long. Greenpoint Landing, which is expected to break ground in August of this year, is located in the Brooklyn waterfront neighborhood of...

Related: Via World Architecture bubble domes

An open plaza in Bogota’s northeastern business district has been radically transformed from a place of pure pavement to a vibrant urban wetland. Colombian architecture firm Obraestudio completed the project in 2016 in the Santa Barbara business center to revitalize the outdoor common space shared by the Torres Unidas Building, Scotia Bank, Samsung, AR and W Hotel towers. Covering an area of over two acres, the architects injected a lush aquatic landscape into the public-facing plaza, creating...

Humans have a long history of wiping out animal populations, and we continue to do so even to this day. According to a new study published in the Royal Society Open Science journal, people around the world are eating hundreds of mammal species into extinction. And, if we don’t make some changes, the authors of the study warn that the food security of hundreds of millions of people could be threatened. Currently, we are in the middle of mass extinction that rivals the wiping out of the dinosaurs...

As the population of the planet continues to explode, the ability to produce enough food is a continual discussion. Not only are we busy finding ways to make enough of the right kinds of foods to sustain the masses, but we’re simultaneously investing in opportunities for the backyard, or living room, gardener to grow their own foods. <!--more→ With urban lifestyle in mind, start-up Benditas Studio has created a lamp that doubles as a vegetable garden. Brot, a dual functioning lamp/garden,...

Finland is following through with its coal ban initiative and making it a top priority over the next ten years. The country promised to eliminate its reliance on coal by 2030, and Finnish Parliament just pushed through a motion to start the ban a year earlier than the previous goal. One year may not seem like much, but moving the ban up means Finland will be completely coal free in the next decade. The move also means that the country will have to increase its phasing out program by around...

Related: + Via Dezeen Lushna Petite Reflect

Taiwan aims to be completely free of plastic bags and all single-use plastic items, such as utensils and beverage cups, by 2030. But first, the straws. Starting this year, chain restaurants will be restricted from giving straws to customers for in-store use. Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) Minister Lee Ying-yuan announced the new policy at a press conference last month. “"We aim to implement a blanket ban by 2030 to significantly reduce plastic waste that pollutes the ocean and...

Opened earlier this year, the newly completed NUS School of Design & Environment 4 (SDE4) is distinguished as Singapore’s first new-build, net-zero energy building school. Developed by the School of Design and Environment at the National University of Singapore and designed by Serie + Multiply Architects with Surbana Jurong, the six-story multidisciplinary building is located on a hillock along Clementi Road near the southern coastline of Singapore where it joins a larger campus redevelopment....

An increasing number of grocery stores are ditching single-use plastics to help curb the amount of synthetic materials that end up in landfills around the world. Trader Joe's is the most recent business to reduce plastic use in stores across the country, a move that comes after a Greenpeace initiative that garnered close to 100,000 signatures. In 2018, Trader Joe's vowed to use more sustainable packaging to help decrease the 1 million pounds of waste it generates annually from plastics. A big chunk...

Government officials in the U.S. are looking to remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list. The move, proposed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, would allow states in the Lower 48 to lawfully hunt populations of the gray wolf. "Recovery of the gray wolf under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is one of our nation's great conservation successes…" a spokesperson for the Fish and Wildlife Service shared. According to NPR, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is publishing the...

Danish architectural firm COBE has unveiled a new mixed-use residential development in Toronto designed for LEED Gold certification. Created in collaboration with Toronto-based architectural firm architectsAlliance, the project will comprise three buildings—two designed by COBE—set in West Don Lands, a former industrial area on Toronto’s waterfront. The housing development will consist of 761 market rental apartments including 30 percent affordable rental units, indistinguishable in design...

Built to embrace the outdoors and radiate a sense of warmth, the Aculco project is an idyllic holiday home set in a pristine and remote landscape in Aculco, Mexico. Mexico City-based architectural firm PPAA designed the dwelling for two outdoors-loving brothers who had discovered the site on a rock climbing trip. Given the property’s isolated location and natural beauty, the project challenged the architects to use locally sourced materials and to minimize the visual and physical impact of the...

US architecture firm ISA Related: + ISA Via World Architecture tiny tower, urban design

Nobody wants to die—even a bug tries to run rather than being squashed. So cochineal beetles are rejoicing this month as the Hansen sweet potato proves a viable alternative for producing the carmine color crushed beetles have long added to foods and cosmetics. Chr. Hansen, a bioscience company based in Denmark and founded in 1874, developed and commercialized the Hansen sweet potato™ Ipomoea batatas. “For the first time, we’ve created a whole new variety of vegetable to create the...

The construction industry has been through a lot of changes in recent years because of the rise in popularity of green buildings, the push to use more sustainable materials, and the efforts to reduce waste. One of the innovative ideas that has come along in building construction is cargotecture, a term that first popped up in 2003 to describe a building constructed in part or in full by using recycled shipping containers. There are millions of shipping containers all over the world just...

Emerging out of the landscape like a series of boulders, the Kanuka Valley House set into a lush valley in Wanaka, New Zealand mimics the large schist rocks that punctuate the pristine landscape. Wellington-based architectural practice WireDog Architecture designed the angular home for a winemaker and his family, who wanted the house to respect the beauty of the natural landscape. To that end, the architects not only modeled the building off of local rock formations, but also used a natural material...

For the past three years, the First Trinity Missionary Baptist Church has been battling the Flint water crisis by handing out clean water to locals. Volunteers with the organization started giving out bottled water every day of the week, but as donations decreased, they now distribute water over the course of three days. During donation days, the church usually runs out of supplies within a few hours, leaving many residents without access to clean water. The situation is disheartening to the volunteers...

When a German pioneer in the field of biogas technology commissioned Korbach-based Christoph Hesse Architects, he had an unusual request: a round house. Drawn to the shape of a circular room, the client also found that a round form had the optimal proportions for supporting biogas production, which he would use to power his home. Dubbed Villa F, the project was envisioned as the “first link of a local heat grid” powered by biogas to encourage widespread adoption and reduce dependence on fossil...

The Humane Society of the United States just released a report on their investigation into widespread animal testing. The inquiry lasted a little over three months and discovered that tens of thousands of dogs are being killed annually in the name of product testing. The study uncovered laboratories across the United States where scientists are using beagles and hounds to test toxicity levels in drugs, dental implants, and pesticides. Over the course of 100 days, one undercover operative recorded...

In a world filled with convenient fast-food wherever you go and a focus on instant gratification, it can be a serious challenge to eat healthily and keep your food waste to a minimum. For many of us, our busy lives cause us to make daily food decisions that fill our diets with high-calorie processed foods which are often wrapped in single-use packaging. However, with a little preparation and planning, you can not only eat healthily, but you can reduce food waste while saving time and money. The...

Built for clients who wanted a home with minimal site impact, the Live Edge residence is an environmentally friendly beacon that boasts not only LEED Platinum certification, but also generates more energy than it consumes on an annual basis. Nestled into a bluff among rock outcroppings and juniper trees in Oregon’s Deschutes County, the luxury dwelling is the work of Salem-based firm Nathan Good Architects. Drawing inspiration from the rugged landscape, the architects fitted the contemporary house...

Indoor-outdoor living never looked so good! This modern design by Shubin Donaldson takes full advantage of the beachy climate of Santa Barbara, California. Wooden screens and a central skylight flood the entire space with natural sunlight while keeping the space protected from the ocean winds. “Environmentally, the home is cooled passively by ocean breezes, lit evenly during the day by daylight, and Ipe wood screens minimize sun load on the extensive view windows,” report the designers. The...

New research reveals that 800,000 people die prematurely from air pollution in Europe each year, and confirms a previous study that dirty air kills 8.8 million people per year globally. The study, published in the European Heart Journal, urges Europe to phase out fossil fuels. Scientists used three sets of data to reach their conclusions: population density and age, exposure to air pollution and the health impacts of foul air. While the lungs are the initial body part to suffer, once pollutants...

Dressmaker and designer Kristie Wolfe previously built a Hawaiian treehouse on a shoestring budget, as well as a hobbit house in Washington State. Her latest project is a fire lookout tower dating back to the 1950s, which she has renovated into an Airbnb rental. Related: + Crystal Peak Lookout + Kristie Wolfe Photography by Eva Seelye Crystal Peak Lookout, Hobbit Hole, Crystal Peak Lookout in North Idaho, unique airbnb stays,

When architect Paul O’Reilly of the Australian architectural practice archterra was asked by his mother to design a modern farmhouse, he delivered a handsome dwelling that not only takes inspiration from traditional barn architecture, but also deftly addresses the region’s climatic extremes with its site-specific, energy-efficient build. Aptly named the Farm House, the roughly 2,000-square-foot abode features a gabled roofline, veranda, and timber cladding to mimic traditional barns, while the...

Good news for suburban vegans and those who find themselves trapped in airports or mini-malls: The Chinese fast food chain Panda Express has added its first vegan entrees. Vegan diners at all 2,000 locations can soon safely chow down on Panda’s chow mein. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has long been chipping away at Panda Express’ resistance to offering any dishes sans chicken broth or animal-derived seasoning. Supporters of the animal rights group contacted Panda 234,000...

Architectural practice Chiangmai Life Architects has completed a striking villa that blends elements of traditional Thai architecture together with environmentally savvy construction practices and modern amenities fit for 21st-century living. Located in the mountains of northern Thailand, the project, dubbed the ‘Earth & Wood Villa,’ was built primarily of locally sourced natural materials from the self-made adobe bricks to the exposed timber elements throughout. In addition to mountain vistas,...

It is rare when a social media challenge actually results in a physical change to the environment, especially when it comes to picking up plastic waste. But a new viral challenge has thousands of people from around the world coming together to clean up places that have become overrun with plastic. The new challenge, #trashtag, encourages people to clean up litter and share photos from before and after the clean-up job is over. So far, tens of thousands of individuals have participated in the...

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Public schools in New York City are starting a meatless Monday program for student lunches. School officials hope the eco-friendly initiative will boost health among the student population and serve as an example for other districts to follow. "People are going to look at this, and they’re going to start to emulate what the New York City schools are doing," NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio shared. According to Huffington Post, the new program will be implemented in 1,800 schools in the city and...

Ever think about how your happy hour is affecting the environment? Manufacturing alcohol in the United States creates harmful carbon dioxide that can wreck the earth’s system of natural resources, and a massive amount of materials needed to package and distribute alcohol (bottles, plastic caps, etc) end up in the trash. Los Angeles-based Greenbar Distillery, however, is changing the game entirely with its carbon negative company model. One of the world’s largest selection of USDA-certified...

On Friday, March 15th, tens of thousands of high school and middle school students in more than 70 countries plan to walk out of their classrooms and protest outside of their nearest town and city halls. Young people are uniting around the world in combined climate strikes and though they hail from vastly different places, they are all demanding that their leaders take radical action to curb green house gas emissions. How did the climate strikes start? The international youth climate strike...

The architects at MNMA Studio have created a natural beachy oasis made of eco-friendly elements in the region of Pontal do Cupe, Pernambuco of northeastern Brazil. Head architects Andre Pepato and Mariana Schmidt used natural materials such as eucalyptus, certified wood, calcium carbonate rocks and even twigs to complement the concrete structure. The people of the Pontal do Cupe region have limited access to building materials and methods, so the beach house helps to symbolize an innovative and...

They said that this plastic couldn’t be recycled, but UK-based company Gomi found a way nonetheless. Each speaker is made from about 100 non-recyclable plastic bags of multiple colors, creating the individualized unique look. The sustainable design company won a 10,000-pound grant from the Environment Now Programme in January 2018 to kickstart the project and were funded further by the Santander Big Ideas Competition later that year. Co-founded by Brighton-based sustainable designer Tom Meades,...

New York-based design firm Slade Architecture has reconciled a client’s need for privacy with their desire for connection with the landscape in the Link Farm House, a contemporary home that splits the public and private areas into two perpendicular volumes. Located on a 220-acre organic farm in Dutchess County, New York, the expansive home engages the bucolic surroundings with a glass public-facing volume balanced atop a grassy knoll and a lower, private-facing volume built of locally sourced stone....

Four design students at The Royal College of Art & Imperial College have created a biodegradable and recyclable bioplastic using an unusual material—lobster shell waste. In a initiative dubbed Shellworks, the team—Ed Jones, Insiya Jafferjee, Amir Afshar, and Andrew Edwards—has developed new manufacturing machines to produce what they believe is a sustainable replacement for single-use plastics. The malleable bioplastic is extremely versatile and can be adjusted in thickness, transparency,...