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

22 April 2019

Microfiber is a word that many of us are familiar with. After all, it’s on many clothing descriptors. Only recently connected with the term microfiber is the knowledge that the miniscule particles wash off of our clothing and into our waterways with each load of laundry. Seeing the problem, Cora Ball offers a solution that traps those errant microfibers before they escape down the water drain. <!--more→ As common as the phrase is, many people don’t know that microfiber is actually...

This week, supermarket chain ALDI pledged to offer 100 percent reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging on all of their products by 2025. In a press statement released on April 3rd, the company outlined their specific goals to reduce plastic in their stores over the next five years. ALDI is a major grocery chain with 1,800 stores across 35 states. They serve more than 40 million customers every month and are in the position to make a huge impact on the products that Americans consume as...

Tiny home security is becoming a major concern amid a recent slew of thefts. Given the mobile nature of tiny homes, people have been hooking them up to their trucks and driving away with them. The majority of these stolen tiny homes have been recovered, but it is still unnerving to think that people can steal your entire home in a matter of minutes. Luckily, there are plenty of things you can do to keep your tiny home from being stolen. From locking hitches to installing motion detectors and...

It’s uncommon to see people flop down on the carpet in an upscale hotel lobby. But at the Fairmont Banff Springs on a Friday morning, a middle-aged woman from Indianapolis and two kids from Montreal are the latest of many to reject decorum when faced with Bear’s charms. The black lab gazes at them with liquid amber eyes while rolling over for a belly rub. It’s all in a day’s work for Bear, a canine ambassador who give travelers a dose of human/animal connection. The Fairmont’s canine...

Osmington-based Archterra Architects Related: Rugged Wilderness House optimizes bush views and passive solar principles + Archterra Architects Via Archdaily Photography by Douglas Mark Black Archterra Architects, paddock house,

In 2016 Beth Cosmos was fresh out of design school at the University of South Wales and volunteering at several music festivals. Eager to see the hundreds of thousands of displaced tents left after music festivals in her native UK, Cosmos decided to combine her love of sustainability and fashion. The light bulb moment came when she woke up to what seemed like an endless ocean of abandoned tents  left behind by festival-goers at the venue. It was good material; sturdy, waterproof and sadly destined...

The Great Barrier Reef is struggling to create new corals. Scientists at James Cook University just published a study that shows a shocking decrease in the number of baby corals last year, leading to uncertainty about the future of the reef system. The study revealed that new corals declined by a shocking 89 percent because of large bleaching events in 2016 and 2017 – which were caused by climate change. The last bleaching happened in 2017, and scientists counted how many corals survived...

An inspiring new church in Coralville, Iowa is lifting spirits and bringing people closer to nature—and generating all the energy it needs on site. Iowa City-based firm Neumann Monson Architects designed Unitarian Universalist Society, a solar-powered building that embodies the Society’s core principles with its organic architecture emphasizing sustainability, accessibility, and flexibility. The energy-efficient building is currently on track to achieve Zero Energy Building (ZEB) certification...

Speaking at an event for the National Republican Congressional Committee, President Trump took a shot at wind turbines as he continues his war against renewable energy. In a surprising statement, Trump claimed that having a windmill near your home will devalue the property and that wind turbines cause cancer. “If you have a windmill anywhere near your house, congratulations, your house just went down 75 per cent in value,” Trump told his fellow Republicans. “And they say the noise causes...

Related: A couple converts an old prison bus into a criminally beautiful tiny home + Fern the Bus Via Dwell Fern the bus, skoolie

Europe is facing a large-scale water pollution crisis. A new study from Greenpeace revealed that pesticides and antibiotics are contaminating European waterways at an alarming rate, endangering the lives of wildlife and making microorganisms more resistant to drugs. The study, which was conducted out of a lab in the University of Exeter, found 100 pesticides and 21 drug variations in 29 different water sources spread throughout Europe. A total of 10 European nations were featured in the project,...

This spring, tapestry-like shrubbery and geometric flowerbeds won’t be the only highlights at the Het Loo Palace’s Dutch Baroque gardens—the palatial grounds in Apeldoorn, Netherlands recently opened a new climate change-inspired exhibit ‘The Garden of Earthly Worries’ featuring four monumental art installations designed by Polish-American architect Daniel Libeskind. The exhibit showcases the first-ever contemporary installations on show in the gardens of Paleis Het Loo, which dates back...

Reducing plastic usage is a challenging task in today’s everything-plastic society. We all understand the importance of reducing petroleum-based emissions and the post-use waste that never really goes away, but implementing practices in your home can seem overwhelming. It’s even worse when only one member of the family is working towards the goal. The good news is that kids are very open to making a bit of extra effort if they understand that it is good for the environment and the animals in...

The north end of Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood has recently become home to a new, contemporary fire station that’s also a beacon for sustainability. Certified LEED Platinum, Fire Station 22 was designed by local architectural practice Weinstein A+U to harvest solar power as well as rainwater, which is used for all of the station’s non-potable water uses. The building also has an enhanced civic presence with a super-scaled and illuminated “22” on its facade and large walls of glass...

In March of 2019 Mjösa Tower became the tallest wooden building in the world at 18 floors (for a total of 85.4 meters tall), followed closely by the HoHo Wien building in Austria (84 meters) and the Peri-Săpânţa Monastery in Romania (75 meters). Since it was made in part with Kerto LVL wood from Metsä Wood that is both sustainable and green, the building is eco-friendly as well. Kerto LVL wood is a laminated veneer lumber, made using thin rotary-peeled softwood glued together to form a continuous...

London is officially the first city to have an Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ). The zone, which is active all hours of the day and night, will improve air quality in the city by cutting down on pollution caused by vehicle emissions. Any vehicle traveling inside the ULEZ will have to meet strict emission codes or be subject to fines. Scientists believe that vehicle emissions, specifically nitrogen oxide, account for the majority of air pollution in London and are a serious threat to public health....

Nearly every reference to healthy eating will list fresh fruits and vegetables at the top of the must-eat list. That’s no surprise considering, in combination, they provide nearly every vitamin and mineral a body needs. While some produce options can be gobbled up from the outer skin to the inner seed, there are parts of certain fruits and vegetables that contain dangerous substances. While most of these substances are not toxic in small doses, they can definitely make you sick, especially if you...

In Nepal, access to education doesn’t just improve job prospects—schools can save lives, whether it’s rescuing children from malnourishment or delaying the age of marriage to reduce rates of HIV, maternal death and suicide. That’s why American nonprofit BlinkNow has dedicated itself to building community infrastructure in Surkhet, Nepal, including the Kopila Valley School. Powered entirely by solar energy and built of rammed earth walls, the campus is billed by the founders as the “greenest...

Scientists believe the number of bird deaths associated with skyscrapers has reached hundreds of millions. Researchers estimate that anywhere between 100 million and one billion birds die from smashing into glass buildings every year — and they now know which areas of the country are the worst. More birds die from hitting buildings in Chicago than any other city in America. Scientists believe around five million birds migrate through Chicago in the fall and spring, as they make their way from...

Related: + Via Winter Hill Jewelry

“La Pointe” is located within Canada’s Poisson Blanc Regional Park, and it’s a nature-loving minimalist’s dream come true. The micro home gets its name from the distinctive triangular geometry that comes to a point cathedral-style in the roof. The designers at Atelier L’abri wanted to honor the a-frame style that was made popular in North America in the 1950’s, while still providing the essential functions needed in a forest micro home. Micro homes, or tiny homes, have continued...

With clothing production leading the world as one of the highest-polluting industries, a new fiber contradicts the earth-damaging qualities of traditional materials. Ioncell technology, developed at Aalto University and the University of Helsinki, uses a range of materials, including wood, recycled newspaper, cardboard and old cotton to make fabric. This is good news for an environment scarred by cotton production and the development of synthetic fibers. The new and improved material can also be...

Common bathroom products, like toilet paper, cotton swabs, and baby wipes, are a convenience for people around the world – but they come at a cost to the environment. These products, which have eco-friendly alternatives, often clog up plumbing, harm marine wildlife, take centuries to biodegrade, and contribute to our growing problem of carbon emissions. Luckily, there are great eco-friendly alternatives to these common bathroom products that will not break your budget. Here is a quick list...

BIG and a coalition of partners have unveiled Oceanix City, a visionary proposal for the world’s first resilient and sustainable floating community for 10,000 people. Presented at the first UN high-level roundtable on Sustainable Floating Cities, the conceptual design was created as a potential solution to the perceived threat of climate change and rising sea levels. Conceived as a “modular maritime metropolis,” Oceanix City is engineered for self-sufficiency with features from net-zero energy...

Last week, the Maryland General Assembly voted 100 to 27 to approve a ban on Styrofoam containers. If the bill is approved by Governor Larry Hogan, Maryland will become the first U.S. state to ban such containers due to their harmful impact on human health, the environment and ocean pollution. Styrofoam is widely used for food containers because it helps maintain temperature and prevents spills, however the plastic is highly toxic to humans and the environment. The bill will now go to Republican...

A party of three has collaborated to create a multi-purpose material sourced entirely from banana leaves. Swiss bag brand QWSTION, a yarn specialist from Taiwan, and a Taiwanese weaving partner spent four years developing the new material, which is being revealed at 2019 Milan Design Week. The strong, flexible, material, called Banantex, offers a new universal option in the search for sustainable materials. <!--more→ Beginning at the source, the banana leaves come from a natural ecosystem...

On the edge of Lake Avándaro in the Mexican town of Valle de Bravo is House A, a beautiful contemporary home that’s designed by Mexico City-based architectural firm Metodo in collaboration with Ingeniería Orca to embrace views of the lake. Named after its sharply pitched A-frame construction, the three-story home is built with walls of glass and folding glazed doors to create a seamless connection with the outdoors. A palette of natural materials complement steel and glass elements to create...

Brazilian company Insecta is defying the stereotype that eco-friendly fashion can’t be stylish with their line of “ecosexy” vegan shoes. In addition to being completely void of animal-derived materials, the company also uses sustainable materials like recycled rubber and recycled plastic to construct their footwear. Insecta has been around since 2014 in Brazil, but the company recently announced it would be making an expansion into the United States. In addition to their flagship stores...

Beijing-based architectural studio MAD Architects’ has unveiled an alternative vision for the skyline of New York City with the introduction of East 34th, a nature-inspired high-rise proposed near the Empire State Building. The conceptual renderings for the unbuilt glass-clad building were recently released alongside the launch of their “MAD X” exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Designed as a visual counterpoint to the Empire State Building and the skyline’s hard lines, MAD’s sinuous...

Related: + Nimtim Architects Via Dezeen Photography by Cork House, cork walls

With features like a natural ventilation system to cool the home and rainwater collection to supply plumbing, The Hut is completely environmentally-friendly in addition to being off-grid. There is no access to mains electricity or water, so the minimalist structure relies exclusively on solar power. Rather than constructing on top of the building-site as most structures do, the home was instead built to harmonize with its surrounding environment. While the sustainability and eco-conscious design...

The defunct National Baths of Aix-les-Bains will receive a vibrant and sustainably minded revival in the hands of the Paris-based practice Vincent Callebaut Architectures. Selected as the winner of a competition following the popular vote, the firm’s proposal—dubbed “The Foam of Waves”—will not only restore the ancient thermal baths, but also introduce a sustainable, energy-producing paradigm that follows the carbon-neutral guidelines as recommended by COP 21. The project will also adopt...

A historic heat wave in Australia killed off thousands of flying foxes last summer. In Australia's northern coast, temperatures reached over 107 degrees for several days, leading to the deaths of around 23,000 flying foxes, which are some of the largest bats on the planet. The flying foxes did everything in their power to beat the heat. This includes panting, using their wings as fans, and coating their bodies with saliva. Unfortunately, the heat proved too much and many of the bats fell to...

Imagine your city without cars - every single Sunday. At first, you might be frustrated by the inconvenience and inability to complete errands, but once you embrace the throngs of bikes and recognize your friends and neighbors among the people out for a stroll, or attending a Zumba class at what was once a congested intersection, it's likely to become one of your favorite traditions. For 45 years, the Colombian city of Bogotá has closed its major roads for Ciclovía, a weekly event where cyclists...

A new study has found that green roofs do a lot more than just provide a space to grow plants. These eco-friendly roofs can also enhance air quality inside of buildings by reducing ozone levels that naturally comes in from the outdoors. Scientists at Portland State University conducted the study, which was performed at a large commercial building in Portland. Researchers installed devices on the roof, which was split between a traditional membrane and a green roof. The devices measured ozone...

Related: + 3GATTI Via Design Boom 3GATTI, green wall

Challenged by Milanese design gallerist Rossana Orlandi to “give plastic a second life,” Italian architect Tiziano Vudafieri has created the Wilhelm Lamp, a unique light fixture and tribute to the renowned German industrial designer Wilhelm Wagenfeld. Presented at Rossana Orlandi’s exhibition Guitlessplastic - Master’s Pieces, the Wilhelm Lamp reinterprets the Wagenfeld’s modernist glass vase as an enlarged pendant lamp that’s 3D printed from recycled polycarbonate. First launched...

Related: + This Moving House Via Curbed This Moving House, camper van, van conversion

When a family of four outgrew their 1920s cottage in Melbourne and were about to embark on an extensive renovation, they asked Australian design studio Inbetween Architecture for a second opinion on the blueprints. Impressed by the consultation, the clients ended up scrapping their plans and instead put their faith in Inbetween Architecture to lead the redesign, one which would be more sensitive to the family’s lifestyle—and their chickens and honey bees. Affectionately called the “Urban Barnyard...

When most people think of conservation, they often picture the large, hallmark mammals (think pandas) or key ecosystems like coral reefs and rainforests. Few people think about or even understand rangelands as a priority for land restoration, even though rangelands cover more than 50 percent of all land on earth. In March, Mongolian community-conservation leaders persuaded the United Nations to acknowledge the importance of rangelands and commit to global action to to fill glaring gaps in data....

When Snøhetta designed the spectacular concept for UNDER, the world’s largest underwater restaurant located along a rocky Norwegian shoreline, the renowned architecture firm wanted to reference the local landscape in all aspects of design, including the tableware. That’s why the Norwegian brand MENT was chosen as the main supplier for the design and manufacturing of the tableware for the restaurant’s 18-course menu. Founded by sisters Ingvild and Sidsel Forr Hemma, the Fåberg-based design...

Officials in Russia have promised to release nearly 100 whales currently being held in what amounts to a whale jail in Srednyaya Bay. A few months ago, a drone discovered the whale pens in the bay, which held over 90 belugas and 11 killer whales captive. Environmentalists believe the whales were captured using illegal means and were slated to be sold to amusement parks and aquariums in China. Earlier this month, the governor of the region, Jean-Michel Cousteau, signed an agreement to release...

Think of a formal yard or garden and you likely envision rows of neatly trimmed bushes along meandering walkways and sitting areas. Homeowners spend a ton of money, time, and resources in an attempt to recreate that image. But another equally beautiful option for your home is that of a wild garden. <!--more→ What is a wild garden? A wild garden can carry a variety of definitions. For some, it means limiting the amount you tame your plants, letting them become what others might define...

Companies across the county have been working on meat alternatives to replace beef products, and a new cell-based meat promises to be a viable substitute for seafood. Following in the footsteps of Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat, Shiok Meats is looking to replace a host of seafood options with a cleaner alternative. The company’s founders, Ka Yi Ling and Sandhya Sriram, are using their background as stem cell scientists to create the next generation of clean meats. The co-founders are currently...

A new study published in Nature Communications reveals alarming amounts of microplastic particles in the air, even in the most remote, mountainous areas. News about microplastics throughout the ocean, soil and every marine mammal studied has been widely documented and publicized in recent years. ‘Microplastic’ was even called the “2018 word of the year” for its number of mentions by the news media. However, very few studies have researched the abundance of microplastics specifically in the...

Inspired by the natural design and shapes of the tropical parrotfish, these previously-rusty old boats now don a bright new exterior. The venture was another in a long line of community projects aimed to create “art as a tool for change” organized by the Madrid-based art collective Boa Mistura. The Pepillo Salcedo village in the Dominican Republic has limited access to electricity and running water, and fishing is an essential facet of the economy and of life. Boa Mistura, who are known for...

This month, over 6,000 employees signed onto a letter demanding Amazon distance itself from big oil companies and develop a more aggressive timeline to reduce its carbon footprint. Without acknowledging the letter’s demands, Amazon spokespersons pointed to a recent blog post promising that the company would release its carbon footprint data in 2019 and a vague plan to reach 100 percent renewable energy at data centers at an unspecified future date. Amazon, one of the most profitable companies...

Being committed to sustainable living is all about balance. While staying healthy is a top priority, you also need to think about living as eco-friendly as possible. Balancing these two commitments can be challenging, but there are plenty of ways you can live an eco-friendly life while keeping yourself in top shape – and all it will cost you is a little time and energy. From enjoying the benefits of fresh air to changing the way you eat, here are a few ways you can bring balance to your...

New research shows that European diets are linked to deforestation around the world. Scientists from Sweden's Chalmers University of Technology tracked carbon emissions that are produced from tropical deforestation and found that one-sixth of the harmful emissions are related to European diets. "In effect, you could say that the EU imports large amounts of deforestation every year," lead researcher Martin Persson shared. Persson noted that the European Union needs to address the issue of deforestation...

Just a few months ahead of the fiftieth anniversary for the first Moon landing, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) released designs for the first full-time human habitat on the lunar surface. Created in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the conceptual settlement—dubbed the “Moon Village”—outlines ways humans could live in an otherwise uninhabitable setting through self-sufficient means. Envisioned with a series of...