Thursday, December 16, 2010

Holy Massive EV Experiment

Thanks to a $99.8 million U.S. DoE grant, the largest electric vehicle experiment in our country’s history is underway. The company, ECOtality, will oversee the placement and installation of the charging stations, which is a $250 million, six-state roll-out program of roughly 15,000 charging stations. Their pilot program called, "The EV Project", is a data-gathering exercise intended to document the performance of electric vehicle charging stations and monitoring of driver habits. More importantly, Portland, Oregon is leading the way when it comes to building sustainable communities with the help of several major automakers Ford, Mitsubishi, and Navistar. They have selected Portland as a test market for their massive batch of electric vehicles that hit the roads, which has economic development officials salivating over Oregon’s positive reputation for currently being the leader in the still-every-developing-and-testing world of EVs.

At the
most basic level, ECOTality’s EV Project, funded with nearly $1 million in federal stimulus funds, will bring work to a network of regional contractors who will be accountable for installing the charging systems, 1,000 of which will be peppered around businesses, 150 at public buildings, 90 at the homes of Nissan Leaf owners, and another 45 quick-charge units. At a more practical level, public awareness is increasing at a national level. Personal "range anxiety", which is EV slang related to the fear of running out of gas, is making an EV purchase a more practical and realistic option for consumers. And even more exciting in how start-up companies are thinking of creative ways to help consumers get from Point A to Point B in their fast, buzzing, fully charged EVs.

Source: Sustainable Business Oregon, 2010

Plastic to Steam

It is reported that we can reduce usage of natural resources by 1/10, and that the environmental efficiency will increase ten times. We should think about this more as we are consuming nation of "stuff." With the hope of reducing production and stuff by merely 10 percent, a design company, One Tenth Design, has rethought the product life cycle for classic, simple plastic water bottle. Their project known as HOLLOW is a unique approach to everyday humidifiers.

The HOLLOW design uses ordinary plastic bottles in a specially designed base to create a small humidifier. Its production is resource-efficient, involving only three sets of parts for the base, which draws water from the upside-down plastic bottle and releases it as moisture-laden steam.

Source: Design Boom

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Vision for Sustainable Restaurants

If you've been in a restaurant kitchen, you've seen how much food, water and energy can be wasted there. Chef Arthur Potts-Dawson shares his very personal vision for drastically reducing restaurant, and supermarket, waste. He is creating, recycling, composting, and transforming to run sustainable engines for good (and good food). Arthur Potts Dawson wants us to take responsibility not just for the food we eat, but how we shop for and even dispose of it. And he's showing the way.