Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience
Buildings

Lots of us make sacrifices for the environment, but few of us would consider supporting the cause by moving into a dumpster. Dr. Jeff Wilson of Huston-Tillotson University, however, is doing just that. Working with his students and the community, he has transformed an old dumpster and is living in it for a year.

The aim of the Dumpster Project is to investigate sustainable living practices in recognition of a world with an increasing population but decreasing space and resources to go around. The dumpster itself is 33 sq ft (3 sq m).

Additions to the basic dumpster have included solar panels to generate electricity, a high-efficiency toilet, a false floor to provide storage, a weather station, air conditioning, a pitched roof, locks and a mailbox. The dumpster pockets have been sealed so that the dumpster cannot be mistaken for and serviced as a standard trash receptacle.

See where Dr. Jeff Wilson is his year-long journey:

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Dr. Wilson is making quite a sacrifice in the hope of getting more people to think about reducing our impact on our planet.  Could you live (for even a short time) in a dumpster?

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October 17th, 2014
8:54
 

Building your dream home with your own two hands and a bunch of your friends just became a little easier…  That is, if your family will fit comfortably in about 700 square feet of house!
 

Check out this amazing structure assembled in public view, on the grounds of the London Building Centre, in England-

Downloadable, 3D-printed house built with staples, screws and a hammer

WikiHouse

 

Take a look at the company’s website (including their blog):  WikiHouse

Challenges remain on the structural integrity in the face of weather issues – strong winds… lashing rains… violent, ‘no fun’ kinds of storms.  Maybe there’s an opportunity for you to bring your mind to the puzzle and create a more sustainable model?  Great opportunity to put your “inner architect”, as well as your techie self, into a potentially great future!

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October 14th, 2014
5:05
 

The term “football” means different things in different parts of the world.  Football is the biggest sporting event around the globe, but the stadium upkeep has traditionally required unsustainable levels of energy, water and raw materials.

The tide is changing….

Brazil has introduced an alternative, renewable option: power-storing tiles.  The “kinetic-harvesting” tiles are installed under the Astroturf surface and flex fractionally every time a player takes a step. Each footstep generates around five watts per second. The system is supplemented by solar panels, which together help light the pitch and surrounding area for up to ten hours a night.

blog Brazil

A UK football club has installed the first organic football pitch and eliminated all nitrogen-based fertilizers and chemicals from its ground maintenance.  The club is using a range of plant-derived products, from compost tea and coconut wetting agent through to seaweed fertilizer. Charcoal is also added to the pitch to provide a carbon base for bacteria and fungus.  The additional up-front costs of going organic are offset by savings on the club’s energy bills thanks to the installation of 170 photovoltaic panels, which boast a capacity of 45kW.

In addition, they have an autonomously-driven mower, which produces organic mulch that fertilizes the pitch as it mows.

Read about more innovations regarding recycled turf, LED lighting and an NFL football stadium that runs solely on its 400kW-capacity solar plant.

While the stadiums may comprise a lot of real estate, the new technologies enable them to reduce their footprint in our world.

Having attended an NFL football game last week, you get a good feeling walking into a stadium that you feel is being a good citizen of the planet by making changes to become more sustainable!

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September 29th, 2014
5:23
 

…seems like it’s time for humans to take a cue from them!  Soft bamboo shoots, stems, and leaves are the major food source of the giant panda of China, the red panda of Nepal and the bamboo lemurs of Madagascar.   You’ll often see bamboo in the mix of plants that people give as gifts.  Beautiful to the eye, and yummy in a panda’s tummy, but did you know of the incredible impact of this plant as a highly renewable and eco-friendly material with infinite uses?

A bit of background: Bamboo is one of the fastest-growing plants on Earth.  Bamboo species are found in diverse climates, from cold mountains to hot tropical regions.  Unlike all trees, individual bamboo stems, or culms, emerge from the ground at their full diameter and grow to their full height in a single growing season of three to four months.  A brief life span means culms are ready for harvest and suitable for use in construction within about three to seven years. (Source: Wikipedia  Click the link for more info about bamboo ecology, uses, and history.)

Here is an expansive look at what bamboo can be part of:  Products Made from Bamboo From bamboo beer to bicycles, wind turbine blades, bedsheets, helmets, bathtubs, it is all possible with bamboo!    Lots of great links and discussions on their site.  And check out the video on: Bamboo Renewable Energy.   How will you incorporate bamboo in your contribution to a Smarter Planet?

Bamboo is the main food of the giant panda, making up 99% of its diet.

Bamboo is the main food of the giant panda, making up 99% of its diet.

 

See if ‘a plant life’ is awaiting you: http://www.guaduabamboo.com/partners/

Fun Fact:  There’s actually an American Bamboo Society which was formed in 1979 that has chapters across the U.S.: Promoting the Beauty and Utility of Bamboo… Your source for all things Bamboo, Bamboo Societies, Bamboo Growers and Bamboo Products.  They hold an annual conference and have a bi-monthly Magazine and annual Journal.  Take a look at their site and be inspired!bimonthly Magazine and annual Journal.

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September 19th, 2014
8:59
 

Here’s a novel approach to ‘garaging’ your automobile…it’ll keep you from breaking into a sweat when you enter the vehicle.  Of greater value is the eco-friendly aspect of the whole idea!

Per Jim Kliesch, research associate at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and vehicle analyst for GreenerCars.org, parking in the shade reduces evaporative emissions – gas evaporating from your tank because of the heat (a hot gas tank may result in more evaporation of fuel – which is both wasteful and potentially expensive over the long term.)  Installing solar panels on the rooftop of a car-port keeps your auto cooler AND can generate energy for your home’s electrical system.

While it may take some time to convince the masses, wouldn’t all those parked cars baking in the sun be a neat way to power a mall?  Or a stadium?  How about the parking lots at railway stations being energy producers while the cars owners are elsewhere?  Think of the possibilities – - – and use your own inventiveness to figure out other applications for solar technology!

Solar Carports

 

Check out     ACEEEfor other applications of

energy-efficient technology, jobs, internships, etc!

 

 

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