Energy Efficiency

Sustainable Business

Budget-friendly hotel chains also have the smallest carbon footprints

When choosing an environmentally friendly hotel chain, the best indicator probably isn’t whether the place asks you to hang up your towels if you don’t want them replaced each day. According to a new analysis [PDF] by sustainability company Brighter Planet, budget and mid-range hotels tend to produce the least carbon per room. Topping the list are Vagabond Inn, Red Lion Hotels, and Red Carpet Inns. Travelodge comes in fourth. It’s not a hard and fast rule, but if you want to aim for carbon-friendliness, budget chains are likely the best option: The top performer in the high-end range, Four …

Biofuel

Modern-day DeLorean? Airplane runs on trash

One man’s trash is another man’s airplane fuel. Adventure-seeker Andy Pag aims to obtain funding and become the first person to fly a trash-fueled plane from one end of the U.K. to the other. His aircraft, a microlight plane, will be powered by gasoline made from un-recyclable plastics like bags and packaging. The fuel is made by a British company using Fischer–Tropsch synthesis–a process of making synthetic fuel that dates back to before WWII. Pag says the fuel is worth highlighting because it produces limited CO2, and reduces the volume of plastics that otherwise would go to landfills.

Green Cars

Chinese farmer builds AMAZING solar- and wind-powered car

Electric vehicles are great and all, but they’re not exactly practical for everyone. Like, how’s a farmer in rural China going to a) afford a pricey green car and b) get enough access to electrical outlets and vehicle charging stations? Well, if he’s Tang Zhengping from Beijing’s Tangzhou Wanji Yongle Town, he’ll build his own – and it’ll be AWESOME.

Energy Efficiency

In India, solar-powered ATMs use as much energy as a lightbulb

In urban America, getting money out of the bank means walking a block to the ATM. In rural India, the nearest bank branch might be a day’s journey away. But now a company called Vortex Engineering is using solar power to bring convenient banking to out-of-the-way villages. The key: The company’s ATMs are energy efficient. Vortex calls them the “world’s lowest power consuming ATMs,” and they use just 10 percent of the energy of other banking machines, according to Yale e360. It adds up to about the same amount of energy as a lightbulb. That low energy overheads means that …

Cities

Earth Day revisited: An environmental patriarch on keeping the dream alive

Denis Hayes, the man who coordinated the first Earth Day back in 1970, talks about where the action will be this year, the state of the environmental movement, and why he’s become a green developer.

Energy Efficiency

Scientists build energy-efficient computer out of crabs

Here is an amazing example of humans piggybacking on a natural phenomenon to create an incredibly clever system: crab-based computing. A crab-based computer starts with swarms of crabs. These swarms include hundreds of thousands of crabs that, individually, run every which way but that, as a group, progress in one direction. Even more incredible — when two swarms collide, they merge and start moving along the vector of their combined velocity (hellloooo, high school physics!). So what does this have to do with computing? A team of researchers set up a system where crab behavior would provide the basic logic …

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