Sustainable Business

Renewable Energy

Soon, your toilet could heat your apartment building

Now you can dump energy waste just by, well, taking a massive dump. Green tech company OriginOil is working on a project that uses toilet wastewater as a way to heat apartment buildings. OriginOil, a start-up based in Los Angeles, CA., has begun a pilot of its urban algae farm concept at the La Défense complex near Paris. Wastewater from buildings nourishes algae growth; algae is processed to make heat. The company is attempting to prove that integrating algae production into large building complexes will help bring them closer to net zero.

Biking

Need a ride? Check out London’s mobile bike library

A bus and a library make most people think of boring days locked inside a school — unless that bus holds an AWESOME mobile bike library! Meet London’s Bicycle Library: This roving bike provider lets Londoners “check out” a bike, just as they might check out a book from a public library (although the bike library requires a small deposit, too). The librarians provide on-site expertise to teach you about the art and science of bicycles. There’s even a bicycle matchmaking service where a librarian can match you with your true love on two wheels. Given that you can choose …

Climate & Energy

New Melbourne restaurant runs on your pee

Melbourne’s Greenhouse restaurant wants your patronage. But more importantly, it wants your pee. That’s right — this pop-up restaurant, which is open from March 2 through the 21st in honor of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, wants you to get all up in its custom-made toilets. The green eatery is collecting human urine and using it to fertilize soybean and canola crops. The restaurant, which is designed by Joost Bakker who is clearly a maniac, then uses unrefined canola oil to generate electricity for all of its operations. Urine may seem an unorthodox energy source, but it is actually …

Business & Technology

Batteries could make power grid unnecessary in some countries

Aquion specializes in making large batteries, cheaply. They don’t look like much -- they live in a former TV factory outside Pittsburgh, and you'll probably never buy any of their products.

Infrastructure

A road made of crushed toilets

"Poticrete" is what Bellingham, Washington is calling their new road material, which incorporates ground-up toilets. Clever!

Business & Technology

Why your iThings don’t have to be weCruel

Does Apple really have no choice but to build your iPad and iPhone unsustainably, exploiting workers and resources? Not once you realize how the devices' costs break down.

Green Living Tips

Ask Umbra: What’s the greenest business card?

A reader wonders how to network sustainably. Umbra consults the cards.

Green Home

House fit for a green: Sustainable home construction booms

With the value of the residential green building market expected to grow fivefold by 2016, builders say going green is great for their business.

Business & Technology

The Facebook of ride-sharing has arrived

Got a road trip coming up? Why not use Ridejoy to save yourself the gas money and maybe make a new friend in the process?

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