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Archive for November, 2011

Sharing Energy Makeover Costs

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on November 28th, 2011

Source: Climate Spectator


Photo by Yemisi Blake via flickr CC

From “Free energy makeovers drive growth for Siemens” by Natalia Drozdiak (Reuters):

One of Berlin’s most famous universities is getting a free green makeover that will slash its energy bill by nearly a third under an increasingly popular type of efficiency contract.

With engineering companies looking for new ways to drive growth in a tough economic environment, and the public sector finding it difficult to invest on stretched budgets, the deal between Siemens and the University of the Arts is a template for more. Under a ‘buy now pay later’ scheme, worth about 1.1 million euros, the UdK has turned its heating, cooling and lighting over to Siemens to renovate. In return Siemens gets to keep a substantial part of the savings that the scheme generates: since 2004 it has cut energy consumption by about 28 percent each year, reaping annual savings of about 240,000 euros. After the 10-year contract expires and the renovation has been paid for, the university gets to keep all the savings.

Read the full article by Natalia Drozdiak.


Low-Tech Transferable Designs: Pictorial Manuals

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on November 23rd, 2011

Source: No Tech Magazine

From “When Low-Tech Goes IKEA” edited by Deva Lee:

What happens when two industrial design students from Sweden end up in Kenya creating a pedal powered machine for small-scale farmers who are often illiterate and speak more than 60 languages? You get a do-it-yourself design that seems to have come out of the IKEA factories – pictorial manuals included. “Made in Kenya“, the bachelor project of Niklas Kull and Gabriella Rubin, is a textbook example of low-tech made accessible to everybody, regardless of their native tongue and language skills. […]

The students had two aims for their project: to improve the economic conditions of the local small-scale farmers, who make up three quarters of the workforce in the country, and to stimulate the local manufacturing industry. At present, Kenya lacks an industrial-scale manufacturing industry and is highly dependent on the import of goods. The juice extractor is of a capacity and cost that would allow a small group of neighbouring farmers to invest collectively in a small production facility. To keep production costs low, ensure availability in rural areas and promote the domestic manufacturing capacity, the pedal-powered machine does not require complex components or manufacturing methods.  The design manual is aimed at the Jua Kali – the informal manufacturing sector which represents an estimated six million of the Kenyan workforce. With limited capital, modest workshop facilities and narrow access to raw materials, these self-employed blacksmiths and carpenters make handmade products – such as agricultural implements, hand tools and kitchen utensils – at a lower price than the imported goods.

Read the full article on No Tech Magazine.


FoodPool: Re-distribution at the neighbourhood scale

Posted in Models, Movements, Visions by Kate Archdeacon on November 18th, 2011

Via  City Harvest


Photo by T Gibbison via flickr CC

About FoodPool:

Our backyards are home to a wealth of gardens and fruit trees, many of which bear more produce than the gardener can consume, or more at one time than is desired. Often people end up with piles of unwanted zucchini, plums falling off trees to rot on the ground, peas that grow old and hard before they can be picked and shelled, and other garden produce that goes to waste. At FoodPool, we see the “problem” of excess garden abundance as an opportunity! It is an opportunity to help provide those in need with fresh, ripe, homegrown produce. The only obstacle lies in linking growers with their hungry neighbors.

Our answer is FoodPooling. Our mission is to create small, local groups to gather backyard garden produce and deliver it to food banks and food pantries. These “FoodPools” are modeled on carpools – neighborhood based, easy to set up, and a big win for everyone involved! By creating numerous small, local groups, we feed our neighbors while strengthening our communities.

Through the influence of people like Michelle Obama, Michael Pollan, Alice Waters, and many others, more and more people are returning to growing fruits and vegetables in their yards. At the same time, due to a host of factors, there is an ever increasing number of Americans going hungry, eating food of questionable nutritional value, and without access to quality produce. Now more than ever there is a real need for a garden produce donation program on a national scale – hence, FoodPool.

There are already groups gleaning produce in various places – groups whose work we heartily applaud. What makes FoodPool different from existing organizations that gather and donate fruit and/or vegetables is our goal of actively building a network of new gleaning groups in places where they don’t already exist. We seek to spread the notion of assisting the hungry with backyard produce through promotion of this FoodPool “brand” on a national scale.

Find out more on the FoodPool website.


Apartment Food Gardens: Public and private spaces

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on November 14th, 2011

Source: Permaculture Global


Photo by Jason Gerhardt

Permaculture designer Jason Gerhardt and his partner moved from the country into a city apartment in Boulder, Colorado, just over a year ago.  While they appreciated being in a home which had a smaller footprint and connected to local markets and bike access, the loss of food-growing space presented a challenge at first:

“The biggest challenge was how I was going to come up with 50 large containers to grow food in. We had 4-5 large containers that we used to grow tomatoes in in the mountains, but nothing more. The design for the containers was rather specific in that they needed to be large enough to support the growth of crops like peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, cabbages, etc. We also need the containers to be light in color so as not to over heat from the strong direct sun that our climate affords us. Lastly, I needed the containers to be attractive so my neighbors and the homeowners association wouldn’t cause a stir. I began to search online trading posts such as craigslist, but only acquired three big containers that way. These were nice ceramic and wooden containers, but too expensive to furnish the whole patio with. I then happened upon a huge supply of full sized 5 gallon buckets from a mead maker in an industrial strip down the road. I realized they weren’t the most attractive option, but they were free, salvaged from the wastestream, light in color, and large enough. I decided to use the buckets on my private patio area and put the more attractive containers down by the street and in view of the public.”

Read the full article by Jason Gerhardt to find out more about the design of the planters, the soil mix they used, and the yields they had in this first year.


Solar Energy from Existing Structures: Free Calculator

Posted in Research by Kate Archdeacon on November 11th, 2011

Source: Renewables International


Image from SEES Manual


From New software calculates a city’s potential by Sven Ullrich & Craig Morris:

Researchers at the University of Göteborg in Sweden have come up with a new computer program to analyze the potential of solar power generation and solar heat for entire cities. The program supports a wide range of data formats.

Called Solar Energy from Existing Structures (SEES), the new software collects, stores, analyzes, and graphically displays geographical data for roofs to determine their suitability for solar arrays. It calculates both the angle of solar incidence and shading from trees and nearby structures. In addition to this data, the roof angle and climate data are included with a resolution of up to an hour. The program shows building roofs in their actual environment. In the model, the sun shines on the building’s three-dimensional surroundings to correctly reveal shading, which can also be calculated for individual months and the year as a whole.

Read the full article by Sven Ullrich & Craig Morris on Renewables International.


Mo-bility: Design Concept for Integrated Transport Credits

Posted in Visions by Kate Archdeacon on November 9th, 2011

Via Sustainable Cities Collective

mo“ – a flexible mobility system for the city of tomorrow

mo is a new mobility system – it helps make the city a better place to live. mo subscribers can rent bikes, cargobikes, ebikes and cars or use public transportation with just one card. With mo it pays to be eco-friendly: choose an eco-friendly transport or use your own bike to collect momiles. The more momiles the lower your bill. For instance if you mostly ride bikes, renting a car gets cheaper. Cycle and save money.

About the design concept: Under the direction of Munich design agency LUNAR Europe, a “human-centred” design process has been used to develop an innovative mobility system by the name of “mo”. The concept study, developed in collaboration with environmental organisation Green City e.V. and the University of Wuppertal, is based on a flexible, affordable and sustainable combination of bike rental systems, local public transport and car sharing.

>> Read more about mo.



Working Together Towards a Sustainable World: Call for Papers

Posted in Events, Research, seeking by Kate Archdeacon on November 7th, 2011

The International Academic Forum in conjunction with its global partners is proud to announce the Second Annual Asian Conference on Sustainability, Energy and the Environment, to be held from May 3-6 2012, at the Ramada Osaka, Osaka, Japan.

CONFERENCE THEME: “Working Together Towards a Sustainable World”

Sustainability has emerged as the most important global issue for business, industry, government, and academia, and yet to begin with sustainability was associated only with environmental concerns such as energy and global warming. It is now recognized that the concept of sustainability is applicable to all areas of human society, for example in terms of social/economic justice, or responsible business practice. Issues such as poverty, hunger, education, health care, and access to markets should be a part of the evolution of any comprehensive sustainability paradigm as we work together to achieve a sustainable future.

ACSEE 2012 will address these various dimensions of human sustainability as we invite scholars from around the world to address questions and search for solutions to the complex issues surrounding sustainability in a forum encouraging serious and thoughtful exchange between academics, members of the global business community, and practitioners in the fields of human endeavor that link these.

We call on scientists from around the globe to meet and share our respective outlooks and collective wisdom on a critical issue of common concern: the pursuit of a sustainable world. It is a sincere hope that attendees will use this time together, not just for intellectual discovery and discourse, but to establish a common vision and to motivate each other to do our part in the creation of a better world. We greatly appreciate your attendance and encourage your active engagement throughout the conference.

Call for Papers Now Open: Abstract Submissions Deadline February 1 2012

Visit the website for more information.


Low-Tech Vertical Veggie Gardens

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on November 3rd, 2011

Source: Nourishing the Planet: Worldwatch Institute


Photo: Roots of Health

From “Working With the Community to Foster Deep Roots of Health” by Molly Theobald:

Roots of Health, an organization based on the island of Palawan in the Philippines, views maternal and reproductive health as concerns that impact the well-being of entire communities.[…]

Roots of Health and its staff of young nurses and teachers, work directly with mothers and children, to bring reproductive and maternal health, nutrition, and education into the community.[…]

Roots of Health is also providing families with the tools they need to improve their nutrition.

One of these tools is a vertical garden—a large plastic drum with 40 holes cut evenly around the sides. These holes create an area for planting that is more than six times greater than the top surface of the container. The drum is filled with compost-enriched soil and planted with seeds such as eggplant, chili, pumpkin, okra and various indigenous leafy greens such as alugbati and pechay. Straw is used on the top surface as a mulch to help the soil retain moisture and nutrients.

The soil used in the vertical gardens is a homemade mixture of soil, charcoal, which acts as a conditioner, limestone, to reduce the acidity, and compost, to add additional nutrients to the soil. In this way, the vertical garden is its own self-contained and fertile growing space, producing healthy and nutrient rich harvests that are isolated from ground pollutants and pests.The organization prefers to use the plastic drums because the plastic stands up best in the humid, tropical weather, explained Marcus Swanepoel, Media and Program Manager for Roots of Health.

The drums cost approximately $15 USD each and the organization provides them to families in exchange for a small deposit. The vegetables grown in these vertical gardens not only help to improve nutrition for mothers and their children, they are also helping to diversify the diets of the entire community. Each drum produces enough food to supplement household diets, with surplus left over to be sold within the community. And households have really made the vertical gardens their own, adds Marcus. “I know some families that have set up poles on the top of the drums in order to grow beans—that isn’t something we taught them to do. They are doing it all on their own.”[…]

Read the full article by Molly Theobald, or visit the Roots of Health website.


Design with the Other 90%: Cities

Posted in Events, Models by Kate Archdeacon on November 1st, 2011


Photo: iTrump: Warwick Junction

Design with the Other 90%: CITIES features sixty projects, proposals, and solutions that address the complex issues arising from the unprecedented rise of informal settlements in emerging and developing economies. Divided into six themes—Exchange, Reveal, Adapt, Include, Prosper and Access—to help orient the visitor, the exhibition shines the spotlight on communities, designers, architects, and private, civic, and public organizations that are working together to formulate innovative approaches to urban planning, affordable housing, entrepreneurship, nonformal education, public health, and more.

Design with the Other 90%: CITIES is the second in a series of themed exhibitions that demonstrate how design can be a dynamic force in transforming and, in many cases, saving lives. The first exhibition, in 2007, Design for the Other 90%, focused on design solutions that addressed the most basic needs of the 90% of the world’s population not traditionally served by professional designers.

Organized by Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Design with the Other 90%: CITIES will be on view at the United Nations in New York City from October 17,2011 through January 9, 2012, and is available to travel in the United States and internationally beginning February 2012.

http://designother90.org/cities/home

Check out iTRUMP: Warwick Junction – a transformation of informal markets in Durban to flexible, low-cost structures and furnishings that support the local economy and provide opportunities for other industries to develop. KA