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London store is taking the lead

Sometimes all it takes is for a business to possess the constitution and integrity to change a consumer behavior.  Sometimes this is risky, sometimes it doesn’t pay off, and sometimes it pays off handsomely.  I’m talking, in this instance, about Unpackaged, a store that sells foods without any wasteful packaging. Think of those thin plastic bags in American grocery stores.  People shove virtually everything into a bag, bring them to the checkout, then put them in more bags.  Long since a target for environmentalists, the incidental packaging of consumables is a large source of landfill waste. You have no-doubt seen the reusable grocery bags first utilized by healthfood stores decades ago.  Unpackaged took the next step, and required you to …

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99 Solar Balloons

$21 Million.  That’s how much Cool Earth Solar has raised to bring its solar balloons to market.  Using technology called concentrated solar photovoltaics, these balloons focus the sun’s energy onto PV cells.  They’re rugged too.  These balloons can withstand 100 mile-per-hour winds, and decrease costs to rival a natural gas power plant. Another bonus: this technology is scalable, allowing both small and massive installations to be rolled out with relative simplicity. As numerous states begin to implement mandatory alternative energy futures, new technologies are coming out of the gate faster than we can report on them. Read all about it here. Editors note: Read more about Cool Earth Solar from a post I wrote for CleanTechnica.com

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Transonic Combustion Increases Efficiency by 50%

Did you know only 13% of the energy in gasoline is converted to physical motion in your car?  The rest is lost in heat, drivetrain, accessories and idling.  By compressing and heating gasoline before it enters the chamber, Transonic Combustion has increased the efficiency of the internal combustion engine by 50%. Similar to diesel engines, there are no spark plugs to slop-up the process, relying on basic physics.  Alas, the production facility for this new technology won’t be built until 2013.  Rest assured the technology will move by leaps and bounds by then, and probably improve in efficiency, reliability and cost. Besides completely revamping a 100 year old technology, the new systems look super-cool.  Read more about it.

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Awesome underground hotel

An energy efficient underground hotel

What’s cooler than a golf course? A hotel! And what’s cooler than a hotel? An underground hotel built underneath a gold course! Subterranean building is becoming all the rage. Underground buildings are more energy efficient and aesthetically pleasing alternatives to conventional design. This 200 room hotel is currently in the planning phase and will include sunken courtyards to bring natural light to the rooms. We see a future with minimal landscape obstructions and a more beautiful world without compromising space and infrastructure. Source: WebEcoist

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Eco-vending from a super green truck

If this thing’s dad was a roach coach, this apple fell far from the tree.  It is clean, shiny, eco-friendly, and carries good, healthy food!  They call it “EcoVending” (R) and it involves healthy, local food delivered all over Washington, D.C. Built on an American made GEM electric vehicle chassis, this green truck will deliver the above mentioned yummies almsot anywhere.  They’re also opening a few stationary locations in high-traffic areas around DC beginning at the Farragut North Metro Stop.  They’ve got a website, check it out here. Now that’s an eco-innovation!

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Follow-up to electric car innovation post

This is from a comment left by one of our readers on this post: Eco innovation in the form of an electric car Less than 20 car companies applied for $25 BILLION DOLLARS in taxpayer money managed by a certain smug group of people at DOE in order to get loans to make green cars for Americans’. This was not all of DOE that did bad things, just a private cadre of men.There was enough money to help every single one of the car companies that applied. The administrators applied their interpretations of the law in order to benefit the large lobby group-related firms and avoided every one of the “unconnected” companies. The amount of lobby and influence money spent …

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Apple calculates the real environmental impact of their products

Many companies start with this “We package our products in 20% post-consumer content materials” and end there.  Apple took it about 12 step further by evaluating their products’ environmental impact form sourcing materials to consumer use. When Apple identified that 53% of their environmental impact is in the use of their products by the consumer.  Instead of just claiming to have “made our products as efficient as possible”, they outline exactly what that means. They break down energy usage to “milliwatts” and describe how processors stop computing between keystrokes to save minute but important amounts of energy. Read much more at Apple’s website.

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Eco car could be our commute solution

The common fear is that electric cars don’t offer the distance necessary to support the average commuter. However, the average commute is only 24 miles and the typical electric car gets over 60 miles out of one charge. This eco car is just one of many examples and gets 120km range out of a single charge, doubling the previous limit. The car claims to help gridlock by measuring just 2.5m in length. That seems like a lofty claim but it’s the thought that counts.

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Your next house can fold up like the Jetson’s car

Blu, a maker of prefabricated homes, has released a modular home product that folds up. This allows the product to be shipped nationwide, thus further increasing the efficiency of purchasing prefabricated homes. The times of “stick built” homes is limited. 2×4’s are a thing of the past. Conventional construction is over with. Can we say it any other ways? Check them out here.

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Water filter for the developing world

The Tata Group (the folks behind the Nano Smart Car) has created a water filter that uses ash and requires no water pressure or other conventional water infrastructure to operate. What this means for the developing world is a cheap, simple, effective method of producing potable water. Why does this matter? In India alone, Diarrhea will kill 380,000 children this year. Potable, safe water is something developed countries often take for granted and is the difference between life and death in less fortunate parts of the world. Kudos Tata for being both profitable and responsible world citizens. Read More.

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