How Sweden plans to heat homes with internet searches

February 21, 2017 by  
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Emails and Instagram photos don’t come without a carbon footprint : they’re stored in data centers which continually battle excess heat and suck up electricity to cool servers. But Stockholm, Sweden recently came up with a rather ingenious use for all that waste heat : what if it could warm homes instead? Most data centers aren’t very environmentally friendly. According to one estimate, they consume roughly the same amount of power as the airline industry, and the amount of electricity used in the centers could triple during the upcoming decade. But data center heat could help cities transition away from fossil fuels in a major way. Just one 10-megawatt data center can provide enough heat for 20,000 apartments. Related: Why Microsoft is dropping data centers on the ocean floor Stockholm started an initiative, Stockholm Data Parks , for their vision of “a data center industry where no heat is wasted.” Under the initiative, renewable energy will power data centers, and heat produced will be sold to district heating company Fortum Värme , which has been looking to biomass or waste heat to provide heating instead of fossil fuels. The presence of a district heating system sets Stockholm up to utilize data center heat on a large scale. Stockholm’s district heating system has already begun working with small data centers, and Stockholm Data Parks said on their website they will bring together, prepare, and offer “all necessary infrastructure elements at attractive greenfield and brownfield sites suited for data center activity.” Power grid operator Ellevio and dark fiber provider Stokab are participating in the initiative along with Fortum Värme. Some data centers do operate on renewable energy, but if their excess heat could go to a district heating system, Stockholm’s data centers could even become carbon positive. A 10-megawatt center could lower emissions by 8,000 metric tons. Since Stockholm’s goal is to go fossil fuel free by 2040, the Stockholm Data Parks vision could push the country closer to that target. + Stockholm Data Parks Via Fast Company’s Co.Exist Images via Pexels and Stockholm Data Parks

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How Sweden plans to heat homes with internet searches

Uranium from seawater could provide an "endless" supply of nuclear energy

February 21, 2017 by  
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No discussion of a post-carbon future can be complete without raising the specter of nuclear power. Although it’s a contentious subject, any concerns about large-scale adoption have been largely rendered moot by the fact that the world’s uranium deposits are finite—and dwindling. Stanford researchers are convinced, however, that the solution may lie in seawater, which contains trace amounts of the radioactive metal. “Concentrations are tiny, on the order of a single grain of salt dissolved in a liter of water,” said Yi Cui, a materials scientist who co-authored a paper on the subject in the journal Nature Energy . “But the oceans are so vast that if we can extract these trace amounts cost effectively, the supply would be endless.” Wind and solar power are gaining traction, but some experts say that they’re still too intermittent to be truly reliable in the long term. “We need nuclear power as a bridge toward a post-fossil-fuel future,” said Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist and former U.S. secretary of energy who championed seawater extraction research before he left the Department of Energy for Stanford. A co-author of the paper, he noted that nuclear power currently accounts for 20 percent of U.S. electricity and 13 percent worldwide. A practical way of extracting uranium from seawater, he added, could go a long way to bolstering the energy security of countries that rely on nuclear power but lack uranium reserves of their own. “Seawater extraction gives countries that don’t have land-based uranium the security that comes from knowing they’ll have the raw material to meet their energy needs,” he said. Related: Uranium extracted from the oceans could power cities for thousands of years Although many have attempted to harness the oceans’ uranium before, previous efforts have failed to yield sufficient quantities in a fiscally meaningful way. Till now, anyway. Uranium doesn’t bob freely on the waves, of course. In seawater, the element combines chemically with oxygen to form positively charged ions called uranyl. Building on years of prior research, the Stanford team refined a technique that involves dipping plastic fibers containing a uranyl-attracting compound called amidoxime in seawater. When the strands become saturated with the ions, the plastic is chemically treated to free the uranyl, which can be refined for use in reactors – much like you would do with ore. By tinkering with different variables, the researchers were able to create a fiber that captured nine times as much uranyl as previous attempts without becoming saturated. Sending electrical pulses down the fiber collected even more uranyl ions. “We have a lot of work to do still but these are big steps toward practicality,” Cui said. + Stanford University Via Engadget Top photo by apasciuto

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Uranium from seawater could provide an "endless" supply of nuclear energy

Spain’s Cubic GG Bioclimatic House Cuts Heating Bills by 76.77%

June 5, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of Spain’s Cubic GG Bioclimatic House Cuts Heating Bills by 76.77% Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Bioclimatic House by Alventosa Morell Arquitectes , bioclimatic survey , eco-friendly cabin outside Barcelona , greenhouse effect , high thermal resistance envelope , modular wooden cabin , pasivhaus building standards , prefabricated wooden cabin , solar collectors

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Spain’s Cubic GG Bioclimatic House Cuts Heating Bills by 76.77%

Infographic: Why 9 Million Wood Stoves Should be Upgraded in the United States

November 25, 2013 by  
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According to the EPA, more than 12 million American households heat their homes with wood stoves, yet 75% of those stoves are dirty and inefficient. For those with outdated wood stoves, transitioning to a new EPA-certified model can reduce emissions by 70% while creating a healthier and safer home. Schott just launched a new infographic that shows the benefits of modern wood stoves and explains why you should make the switch today – check it out after the jump! Read the rest of Infographic: Why 9 Million Wood Stoves Should be Upgraded in the United States Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “energy efficiency” , climate control , efficient wood stove , energy-efficient wood stove , Green Building , green design , heating , infographic , sustainable design , wood stove        

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Infographic: Why 9 Million Wood Stoves Should be Upgraded in the United States

Passive House Infographic Shows the Benefits of Building Efficient, Tightly Insulated Homes

July 25, 2013 by  
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Does insulation excite you? No? Well how about a house with zero heating bill? If you’ve been reading Inhabitat for a while there’s a good chance you know what a passive house is. These super insulated, air tight, energy-efficient homes come in all shapes and sizes – but do you know why they’re so efficient? They don’t leak heat – which means they don’t need much heating to maintain a comfortable indoor climate. Take a look at the infographic above, which compares the heat gain and heat loss for passive, modern, and leaky houses, and you can read more at Shrink That Footprint . + Shrink That Footprint The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link . Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing! Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “energy efficiency” , “sustainable architecture” , cooling , efficient home , energy conservation , green architecture , Green Building , heating , hvac , infographic , insulation , passive house , passivhaus        

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Passive House Infographic Shows the Benefits of Building Efficient, Tightly Insulated Homes

‘Comploo’ Design Heated Entirely by Organic Waste

February 21, 2010 by  
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Architects from the Japanese design firm Bakoko have developed a circular structure, called the Comploo, that could be the perfect sustainable compliment to Japanese Tea Gardens during chilly winters–heated by a unique composting system built in the walls. Designers say that the heat captured from the organic waste breaking-down could heat the space to temperatures nearly 120º F, all while producing compost for the garden. …

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‘Comploo’ Design Heated Entirely by Organic Waste

Holiday Inn to Offer Human Bed Warmers

January 27, 2010 by  
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Image credit: NY Daily News File this one under ‘Life Imitates The Onion’, if you like, but news is out that The Holiday Inn will next week be offering guests the option of ‘human bed warmers’ to keep them cozy at night at 3 of its UK locations. All guests have to do is request the service and a willing staff member will dress in an all-in-one fleece sleeper suit before slipping between the sheets.

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Holiday Inn to Offer Human Bed Warmers

7 Short and Senseless Flights We’d Love to Ban

January 27, 2010 by  
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Image via Earth Island Institute . Sometimes it’s better to drive. Whether that means you carpool , rent a car , or take public transportation the fact of the matter is that you’d blow more carbon emissions if you traveled by airplane.

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7 Short and Senseless Flights We’d Love to Ban

GEO Power System Preheats and Precools The Air with a Vertical Earth Tube

November 18, 2009 by  
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One of the most important components of a tightly sealed house or a super-sealed Passive House is a fresh air system. Often they are heat recovery ventilators, and others have used earth tubes running under the home or in the garden

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GEO Power System Preheats and Precools The Air with a Vertical Earth Tube

breathe easy.

November 15, 2009 by  
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Whether it’s rain or snow, most of us are approaching the time of the year when we begin to spend more time indoors, leaving the fresh outdoors ’til spring. Now is the time to check your furnace filter to ensure good indoor air quality and furnace fan efficiency. Furnace filters are used to remove visible and microscopic contaminants from the air circulated by the Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems in our homes.

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breathe easy.

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