How emerging technologies are driving circularity, electric transportation and more

October 15, 2018 by  
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Companies like AT&T, McDonald’s and Con Edison turn to grad students and tech innovation to lead on sustainability.

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How emerging technologies are driving circularity, electric transportation and more

These sustainable sunglasses smell like coffee and decompose into fertilizer

October 9, 2018 by  
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In a world headed toward sustainability at every turn, Ochis Coffee is ahead of the curve with its newly-revealed sunglasses made from natural coffee and flax. Unlike standard plastic frames, this coffee-scented eyewear is biodegradable — according to the company, these sunglasses decompose 100 times faster than traditional glasses and become a natural fertilizer for plants . The only thing better than a morning greeted with sunshine is the smell of coffee , which makes the subtle coffee scent of these sunglasses a win-win. The sleek glasses can be fitted for any prescription lenses, or buyers can select one of four colorful UV options. In an innovative design, the temples flex to comfortably fit all face shapes, and the ear-tips can be bent to further improve the fit. Related: HuskeeCup is an eco-friendly cup made entirely from coffee waste The mastermind behind these eco-friendly sunglasses is Max Gavrilenko, who as a child observed as his dad worked in an optical store. Gavrilenko wanted to do things differently though, and after extensive research and development, he is about to launch a Kickstarter campaign to fund the first five sustainable models of the organic sunglasses. Ochis Coffee isn’t the first to focus on sustainable sunglasses. However, while most other companies tend to focus on bamboo products for the frames, Gavrilenko and his team have developed a process that eliminates all petroleum, opting instead for a biopolymer made from coffee cake (not the breakfast kind, but rather compressed coffee grounds), flax sawdust and a natural glue made from soybean oil. If you garden, you know coffee is good for the soil — these frames will naturally decompose at the end of the wear cycle, taking about 10 years to break down and become fertilizer. The Kickstarter campaign is preparing to launch soon. In the meantime, you can sign up on the Ochis Coffee website to receive notifications and discounts. Glasses are expected to be priced between $69-$120. + Ochis Coffee

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These sustainable sunglasses smell like coffee and decompose into fertilizer

This scarf protects against air pollution, allergens and viral infections

October 1, 2018 by  
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Air pollution is a major problem around the world, but one company is helping people stay safe no matter where they live. Bioscarf has created a stylish accessory that doubles as a safety mask for people living in places with high concentrations of pollution. These handy scarves help fight against air pollutants, allergens and viral infections, like the cold and flu. Bioscarf offers its product in a handful of colors, including white, black, green and a camouflage print. Each scarf is made from high-quality polyester and carries the company’s logo. They are roughly 7 feet long and just under a foot wide, making them ideal for burying your face into when cold winds breeze by you. While these scarves are fashionable , they also protect against allergens and viral infections. This includes the cold and influenza, both of which are common infections that become a problem every year in larger urban areas. Related: Scientists find air pollution leads to significant decline in cognition The scarves work by filtering out more than 94 percent of contaminants in the air , keeping you just as healthy as a traditional safety mask. According to the company, testing showed that the Bioscarf filtered nearly 100 percent of airborne particulates with a size 0.1 or larger, including pneumonia, step throat, influenza, tuberculosis, animal dander, pollen and cigarette smoke. Co-founder Hazel Solle was inspired to create the scarf after a vacation to China with her family. Her husband, Carlton, got sick overseas, and a doctor told them it was likely because of the air pollution. The doctor recommended they wear masks, inspiring the couple to think of a better solution. Hazel also recalled growing up in Costa Rica and making tiny scarves out of leftover materials for her dolls. The idea hit her that scarves could double as fashion pieces and air pollution masks. In addition to its scarf lineup, the company also has a special program where it donates a scarf to charity for each one it sells — a great incentive for consumers who want to help those in need. “Experts say that over 2 billion kids around the world are breathing toxic air and nobody is talking about it,” Hazel said.“It’s time to not only raise awareness about this issue, but to more importantly give many of the people at risk who don’t have the means to protect themselves something to help them combat air pollution on a daily basis.” + Bioscarf

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This scarf protects against air pollution, allergens and viral infections

This eco-friendly wooden laptop is designed to curb e-waste

September 28, 2018 by  
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The innovators at iameco (“I Am Eco”) have created a new sustainable laptop to accompany their lineup of eco-friendly tech, including a desktop model and computer accessories. The Dublin group took a look at computers on the market and became frustrated with the e-waste , the earth-damaging materials and the toxic chemicals used in mainstream technology. So, the team decided to do something about it by first creating an eco-friendly, touchscreen PC and then a new wooden laptop with the same environmental principles as their original product. The sustainability of iameco products starts with the design, which focuses on longevity. The company claims that its computers run about three times longer than other products on the market. With systems that last up to 10 years, this green technology creates quite a reduction in the stream of e-waste. We know what you might be thinking — the world of technology moves too fast for any computer to be useful for 10 years. Well, iameco has that covered, too. The engineers created a modular design, meaning that individual components of the laptops can be updated as they wear out or upgrades become available. Related: Wooden-framed “iameco” computer reduces environmental impacts In addition to making interchangeable parts to reduce waste, the company also eliminated the toxic chemicals used in common manufacturing, such as lead, cadmium, mercury, PVCs and brominated flame retardants. That means a healthier user as well as a healthier planet. Plus, the laptops use one-third less energy than other models available and have ditched the petroleum-based plastics found in standard computers. Instead, the team uses natural ash, maple and beech harvested from sustainable forests for the laptops’ construction. The d4r laptop model cuts 75 percent off the required water consumption during production and achieves a 70 percent reuse and recycling rate. Meanwhile, the company’s v.3 touchscreen computer is the first to ever receive the EU Eco Flower certification, which enforces stringent environmental standards. The company didn’t stop with computers — iameco also designs durable accessories, like keyboards and computer mice, made out of sustainable wood. In an industry with few accolades in the earth-friendly category, iameco comes out a clear winner for smart design, durability, interchangeability and e-waste reduction. + iameco Images via iameco

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This eco-friendly wooden laptop is designed to curb e-waste

The bio-based material that’s stronger than spider silk

September 19, 2018 by  
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Its secret ingredient: cellulose nanofibers commonly found in trees and plants.

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The bio-based material that’s stronger than spider silk

What role do incubators play in the clean economy?

September 19, 2018 by  
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“Humanizing the startup process” can be one step toward a circular economy.

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What role do incubators play in the clean economy?

What sub-Saharan Africa shows us about serving communities that are ‘under the grid’

September 19, 2018 by  
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Entrepreneurs are increasingly investing in clean minigrids to cover unreliable utility services.

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What sub-Saharan Africa shows us about serving communities that are ‘under the grid’

Solar-powered autonomous car could revolutionize travel

September 5, 2018 by  
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There’s finally hope for those tired of waiting on mile-long taxi stands at the airport. Developed by architect Steve Lee of Los Angeles-based Aprilli Design Studio , the Autonomous Travel Suite is a solar-powered electric vehicle that could revolutionize the future of travel and urban design. Lee was inspired to create the driverless  mobile suites to provide travelers with a comfortable door-to-door transportation service, complete with a memory foam mattress, kitchen and mini bar, a washroom and work space. Recently chosen as a finalist in the Radical Innovation Awards , the self-driving hotel suite would be part of an Autonomous Hotel Chain. Conceptualized as a personal rental car and hotel room, the self-driving cars are meant to be an extension of what Lee calls a “parent suite,” offering all of the comforts of a luxury suite while on the road. Related: GM unveils new self-driving car with no pedals and no steering wheel When not in use, the solar-powered cars would charge in a docking facility at the main hotel, of which the mobile unit would serve as an extension. Guests would be able to choose between different room types and sizes at different prices, and they could order custom features, such as a televisions or extra beds. The futuristic design was created with the busy traveler in mind, offering a driverless, door-to-door car service  that would allow guests to work or rest while on the go. The car interiors would include a foam mattress, a wash room and a working space, along with ample storage for luggage. In addition to the comfy living area, the suites would be built with smart glass, which can be dimmed for privacy. At the moment, the driverless hotel suite on wheels is just a concept, but Lee maintains that its real-world cost would be beneficial to travelers. Pricing would be cost-effective, because the solar-powered cars would bundle both transportation and lodging. + Aprilli Design Suite Via Curbed Images via Radical Innovation Awards

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Solar-powered autonomous car could revolutionize travel

DIY kits help explorers transform Sprinter vans into rugged adventure vehicles

August 28, 2018 by  
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Having spent years transforming Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans into adventure vehicles, Oregon-based Zenvanz is known for using top-of-the line materials, such as bamboo , to transform van interiors into sleek, sophisticated living spaces. Now, the prolific company is putting its superior design knowledge into helpful DIY kits that allow road warriors to convert their own vans into a bespoke homes on wheels. Zenvanz has spent years perfecting its ingenious van conversion methods, which are geared toward providing adventure-seekers with durable and comfortable roaming homes . The company’s strategic modular systems have been specifically designed to make the most out of the space available with the ethos of providing “maximized livability using minimal space.” Related: This pop-up camper transforms any truck into a tiny mobile home in seconds Along with a host of quality materials, the company uses its signature feature, bamboo, to transform open Sprinter van interiors into sophisticated and space-efficient living spaces. Every retrofit focuses on providing the utmost when it comes to combining the desire for travel and adventure with the need to be comfortable on the road. The interiors are clad in cabinets that are made from lightweight aluminum and eco-friendly bamboo to ensure optimal storage. In addition to providing turn-key vehicles, the company now offers DIY kits for van owners who want to hit the road in comfort and style. The kits, which include everything from bedding and storage to kitchens and showers, are easy to install using bolts instead of screws in an effortless installation process that ensures easy access to the electrical systems, wiring and more. According to the Zenvanz team, the strategic DIY kits were designed with flexibility and longevity in mind. The kits guarantee a quick and easy van conversion for either the full-time adventurer or those who just need a weekend on the open road once in a while. The modular panels are entirely removable, meaning that the vans can be reverted to their original stock interiors just by turning a few bolts. + Zenvanz Via Uncrate Images via Zenvanz

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DIY kits help explorers transform Sprinter vans into rugged adventure vehicles

Episode 137: Greener plastics, electrifying everything and (yes) another blockchain app

August 24, 2018 by  
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Plus, some insight into Southern California Edison’s strategy for electrifying transportation and building thermal loads.

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Episode 137: Greener plastics, electrifying everything and (yes) another blockchain app

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