Tesla begins production of solar roof tiles in Buffalo, New York

September 4, 2017 by  
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It’s official! Tesla has started producing solar roof tiles at its factory in Buffalo, New York. Several hundred employees and machines have been installed in the 1.2 million-square-foot factory, and they are now creating  tiles that can harness the sun’s energy without compromising the appearance of a roof. The company is already installing solar roofs but has been making them on a small scale near its vehicle factory in Fremont, California. Now that the factory in Buffalo is running, production is expected to increase substantially. Reportedly, traditional solar panels will also be produced in the factory. AP News reports that Tesla’s partner, Panasonic Corp ., will produce the photovoltaic cells while Tesla workers combine them into modules that fit into the solar tiles. Said JB Straubel, Tesla’s Chief Technical Officer, “By the end of this year we will have the ramp-up of solar roof modules started in a substantial way. This is an interim milestone that we’re pretty proud of.” SolarCity was acquired by Tesla last year for around $2 billion. It was run by cousins of Tesla CEO Elon Musk , who sat on the company’s board. Straubel said, “This factory, and the opportunity to build solar modules and cells in the U.S., was part of why this project made sense.” Related: Tesla and SolarCity power an entire island with nearly 100% solar According to Straubel, Tesla’s goal is to reach two gigawatts of cell production annually at the Buffalo plant — more than the initial target of one gigawatt by 2019. As The Washington Post reports, one gigawatt is equal to the annual output of a large nuclear or coal-fired power plant . “So it’s like we’re eliminating one of those every single year,” Straubel said. Tesla has not revealed how many customers have ordered the solar roof tiles. However, Straubel said demand is strong and that orders will keep the company occupied until the end of next year. Both he and Musk have the solar tiles installed on their roofs. Via AP News, The Washington Post Images via Tesla

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Tesla begins production of solar roof tiles in Buffalo, New York

10 vegan sources of protein you can grow at home

September 4, 2017 by  
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When most people go vegan , the number one question that tends to get asked of them is usually “where are you going to get your protein from?” Sound familiar? Yes, protein is indeed an important part of a healthy diet, and if you’re keen on growing your own food, it’s a good idea to have a few solid sources growing in amongst your herbs and lettuces . Read on to discover 10 delicious, plant-based, nutrient-dense foods you can cultivate in your own garden . Amaranth This gorgeous plant can be grown pretty much anywhere, and its seeds are an incredibly rich source of protein. Those seeds can be cooked like quinoa as a pseudo grain into a gorgeous, crunchy dish that can be served either savory or sweet. Try cooking it like breakfast porridge with cinnamon, apples, and maple syrup. Amaranth leaves are also edible, and are prepared in the same way spinach is. Those leaves don’t have as much protein as the seeds, but they do have some protein content, as well as iron and calcium. Squash and Pumpkin Seeds Growing pumpkins and squash is a lot of fun, and serves multiple purposes, especially if you grow small, easy-to-manage varieties like Luxury Pie Pumpkin or Lakota Squash. Not only can you carve these hardy gourds to creep out your neighbors at Halloween, you can eat the vegetables’ flesh in soups, pies, and muffins, and then roast those glorious seeds of theirs into crunchy, protein-rich snacks. Sunflower Seeds Not only are sunflower seeds incredibly high in protein, they also have very high levels of magnesium and vitamin B6. Sunflowers are gorgeous, sunny additions to anyone’s garden, and in addition to providing you with nutrient-dense food, they’ll also attract pollinators to your yard. In permaculture , they’re often referred to as the fourth sister in the traditional guild of corn, beans, and squash: beans can climb up sunflower stalks, and they draw bees over to fertilize other crops. Green Peas These tasty little gems are packed with protein, vitamin C, vitamin A, and potassium (the latter being great for alleviating winter depression) and are as delicious as they are pretty to look at. Even better, peas are incredibly easy to cultivate, and can be grown indoors as well as out in your garden, which is great for adding some edible greenery to your living space over the winter months. Related: How to maximize your south-facing windows to grow food all winter Green Beans Just 1/2 a cup of fresh green beans contain about four grams of protein, and they’re a great source of vitamin B6 as well. You can cultivate either pole or bush varieties, and you can pick the haricots verts right off the vine while they’re new. Just steam them or sautee them lightly, and serve with a bit of Earth Balance or a drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a dash of salt. Dry Beans If you let those green beans mature fully, the seeds within will ripen into the rich, creamy beans we use for everything from soups and stews to chili, or even brownies. Beans are one of the top protein sources for people around the world, and they’re also full of magnesium, fiber, and iron. There are so many different types that you can cultivate, from creamy white Hutterite soup bush beans to spotted, fuchsia scarlet runner pole beans. All are delicious, easy to grow, and ideal for any vegan diet. You can even sprout them for a raw, crunchy snack. Related: How to sprout seeds and beans on your kitchen counter Groundnuts Are you familiar with these wonderful little tubers?  Apios americana , also known as the potato bean, is a perennial, indigenous North American vine with tuber roots that taste… well, mildly like potatoes. Groundnuts have 17 percent crude protein (that’s three times the amount of a regular potato), and thrive in damp woodlands without a lot of direct light. You can boil them, mash them, stick them in a stew… anything you’d do with a regular or sweet potato, and since they’re perennial, they’ll come back year after year. Hazelnuts Hazelnut (filbert) bushes don’t take up a lot of space, and start producing nuts more quickly than nut-bearing trees like walnuts, pecans, or chesnuts. If you plant 2- or 3-year-old bushes, you’ll be able to harvest nuts even more quickly. Hazelnut bushes can thrive in almost any soil type, but need full sun for a good 4–6 hours a day. In addition to protein, each nut will also provide you with calcium, magnesium, iron, and vitamin C. How’s that for a nutrient-dense powerhouse? Peanuts People who don’t suffer from peanut allergies can grow these fabulous plants as easily as they can grow potatoes. Although they thrive best in warmer, southern climates, those of you who live a bit further north can also grow them with ease: you’ll just need to get cultivars that do well in a cooler climate with a shorter growing season. They’ll need about 100 frost-free days to reach maturity, and since they’re tropical, they’ll need to be grown in the warmest, sunniest spot you can offer them. Kale Adding this one in for honorable mention, but with good cause: most people don’t realize just how much protein leafy greens have to offer, and kale is one of the easiest (and tastiest) members of the brassica family that you can grow. It also has a crazy-high amount of both vitamin C and vitamin A, and you can eat it at any stage of its development: use the baby greens in salads, maturing leaves in salads or smoothies, and braise the older leaves like you would cook collard greens. Whenever possible, aim to cultivate heirloom, organic seeds in your garden, and be sure to share those seeds with your friends and neighbors so they can grow them in their own yards! Biodiversity is incredibly important, and by choosing organic seeds, you help ensure future plant generations are healthy, and unsullied by genetic machinations thanks to companies like Monsanto. Photos via Unsplash and Wikimedia Commons

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Translucent Ho Chi Minh City office tower infused with greenery helps combat urban pollution

September 4, 2017 by  
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The nature-loving firm Vo Trong Nghia Architects  just unveiled their design for a translucent office building in Ho Chi Minh City. The ten-story tower, which will be the headquarters of electric company Nanoco, will be infused with various tree-filled terraces in an attempt to combat the city’s notorious pollution – and provide a healthy workspace on the interior. The large tower is comprised of translucent glass blocks that are obliquely stacked, creating pockets of open terrace space throughout the design. The terraces will be used to plant large trees that will pull double duty as a filter against direct solar exposure during the daytime and create a healthy ambience throughout the building’s interior. Additionally, the translucent cladding provides the city with a glowing beacon during the night. Related: Vietnam’s “Forest in the Sky” apartment building is topped with 50,000 trees The first four stories of the Nanoco building will house a showroom and community area, while the upper six floors will be used as office space . A multi-functional space on the first floor will be used for events and exhibitions throughout the year. + Vo Trong Nghia Architects Via Design Boom

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Translucent Ho Chi Minh City office tower infused with greenery helps combat urban pollution

BREAKING NEWS: Tesla unveils groundbreaking new solar roof system

October 29, 2016 by  
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Residential solar is quickly becoming a booming business, especially in sunny California – but there are still many challenges for solar installers when it comes to the logistics of bolting photovoltaic panels to the tops of homeowners roofs; old roofing materials, surfaces that aren’t even and setback regulations all limit the amount of panels and ultimate efficiency of rooftop solar. Elon Musk wanted to innovate and improve upon the current practice of bolting solar panels to the top of your roof, and he’s just shattered the mold with the unveiling of some groundbreaking new designs for roof-integrated solar rooftop tiles . The idea is that integrated photovoltaic roof panels will provide more electric power, beauty and efficiency than the old tack-on method. That’s because, in part, because you can fit a lot more on to the top of your roof. Also, since homeowners will now be able to integrate their entire roofing with solar, they will be able to create a more elegant roof design, and installation will become easier and more desirable. Now when homeowners upadte their roof, they can automatically update to photovoltaic roof tiles, instead of having to work with 2 sets of different contractors to set up a home solar system. In August, Tesla and SolarCity agreed to a 2.6 billion dollar merger . Tesla and SolarCity might seem like companies with pretty disparate goals – one makes cars and the other manages home energy. But they both have a long-term vision of moving the planet away from fossil fuels. So it makes sense that they would unite under one umbrella. Musk said, “That [Telsa and SolarCity] are separate at all, despite similar origins and pursuit of the same overarching goal of sustainable energy, is largely an accident of history.” Related: Tesla and SolarCity just agreed on a $2.6 billion merger Today’s announcement was the perfect opportunity for Musk to illustrate how the merger makes not just good sense for the environment, but good financial sense, too. It’s also an opportunity to show how Musk’s vision is a new step for solar. His plan involves an integrated solar panel/roof system, rather than the typical solar-panel-on-roof system. Musk said that this is “a fundamental part of achieving a differentiated product strategy.” The system will utilize Tesla’s Powerwall , which can store enough energy to power a home on the sunlight gathered during the day. + Tesla

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BREAKING NEWS: Tesla unveils groundbreaking new solar roof system

Which Solar Panels Offer the Cleanest Conscience?

September 15, 2010 by  
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Image credit: Solarcentury (Creative Commons) Solar panel manufacturing has some toxic byproducts , yet more and more people are interested in solar as a clean(er) alternative to fossil fuel dependence. With renewable feed-in tariffs driving massive solar sales in the UK, one watchdog group has set out to find out which solar panels offer the consumer the cleanest conscience, al… Read the full story on TreeHugger

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Which Solar Panels Offer the Cleanest Conscience?

Sukkah City: Competition Winners Being Built In New York

September 15, 2010 by  
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Shim Sukkah tinder, tinker, Sagle, Idaho A sukkah is “an ephemeral, elemental shelter, erected for one week each fall, in which it is customary to share meals, entertain, sleep, and rejoice.” A Sukkah City of 12 finalists are being built in New York City in time for the Jewish Holiday of Sukkah next week…. Read the full story on TreeHugger

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Sukkah City: Competition Winners Being Built In New York

Thin-Film Solar Panels to Double their Share of the Market by 2013?

November 12, 2009 by  
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A new report by iSuppli Corp.

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Thin-Film Solar Panels to Double their Share of the Market by 2013?

Upgrading the College Diet: Late-Night Eating

November 12, 2009 by  
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When I was a kid, my mom would serve dinner around six-thirty in the evening, seven at the latest.

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Upgrading the College Diet: Late-Night Eating

Fruit Bats Frequently Engage in Oral Sex According to Study

November 12, 2009 by  
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Although the subject matter may be a bit sensitive, there is some exciting news for fruit bats.  Two-thirds of female short-nosed fruit bats, Cynopterus sphinx , regularly perform fellatio on their male partners, according to a recently released study.  Read more of this story »

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Fruit Bats Frequently Engage in Oral Sex According to Study

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