Considering everyone out there pretty much has a smart phone now, its no wonder that solar manufacturers are trying new innovative ways to introduce solar cells into consumer electronics to help substitute power needs currently only being supplied by batteries. Stephen Dent has recently been looking into Alta Devices, a company specializing in mobile power technology.
Alta Devices has been working on creating a thin film out of gallium arsenide which currently is being used primarily in space programs due to the high level of light it is capable of capturing. Up until now its been very difficult to figure out a way to implement this technology into portable devices because of the fragile crystals gallium arsenide is made out of. When Stephen Dent researched more he found out that Alta devices has found a new method in developing thin strips with gallium arsenide and because of that has created a prototype to work with the Samsung Galaxy.
The Alta Cell is actually made up of two independent cells, each only 1/14 the width of a human hair. These cells if implemented into a cell phone could produce an average of 1.5 watts which is about half of what you typically receive from plugging into an outlet in a wall.
Stephen Dent’s Thoughts
Although the charge is lower then a standard charge, the fact that a power cell such as this one can receive so much power from the amount of light actually received is pretty amazing. Depending on where the phone is kept during the day the device could add up to 80% power to the cell phones life. In lower lighting area or under standard florescent bulbs could still add an additional 10-15% to your battery life. All in all I think that this shows initiative that people are making effort to become more sustainable and less reliant on current energy sources.
Sustainability in the home
With the ever growing demand to make better energy decisions around the home while both saving money and helping the environment, Stephen Dent recommends checking out the Ecobuild 2013 if your located in London.
Companies like Stephen Dent Construction are starting to realize the benefit of offering energy efficient alternatives for new home builds and realizing the costs associated with implementing these alternatives as opposed to economical substitutes that are really not that much cheaper.
The expansion in interest in becoming energy efficient and conservative can clearly be seen at Ecobuild. Just six years ago only about 6000 visitors and a few hundred companies entertained the trade show. This year, it is expected that more than 800 companies will be showing their products to an audience of potentially 60,000 people. In a relatively short time Stephen Dent has seen how the shift towards sustainable energy alternatives is increasing in popularity and consumer interest is being to follow this trend.
Stephen Dent at Ecobuild
Stephen Dent at Ecobuild 2009
Stephen Dent has visited a previous Ecobuild while spending time in London with friends. It is actually very interesting to see everything that is out there on the market, much of which doesn’t seem to get enough light shinned on it. Companies on display show off their products for all aspects of your home. Raw materials, gadgets, accessories, home upgrades; you name it, they had it. I wish I would have an opportunity to check out the Ecobuild 2013 showcase as I’m sure there will be a ton of new and exciting things that will bring new innovation to the industry.
If you want to learn more about Ecobuild or possibly attend the event I would recommend checking out the Ecobuild website. Any information about the event can be found on their website and I encourage anyone with an interest in sustainability living in the area check it out. I’m sure you will find it most beneficial.
The world can be a beautiful place, but getting there presents numerous issues for environmentalists. Flying creates huge carbon emissions, and hotels and resorts often produce incredible amounts of waste, and ignorant explorers often damage the natural environment. However, there are now solutions to these issues. Whether you call it ecotourism, green travel, or sustainable tourism, being an eco-conscious traveler has never been easier or more fun. Here are a few tips on taking a truly green vacation:
Reduce the Trip’s Carbon Footprint
Traveling to your destination will probably be the biggest source of carbon dioxide, so be sure to purchase carbon offsets. These offsets are almost always significantly less than $100, but be sure to do your research. Some companies use the funds to protect existing forests or grow new trees, while others will work to improve factories or sequester carbon sources. Once you get there, be sure to stay aware of your greenhouse gas production. Choose to use public transportation whenever possible, rent small, fuel-efficient cars, and avoid carbon-intensive activities like taking a cruise.
Find a Green Place to Stay
The Internet has made it easy to find hotels catering to Eco-tourists. Green accommodations will include a comprehensive recycling program, energy-efficient technology, and procedures for reducing waste. Many of these hotels will also work to benefit the local population as much as possible. However, you can make your stay at any hotel greener by reusing sheets and towels, turning off all electrical appliances before leaving the room, and taking shorter showers.
Select a Low-Impact Activity
Natural habitats have been destroyed and entire species have gone extinct due to pleasure-seeking vacationers. Being conscious of your environment is a requirement for every ecologically minded tourist. Finding a green tourist agency will be the easiest way to do this. Otherwise, simply avoid doing anything that will change the environment.
Stephen Dent Green Living
The human race’s addiction to fossil fuels has innumerable downsides that range from the continued instability in the oil-rich Middle East to the increasing pace of global warming. But within the last year, huge strides have been made in environmentally friendly technologies to bring us that much closer to a planet powered by green energy. Alongside traditional sources for renewable energy like solar panels, windmills, and hydroelectric power, these new technologies have caught the attention of Stephen Dent and may give us an edge in the fight for a greener world.
Roll-on Solar Panels
The cost of outfitting a home in solar panels can be prohibitive throughout much of the world. One recent estimate by The Daily Mail concluded that the average home requires more than $16,000 in solar panels to be completely self sufficient. But a new technological breakthrough may bring solar power to the people. A team at the University of Notre Dame has developed a solar paint that uses nanoparticles with semiconductive properties, which allows for a paint that actually gathers energy. The Center for Nano Science and Technology at Notre Dame found that, while this solar paint currently only captures about 1% of the sun’s energy (compared to the 10% to 15% gathered by silicon-based solar panels), it is relatively cheap to produce, and the efficiency will likely rise with further research. Someday soon, regardless of the color of your house, it will be greener than ever.
Weeds and Fat: The New Jet Fuel
Air travel remains one of the most oil-intensive activities in the world, and while flying may be convenient, it remains highly unsustainable. However, new advances in jet bio fuels may make flying the friendly skies even more viable. Using leftover cooking oil or animal fat, or even weeds such as Carmelina, modern refining facilities can make jet bio fuels that work just as well as petroleum-based fuels. While airlines have had trouble being able to afford these new technologies, federal grants for jet bio fuels for the Navy and Air Force may provide the forward momentum that is needed to get this technology going.
Stephen Dent Green Living Advice
One of the easiest ways you can make a difference suggested by Stephen Dent is by carpooling with coworkers and others with destinations in common with you and your children. One of the best tips we’ve come across at Stephen Dent Green Living Advice is to post a clipboard in a common area of your work or your child’s school asking people to sign up for carpooling. This way it is easy to assign carpooling partners because you can tell who lives closest to one another.
If your boss is open to telecommuting, start a dialog about how it’s good for the Earth. Studies you can find online such as “Telecommuting Improves Productivity, Lowers Costs, New Survey Finds” by Meredith Levinson also indicate that telecommuting is good for productivity too. Help the Earth, your employer, and yourself! Stephen Dent Green Living Advice highly recommends this approach — telecommuting saves hundreds of millions of pounds of waste from going into our air each year and it can be greatly impacted by your commitment to work at home even just one day a week!
Water Delivery (reusable jugs rather than plastic bottles)
Stephen Dent Green Living Advice recommends water delivery for office and commercial spaces, however, while water is great for the workforce, having it delivered in plastic bottles is awful for Mother Earth. Stephen Dent Green Living advises delivery in glass or reusable plastic 5-gallon containers. Using local companies is also better for the planet!
Recycling in the Workplace
One of the most common environmental problems that office spaces experience is a lack of recycling service. The only way to fix this is to take matters into your own hands! Stephen Dent Green Living Advice recommends bringing brown grocery bags into the office and labeling them “aluminum,” “glass,” and “plastic.” Encourage coworkers to toss their recycles appropriately.
Reduce your electric Bill
If your a business owner, you may want to consider upgrading your current lighting with more energy efficient bulbs. Good lighting not only helps people get around but it affects how they feel. Upgrading your office with energy efficient lighting can provide up to a 40% reduction in your energy bill. Stephen Dent recommends you check out Phillips Lighting for a better look at office lighting technologies.
Earth Friendly Fibers
Stephen Dent Green Living Advice recommends natural fibers for apparel and natural materials for shoes and accessories. Short of cotton and other natural fabrics like silk, wool, and hybrids of these three, the other best options are those that contain recycled material. Even WalMart now sells t-shirts and other garments made almost entirely from recycled plastics collected from all over the world. If WalMart can do it, so can you! Stephen Dent Green Living Advice recommends using the keyword “clothes made from recycled materials” to find local and global manufacturers and retailers.
Cool Shoes Stephen Dent found made from hemp fabric
Earth Friendly Brands
There are many brands sold at retailers across the world that take a great deal of pride and responsibility in how they manufacture apparel. Just a few of the names that Stephen Dent Green Living Advice recommends are Truly Organic, Project Green Label, Andira rain Tees, and Green Label Organic.
Stephen Dent Apparel made from Recyclables
Apparel makers like EcoGear, GreenWeave, and Patagonia’s Common Threads all make new clothes from recycled materials, including plastics and other synthetic fibers from post-consumer packaging and bags. Stephen Dent Green Living Advice highly recommends these and other brands that make clothes and shoes from recycled (and recyclable!) materials. Get out and support these companies and recommend them when you can.
Greener Gifts Suggestions from Stephen Dent
Stephen Dent Green Living Advice recommends always looking for a greener alternatives to an idea you have for a gift. If you were say, going to buy your friend a new pair of shoes, think of buying him or her a pair of shoes from a responsible manufacturer with a lower carbon footprint. If you were going to buy your mother a new handbag, consider buying one made from recycled plastics or re-purposed leather. Stephen Dent Green Living Advice recommends gifts that keep on giving — literally!
Understanding how products are made and where they come from is an important active step to becoming a greener consumer. Try your best to make conscious decisions when it comes to purchases and you will be that much closer to following Stephen Dent’s guide to becoming greener.
Gift a Charity Group, Plant a Tree
What better way to show a friend or loved one that you love them than giving a gift in their name to a charity you know they’d love to support? Stephen Dent Green Living Advice recommends this practice to improve your karma
Plants as Gifts
Similarly to planting a tree in someone’s name, Stephen Dent Green Living Advice recommends actually buying friends and loved ones plants for birthdays and other holidays. Plants literally green someone’s home, and they’re good for the air inside a home. In addition, if you buy your gift plant from a responsible nursery or retailer like Whole Foods Market, you can really amplify just how green that gift is.
It’s easy, safer, and cheaper to use common goodies from around the house to repel (not kill) bugs and unwanted pests. One of the Stephen Dent Green Living Advice favorites is the use of cinnamon and/or black pepper. Either of these, along with paprika, chipoltle, and even habanero pepper (careful that the dogs and cats won’t be hurt!) mixed and sprinkled around the perimeter of your home will deter insects and even some rodents. It’s that easy!
Probably one of the coolest ideas we’ve heard of at Stephen Dent Green Living Advice is making your own baby wipes! It’s the easiest thing in the world. Simply take a roll of earth friendly, high quality paper towels and cut to fit the size of an air tight container you already have handy. Mix approximately 2 tablespoons of your favorite environmentally sound baby soap with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 drops of tea tree oil and 2 cups of water. Shake well, let sit until suds have calmed, slowly submerge your paper towels and reapply lid. DONE!
The Stephen Dent Green Living Advice site and contributors consider buying disposable razors a BIG no-no, but if you have to do it, consider storing the razor in a natural vegetable or peanut oil to keep it from rusting and dulling. Additionally, shave less! If that’s not an option, consider options like learning how to use a straight razor (They last longer and you’ll never have to worry about the “Style” of your razor being discontinued).
Traditional shaving creams in aerosol bottles are awful for our planet. Consider alternatives (that are better for your skin anyway) in tubes of other friendlier packaging, such as Azulene or Earth Science