The Uniform Project

Sheena Matheiken has “pledged to wear one dress for one year as an exercise in sustainable fashion” (she has 7 identical dresses for each day of the week). The dress is personally designed to be worn in three ways and the outfits are completed with second-hand accessories. More than a statement on sustainability, The Uniform Project is also a year-long fundraiser for the Akanksha Foundation, a grassroots movement that is revolutionizing education in India.

Thinking about Washing Machines

Harsha Vardan Compact Pressure Washing Machine

Washing machines and dryers have seen little innovation since their introduction in the early 1900’s. As devices that use both electrical energy and water and are typically present in most homes, washing machines are in need of reinvention. This is why I am surprised that recent developments in washing machine technology have not received more press given the rise in environmentally-friendly writing and discussion.

Xeros Ltd. is a company spun off of Leeds University research that has developed a washing machine that uses 2% of the energy and water that conventional washing machines use. The process leaves the clothing practically dry after washing so dryer’s are no longer necessary. And the most impressive fact about the technology is that it is ready to debut in 2009 (pretty soon compared to other promised energy technologies).

Another washing machine concept comes from Harsha Vardan, an industrial design student in India, whose compact pressure washer is perfect for small space living.

These two ideas are beginning to look very promising. Given that Xeros Ltd. has secured a relatively modest investment of around $1 million, if you got some money sitting around, they would probably appreciate it.

At least it looks to be more worthwhile than investing in this which did this (SpaceX).

MIT Develops Most Believable Energy Crisis Solution to Date

MIT professor Daniel Nocera

It is pretty rare that an announcement of an advancement in green technology creates a stir in the world of online journalism, but MIT’s Daniel Nocera made it happen yesterday. Most green technology news is rarely monumental and may garner some interest from science-y blogs, but this story has been covered by multiple sources. A professor of chemistry, Nocera has discovered a catalyst that can split water molecules and generate hydrogen for fuel cells. Nocera’s discovery is monumental because the catalyst is made of cheap and abundant materials and, when coupled with the sunlight captured by solar cells, can create a system that generates energy during the day and night. The ability to mimic photosynthesis at an efficient, inexpensive, and safe level is the product of 25 years of work.

Karsten Meyer, a professor of chemistry at Friedrich Alexander University, calls the discovery “simply groundbreaking. Nocera has probably put a lot of researchers out of business.” And with regards to the solar power field, “This is probably the most important single discovery of the century.”

The seemingly slow scientific attack on climate change may have many people (myself included) frustrated, but Nocera’s work shows that there is powerful foresight in the research community.

And now, best quote ever props goes to Nocera himself who said, “For the last six months, driving home, I’ve been looking at leaves, and saying, ‘I own you guys now.'”

California Sets Some Standards (and approves a green building code too)


Good news for those who live in the happiest state on earth. California just unanimously approved the first ever statewide green building code that will not only cut the energy usage of new structures but also is looking to tackle the oncoming water crisis by reducing water used in all structures as well as in landscaping. I would be more pleased, however, if the use of eco-friendly construction materials was more than just “advocated”. Things are far from over though for California as this act will not be put into action until 2010 and the fact that California uses more gas than China is still a ridiculous truth.