Live like the Elves in Lothlorien? [Video]


Anyone who has been reading this blog long enough will have noticed that I looooove sci-fi/fantasy. So when I saw this video about Terreform’s grow your treehouse idea, I was tickled pink. Integrating living elements in your building design? That’s so like the elves in Lord of the Rings.

Duration: 4 min 54sec

From Inhabitat:

In order to build the arboreal frame, the designers utilize “pleaching” – a gardening technique in which tree branches are woven together to form living archways. Trees such as Elm, Live Oak and Dogwood bear the heavier loads, while vines, branches and plants form a lattice for the walls and roof of the house. The interior structure is made of cob (clay and straw), a tried and true green building approach, that lends itself to customized shaping of walls and ceilings.

The trees that form the frame and the plants that grow on the external walls are meant to provide sustenance for the inhabitants and other living creatures who interact with the structure. On this level, the designers aim to demonstrate that natural building materials, when utilized in their living state, can create a “superstructure” that is biologically pure and contains no unknown substances. They point out that new building materials, even those that champion sustainability, are nevertheless industrially manufactured and contain components that are not fully understood in terms of their longterm impact.

Terreform Fab Tree Hab

Terreform (not sure why the designs on their front page look like something out of War of the Worlds, but there you are.)
More Terreform video

[tags]terreform, lotr, lothlorien, video, environment, architecture[/tags]

Top 10 Most Read Posts for October 2007

  1. Appropriate Technology Roundup 6/3/07
  2. A 60 MPG Greasecar hydrogen hummer hybrid
  3. Carnival of the Green # 86
  4. Appropriate Technology Roundup 07/27/07
  5. With help from Cuba, Haiti tries a switch to CFLs
  6. Update: Car Wars
  7. Development Porn: NGO Imagery
  8. Appropriate Technology Roundup 10/19/07
  9. Congrats to Shawn Frayne, One of Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Award Winners
  10. More pics from the Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Awards

Hmm, there seems to be a trend here. Y’all like tech and cars.

Wood Charcoal in Haiti [Video, French]

Duration: 4min 55 seconds

Comme il ne reste en Haïti que 2 % de couverture forestière, le charbon est appelé à disparaître. Nous avons rencontré des producteurs de charbon de bois qui connaissent les conséquences de leurs activités sur l’environnement, mais qui nous expliquent qu’ils doivent nourrir leurs familles et envoyer leurs enfants à l’école. La conscience est là, il y a des efforts de reboisement, mais la pauvreté pèse comme une chape de plomb.

Rough translation: Given that Haiti retains only 2% of its forest cover, charcoal is likely to disappear. We met some wood charcoal producers who understand the environmental consequences of their work. They explained to us, however, that they needed to feed their families and send their children to school. The awareness is there. There are reforestation efforts, but poverty is a burden like a lead weight.

To learn more about environmentally friendly charcoal alternatives in Haiti, see Bagazo and Amy Smith’s work at MIT.

[tags]Haiti, charcoal, deforestation, video, environment[/tags]

2 Great Climate related talks at the Kennedy School

Date: Wednesday, November 28
Time: 6:00 PM
Location: Arco Forum, KSG, 79 JFK st, Cambridge, MA

A Panel Discussion With:

MAYOR MARTIN CHAVEZ, Albuquerque, New Mexico
MAYOR GREG NICKELS, Seattle, Washington
MAYOR DOUG PALMER, Trenton, New Jersey; President, US Conference of Mayors

Moderated by:
CRISTINE RUSSELL, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center’s Environmental and Natural Resources Program

Date: Friday, November 30, 2007
Time: 4:00 PM
Location: Arco Forum, KSG, 79 JFK st, Cambridge, MA

A Discussion with Young Leaders Selected by the World Economic Forum:

VAN JONES, Founder and National Executive Director, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights; United States
SANJAASUREN OYUN, Member of Parliament, Parliament of Mongolia, Civil Will Party; Mongolia
JOSHUA RAMO, Managing Director, Kissinger Associates; United States
RAENETTE TALJAARD, Director, Helen Suzman Foundation; South Africa

Moderated By:
IRIS BOHNET, Professor of Public Policy and Faculty Chair of the Women and Public Policy Program, Kennedy School
DAVID GERGEN, Professor of Public Service and Director of the Center for Public Leadership, Kennedy School

Share the gift of appropriate technology

It’s Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. I’m in NYC and have no interest in battling the mob for the fabulous holiday deals. Instead I’m trolling the web ahead of Cyber Monday.

If you are looking for the perfect gift for your favorite appropriate tech lover, consider these three programs that allow you to get spiffy stuff as well as give one to a person in a developing country.

  1. OLPC’s Give One Get One program in the United States and Canada.

    OLPC XO-1

    For $399 (+ 24.95 shipping and handling) you can get one of the XO-1s for yourself and donate a second one to a child in a developing nation. $200 of your purchase is tax-deductible. US buyers also get a year’s free access at T-Mobile hot-spots. Chop chop, people. Offer ends November 26th December 31st.

  2. Sunnight Solar’s Buy One Give One (BOGO) Program
    BOGO Light

    $25 gets you a purty pink or orange solar powered flash light and one gets given to “someone who needs light”. What is nice about this program is that they let you choose who, specifically which non-profit, to give the goods to.

  3. Freeplay Energy’s Buy One Give One Free Program
    Freeplay Energy Buy One Give One Free

    Buy a Devo wind-up FM/DAB radio for 70 quid and “Devo will manufacture, distribute and donate a Freeplay Scout solar/wind up radio on your behalf” to someone in Africa. Frustratingly (for me at least) you can’t buy the same tech as you are sending abroad. Bah! In fact, there doesn’t seem to be a way to buy a Lifeline or Scout, Freeplay’s developing country models. The program is being carried out with Curry’s Electronic Stores in the UK.

Or if you feel like freeing yourself from the yoke of consumerism, you could always celebrate “Buy Nothing Day“.

[tags]appropriate technology, OLPC, XO-1, solar, freeplay, Black Friday[/tags]

Appropriate Technology Roundup #20 [11/20/07]

  1. THE SOLARROLL: The Go-anywhere Solar Gadget Charger! from Inhabitat

    Brunton SolarRoll connected to laptop

    Looking for an eco-friendly and convenient alternative to charging your cell phone, camera, or laptop? The Brunton SolarRoll beats out solar-powered bags and backpacks and, certainly, the hassle of trying to find an electrical outlet when you’re traveling with mobile devices in tow. All you need is a little sunlight, and you can easily charge laptops, cell phones, cameras, and even car batteries!

    Brunton SolarRoll
    See also Millet Solar Pads

  2. GaiaLux Ecolight: A Light for the Developing World from EcoGeek

    Imagine you are one of the billion people on this planet who live with intermittent power. You may live in Baghdad, or more likely you live in one of the many Squatter Cities where power is bootlegged or in short supply.

    When your lights go out, which is every night, you get out your trusty kerosene lamps and light your home with the most inefficient light source known to man. If you are like most of your neighbors you will spend $60.00 – $75.00 per year to keep your home from going dark.

    The GaiaLux light is a new design I’ve entered in the NASA Create the Future Design Contest. It is a simple, inexpensive, sustainable alternative to kerosene lamps. The key components are a recycled cell phone charger, a set of rechargeable batteries, and very efficient LED lights. When power is available, it charges the batteries; when light is needed the batteries can provide up to 40 hours of continuous use.

  3. Could the Solar Bug bring the sun to the car market? from the Christian Science Monitor via Practical Environmentalist
    Titus Solar car

    On display at a recent alternative-car expo here, this is Titus’s second and latest rendering of a solar-powered car concept. It gets up to a fourth of its 60-mile capacity from 200 watts of roof-mounted solar panels.

    Titus is among those entrepreneurs trying to create and market an affordable, renewable-energy vehicle – a step beyond gas-electric hybrids.

    The ranks of potential buyers for such cars are growing by leaps and bounds, say many car-industry analysts. But don’t look for them on normal streets just yet, they add quickly. Limitations of batteries and solar panels – though lessening – are still issues, among others.

    It looks like a tuktuk.

    Related:Another up and coming electric vehicle
    The Aptera, absurdly futuristic but pri-tayyyy!

    Duration: 1min 49 sec

    This was Kurt’s first time in the Aptera. As the lead ME, he designed the suspension and all things mechanical. We thought he was going to drive real slow and careful……as it was the only prototype! Instead, he starts tearin’ it up causing us to laugh uncontrollably. This particular prototype was VERY noisy due to the kind of drives system we were testing at the time and the fact that there was no soundproofing or wheel-pant panels installed.

    See also: Around the World on Sunny Days

  4. The Future IS Mud: Earth Architecture In Africa (And Lots Of Other Places) from Treehugger

    Though it may sound primitive, it’s not. Building with earth is a venerable world tradition dating back at least 4,000 years, with the oldest surviving specimens found in the Middle East and South America and ending up today in places like Britain, France, USA, Peru, Yemen, Iran, Iraq, India, Morocco, Mali – the list goes on. In the Future of Mud: A Tale of Houses and Lives in Djenné, a documentary on the rich heritage of earth architecture in one town in Mali, Africa, one gets a true sense of love of craft combined with a love for the creative and integrative possibilities of earth.

  5. BITUBLOCK: Building blocks made from compressed rubbish! from Inhabitat

    If we told you there was a sustainable substitute for concrete you’d probably say rubbish!… and you would be right. The dream of a resource-saving, emissions-reducing replacement for concrete is becoming a reality in the form of BituBlock – made from post-consumer waste. Dr. John Forth of the University of Leeds is behind the revolutionary process that turns rubbish into a strong, less-energy intensive structural material that is poised to make concrete obsolete.

  6. Recycling Cooking Oil at Guantanamo from Green Daily

    The U.S. Navy, taking inspiration from the legions of folks who scavenge used cooking oil from behind Chinese restaurants and fast food joints, have constructed a biodiesel processor for their Guantanamo base. This machine turns the cooking oil that the base produces into biodiesel, which is then be mixed with regular diesel fuel to create a blend. They use approximately 1,500 gallons of cooking oil a month, which previously had all been disposed of in the base’s landfill.

  7. The Drip that Saves from Celsias

    How do you get the most bang for your buck when it comes to water usage? In Israel you look for the drip.In a suburb of Tel Aviv, the municipality has started implementing a creative water-saving method: recycling air-conditioner unit dripwater for garden irrigation.

  8. A Picture is Worth… Grenivik Houses in Iceland from Treehugger
    Grenivik Houses in Iceland
  9. BBQ from Pwoje Espwa

    Kevin and his team fabricated a cool BBQ grill with metal leftovers.

  10. $30 White River challenge from MAKE

    My brother and I built a canoe for under $30 using mostly materials rescued from dumpsters.

Bonus: Make yourself a nice workbench

Also: Help Shea Gunther with his quest to create the Gunther Green Home by buying a bale for the strawbale house. He is also (overtaken by madness) spending the Maine fall and winter in a tipi. Follow his trials and travails on his twitter feed.