Researchers at the University of Illinois, or more precisely the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, have discovered a process that can turn used plastic shopping bags into a compatible drop-in diesel fuel and a number of petroleum products. The recycling process also works to recover most of the initial manufacturing inputs that go into producing plastic shopping bags. Given that each year an estimated 100 billion shopping bags are thrown away in the US alone, this is great news indeed.
Jeffery, a homebuilder specializing in using only natural materials for his construction projects, recently completed a tiny house in the woods. His main goals were to construct a house that was comfortable to live in and cheap to built, and made from materials destined for the landfill as much as possible. The cabin he built contains a bed, desk and a small wood stove. It is intended to serve mainly as a shelter, and therefore encourage the occupant to go out and enjoy nature.
Solar ovens are a great way to cook sustainably, but they have the drawback of not working very well on cloudy days. However, the new SunFocus solar hybrid oven, made by Sun BD Corporation, takes care of that problem. And what’s more, you can even use this oven to cook at night. This is possible because the SunFocus oven has a hybrid solar and electric system, with the latter taking over once the sun sets or hides behind the clouds.
The Spanish architecture studio Abaton has developed a simple housing unit, the design of which was inspired by shipping container homes. The largest home in the company’s APH80 series, also known as Transportable House (Casa Transportable) as it is called, measures 27 square meters (9mx3m), and consists of 3 different spaces, namely a living room/kitchen, a bathroom, with a full, shower and a double bedroom, with a bed included. The house also has a gabled roof, which is 3.5 meters high and provides an added sense of spaciousness.
JAYZ Building Solutions of Melbourne Australia have come up with an innovative solution for providing modular, prefab homes. They have recently launched the fully transportable InstantSlide house model, which is part of the company’s latest series of SMART2 (Superfast + Modular + Affordable + Robust + Transportable) accommodation buildings. Most of their designs cater to companies wishing to provide temporary housing for their staff on remote locations, such as on mining sites for example, while they also provide single-family modular homes.
The first team from the Czech Republic to enter the Solar Decathlon is Team CTU, made up of 26 students who set their sights on designing and building a prototype for future housing while raising awareness of solar energy, energy efficiency, and Czech architecture and engineering.
Their submission in the Solar Decathlon 2013, for which judging takes place in October 2013 in Irvine, California, is AIR House, which stands for Affordable – Innovative – Recyclable. Utilizing energy effective materials and technologies, AIR House provides a comfortable environment for older generations that appeals to the senses and respects the environment.