There’s kind of an edgy, underground movement of conscious homeowners and environmentalists that are finding creative ways to capture water and reuse it for their needs. BusinessWeek’s Malia Wollan just wrote an article called "Rainwater collectors work to ease shortages," and she talks about the popularity of the movement. In the article, Wollan mentions a website called HarvestH20, which has seen an increasing number of visitors seeking information and advice on rainwater collection and reclamation.
This solar cell tree charger by Vivien Muller is kind of interesting. You can use it to recharge your cellphone, camera, or whatever, because it has 54 tiny photovoltaic panels and an internal battery that stores energy. The modular parts are connected and can be rotated infinitely creating a different tree for your favorite sunny spot at home.
Update 8/08/2012 – Parans is now available through Wasco.
The interesting thing about fiber optic lighting is that it creates the ability to put natural light in places where there is none. Generally, here’s how it works. Using a building-mounted panel with computer-controlled, sun-tracking lenses, natural light is channeled through optical fibers to luminaires that diffuse the light (see diagram below).
Since early 2008, HUVCO Daylighting Solutions has been offering a fiber optic lighting system like this, or the Parans System, which was developed in Sweden. Although light only travels about 60 feet through optical cables, the ability to direct light in this manner is quite interesting.