Earth Week is a good time to take stock of environmentally friendly advances in generating clean energy and reclaiming resources, among other things. Here are five innovative projects from around the world that illustrate how technology and a desire to be kinder to the environment can be brought together.
On May 4, 2007, the city of Greensburg, Kansas, was hit with a catastrophic tornado that leveled 95 percent of the town of 700 residents. Greensburg rebuilt, using the opportunity to construct its new school, hospital and city hall with LEED-certified designs and materials. It is now considered the model for a "green village," according to the town’s website.
In 1995, a fading clay pit in Cornwall, England, became the future site of Eden, an eco-friendly park, museum and indoor rain forest. Opening its doors in 2001, the park has seen more than 10 million visitors. The park educates people on, and practices, the composting of waste, water treatment and reclamation and the use of geothermal power.
Cornell University’s new technology campus on Roosevelt Island in New York City will feature a 26-story "passive house," which would be the largest in the world. The concept favors intelligent construction and design to heat and cool the structure over energy-sucking technologies, according to <em><a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/01/the-height-of-efficiency/419124/">The Atlantic</a></em>.
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Conservative estimates put the potential output of ocean wave energy in the trillions of kilowatts, and the Autonomous PowerBuoy is an environmentally conscious way to harness that energy. First tested in Cromarty Firth, Scotland, in 2011, and is rated to generate 150Kw of renewable energy, according to the University of Washington Center for Environmental Visualization.
This Australian apartment building has no parking garage, air conditioning or amenities like tiles in the kitchen and bath; it is situated next to a loud train in Melbourne. Yet people are clamoring to live here. Its design takes care of the comforts by retaining heat during the winter and cooling the building during the summers. Its ultra-thick exterior wall facing the train silences the locomotive. The eco-friendly lifestyle the building promotes (like a garden on the roof) make it a sought-after residence for Melbourne’s environmentally conscious.