Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Solar Bombshell Bikini 2011

July, 19th 2011. Hi guys, sorry i have been a bit away from the Blog but recently the wedding and other plans have taken advantage of my time and energies. Seriously, you would not believe the amount of bureaucracy needed for a wedding between two people from different countries!
So, Summer time!!! Even if here in Ireland we can't yet appreciate a season with that name yet, here are some eco advices, above all if you are somewhere with sun and...no battery charger for your ipods!

American designer Andrew Schneider has used conductive thread to sew photo-voltaic panels together in a Solar Bikini that allows you to charge your favorite gadgets while getting a nice tan.
30-year-old Schneider says ‘I use 40 individual paper-thin flexible, photo-voltaic panels for each bikini. I sew them together over a normal bikini using soft-conductive thread,’ adding that it takes him around 80 hours to painstakingly sew the panels. Every swimsuit is made to measure and costs as much as a conventional designer bikini, $200.
The Solar Bikini allows its wearer to connect any modern gadget via the USB ports sewn into the fabric, meaning you’ll never run out of juice at  the beach, ever again. ‘Anything that you can power or charge through a USB connection you can power and charge using the solar bikini, assuming of course you’re out and about under the sun.’ This ingenious yet fashionable garment doesn’t take away the pleasure of going into the water, all wearers have to do is unplug their gadgets before going in and making sure the USB ports are dry before reconnecting them.

Nice idea uh? A bit ridiculous in my opinion but hey, we're getting there and thumbs up for the creativity!

Some more news for the ones interested...I have collaborated for this Season's special Abroad 2011 issue of Standard Magazine, a fantastic american magazine on design, sustainability, quirky and interesting stuff and fantastic trips! Have a look! 

Hope I will now get back to the Blog more often, promise! -40 days to the Big Day!!!


Find the original article here.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Fake Plastic Trees? Maybe, but at least they're full of solar leaves!

April 6th, 2011. Nature always provides inspiration in many ways to man and the manner in which a leaf uses the sun for photosynthesis has been mimicked by Dr. Daniel Nocera of MIT. Many people have tried to do this and there are other research projects which are ongoing, but this one has succeeded. This artificial solar leaf can actually provide enough low cost energy to power a home for one day.
Earlier projects used very expensive and rare metals so were not viable for commercial use. This new solar leaf, which is actually like a small playing card, made of silicon and electronics, uses nickel and cobalt catalysts to hydrogen and oxygen ten times more than a natural leaf.
It is simple to use and merely has to be put in a gallon of water in the sunlight. The resulting energy is stored in a fuel cell which can be near the house or on top of it. The prototype was able to work continuously for 45 hours.
The ramifications for this are enormous. Electricity is in short supply all over the world and there are many places which don’t have electricity at all. Whether it is villages in rural areas in Africa or Asia or other off grid places, or even on the battlefield, or during natural disasters, this solar leaf can provide energy without power lines all over the place. For the environmentally friendly, this is another boost to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and reduce power costs.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


April, 5th 2011. I am sorry for the little delay in posts recently but I have been working 24/7 on a project for a design competition! Wish me good luck! I will go back to florence for few days for some wedding preparations and I am already tasting the drinks with my old friends and the toasts with the family! So, just to get in the mood, here is a news that is quite interesting, above all for those countries around the Mediterranean Sea where you can go out of a bar with your drink, but rigorously in a plastic cup. 
Plastic and Styrofoam are not environmentally friendly and paper cups and glasses are usually too flimsy. 
To fill in the gap, Biopac came up with its biodegradable range of tumblers with different capacities.
These are made of polylactic acid which comes from cornstarch. The best part is that they are fully compostable, so you don’t have to worry about polluting the environment or toxic landfills.
Available in small and big sizes, the smaller ones can be used for cold drinks and other beverages and the larger ones can be used for beer. In UK they are the first to carry the CE mark. They meet the high European standards for environmentally friendly products. If you want them branded, and you are buying them in bulk, the company will do it for you.
So, if every pub/bar would use these material, there would be so much less plastic around the street and in our landfills.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Pepsi goes ecofriendly?

March, 23rd 2011. If you think of the number of beverage bottles which people buy and then throw (or sometimes give for recycling) the quantities are huge. PET is not at all eco-friendly because it is a form of plastic and polyester. Though it can be recycled it is still not biodegradable. For the first time a biodegradable PET bottle is now available thanks to PepsiCo.
This bottle is made from natural and renewable sources like switch grass, pine bark and corn husks. In the future, it may be sourced from potato and orange peels, oat hulls and other agricultural waste products. It not only looks and feels like PET, but its molecular structure is also similar.
“PepsiCo is in a unique position, as one of the world’s largest food and beverage businesses, to ultimately source agricultural byproducts from our foods business to manufacture a more environmentally-preferable bottle for our beverages business,” said PepsiCo Chairman and CEO, Indra Nooyi.
As PET bottles account for 30 percent of the total PET production goes into the manufacture of bottles, this new development could have a significant environmental impact. Earlier PepsiCo was responsible for packaging its Frito-Lay snacks in fully compostable bags. These bottles should be in the market sometime next year. Meanwhile Pepsi’s rival, Coca Cola has also announced that is testing plant based PET bottles.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The GREEN Wall of China.

March, 21st 2011 - Happy Spring!!

BEIJING - The Great Wall is no longer enough. Today, only a forest can save the capital of China. But not just a regular forest: against the desert you need the widest forest in Asia. It is an unprecedented mission, at the limits of possibilities between nature and man. In any other country in the world governments would have moved the capital.
As it happened in Kazakhstan. Billions in savings and less uncertainty (Because of the desert getting too close, the Government transferred its capital from Almaty to Astana in December 1997)
But China is a different world today and constantly needs historical challenges and then Beijing is Beijing. It is an ancient and eternal city, the symbol of the country, driven by 23 million people.Because of this no Chinese was surprised yesterday by reading on the "People's Daily" that the Government has launched an action destined to make history in the world: the mission is to plant 300 million trees in the region of Hebei, north and west of the capital along the border with Inner Mongolia, to stop the advance of sand from the Gobi Desert. 

The titanic action was named "Green Great Wall" and aims to grow a new forest of 250.000 square kilometers. The dunes as high as two hundred meters, are advancing 20 meters per year, a rate three times the average of the previous century. Since 1990, sand, cement and drought have destroyed 135,000 Kmsq of forests. The tree-bomb, therefore, does not aim only to protect the Forbidden City by the storms of the desert: it will be detonated even against climate change and air poisoning. 

It's good news for everyone knowing that Beijing chose nature to rebuild a shattered equilibrium, in the name of economic growth at any cost. It remains to prove that the State Forest will resist though. Scientists are cautious. The 3.000 members of Chinese Parliament appear rather optimistic. To the point of approving with a natural applause the announcement of the premier Wen Jiabao: € 7 billion to re-forest the northern front of the nation. 

Birch and Aspen, along with Beech and Fir, are just the beginning of the last battle of Beijing. 

To ensure the initial watering of plants in the coming years, 24 rivers will also be diverted rivers, from the Yellow River. 

The facts, moreover, left no alternative. 

Even in China, the climate over the past decade, has deviated from the cyclicality of the past. 

The interior and northern counties, including the Tibetan highlands and Manchuria, are afflicted by catastrophic droughts. Annual precipitation since 2001, fell by 37%. In the Beijing area the windy days increased from an average of 136 to 178 a year. The capital, in 2010, was affected by 56 sandstorms. Costs and economic losses are incalculable. A study by the Academy of Sciences has revealed that 5 million people of the municipality are at direct risk within the next five years. Sand, fine particles and coal emissions used for industrial heating mix a deadly cocktail. The agricultural belt surrounding Beijing in the last five years reduced by 12% and 400 million eco-refugees live in the nation. They are the farmers that left the land made dry by sand and poisons, dangerously crowded now in metropolis. 

Zheng Guoguang, head of the meteorological state office said "Half a century of madness has produced irreversible changes. Deforestation and desertification of cultivated areas are the most dangerous immediate effect. Where trees stop growing, the water stops running. Beijing is threatened by the desert, but first it is likely to die of thirst. " The population of the capital is mobilized. The Peking mayor urged every resident to buy and plant a tree along the route of the Great Wall, which runs a few kilometers from the outskirts. 

Everyone can grow their favorite plant, fruit trees included: the first part of this new forest will be called "Forest of the Millennium." The communist authorities hope that the moisture generated from the forest, pushing the sand to the Mongolian and Russian deserts, will induce the formation of clouds and rain. The 90% of the ancient imperial springs is close to extinction, the Ming lakes are reduced to quartz beaches and Peking Citizens fear of quickly moving and concentrate on the coast east of Tianjin. Unless an artificial forest in the cradle of deforestation in Asia, comes back and saves the new capital of the planet.

Read the Article in Italian.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St.Patrick's Day (Paddy's Day) 2011

March 17th 2011. Here we are, even this year we can start the Irish celebrations for Paddy's Day!!
It's 11am so we are all starting to get ready to go into town for the parade and into pubs straight after!

Here are the events in town (Dublin): St. Patrick 2011.

Let's see how this year we can make Paddy's Day a bit greener!

1-Get into town with the Bus, DART, LUAS or Train. It's the best way, green, eco-friendly, you can drink as much as you want. I personally prefer the train today because the traffic will be crazy to get into town!
If you really want to drive, go Carsharing, but remember, one of you have to be sober!
Taxis are still good, but hey, wanna compare €15 to €1.80 for a ride home?

2- Drink Organic Beer! There are few pubs in town that serve it.

3-Eat Green! This Restaurant in town is famous for its Organic and Free Range Menu. The Farm Restaurant.

Then in the end, remember to keep it as green as possible! Wear green but also act green!! Use as less plastic as possible (thank God pints come in glass) and ENJOY YOUR DAY!

HAPPY PADDY'S DAY 2011!!! woo hoo!!!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Global Service Jam Dublin 2011

March, 14th 2011. We did it!! The 48 hours Worldwide Service Design Challenge has been a fantastic success!!!
Just to sum up for the one that didn't read one of the last posts (terrible!): from Friday March 11th 2011, Dublin was one of the over 40 cities around the world that participated to the Global Service Jam 2011.

People interested in design, service and customer experience met all over the globe in a spirit of experimentation, co-operation and friendly competition to develop brand new services inspired by a shared theme, (SUPER) HEROES in just 48 hours. The event was linked all over the world by real time video streaming, tweets and facebook. 

In Dublin we were divided in two teams and each team developed a project following the theme. My team, Souper-KIT, has created a new service called "communiKIT". 

Focusing on the research of "who is your local superhero" and with a lot of brainstorming, interviews and LOADS of post-it, we have come out with this idea to connect people in apartment blocks and possibly local communities.

In fact nowadays with technology we have thousands of friends all over the world with Facebook etc. but we might not know our neighbors that could come and help us in the moment of need.

The experience has been fantastic and made us learn new research and service design tools. A big Thank you to all the supervisors, Re, Conor, Lynsey and all the others!!!

Here our project: communiKIT

Friday, March 11, 2011

Earthquake in Japan

March, 11th 2011.I decided not to post anything today in respect of all the victims of the Earthquake in Japan.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Solar Roooads take me hoooome....

March, 10th 2011. Sorry for the little late post guys but as you know I have gone back home for 3/4 days and guess what? I got the flu/some kind of sickness including fever as arrived, so I have not been able to write much. But here it is, the new daily post!

Winter storms recently left USA and Europe paralyzed by an overabundance of snow and ice. But what if road crews weren't as crucial for clearing streets and highways as it happened? What if the roads could clear themselves?

That's the idea behind two different solar-powered road systems currently in development. The systems would store the power of the sun to help clear streets and possibly provide an alternative source of electricity.

"We have more than 3 million miles of highways exposed to sunlight in USA, so if we can harness this energy, it's free," Rajib Mallick, Associate Professor of civil and environmental engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, told CNN.

Mallick's idea is to embed pavement with fluid-filled pipes. The fluid, which would be resistant to freezing, would be heated by the sun and stored in an insulated chamber. When ice and snow hit the roads, the heated fluid could be released to melt the snow. The heat from the fluid could also be used to provide electricity to nearby buildings.

The project's cost is estimated at $12,500 for every 50 meters of pipe, plus annual maintenance costs of $1,000. But Mallick tells CNN the system could pay for itself in six months while also providing enough electricity to heat 55 homes for one month a year.

A similar idea is in development in Idaho by engineer Scott Brusaw, founder of Solar Roadways. His system would replace traditional asphalt with sturdy solar panels. The Federal Highway Administration helped fund development of his prototype.

According to Brusaw's website, "The Solar Roadway is a series of structurally engineered solar panels that are driven upon." The solar panels would power LED lights in the road lines, help melt ice and snow, and provide electricity for charging electric cars and for nearby buildings. "This renewable energy," says the Solar Roadways site, "replaces the need for the current fossil fuels used for the generation of electricity. This, in turn, cuts greenhouse gases literally in half."

Each 12 by12 foot Solar Roadway panel would cost $6,900, according to a 2009 report from PhysOrg.com. But each panel would also generate 7.6 kilowatt-hours of energy per day.

While solar-powered roads would cut state budgets for plowing, sanding and salting, finding the money to pay for them could be a challenge. "There aren't a lot of revenue sources to pay for this," Robert E. Lang, Director of University of Nevada Las Vegas' Brookings Mountain West think tank, told CNN.

But Brusaw said opposition to solar roads is more based on fear than cost. "Change. It scares people, I think."

Read the article
Read the CNN interview

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Paperless Boarding Pass

Sunday, March 6th 2011. Good Sunday everyone! I am sorry it took me a while to edit a new post but I have been travelling back to Florence, my hometown in Italy and then I got food poisoned by some oysters I got in Dublin (Not gonna tell where...).

A big problem came out the day of my departure flight: my printer was broken and I needed to print my boarding pass. Panicking, because I was running late, I had to run into town (€3.70 for the bus and €1.40 for internet and black and white print), plus obviously more than an hour wasted and loads of CO2 emitted.

While I was cursing my printer for abandoning me in the wrongest time, I was thinking of new sustainable ways for boarding on planes, Ryanair included. I wondered if the boarding pass that in general we receive when Checkin-in online could have been read on the iphone by the scanners at the airport. And so it was!!

If you have a multimedia phone then, simply open your boarding pass (on general in pdf) on the phone and it works without any problem!

If you think that everyday over 3 million passengers board on planes around the world, there are at least 3 million boarding passes printed. That's a lot of CO2 and paper that can be saved....

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

After lunch? A nice coffee. Afterwards? The cup.

Wednesday, March 2nd 2011. We have just passed lunchtime and in the Italian way I am having my espresso (to try to avoid an unwanted nap) and I was just reading a very interesting book in Italian "Design Sostenibile, Oggetti, sistemi e comportamenti" by Paolo Tamborrini for Electra and this project came out and it's perfect for this time of the day.

In 2003 Lavazza, a major on coffee machines and coffee in general, developed this project that I think it's sustainable design at its extreme. You use a product and you eat it! The best way of recycling!
The project was carried out by Designer Enrique Luis Sardi together with the team at the Lavazza Training Centre and Cataldo Parisi, head chef of the confectioner's kitchen at Number 10 San Tommaso.

The cup is made of pastry and covered with a special icing sugar, which works as insulator and makes the cup waterproof, allowing you to use the cup and then appreciate its taste! Yummy and Sustainable! Molto Bene!

Here are some website for your own interest: LavazzaEnrique Luis SardiSan Tommaso 10

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Ha, you still use your vintage charger for your electric car?

March 1st, 2011. Today we will talk about Electric Cars and Cities. 

Already a reality in many countries, still a dream for others. 

Many times, urban changes are way too slow compared to the technology available on the market. 
Unfortunately cities do not change as we change our iphone or ipad and also politicians and rules makers never change or are just too old and not updated.

So, we have Electric cars, but why we don't see that many around? 
K.T. Chau, Director of the University of Hong Kong’s International Research Centre for Electric Vehicles said: "even with tax breaks, an electric car costs two to three times as much as a comparable gasoline-powered car. Plus, the batteries need to be replaced after about four years, he says, and some estimates put the costs of a replacement battery pack at around US$15,000". Uh that's harsh.

Hong Kong’s steep hills add to what Mr. Chau calls a “range anxiety problem.” Though many electric cars advertise being able to drive up to 160 kilometers on a full charge, Mr. Chau says Hong Kong’s mountains along with the use of air conditioning makes that range closer to about 100 kilometers, and “people won’t use the last 20 [kilometers],” he says. Until battery technology improves and people can drive further, “I don’t see significant growth in electric vehicles,” Mr. Chau says.
Indeed, electric vehicles are a nascent market across the globe. Plug-in America, a nonprofit advocacy group, estimates there are only about 3,000 highway-capable electric vehicles from major auto makers in the U.S. To encourage the adoption of plug-in cars, the White House proposed on Jan. 26 to change a tax credit to a US$7,500 cash rebate for electric cars and plug-in hybrids purchases. In London, the government has set a goal of having 100,000 electric vehicles on its roads by 2020 — roughly 5% of all vehicles registered in the city.
The Hong Kong government has set its sights even higher. In September, officials said they were aiming for 30% of privately owned cars in the city to be hybrid or electric by 2020. As such, the government is encouraging businesses and car-park owners to install at least 2,000 charging stations by 2013, setting up an electric infrastructure before the vehicles hit the roads in significant numbers. There are currently 265 stations across Hong Kong, says the Environment Bureau. On Jan. 21 it launched a hotline that provides installation information.
“Availability of charging facilities is critical to potential car owners in considering whether to take up an EV [electric vehicle],” says Eva Wong, a spokeswoman at the Environment Bureau.
So, one of the main issue with Electric Cars as we know is the location of the chargers. People still prefer to rely on their Petrol Station and the grid of Petrol Stations all over the world. Unfortunately Electric  Chargers in Parkings for instance are still a dream sometimes. The amount of Electric Chargers in Parkings can be count on one hand. 

Some cities anyway are getting there with the number of charging columns. 

For experience I know that Florence in Italy is well ahead with them. They should just adequate the models of the chargers: they are in fact still connected to the grid only, no solar power generation on top of them, so it is a bit of a waste. 

Dublin aswell is sloooowly starting to place them around town (E-Cars project from ESB), but the times and the habits of politicians and consumers are still too slow and hard to change.

Unfortunately, this technology is already old. Ah ah the politicians and electric columns business people will die after this.
Not many people know in fact that "chargers" as we were used to know them, are already over. 

2011 is already the year of "MAGNETIC INDUCTION CHARGERS". Basically it's wifi electric charging applied to your electronic device. No more cables, no more plugs (I just think at the decision taken recently by manufacturers to create one type only of charger - the mini usb. Already beaten by technology!)

This technology we saw in the video is not a dream anymore. 

At CES this year  Fulton Innovation has shown what the future of retail shopping, and even parking lots will be.  Now that the Wireless Qi Standard has been finalized it seems like things are coming together and Magnetic Induction Chargers are really possible. MIC  can charge EVERYTHING, from cereal boxes with blink lights to Tesla Roadsters that charge almost as quickly as with a wire but, quite obviously, without the wire. Basically you do not need anymore the charging column but just a MIC underneath your car (can be placed in ANY parking spot and there you go, your car charges while parked. Same thing can be done if you place them on the road: while you drive, you charge your car! Sort of Energy Zero Driving!

This form of charging is 80% efficient, but the company estimates that with a more integrated system (mainly deleting the converter) they could get to 89% efficiency. The wired charger? It clocks in at 96% efficiency, meaning for any given voltage the charging time would only be about 7% slower going wireless -- a potentially small price to pay for the ability to turn an entire parking lot into a charging station without having to worry about wires or vandalism or semi-inadvertent electrocution of curious people who decide to see what happens when terminals get licked.

Amazing applications are also possible with the MIC as electric cooking areas that not heat up of smart shelving in stores. Have a look.

Articles Related:

Monday, February 28, 2011

You dirty Skype polluter!!

General Electric has launched the other day “How much CO2 is created by…”, an application on their website created by designer David McCandless, where you can calculate the amount of emissions produced by simply daily routines. 

It seems in fact that Skype produces more CO2 emissions than Facebook (24 million tons/year against “just” 13.6 million tons). 

Here are some other curious data taken from this application:

TV: 1 Hour in front of a 15” tv produces 34 gr of CO2, 76 gr if you are using a 28”.
If you like to go big, as on a 42” plasma screen, you produce 220 gr per hour; (I’m in the middle so I don’t feel that guilty).

Phone: 1 minute of phonecall can be free on your operator but provides 57 gr of CO2 to the environment. According to ZDnet, Bridge Ratings says the average phone call is in general 3 minutes 15 seconds, producing then 185 gr of CO2. One text is just 0.014 gr!  Adding all the “txts 2 ur frnds 4 a yr” produce 51 gr, so it’s better to send texts than call, remember!

Food: an hamburger produces 2.5Kg of CO2 while a veggie burger, an orange or a slice of bread just 1Kg. 1.8Kg for 6 eggs, 720gr for a Bottle of milk, 210Kg for a year of coffee and 12Kg for a whole case of cheese, 900gr for an imported beer (happy days..beer beats burger).

Uh, this is interesting. I am getting married in August, so let’s see how much a wedding produces: a wedding with 100 guests produces 5 tons of CO2, a big style with 300 guests, about 85 tons. Let’s reduce the guestlist then!! (It’s for the environment, you know…)

Sport: a football match produces 820 tons of CO2. The world championship has produced a total of 2.8 million tons. And the rest I’d say if you calculate all the “extras” around it.

Population: now, here I will get some bad feedback from my friends all over the world, but these are the numbers. Number one pollutants seem to be Australians, with 30 tons of CO2 per person yearly, followed by Americans (28), 15 for British and surprise surprise just 3.3 for a chinese (tons of CO2, lets remember) and at the end my friend africans with just 1 ton per person/year.

Just to remind everyone, a VW Beetle weights 1 ton, so make the comparisons…

Travelling: a flight NY to Miami emits 193kg per person. Every day on Europe skies are produced 560.000 tons of CO2. (Yes, 560.000 VW Beetles). If you count ALL the flights in one day all over the world, we are at 670 million tons of CO2. Still making the VW Beetle example uh? A night in a hotel produces just 25Kg. No smoking room, obviously.

So, what is Zero emission?
An apple just picked from a tree (at the supermarket it’s 80gr and imported from abroad 150gr). Zero emission is drying your clothes on the line outside or, a nice warm bath with solar energy heated water.

This post has produced about 20gr of CO2, Not bad indeed!

Here is the website: How Much CO2 is created by...
Original post taken from: here

Friday, February 25, 2011

New MacBookPro from Apple with a good eye on the Environment

Cupertino, CA. February 25th, 2011. February is always the month of news from Apple! After spending like crazy and getting the newest gadget for Christmas, here comes after 2 months a newer and better version of what you got so impatiently!

Voila’: the new MacBook Pro are out. They are faster, better, and more environmentally friendly. I am not getting into all the new specs of these new versions (Thunderbolt, Graphic etc.) but I am actually admiring the section that Apple has deliberately put online regarding the environment and how much CO2 is produced by each model.

First of all, congratulations for the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) Energy Star qualification for the MacBook Pro low power consumption obtained. That is already a very good start. Secondly, lets enter more in detail about the energy savings of these new products:

(from the Apple Website)


·      Efficient power supply.

MacBook Pro includes a highly efficient power supply that reduces the amount of power wasted when bringing electricity from the wall to your computer. Lower power consumption reduces energy bills and lessens the environmental impact of greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

·      Advanced power management.

Unlike a lot of Windows-based PC systems, MacBook Pro uses energy-efficient hardware components that work hand in hand with the operating system to conserve power. Mac OS X activates sleep mode on already energy-efficient LED-backlit displays. And it balances tasks across both central processors and graphics processors. Mac OS X never misses a power-saving opportunity, no matter how small. It even regulates the processor between keystrokes, reducing power between the letters you type. That’s just one of many ways Apple manages small amounts of power that add up to big savings.


MacBook Pro meets the stringent low power requirements set by the EPA in their ENERGY STAR 5.2 qualification. ENERGY STAR 5.2 sets significantly higher efficiency limits for power supplies and aggressive limits for the computer’s typical annual power consumption.


The greatest environmental challenge facing the computer industry today is the presence of arsenic, brominated flame retardants (BFRs), mercury, phthalates, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) in products. Apple engineers have worked hard to eliminate BFRs and PVC from MacBook Pro circuit boards, internal and external cables, connectors, insulators, adhesives, and more.1 And they’ve eliminated many other toxins that are a common part of notebook computer manufacturing — choosing, for example, mercury-free backlighting and arsenic-free glass for the MacBook Pro display.


Every MacBook Pro comes in a smaller package than it used to — including our most popular model, the 13-inch, which ships in packaging that’s 41 percent smaller than the original. And smaller boxes are much better for the planet. Because smaller boxes mean we can fit more boxes on each shipping pallet. Which means more products will fit on each boat and plane. Which means fewer boats and planes are used, resulting in fewer CO2 emissions. It’s one seemingly minor change. But it has a major positive impact on our environment.


Recyclable materials.
Apple has minimized the waste when MacBook Pro reaches end of life through its ultraefficient design and the use of aluminum, which recyclers can reuse for other products.
Free recycling for your old computer.
If you live in the U.S., Apple offers a free recycling program for old computers and displays with the purchase of any new Mac.

Here are some information about the Apple Environmental plan: http://www.apple.com/environment/ 


The Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool, or EPEAT, evaluates the environmental impact of a product based on how recyclable it is, how much energy it uses, and how it’s designed and manufactured. Through its innovative and environmentally friendly design, MacBook Pro has earned the highest rating of EPEAT Gold.


Apple’s life cycle analysis accounts for all emissions associated with our products. That includes raw material extraction, manufacturing, packaging, transportation, a three- or four-year period of use,3 and recycling. In the course of this analysis, we determined that more than 95 percent of Apple’s total greenhouse gas emissions come from the products we make.

If you want to see how much CO2 is produced by your (future) brand new MacBook Pro, here are the pdf with the Environmental specs.

13” MacBook Pro: Environmental Specs
15” MacBook Pro: Environmental Specs
17” MacBook Pro: Environmental Specs

Obviously the smaller the better. Congratulations anyway to Apple for taking care of the Environment and always be transparent on the energy and environmental issues of its products. 

A solar Bicycle path that generates Solar Energy in the Netherlands

Amsterdam, February 21st, 2010. The Dutch government is launching next to Amsterdam the project SolaRoad, a bicycle lane that can generate energy from the sun. At the moment it is been tested but they’re hoping that it will be activated within the next year.

The solar-lane will be powered by a system of concrete blocks covered by a 1 cm width layer of silicon solar cells and by a layer of toughed glass. The SolaRoad will produce around 50 kWh per meter squared every year. The electricity generated will be then used for traffic lights, road illumination or houses nearby.

The first bicycle lane will be created in Krommenie, next to Amsterdam. The project has been developed by TNO, a research institute alongside the Province of North Holland, the Ooms Avenhorn Group and Imtecha; if successful it will be produced in many other cities.

For more information, www.tno.nl

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Earth Hour, March 26th 2011 and some considerations.

Early last week, Earth Hour's 2011 TV commercial began sweeping the globe with a call for people everywhere to take action for our planet and switch off their lights for one hour at 8.30pm on Saturday 26 March. 

But Earth Hour 2011 – and its people-powered TVC - comes with a big plus this year and encourages everyone to go ‘beyond the hour’ by doing something that has ongoing benefits for the environment. 

“The concept behind the ad goes along with the idea of Earth Hour, of people coming together to achieve a unified goal. The ad itself involved over 100 people coming together to form various images that pertain to Earth Hour,” says commercial director Greg Jardin:

“We have the image of a globe, we have the image of a bike because this year is ‘Earth Hour Plus’, so in addition to people turning off their lights, people are encouraged to do one other thing to save the environment - so in this case it’s ride their bike to work,” he added.  

Developed by the creative minds at Leo Burnett and produced by Radical Media, the ad’s over 100 Earth Hour volunteers illustrate that every pixel counts – quite literally.

(WWF International Website, 2011)

The Earth Hour is surely a big worldwide event; great in theory, but I am not sure if it has a strong feedback in practice. Unfortunately this is the example of radical changes in people. You cannot turn off the light drastically, but you have to make a small little change that can change people’s wrong behavior.

Many countries for instance have already started several plans to change all the light bulbs in commerce from incandescent to eco-friendly. 

Since September 1st 2009 Europe (Ireland?) has started to say goodbye to the incandescent light bulbs to be replaced by the high-energy efficiency ones.

Changing to HEE or LED lighbulbs will save worldwide around 46 billions of electricity and 239 million tons of CO2. In Europe we will save about 10 billions in electricity and emissions will be reduced of 38 million tons. (2009, e-gazette.it).

Global Service Jam 2011

From March 11th to 13th, 2011 I will participate to this interesting Design Marathon in Dublin. It's a 48hrs Design Brainstorming.

As the site says it's 

"a worldwide event that brings people together to develop, prototype and share new services. With over 40 cities and hundreds of participants, this will be one of the largest service design events ever, and you can take part!"

Rules are pretty simple:
"You don’t need to come with an idea or a team, just enthusiasm and an open-mind.
You might be interested in this event if you work, study or are just interested in services, people, technology, graphics, products, environments, business, marketing, or user experience. Over the weekend, experienced service design mentors will support groups in developing new services around a global theme". 
Not bad uh? There are already 25 people signed in, but I'd say there will be more...
Check out the closest city next to you. There might be one and we can keep in contact!
Here's a video that explains what is it like: GSJ 2011 Video
And here is the website of the event: Global Service Jam 2011

Graduation and new beginning

February 19th, 2011: Graduation for the MSc in Sustainable Development, Dublin Institute of Technology, DIT, Ireland.

I finally got graduated! What an achievement! It has been a great and tough year, above all the exams and the essays (writing scientific essays in a foreign language is not the easiest thing ever).
I have met great friends and people and I am very happy of my progress.
So, let's start immediately with this new chapter in my life, plenty of things to manage and organise:

Myself and my two collegues Joanne Kindregan and Janine Kennedy Fairitear are creating a NEW Sustainable and Social Incubator (Hub) for recently graduated designers. We are now proceeding with the written statement and first contacts. In a week we have met already so many people and got so many contacts! Thank you to Gordon, Lorna, Mark, Helen, Karan.
Next step is a physical place where to begin, we have few contacts already. In two weeks I think we might be ready to start. We also might need some funding, so if anyone know or is interested....

Also, I am opening this Blog. I really think that nowadays sharing information and networks is fundamental to get credibility and been recognised all over the world, so let's do it!

In this sustainable and social Design Blog i will try to insert all the biggest and interesting news that are happening all over the world in Sustainability and Social Design.

Feel free to comment!!!