Shades of Green

Enterprise - - Go Green -

Con­sid­er­ing the ways we pol­lute and con­tam­i­nate our en­vi­ron­ment, there is a dire need to come up with in­no­va­tive and pro­duc­tive ideas to negate the lethal ef­fects.

Ini­tially, when sci­en­tists be­gan notic­ing the dev­as­tat­ing long- term ef­fects of hu­man ac­tiv­i­ties in the name of progress and in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion, the global en­vi­ron­men­tal move­ment be­gan to gain recog­ni­tion, trans­form­ing into a strong force by the mid- 70s. Sev­eral high- pro­file en­vi­ron­men­tal groups such as World Wildlife Fund ( WWF) and Friends of the Earth have made sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tions to man­ag­ing and cre­at­ing aware­ness about en­vi­ron­men­tal degra­da­tion.

Re­al­is­ing the need to des­per­ately search for in­no­va­tive so­lu­tions, sev­eral at­tempts made by in­di­vid­u­als and or­ga­ni­za­tions have been recog­nised and also fi­nan­cially sup­ported in or­der to stim­u­late the in­ter­est of the masses in the field. Re­cently a few ‘ next gen­er­a­tion’ toi­let ideas won the ‘ Rein­vent the Toi­let’ chal­lenge. The idea pre­sented in­volved the re­moval of water from hu­man waste through a self- con­tained toi­let that ster­ilises liq­uid waste and trans­forms solid ex­cre­tion into fuel or elec­tric­ity. An­other idea was based on a so­lar toi­let that uses sun­light to dis­in­fect liq­uid- solid waste, pro­duc­ing bi­o­log­i­cal char­coal ( bio char), which can be utilised as an alternative for wood, char­coal and chem­i­cal fer­tilis­ers.

Ac­cord­ing to Bill Gates, 1.5 mil­lion chil­dren die each year from con­sump­tion of in­fected food and water. Con­tam­i­na­tion from fae­cal mat­ter is high in th­ese in­stances. Gates says, “One of my ul­ti­mate dreams is to rein­vent the toi­let – find a cheaper alternative to the flush toi­let that does not re­quire run­ning water, has smell char­ac­ter­is­tics bet­ter than flush toi­lets and is cheaper to build.”

The Univer­sity of Toronto achieved third po­si­tion in the chal­lenge to ‘ Rein­vent the Toi­let’. They pre­sented a toi­let that could dis­in­fect urine and fae­ces, while re­cov­er­ing re­sources and hy­gienic water. Lough­bor­ough Univer­sity se­cured sec­ond place for a toi­let that pro­duces bio char, min­eral and clean water. The Cal­i­for­nia In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy achieved first po­si­tion for de­sign­ing a so­lar- power toi­let which gen­er­ates hy­dro­gen and elec­tric­ity.

In ad­di­tion to th­ese ground­break­ing ideas, re­duc­tion of the car­bon foot­print and pro­mot­ing greener prac­tices has also be­come a cru­cial con­cern of many or­ga­ni­za­tions. De­spite the fact that wood is the most com­mon build­ing ma­te­rial yet it has been largely ig­nored in con­sumer elec­tron­ics. With a car­bon foot­print 70 per­cent smaller than reg­u­lar PCs and mon­i­tors, wooden pc cas­ings would soon be avail­able in the mar­ket. An Ir­ish firm called Mi­cro­Pro has de­signed the ‘Iameco’ de­vice. The de­vice is the first touch screen com­puter gain­ing the Euro­pean Union’s Eco­la­bel cer­tifi­cate.

Mi­cro­pro is also work­ing on cre­at­ing green lap­tops. It would also fea­ture a wooden cas­ing, cut­ting down on the use of non- re­new­able ma­te­ri­als and would also help in mak­ing it eas­ier to re­place com­po­nents, thereby ex­tend­ing the us­age and life­span of com­po­nents in or­der to re­duce car­bon foot­print.

In an at­tempt to pro­vide a sim­pler, more af­ford­able so­lu­tion to the green en­ergy needs of the masses, SpinRay En­ergy has in­tro­duced Deck­Power120 so­lar ap­pli­ance. The UL cer­ti­fied, 120volt, plug-and-play so­lar kit comes with one 240-watt so­lar panel. It can be eas­ily hung on a deck or any­where out­door, us­ing merely a mount bracket. It al­lows up to 1,300 watts of AC power with five so­lar pan­els.

A sim­i­lar sys­tem is called SunPlug Plug n’ Play So­lar Kit. This in­cludes one 235-watt poly­crys­talline panel, WiFi mod­ule for mon­i­tor­ing, a 120 VAC/60 Hz grid-tie in­verter, a con­nec­tor to plug di­rectly into an AC out­let and a rack­ing mount.

Although the green tech­nolo­gies avail­able are rel­a­tively ex­pen­sive, many are in­vest­ing in pro­duc­ing qual­ity elec­tron­ics at af­ford­able prices.

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