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Solar Glass Lets the Light In

British firm, Oxford Photovoltaics, asks “Instead of attaching solar photovoltaics to a building to harness solar power, why not make the building the photovoltaics?" The University of Oxford spin-off has developed solar glass – colourful, transparent solar cells - which is capable of converting 12% of solar energy received into electricity.


Date & source: February 12, 2013, Guardian UK

Bunga Raya not roses for Valentine’s?

Roses are de rigueur to give out during Valentine’s. But for the environmentally-conscious among us, perhaps it’s time to give other, less environmentally-harmful flowers a chance as it’s been reported that the 100 million roses grown for a typical Valentine’s Day in the US produce some 9,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

Bhutan’s Organic Aspiration

Bhutan has announced plans to become the first country in the world to grow all of its crops using only organic agricultural practices. The Himalayan nation, which borders India and China, plans for its food production to become 100 percent organic by 2020. Instead of using artificial chemicals, Bhutanese farmers will rely entirely on animal and farm waste for fertilizers.

Addressing the Issue of Underage Workers in China

Hewlett-Packard has directed their suppliers in China to limit the use of student labor, a move that reflects rising concerns in the tech community about working conditions in overseas factories.

Fashion over Safety

Fashion chains are churning out new clothing lines even frequently than before. This constant replenishment keeps fashion-conscious customers coming back for the generally low-priced goods. But worker rights advocates say fast fashion has another, darker cost: Demands for constant product turns may be putting workers’ lives at risk in developing nations such as Bangladesh, which suffered two fatal garment factory fires in as many months.


Date and source: February 7, 2013, Business Week

Scotland’s Decarbonisation Target 2030

Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond says the country will reduce carbon emissions from 347 grams of CO2 per kilowatt hour in 2010 to 50 grams by 2030. Scotland had initially set a goal of becoming 100% reliant on clean energy by 2025. Though this is no longer on the table, the country has still made leaps and bounds to get renewables going.

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Date and source: February 4, 2013, Clean Technica and Business Green

Recycled Shipping Containers = Home for South African Orphans

Never underestimate the recyclability and reusability of the nondescript shipping container. The New Jerusalem Orphanage, made up of recycled shipping containers, is a sanctuary for up to 80 orphans in South Africa. Recycled shipping containers were chosen as the main building material because they are 25 percent cheaper than conventional brick and mortar homes.


Date and source: February 4, 2013, Inhabitat

Mobile Networks Used to Track Rainfall

The Netherlands is using mobile phone network signals to measure rainfall in the country. Rain absorbs and scatters mobile phone signals in a way that can be analysed to yield an overall rainfall picture. The results from this method are comparable to using radar and rain gauges and this would useful in regions where radar is not installed or where rain gauges are in decline.


Date and source: February 4, 2013, BBC UK

Where Solar Power is the Less Expensive Alternative

First Solar Inc., the world’s largest producer of thin-film solar panels, will sell electricity at the rate of 5.8 cents per kWh in New Mexico – half the price of power from local coal plants. According to its Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with El Paso Electric Company, the local grid will be supplied with power from First Solar’s 50-megawatt Macho Springs project.Link:

Date and source: February 3, 2013, Clean Technica

Less Bang this Lunar New Year for Beijing’s Citizens

With the Lunar New Year beginning on the 10th of February, officials in Beijing have requested its residents to cut back on New Year fireworks. Although the act of setting off fireworks typically symbolises good luck for the year ahead, fireworks displays are also notorious for blackening the skies with thick smoke. Currently, Beijing’s air quality has been reported at `very unhealthy’ and ‘hazardous’ levels. This request by the officials in Beijing may help `clear the air’ over the city, so to speak.


Date and source: February 1, 2013, The Guardian