|I Love Green. Do You?
We keep hearing about green design, eco friendly, solar powered, renewable energy sources. But what is this green technology? Most importantly, can it really make a difference?
Well, I strongly believe it will. However, understanding what green design is, is only half the battle. We have to start using it if we are to give our planet a fighting chance.
What is Green Technology
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Home » Science » Green Design
Renewable energy: not there yet...
Let's face it - none of us can live without our gadgets. Some boast that they live outside of the negative impact of our modern technology, but none of them really do. Sure, one may not use a computer on a daily basis (this is still commonplace with older citizens and with those living on the countryside), but that is probably the only thing that separates them from us. Really!
Most of those people still have cell phones, they drive around cars, and drink beverages from, you got it, plastic bottles, which are mass manufactures and produce large amounts of waste, meaning that they are not very eco friendly.
Now that we've covered those in denial, let's try and understand the impact all of us have on our environment and what we can do to minimize it.
Batteries, on the other hand, do break down, and by doing so they release poisonous/toxic elements into the Earth (unless disposed of properly). Most of us don't bother to properly dispose of our tech and simply throw it in the bin, further filling up our already bizarrely overfilled scrapyards.
On the topic of gadgets. Our small, compact media players, smartphones, laptops and digital assistants begin to harm the atmosphere even before they get to the scrapyard. How? They use up electricity, a source of energy that is almost always gathered from the act of burning coal in thermo electrical power plants, the same power plants that are responsible for most of our carbon footprint. So, you see, we need a green design.
What is Green Technology
"Green" scientists have put forward a large amount of ideas over the last few decades. Some of these ideas, like the concept of eco friendly nuclear power plants, are being used today, whereas others, like the concept of sugar-powered batteries, never made it past the drawing board. The newest generation of scientists has taken a different, more practical approach on the green design. Rather than changing our technology, they strive to update it, if you will, to incorporate alternative energy sources into existing technologies.
A quick web search on green technology reveals a few of the most recent inventions:
1) A company in India came out with a rather peculiar idea: a solar-powered MP3 player. The device opens up like a book, revealing two optimized solar batteries, which can charge the device with 3:4 charge efficiency (4 hours of charging = 3 hours of battery life). This eco friendly MP3 player can even be used to power other gadgets (always handy if you have a habit of forgetting those pesky little power adapters when travelling). While this invention has no real practical purpose (other than giving your cellphone enough juice for you to make it through a quick call), it shows that in theory solar energy can someday have practical use. Why not leave your cellphone on the desk and have it charge up automatically, so that you never run out of battery? The sun will be there regardless whether you want it or not; you might as well use it. This is a great example of solar power for homes.
2) Organic, environmentally degradable, energy efficient, foldable LCD screens. This one a little bit closer to market than the solar-powered MP3. In fact, these are already being manufactured and may even be picked up by larger companies in the future. Unless you printed this article out, chances are - you are reading it of a computer screen. A bulky, environmentally hazardous, energy hog that, at the end of its life-cycle, is likely to end up at the dump. Well, imagine the same screen, only compact (the equivalent thickness of a sheet of cardboard), energy-efficient (around 10W/h energy consumption) and organically degradable, which equals it having absolutely no negative impact on the environment. Too good to be true, right? Oh wait, did we tell you that you can fold it like a sheet of paper? The only downside of this is that, at least now, this "green design" is quite expensive to produce and it's still not available to the general public. Regardless, green LCD screens are another great example of renewable energy sources, wouldn't you agree?
Just for the purpose of this article, and not to brag or anything, I would like to make a note that I am the happy owner of an LG LED screen with a low power consumption of only 26 watts. The only downside is that it doesn't fold. LoL! This is just an example of what you can do to become more eco friendly. In short, buy expensive products; get high returns on the long term: reduce energy bill and help the planet while at it.
Closing Words on Green Design
While the inventions I talked about may not revolutionize the way industry works, they provide an insight on what we can do, what our alternatives are. Understanding is half the battle. Now you know how big of an impact a simple choice of an accumulator vs. battery or eco friendly and pricier vs. traditional and cheaper has on our environment. Now you understand what green technology is.
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