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  • sustainablog's Top Posts from 2012

    As we prepare for another year of publication (and the celebration of our 10th anniversay), we’re taking a look back at what topics and posts did well during 2012. More

  • SodaBIB: the Plastic Roof Made from Reused Materials

    We often refer to our homes as “the roof over our heads”… but, unless it needs repair, we generally don’t give much thought to our actual roofs. That’s often not the case in the developing world, where makeshift roofing of materials like corrugated tin often provides minimal protection in normal conditions… and often none when disasters like hurricanes strike. The SodaBIB system addresses some of the most common problems with roofing in the world’s poorest areas. More

  • Can Solar-Powered Sailing Ships Open Up Ocean-Based Commerce?

    Lower-tech forms of shipping could open up whole worlds of economic opportunity… and with marginal environmental impact, if done right. The creators of the Greenheart Project are trying to accomplish those goals with the development of a simply-designed, solar and sail-powered ship created specifically for use by some of the world’s poorest people. More

  • Novotera's Hybrid Biochar Cooking Stove: Clean Cooking and Economic Opportunity

    Clean cooking stoves address multiple problems created by traditional indoor cooking in the developing world: they reduce the amount of smoke and soot that leads to respiratory disease, they cut deforestation rates, and they lighten the carbon impact of food preparation. Canadian social enterprise Novotera has added a further benefit to this technology: its PlanetStove also creates economic opportunities for users because it creates charcoal from the wood users “burn” in their stoves. More

  • The Cheap Mini Washing Machine that Runs on Foot Power

    Hand washing your clothes is a greener option in the developed world; in parts of the developing world, though, it’s the only option. The Up-Stream is a cheap, human-powered washing machine that could make laundry more efficient for the world’s poorest people. More

  • The Wonderbag Comes to the Cloud

    Wonderbag, the clean insulating cooker, is partnering up with Microsoft to develop robust data on the distribution of its signature product, and the carbon savings realized by their use. More

  • How to Make a Zeer Pot

    The zeer pot is a simple, low-tech device that can keep food and drink cool without electricity. They’re also really easy to make… More

  • Fog Collection: Pulling Water From Thin Air

    Traveling long distances for fresh water is common in the developing world; now imagine throwing some mountains into the scenario. In places like Nepal, that’s the reality. Fortunately, that reality comes with ample fog… and even the world’s poorest people can harvest that fog with simple technology. More

  • The Rocket Stove: Fueling Health and Opportunity in Kenya

    Wood-burning cook stoves may not be the sexiest pieces of technology, but they can be literal life savers in the developing world: the World Health Organization estimates that the pollution caused by indoor cooking over open fires kills 1.6 million people every year. They’re also economically and environmentally beneficial: because well-designed stoves burn wood more […] More

  • LuminAID: The Cheap, Portable Solar Light

    We’ve been on a bit of a solar-powered lighting kick over the past year or so: from solar light bulbs to micro solar systems for lighting and power to 2 liter soda bottles as solar light collectors, we’ve seem many ways that inventors and designers have addressed the need for appropriate lighting technology in places […] More

  • Cheap Solar Lighting with a Two Liter Water Bottle

    An ingenious solar lighting idea is spreading across the slums of the Philippines. This solar light design requires neither a solar panel nor a light bulb, however. In fact, all it requires is the sun and a two liter water bottle. Light bulbs are only for the very fortunate in the Philippines, as they are […] More

  • The Clean Cook Stove that Generates Electricity: BioLite

    Last week at SUNfiltered, I got the chance to discuss a really innovative project addressing wood-fire cooking among the world’s most impoverished people, and its associated health and environmental impacts. And back in March, I came across Barefoot Power’s Firefly micro solar system, which provides small amounts of electricity for people without it in the […] More

  • Open Source Concentrated Solar Power: the Solarflower

    Yes, I’ve been on a bit of an appropriate technology kick lately: really loved Barefoot Power’s micro solar system and the Nuru light system and its companion human-powered charger. So, had to stop and take a look at the Solarflower when I ran across it on Indiegogo: designer Daniel Connell describes his invention as …an […] More

  • South African Farmer Pulls Power from Poop

    Chicken poop ain’t pretty, but it’s potential as an energy source has a number of large-scale poultry operations taking a second look at the smelly stuff. The price tags on such projects can climb pretty high, though: Georgia’s Green Power EMC project, for instance, was projected to cost $20 million when announced in early 2006. […] More