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Category Archives:


Do You Know About the Swedish Dishcloth?

While the sorts of environmental problems that can best be solved by “green” consumerism are admittedly small, they do add up if a lot of us do them together. One of my guiltiest pleasures is my love of paper towels. They clean up everything and you can just get rid of them- you can even compost them. But despite all the rationalizations, the numbers speak for themselves: In the US alone, we use 13 BILLION pounds of paper towels, or 45 pounds per person per year. And while I can’t find any numbers on sponges, they usually stay wet for long periods of time and can harbor all sorts of bacteria. In fact, the kitchen sponge may be the dirtiest thing in your entire house!

The Swedish Dishcloth has the amazing ability to (mostly) replace both products and change your life.

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Teachers! Check Out the New Green Design Lab Website

gdl_blogThe Solar One Education team is excited to launch our new, enhanced website, thegreendesignlab.org!

The new website is easy to navigate and offers new features for registering for our Professional Development Workshops, the Green Design Lab Energy Challenge, and a host of resources for our Sustainable Schools Network members!

Since its inception 6 years ago, the Green Design Lab has grown to reach teachers and students in over 400 schools. During this time, Solar One Educators have provided professional development training for teachers on our hands-on curriculum, in-class programming for students, and support for energy reduction and school sustainability projects. With the development and growth of the Green Design Lab Sustainable Schools Network (SSN), Solar One Educators have reached teachers across the United States.

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NYC Selects Envision Solar Mobile EV Charging Stations

evchargingnycDid you know that NYC is projected to become one of the leaders in electric vehicle use? Well we are, and the city is preparing by offering an Invitation to Bid to Envision Solar’s EV ARC solar-powered EV charging stations.

While in some ways the design (pictured) seems a little clunkier than the more shed-like solar charging stations we’ve seen in the past, the fact that these stations can be moved around the site where they are located seems like a big plus.

So when will these stations be installed, and where?

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Happy 270th Birthday to Alessandro Volta, Inventor of the Electric Battery

avolta270Happy 270th birthday to Italian physicist Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Anastasio Volta, Italian physicist and inventor of the first chemical-electric battery, known as “the Voltaic pile”. And now you also know where the word “voltaic”, as in “photovoltaic” which means “electricity from light”.

Napoleon Bonaparte was a fan, and Volta was invited by the Emperor to demonstrate the battery at the Institute of France.

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Meet the Smartbulb

smartbulbsRemember when light bulbs were simple? There was one kind (incandescent) at maybe four wattages- 25, 40, 60 and 100 were common- and sometimes you’d encounter something fancy like a 3-way bulb or maybe a colored bulb. Sure, they were inefficient and unrecyclable, but they were ubiquitous, and every grocery store, gas station and hardware store in American carried the exact same ones.

Then along came the CFL and everything changed. Incandescents were out; CFLs, halogens and fluorescents were in. Yes, they had traces of mercury in them that made them dangerous to break, and they had to go back to the store to be recycled. So LEDs were introduced. With their super-long lifespans and ultra-efficient electricity consumption, they seem to have won the game.

Enter the smartbulb.

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Solar Off the Roof at the New Museum’s IDEAS CITY StreetFest

MG1A1126We had a great time at the New Museum’s IDEAS CITY StreetFest this past Saturday. We were demonstrating off-the-roof solar projects and giving kids hands-on lessons in the science behind solar photovoltaics: Photons knock electrons in the silicon panels loose, which starts up a negative electric current. That current flows through the wires embedded in the panel  to power a small motor. If you put it in the sun, the motor spins a rotor; if you block the sun, it stops. Light makes it go!

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