Vertical gardening designs make use any available space along a sunny wall to grow vegetables, herbs, flowers, and root crops in suspended containers.
Areca palm, Mother-in-Law’s Tongue and Money plant are three common houseplants that can be arranged in specific areas at home or in the office to produce indoor air that is measurably cleaner.
There are innovative and flexible designs in the work at MIT to address overcrowding in cities, by using folding cars, “quick-change” apartments with robotic walls, and energy saving lighting fixtures.
By 2050 six billion people are estimated to be living in cities. Eduardo Paes is the mayor of Rio de Janeiro and believes in four principles for smart urban infrastructure upgrades.
New cities in China are being built using cradle to cradle design to create spaces environmentally and community mindful.
Large institutional investors can help make big strides in environmental progress by using sustainability metrics in their investment strategies, which can aid returns.
Growing Underground is a subterranean farm in London that grows crops unaffected by weather and seasons, with the help of a hydroponic system and low-energy LED lighting.
The Lowline is an underground park in New York, where the plants are nourished by sunlight that’s piped through a system of mirrored collectors, lenses and reflectors.
Swale is a floating “food forest” built on a floating platform with an edible forest garden, launched in the waterways of New York.
OMEGA – Offshore Membrane Enclosures for Growing Algae – is a project developed by NASA to clean wastewater, producing biofuel, fertilizer and more in the process.
Eighteen year old Boyan Slat came up with a plan to clean pollution in the ocean using passive flotation devices and the ocean’s own current to pull the sea life under and plastics into the floatation devices.
Useful minerals, such as calcium, potassium and magnesium, can be extracted from the salty brine that remains after desalinating water, upcycling “waste.”
Plant-e is a company that develops products that can generate electricity from living plants. Based on natural processes electrons are harvested from the soil and electricity is produced while plants grow.
A biogas generator produces natural gas by transforming grass clippings, food waste and livestock manure, with a fertilizer as a bi-product.
Egyptian teenager Azza Abdel Hamid Faiad discovered that an inexpensive catalyst called aluminosilicate can efficiently turn plastic waste into biofuel.
Ecovative grows fungus-based construction and packaging “Myco” material that performs like plastic and protects fragile shipments, but is biodegradable.
Kevin Surace designed EcoRock, a clean, recyclable and energy-efficient drywall, with the aim to reduce the huge carbon footprint generated by manufacturing and constructing buildings.
Doris Kim Sung uses thermo bi-metals – designed to resemble human skin, shading a room from sun or self-ventilating, and reducing energy used.
Erik Schlangen designed a new type of porous asphalt, which when cracked can be “healed” by induction heating the steel fibers embedded in bitumen, which melt back to the road’s original shape.
Engineer Veena Sahajwalla invented a process for recycling rubber tyres into steel, called “green steel,” diverting over 2 million passenger car tyres from landfills so far and deriving economic value.
Silk has over 20 new incredible uses in high tech – transmitting light, improving sustainability, adding strength and making medical leaps, from replacing a vein or a bone to delivering medicine in the desert.
Smart materials are coming into daily use – including fabrics that light up, paints that conduct electricity, pigments that change color in windows and walls, or kitchenware depending on temperature.
Marcin Jakubowki started a project to write and share an instructions set for building an entire self-sustaining village. His group Open Source Ecology created the “Global Village Construction Set.”
The Italian 3D printing company WASP developed an easily-transportable 3D printer that can quickly create homes out of mud and natural fibers—materials already available on building sites.
World’s smallest affordable 3D printer could make customized hearing aids, joints, or other miniatures that can help those in need around the world to get the necessary items without extensive waiting.
Building with sandbags is a great alternative to conventional construction, even considered superior in quality and comfort of living, reducing the carbon footprint and cost of building a home.
Straw bale construction uses bales of straw, such as wheat, rice, rye and oats, as structural elements. It is a sustainable building method, in terms of materials and energy needed for heating and cooling.
Tire homes have a “negative carbon” footprint, on average removing 2,000 tires from landfills for their construction. An efficient passive-solar design also saves a lot of energy used for heating and cooling.
“Binishell” was conceived and pioneered by Dante Bini in the 1960’s. The Ecoshell domes can provide living space that withstands fires and earthquakes when built properly, costing as low as $3,500 to build.
Ecocapsule is an egg-shaped tiny portable home that can go off-grid and off-pipe. Powered by solar and wind energy and using filtered rainwater it allows to bring comforts of civilization into wilderness.
“Weaving a Home” uses structural fabric that’s lightweight, flexible and mobile, allowing families to weave a shelter that provides the fundamental comforts of heat, electricity, running water, and storage.
Michael McDaniel designed and coordinated production of an inexpensive and easy to transport housing for disaster relief zones, called the Exo Reaction Housing Solution.
Bamboo is lightweight yet strong, with the tensile strength of steel. Each pole is unique and grows very quickly, both a resource for creative expression and a sustainable source of building material.
i-Beam Designs came up with pallet house, an easy and inexpensive emergency home. The house comes with a manual and can be built in a day with basic tools and no prior construction experience.
Greenhouses and cold frames are a great way to grow your own food year round, healthy, fresh and full of nutrients. There are many different designs to choose from to easily build one yourself.
A new power is seen on the rise that can be mobilized to solve some of the major challenges in the world. This new power is based on distributed, crowd-sourced models, such as Airbnb and Kickstarter.
A number of online ventures are changing the rules of human behavior toward collaborative consumption – a powerful cultural and economic force reinventing what and how we consume.
Flow Beehive is the beekeepers dream – a revolutionary innovation in the bee keeping industry, allowing to harvest honey without opening the hive and avoiding disturbing the bees.
Significant support is needed to make changes in the food, agriculture and trade systems – to reduce the use of chemical fertilizers, to increase crop diversity, and to support local small-scale farmers.
Instead of buying trees you can grow your own rootstock and graft to grow thousands of trees yourself. You can start at home with a small bucket and expand depending on available space.
Engineer Topher White started Rainforest Connection to use a simple and scalable way to stop illegal logging and deforestation using old cell phones as a security system for real-time intervention.
Natural pest control uses “good bugs” to fight pests, instead of spraying produce with harmful chemicals. This prevents disturbing the natural balance, and is safer for farmers and the food supply.
Soil can be built up using a simple technique called Hugelkultur. Soil is put on top of a bed of wood, and the decomposition process creates enriched and self-sufficient “alive soil.”
A group of students from Yale’s Department of Molecular Physics and Biochemistry discovered a fungus in Ecuador, called Pestalotiopsis microspora, that likes to eat polyester polyurethane.
Biochar may be added to soil in order to improve soil functions and to reduce emissions from biomass that would otherwise naturally degrade to greenhouse gases.
Mycelium holds together soil and disassembles natural materials generating humus, building and cleaning polluted soil, as well as making insecticides, and antibiotics to treat smallpox and flu viruses.
Five common medicinal mushrooms can help to heal the human body and the ecosystem. These are Reishi, Chaga, Turkey Tails, Shittake, and Cordycepts Sinensis mushrooms.
You can grow your own shiitake mushrooms by inoculating medium size logs, placing them into a shaded and humid area, letting them incubate, shocking the logs, and enjoying the harvest.
A natural swimming pool is a pond that keeps clean and clear water with the help of plants and animals, and without the use of chemicals, such as chlorine and other disinfectants, safe for people and wildlife.
Olla is an unglazed terracotta clay pot that’s buried next to plants to water them at a steady rate, especially effective in hot and dry locations. It is considered the most efficient irrigation system in the world.
Rainwater harvesting is one of the oldest and most effective forms of water collection and can help decentralize the water supply. The rain is drained from the roofs into barrels, cisterns, or tanks.
pAge is the Drinkable Book filled with pages coated with silver nano particles that can filter water, while also teaching proper sanitation & hygiene. One page can filter up to 100 litres of drinking water.
Engineer Michael Pritchard invented the Lifesaver water filter. The portable filter makes the most revolting water drinkable in seconds, removing all viruses and bacteria, and lasts for up to 6,000 liters.
Designer Gabriele Diamanti invented Eliodomestico, an eco sea water distiller running on solar power to provide safe bacteria-free drinking water for people in developing countries.
Solar water heaters – also called solar domestic hot water systems – can be a cost-effective way to generate hot water at home. They can be used in any climate, and they use free fuel – sunshine.
Alfredo Moser came up with the solar bottle lamp – it illuminates dark spaces during the day without electricity, by using a plastic bottle filled with water and a bit of disinfectant.
The SUNplace is a “solar cooking table,” a collaborative project by designers Francesca Lanzavecchia and Hunn Wai, intended for a group of chefs to cook together and prepare a meal using sunlight.
The Powerwall is the new Tesla solar battery unit to power households. The battery is affordable, comes with a 10 year warranty, and has an elegant design that easily mounts on the wall.
Michigan State University researchers designed a transparent luminescent solar concentrator that can be used on buildings, cell phones, and other devices with a clear surface that harvests energy.
Intelligent power outlets can conserve energy and prevent deadly accidents like house fires. John La Grou is working on the Electrical Fault Circuit Interrupter – EFCI – using microprocessors and RFID tags.
Donald Sadoway is working on a large scale battery – an inexpensive, efficient, three-layered battery using “liquid metal” – to provide storage for renewable energy, for supply to meet the demand, rain or shine.
Dated to 200 BC, the so called ‘Baghdad Battery’ can produce almost a volt of energy. It consists of a clay jar, a copper tube wrapped around an iron rod, and an acidic fluid transferring electrons.
Vortex Bladeless is a new model of wind generator that bends in the wind and produces power at its base by utilizing the vortex created when wind moves around it. It’s silent and completely safe for birds.
A 14 years old Malawian inventor William Kamkwamba built an electricity-generating windmill from spare parts, working from rough plans he found in a library book “Using Energy.”
Using some recycled parts and a small rocket stove you can heat and pump hot water without the need for electricity. You can also easily make the rocket stove yourself from four concrete blocks.
Mohammed Bah Abba, a teacher in rural Nigeria, developed the Pot-in-Pot Preservation Cooling System that keeps food and medicine fresh by storing them in two clay pots, and requiring no electricity.
Alex Cabunoc and Ji A You created GiraDora – a $40 pedal-powered washing machine that can spin wash and dry clothes in a fraction of the time that it takes to do it by hand, without using electricity.
Iqbal Quadir started a mobile phone operator connecting 80 million rural Bangladeshi and encouraging bottom-up development, using connectivity to increase productivity and fight poverty.
Nicholas Negroponte started the One Laptop Per Child project to distribute the “$100 laptop” to children around the world – as a way to connect and teach children technological skills early on.
India’s revolutionary Aravind Eye Care System has given sight to millions, using an ingenious approach and a hub-and-spoke model that drives treatment costs down and quality up.
Sheila Nirenberg shows a bold way to create sight in people with certain kinds of blindness, by hooking into the optic nerve and sending signals from a camera directly to the brain.
Ultrasound surgery uses MRI to find trouble spots and focuses ultrasound waves to non-invasively treat such issues as brain lesions, uterine fibroids and several kinds of cancerous growths.
There is a new approach to treating cancer, called Tumor Treating Fields, which uses electric fields to interrupt cancer cell division. It shows effect in 20 different cancers in the lab so far.
Daniel Kraft designed the Marrow Miner — a new device that quickly harvests life-saving bone marrow with minimal pain to the donor, and which can be used to treat many terminal conditions.
Engineer Krista Donaldson is the CEO of D-Rev, a company that produces the ReMotion knee, an $80 prosthetic device for above-knee amputees, many of whom earn less than $4 a day.
DEKA is a prosthetic arm, originally developed by Dean Kamen for the Department of Defense. It is able to perform multiple simultaneous powered movements and is cleared by the FDA.
The Freedom Chair is a wheelchair designed by the MIT engineer Amos Winter to go through mud and sand, providing true accessibility and easy to built at a cost of less than $200.
Exoskeleton is a wearable robot that gives “superhuman” physical abilities in terms of strength, speed and balance, or even basic locomotion where it wasn’t possible before, as in the example of the eLEGS.
Freedom For Sustainability is dedicated to uniting brilliant projects and solutions to uphold holistic prosperity of our planet.