Sustainable Technologies

Sustainable technologies work to reduce waste while maintaining efficiency. Learn about new ways to reduce your environmental impact in this section.

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There's nothing particularly organic about a robot, even if you dress it in hemp and fuel it with alternative energy. But these five can help our planet one mechanical movement at a time.

By Robert Lamb

Sure, your hair dryer or toaster sucks up a lot of kilowatt-hours during the short time it's on, but what are the truly big drains on your home energy budget?

By Julia Layton & Sascha Bos

While rebates and tax credits have put solar power within reach for many homeowners, it's still an expensive undertaking. How do you make sure you get your money's worth?

By Julia Layton

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Energy efficiency is starting to rank right up there with speed and power in terms of desirable attributes for a computer. What are five of the most energy-efficient computers on the market?

By Maria Trimarchi

Some of the newest ideas in technology come from very old ideas -- they're inspired by nature. How do the plants and animals around us give engineers ideas?

By Jonathan Strickland

From the chemicals that pollute and the massive use of water, the traditional method of dyeing blue jeans is an environmental disaster. Nanoparticles made from wood pulp might be the answer to the problem.

By Jesslyn Shields

As far back as 1500 B.C.E., people were trying to purify water to make it drinkable. And we're still at it. Today inventors use tools as simple as clay and as sophisticated as carbon nanotubes to bring clean water to the world.

By Patrick J. Kiger

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We live in a universe of clocks. The technology may not sound as dependable as your cell phone alarm clock, but humans have turned to water-powered clocks for more than three and a half millennia.

By Robert Lamb

There are seven different numbers you might see on a plastic container. And each number has its own meaning.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus & Desiree Bowie

Without a doubt, plastic is useful. It's also everywhere — filling up landfills and recycling bins. These 10 twists on the common polymer are trying to change that reality.

By Maria Trimarchi, Patrick J. Kiger & Vicki M. Giuggio

Alternative energy usually means something is mined, refined, collected or grown. But gravity-powered floor lamps rely only on a force of nature -- and the strength of a human being.

By Julia Layton

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Photovoltaic solar panels are like windows -- they build up a coating of grime that requires a good cleaning from time to time. What's the alternative to climbing the roof with a squeegee and bucket of suds?

By Maria Trimarchi

How much energy does your TV use when it's plugged in all night? How much power is your stereo system draining from the socket monthly? The Kill A Watt and other energy monitors help you find out.

By Julia Layton

Eco-plastic seems like an oxymoron, and it very well may be. What exactly is eco-plastic, and does it really help the environment?

By Julia Layton

As the symbol of innovation, the incandescent light bulb is not very innovative. Luckily, there's a new type of light bulb -- a greener one -- that stands poised to replace Edison's most famous invention as the icon of ideation.

By William Harris & Sascha Bos

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If you've ever used a solar-powered calculator, you've experienced the power of thin-film solar cells. But can spray-on solar panels take that technology one step further?

By Maria Trimarchi

When you get that gas or electric bill at the end of the month, you may swear off long, hot showers. But if your resolution always seems to cool after a few days, you might be a good candidate for a solar water heater.

By Julia Layton

Imagine finishing off a nice cup of morning coffee and then, instead of throwing the grounds into the trash, pouring them into a cartridge where they become printer ink.

By Jacob Silverman

LED light bulbs have taken over the market. But what are their pros and cons?

By Francisco Guzman

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If you turn off the lights in your computer room, you'll probably see the glowing eyes of vampire electronics peering back at you. A smart power strip can help you cut down on how much energy they waste.

By Nathan Chandler

While you shouldn't expect to find a "flying electric" option at the airport anytime soon, electrically powered aircraft not only exist, but the technology continues to evolve at an encouraging rate.

By Robert Lamb

Ever wish the lawn would just mow itself? Well, the Husqvarna Automower is about as close as you'll get to that dream -- with the added bonus of using the sun for power.

By Maria Trimarchi

From toothbrushes to iPhones, we fill our lives with a seemingly unending string of gizmos -- all of which depend on electricity to give us what we need to make it through the day. What if you could generate that power?

By Robert Lamb

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The world flushes up to 20 percent of its drinking water down various drains. That's a lot of water going to waste. Waterless toilets could squelch the squandering.

By Susan L. Nasr

Solar energy is abundant and infinitely renewable. Therefore, it's not surprising to see the proliferation of devices that rely on the sun -- especially solar aircraft.

By Susan L. Nasr