Sustainable Technologies in the Community

Sustainable technologies in the community work to create towns and cities that can operate without producing large amounts of waste. They also make it easier for the members of a community to live greener lives.

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If you live in the right spot -- somewhere that's sunny most of the year with low humidity -- you can save a lot through solar power. So which five cities are the best?

By Julia Layton

So a space shuttle launch may not be the most environmentally friendly thing in the world, but there's more to NASA than space travel. What are five of the most important ways NASA helps the environment?

By Julia Layton

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

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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

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

Sometimes you need to reinforce roads or retain walls without breaking out the concrete and rebar. That's where a simple, ingenious technology comes in.

By Julia Layton

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

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Children love to play, so why not harness the energy of their motion to help support a community. How does the PlayPump convert the push of a merry-go-round into clean water?

By Stephanie Watson

You probably ignore most billboards, especially those annoying ones that read, "If you lived here, you could be home by now!" But what if that giant ad you drove past were alive?

By Robert Lamb

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

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

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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

The Northeast Blackout of 2003 left millions without power and cost approximately $6 billion. Experts believe we can avoid future blackouts by storing energy along the U.S. electric grid.

By Susan L. Nasr

Why would Los Angeles and Pittsburgh set out to convert a combined 180,000 traditional high-pressure sodium and mercury-vapor street lamps to LED lighting?

By Jacob Silverman

In Africa's Ivory Coast, a group of women saw a need and came together to collect plastic for recycling into bricks to build schools.

By Michelle Konstantinovsky

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Urine is so much more valuable than we think. Soon, we might be building houses with pee bricks.

By Jesslyn Shields

While plastic such as Styrofoam may be cheap and convenient to use, it contributes to costly health issues and is an inconvenient pollutant that takes up to 500 years to biodegrade.

By Carrie Tatro

Cockroaches are taking a big bite out of a Chinese city's trash problem.

By Loraine Fick

While green roofs make sense in a lot of ways, requiring their installation isn't as simple as it might seem.

By Patrick J. Kiger

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Fog harvesting has been going on in some form since ancient times, but scientists have been refining the method so people living in some of the most arid climates can have water.

By Mark Mancini

We live in an age when DIY has taken on exciting, nerve-wracking connotations. Add in some knowledge and some money from crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter, and you have a recipe for a transformed world. Will glow-in-the-dark plants be a part of it?

By Nicholas Gerbis

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

The future of electric cars is changing as Sweden builds the world's first electrified road that will charge vehicles as they drive.

By Jesslyn Shields