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Sharing knowledge to build rich, sustainable lives.

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in sustainability, appropriate technology and poverty reduction.

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Windmillprint-crop.jpg As part of a 3-D printing class, graduate students will be designing printable open-source appropriate technology for sustainable development. If you want a technology designed to be 3-D printed, post your ideas here. Chosen designs will be made and open-sourced for the global community. Deadline Nov. 13, 2014


The Full Belly Project Universal Nut Sheller
What makes "appropriate technology" is determined by context. Therefore, none of these are absolute - they are simply common features that make a technology "appropriate" to a world where many suffer a lack of basic necessities, a lack of money, and lack of equipment and technological expertise. They are also technologies that have a gentle impact on the earth:

 * Small, as in Small is Beautiful. Small often means affordable and adaptable, and puts the control in the hands of the users. Small also means local, which offers benefits in resilience;

  • Few moving parts - less to go wrong (similar to the KISS principle).
  • Can be built locally;
  • Easily repaired, by local people with locally available equipment;
  • Affordable; and
  • Made with locally available materials.
Wild Chick Farm

Recent winners of the $25,000 Economic Fuel award. Wild Chick Farm pecks ahead on local sustainable chicken raising.

Walter Lippmann in 1914
Unless the reformer can invent something which substitutes attractive virtues for attractive vices, he will fail.

Walter LippmannW
The Sun photographed by the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA 304) of NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO).
Solar energy, radiant light and heat from the sun, has been harnessed by humans since ancient times using a range of ever-evolving technologies. Solar radiation, along with secondary solar-powered resources such as wind and wave power, hydroelectricity and biomass, account for most of the available renewable energy on earth. Only a minuscule fraction of the available solar energy is used.

Solar powered electrical generation relies on heat engines and photovoltaics. Solar energy's uses are limited only by human ingenuity. A partial list of solar applications includes space heating and cooling through solar architecture, potable water via distillation and disinfection, daylighting, solar hot water, solar cooking, and high temperature process heat for industrial purposes.To harvest the solar energy, the most common way is to use solar panels.

Solar technologies are broadly characterized as either passive solar or active solar depending on the way they capture, convert and distribute solar energy. Active solar techniques include the use of photovoltaic panels and solar thermal collectors to harness the energy. Passive solar techniques include orienting a building to the Sun, selecting materials with favorable thermal mass or light dispersing properties, and designing spaces that naturally circulate air.

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ENGR 215 Introduction to Design projects – Fall 2005: RCEA: The Fall 2005 semester of Engineering 215 worked with RCEA to develop educational displays for the general public.

Fall 2005 ENGR 215 Intro to Design Projects - RCEA
A Bright Idea
To create an interactive, educational display that demonstrates the importance of electrical energy conservation  
Biggest Little Thing
To design an interactive display promoting electrical energy conservation  
Thermal Curtain
To educate people about thermal energy conservation  
Know Your Load
To educate people about phantom loads on electrical devices  

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