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Sharing knowledge to build rich, sustainable lives.

Appropedia is for collaborative solutions
in sustainability, appropriate technology, poverty reduction, and permaculture.

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Aprologo-old.png As we approach our ten-year anniversary, we are looking at how best to support Appropedia in the next ten years. Please share your thoughts with us on the idea of appointing an Executive Director.


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Solar Charged Lawnmower
Solar Charged Lawnmower. An electric lawnmower that utilizes solar power as an energy source will address a number of issues that standard internal combustion engine mowers do not. An electric lawnmower with a solar charger will be easier to use. There is no messy dangerous gasoline to deal with. It will eliminate those pesky trips to the gas station for fill-ups. Just plug the mower into the charging station when not in use and it will be charged and ready for your next mow! Most importantly it eliminates the emissions of an internal combustion mower.

The basic idea is to convert an older non-working gas mower into an electric powered mower by replacing the gas engine with an electric motor that runs from a 12 volt battery. This battery will be charged using photovoltaic panel (A.K.A. - solar panel). I chose to convert an old gas mower rather than just starting with an electric mower due to cost and so I could design the power output. I also planned on using as many used materials as I can. This will help to save these materials from ending up in our already over filled landfills.

I would like to claim that I came up with this solar charged electric mower idea on my own but the truth is I came across an article about one in a "Home Power" magazine (Issue 107) a while back and have wanted to build one ever since. When the opportunity arose to use it as a project in my Engineering 305 class at Humboldt State University I jumped at the chance.

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Wild Chick Farm

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

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Community action news

India2.jpg
Dec 1 India news: Microgrids Lighting Up Villages, and Lives, in India's Himalayas [1]

Dec 1 Amsterdam has created a free Airbnb for city-owned buildings [2]

Dec 1 Sustainable transport activism: So are trams really better than buses? [3]

Dec 1 Michigan: America’s first sustainable urban agrihood is growing in Detroit [4]

Nov 30 Two-wheel takeover: bikes outnumber cars for the first time in Copenhagen [5]

Read More...


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E. F. Schumacher
Perhaps we cannot raise the winds. But each of us can put up the sail, so that when the wind comes we can catch it.

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Hot topics / In the news

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Kiva's straw bale greenhouse
An alternative or natural building involves a range of building systems and materials that place major emphasis on sustainability. Ways of achieving sustainability through natural building focus on durability and the use of minimally processed, plentiful or renewable resources, as well as those that, while recycled or salvaged, produce healthy living environments and maintain indoor air quality. Natural building tends to rely on human labor, more than technology. As Michael G. Smith observes, it depends on "local ecology, geology and climate; on the character of the particular building site, and on the needs and personalities of the builders and users."

The basis of natural building is the need to lessen the environmental impact of buildings and other supporting systems, without sacrificing comfort, health or aesthetics. To be more sustainable, natural building uses primarily abundantly available, renewable, reused or recycled materials. The use of rapidly renewable materials is increasingly a focus. In addition to relying on natural building materials, the emphasis on the architectural design is heightened. The orientation of a building, the utilization of local climate and site conditions, the emphasis on natural ventilation through design, fundamentally lessen operational costs and positively impact the environmental. Building compactly and minimizing the ecological footprint is common, as are on-site handling of energy acquisition, on-site water capture, alternate sewage treatment and water reuse.

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Engr305 Appropriate Technology Projects: Below are selected service learning projects from Engr305 Appropriate Technology, which is a course on appropriate technology at Humboldt State University taught by instructor Lonny Grafman.

AEF food dehydrator

A solar dehydrator to help preserve surplus crops  
AEF greywater

Greywater system at the CSA, Arcata Educational Farm  
AEF informational kiosk

An earthen informational kiosk  
AEF photovoltaic system

Modified off-grid photovoltaic system  
AEF solar water heater

Improved solar water heating system  
AEF spiral herb garden

Restored the existing herb spiral  
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Energy

Solar
Water
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