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Micro hydro scheme showing the power house, the penstock and the transmission lines
Microhydro power. Water power can be harnessed in many ways; tidal flows can be utilized to produce power by building a barrage across an estuary and releasing water in a controlled manner through a turbine; large dams hold water which can be used to provide large quantities of electricity; wave power is also harnessed in various ways. It is a technology that has been utilized throughout the world, by a diverse range of societies and cultures, for many centuries. Water can be harnessed on a large or a small scale. Micro-hydro power is the small-scale harnessing of energy from falling water; for example, harnessing enough water from a local river to power a small factory or village. This fact sheet will concentrate mainly at micro-hydro power.

In the UK, water mills are known to have been in use 900 years ago. Their numbers grew steadily and by the 19th century, there were over 20,000 in operation in England alone. In Europe, Asia and parts of Africa, water wheels were used to drive a variety of industrial machinery, such as mills and pumps. The first effective water turbines appeared in the mid 19th century and it was not long before they were replacing water wheels in many applications. In contrast to water wheels and the early turbines, modern turbines are compact, highly efficient and capable of turning at very high speed. Hydropower is a well-proven technology, relying on a non-polluting, renewable and indigenous resource, which can integrate easily with irrigation and water supply projects.

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Rainwater catchment at Isla Urbana

A rainwater catchment system set up by Isla Urbana with the Huicholes in Mexico.

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Albert Einstein
The only source of knowledge is experience.

Albert EinsteinW
Bicycle wheel
Transport. According to the Appropriate transport manual, sustainable transportation is a strategy for the flow of people and goods across the Earth that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Transportation accounted for 32.6% of US green house gas emissions in 2005. In addition to the widely publicized environmental consequences of driving automobiles, it is also socially and economically costly:
  • Land use: Parking and roads use valuable land resources.
  • Transportation equity: Driving, with all of its expenses, costs the average U.S. household $7,000 per year per vehicle.
  • Economics: Most of the money spent on driving leaves a local economy, weakening it.
  • Community: Travelers outside of their cars interact more with their physical environment and each other.
  • Safety: The presence of pedestrians and cyclists make our neighborhoods safer from crime. Conversely, 42,000 Americans are killed in car accidents every year.
  • Health: Increasingly, Americans are suffering from weight-related illnesses. This is partly attributable to the decline in active transportation use and availability.

Building and encouraging alternatives to the single-occupant vehicle, or, for short "alternative transportation," is imperative. Some alternative transportation advocates have taken to using the term, sustainable transportation, instead of the previous, widely-used "alternative transportation" term to avoid sidelining their interest from the mainstream.

Many efficient, practical, and inexpensive sustainable transportation technologies already exist, meaning activism, policy work, and planning research is most often more crucial to developing sustainable transportation than technology development.

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ENGR 215 Introduction to Design projects – Spring 2011: Locally Delicious: The Spring 2011 semester of Engineering 215 worked with Locally Delicious to design, build, test and disseminate projects that support healthy lifestyles among youths grades 4th through 6th and their families.

Spring 2011 ENGR 215 Intro to Design Projects - Locally Delicious
Tear the Roof off
Dry sliced apples in 18 hours of sunlight with this legless solar dehydrator  
The GnomeTainer
Modular, raised garden with integrated rain catchment that can be installed on a porch  
Catch and Cook
A solar oven capable of reaching 160°F in 20 minutes  
Solar Bowling Oven
Solar oven kids can build and use on their own  
Wormland worm bin
Scalable vermiculture system from free materials for kids  
Row Blender
Row yourself a smoothie with an exercise powered blender  
Sodhoppers' Solar Dehydrator
Durable food dehydrator for a school from a waste kitchen cabinet  
Interactive School Garden
Modular school garden design incorporating several different garden styles  
The Solar Swing
Solar oven for a school reaching 200°F in 30 minutes  
School Worm Bin
Worm bin for a school built from a 55 gallon drum  
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