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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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your site to find, co-create and improve the solutions we need. Our vision and mission.

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Earth bound radiation losses
The solar resource. Solar energy is the source of all energy on earth, available to us in a number of derivatives. Plant matter for example, which relies on solar energy for nutrition, experiences natural compression and decomposition over millions of years to form the the fossil fuels we use today for electrical generation and transportation. Other examples of this can be seen in use of biomass for fuel or the harvesting of wind energy which is reliant on solar heated air for the formation of currents.

We are also able to utilize the solar resource directly. Solar thermal technologies take advantage of this resource to heat a working fluid that can transfer energy to an air stream or water for domestic or commercial use. Solar Photovoltaic or PV devices exploit various materials (principally Silicon) that experience sub-atomic variations when exposed to solar energy in order to induce an electric current. Both solar PV and thermal technologies provide a useful source of energy with little to no moving parts, no pollution and very little embodied energy.

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Ethanol from organic sugar beets versus refined cane sugar

Determine the cost inputs and energy outputs of small scale ethanol production from local and conventional sources.

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Community action news

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Apr 28 Victoria backs renewable energy community hubs with $900,000 investment [1]

Apr 26 Berliners finally dump the car for love affair with the bicycle [2]

Apr 24 US news: ‘Tomorrow’ reaches the US! [3]

Apr 23 Minnesota: Craftsman donates his tools - and himself [4]

Apr 21 San Diego: More minority communities are saving money and energy with renewable solar energy [5]

Read More...


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Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.

W. H. AudenW
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Hot topics / In the news

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Blog

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.

Air Ship Air City rooftop greywater filtration

A rooftop greywater filtration system  
Aleiha's parabolic solar cooker

Parabolic Solar Cooker  
Amal's ethanol still

A valved reflux ethanol still  
Backyard Biodigester

A biodigester converting organic waste to a fuel source  
Bike Rodeo bicycle blender

A kid's bike blender for Rio Dell Community Resource Center  
Bike trailer

A bike trailer from a converted baby stroller  
Blue ox earthen oven

Blue Ox earthen oven  
Bottoms strawbale earthen plaster

Earthen plaster and natural paint recipes  
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