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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


Foundation of the underground tank (copyleft Practical Action/Douglas Gumbo)
Underground rainwater storage facilities. Rainwater storage tanks are more important in semi arid areas than any other areas because they are useful in storing limited water supplies for agricultural purposes. In semiarid regions, where precipitation is low or infrequent during the dry season, it is necessary to store the maximum amount of rainwater during the wet season for use at a later time, especially for agricultural supply. One of the methods frequently used is the underground storage tanks. The in situ technology consists of making storage available in areas where the water is going to be utilised. All rainfall-harvesting systems have three components: a collection area, a conveyance system, and a storage area. In this application, collection and storage is provided within the landscape.

Consider five main factors when designing your underground tank.

  1. Seepage
  2. Evaporation
  3. Length of the dry spell
  4. Daily usage
  5. Construction costs
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.

Tim Jarvis on his Antasrtic expedition
Thinking is good, but doing is better.

Tim JarvisW
Man working in a rice field.
Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for the body. It is usually of plant or animal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals. The substance is ingested by an organism and assimilated by the organism's cells in an effort to produce energy, maintain life, and/or stimulate growth. Historically, people secured food through two methods: hunting and gathering, and agriculture.

Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the development of civilization. In the developed world, industrial agriculture based on large-scale monoculture has become the dominant system of modern farming, although there is growing support for sustainable agriculture (e.g. permaculture or organic agriculture).

Sustainable agriculture is the practice of farming using principles of ecology, the study of relationships between organisms and their environment. It has been defined as "an integrated system of plant and animal production practices having a site-specific application that will last over the long term: satisfy human food and fiber needs; make the most efficient use of non-renewable resources and on-farm resources and integrate, where appropriate, natural biological cycles and controls; sustain the economic viability of farm operations; and enhance the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole.”

Related portal: Permaculture
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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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