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Sharing knowledge to build rich, sustainable lives.

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in sustainability, appropriate technology, poverty reduction, and permaculture.

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Announcements — more

Emilio-thumb.png Emilio Velis has been appointed the new Executive Director of the Appropedia Foundation! Read more...


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Surrey Hills house
Surrey Hills house. In 2001, my partner Lena and I were faced with the prospect of living in a dark and dingy 1930’s duplex “one of a pair” solid brick dwelling built in 1930, renovating it, or buying another house. The old house had a maze of small pokey rooms. We viewed the high cost of selling and buying property, where a lot of money goes to the “middlemen and the taxman”, as a waste of money. We were really keen to make maximum use of the sun for heating and natural lighting, and decided to go ahead with renovating. We prepared a detailed brief covering our requirements, with a strong focus on low environmental impact features. After discussing the project with Andreas and Judy Sederof from Sunpower Design, we felt confident that we could achieve what we wanted, although the site and the existing dwelling presented challenges. It soon became clear to us that the expertise and ideas that experienced “sustainable and solar efficient” architects provide is invaluable.
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Solar Charged Lawnmower

Converting a very used gas power lawnmower into a solar charged, low emission, almost silent, lawn cutting machine.

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Community action news

Waste hierarchy.png

Jun 12 Reduce, reuse, repair and recycle: Mending hearts: how a ‘repair economy’ creates a kinder, more caring community [1]

Jun 11 UK Climate news: Theresa May commits to net zero UK carbon emissions by 2050 [2]

Jun 3 California news: How one nonprofit is fighting hunger, food waste, and poverty with kitchen apprenticeships [3]

Jun 2 Network (UK): Alternative Editorial: Capturing and Surfing the Wave [4]

May 30 New Zealand 'wellbeing' budget promises billions to care for most vulnerable [5]

Read More...


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Marble bust of Aristotle.
Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.

AristotleW
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Hot topics / In the news


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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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.

CCAT Clay-straw slip wall

Clay-straw slip wall of CCAT's Greenshed  
CCAT clothes drying

Efficient clothes drying system for CCAT  
CCAT Cold Box

An energy efficient solution to a refrigerator  
CCAT Compost System

CCAT's comprehensive composting system  
CCAT greenhouse natural wall

An aesthetically pleasing natural earthen wall built by clay and straw slip methods  
CCAT greenshed cob wall

Cob wall of CCAT's Greenshed  
CCAT greenshed north wall

Cordwood and mortar wall of CCAT's Greenshed  
CCAT greenshed west wall

Clay-straw slip wall of CCAT's Greenshed  
CCAT greywater marsh (2008)

CCAT's Greywater Marsh 2008  
CCAT greywater marsh (current)

CCAT Greywater Marsh Continued  
CCAT interpretive wind turbine display

Demonstration wind turbine  
CCAT's living roof

Replacing CCAT's living roof  
CCAT MEOW 2012

Refurbishment of CCAT's Mobile Energy Operation Wagon  
CCAT natural concrete stain

Natural concrete stain  
CCAT natural paint project

Interior paints from natural ingredients  
CCAT natural wall construction

Earthen informational kiosk for CCAT  
CCAT pedal powered grain mill

Pedal powered grain mill for CCAT  
CCAT pedal powered TV

Updated version of CCAT pedal powered bicycle  
CCAT rainwater catchment system

CCAT's current rainwater catchment system  
CCAT Raised Garden Beds

Controlled beds of soil above toxic ground  
CCAT remediation zone

A stable slope for planting and attracting beneficial insects  
CCAT Retaining Wall

Retaining wall for slope erosion at CCAT  
CCAT rocket stove

CCAT's improved fuel rocket stove  
CCAT small rainwater catchment

Rainwater catchment for CCAT's cob bench roof  
CCAT's Vermicomposting Bin

CCAT's vermicomposting bin  
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Solar
Water
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