Solar Ivy: Photovoltaic Leaves


Energy:  Buildings are responsible for an enormous amount of global energy use, but solar energy is a readily accessible source of electricity generation. Solar panels, depending on the design and context of a structure, may not always be an option for curbing energy consumption from fossil fuels.

Technology Summary

Article – ‘Solar Ivy’ Photovoltaic Leaves Climb to New Heights

  • Designed by Brooklyn based SMIT (Sustainably Minded Interactive Technology)
  • Thin-film material on top of polyethylene with a piezoelectric generator attached to each leaf.
  • Wind and solar power generating photovoltaic leaves can be easily integrated on the side of a building to produce energy
  • When the sun is shining or the wind is blowing, energy is being generated via Solar Ivy.
  • Easily mounted on a vertical wall due to its light weight.

Light-sourcing leaves move around and catch the sun from many directions


Organizational Stakeholders

Potential Stakeholders include:

  • Architect/Designers
  • Product Manufacturers
  • Building Operators/Owners
  • Energy Industry



The next three stages in deploying this technology could be:

  • Coordinate installations displaying viability of technology to investors/shareholders.
  • Forge partnerships with institutions, agencies, and building companies to secure funding
  • Expand scope and application of technology to maximize relevancy in marketplace.


See also: Building Energy Consumption Photovoltaic Leaves




Designing for Disaster: The DH1 Disaster House


Sustainability Problem

Health and Safety:  Natural disasters are occurring nearly five times as often as they were in the 1970s. Flooding and mega-storms were the leading cause of disaster from 2000-2010, and there is growing evidence that warming temperatures are increasing the destructive force of hurricanes. With increased likelihood and destruction of these super storms, there comes a need for better temporary housing.

Technology Summary

Article – DH1: Instant Housing and Designing for Disaster

  • Designed by Architect Gregg Fleishman
  • The DH1 Disaster House is constructed with slotted exterior grade plywood
  • Uses tabs to fit together without fasteners or other hardware.
  • Small pieces: can be transported without cranes, forklifts or other industrial equipment, which are often scarce during disasters.
  • Unit sits 30 inches off the ground to avoid water damage in areas that have been flooded.
  • Materials used allow DH1 modules to  be integrated and used as a permanent solution for neighborhoods.


Organizational Stakeholders

Potential Stakeholders include:

  • Architect/Designers
  • Product Manufacturers
  • Lumber Industry
  • Members of at-risk regions/neighborhoods
  • Representatives of transportation measures
  • Government Agencies



The next three stages in deploying this technology could be:

  • Assess drawbacks and fine-tune product for use; research alternative material options
  • Forge partnerships with institutions to demonstrate technology to at-risk regions and their local governments
  • Develop a funding mechanism to provide structures to at-risk regions, focusing first on developing countries


See also: Climate Change  Gregg Fleishman Structures


Solar Shingles: Photovoltaics with Curb Appeal


Sustainability Problem

Energy & Pollution: About 67% of electricity generated in the U.S. is from fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and petroleum.)  Photovoltaic solar panels provide a renewable energy source option in ending our dependence on finite fossil fuels, but traditional panels have a heavy a profile that can dissuade homeowners from installing them.

Technology Summary

Article – Solar Shingles: What are they?

  • Designed to look like ordinary asphalt shingles
  • Protects the roof; as durable and flexible as regular shingles
  • Lightweight and easy to install
  • Cost effective when compared to traditional panels that rest on the roof
  • Can be installed at start of project or during regular roof replacement/maintenance.


Organizational Stakeholders

Potential Stakeholders include:

  • Architects/Engineers/Contractors
  • Product Companies/Manufacturers
  • Property Owners/Product End-users
  • Utility Companies



The next three stages in deploying this technology could be:

  • Assess drawbacks and fine-tune product for use
  • Forge partnerships with institutions to demonstrate technology to the public.
  • Provide financing and incentives to property owners/builders to integrate product into construction practices and retrofitting of properties.


See also: Electricity Generation by Energy Source

Solar Shingle Cost Considerations Benefits of Building Integrated Photovoltaics Types of Solar Panels

Drink it, wear it: Clothing from recycled coffee grinds


  • Sustainability Problem

Waste: Approximately 7.6 million tons of coffee beans are sold worldwide each year, becoming waste product that ends up in landfills, once roasted.

  • Technology Summary

Odor Eating Fabric Made from Recycled Coffee Grounds is Perfect for Athletes

  1. Technology developed and patented after 4 years of research by Jason Chen and environmental partners
  2. Roasted coffee undergoes a process to remove phenols, esters, and oils, waste grounds are then spun into an odorless, fast drying fabric.
  3. Oil byproduct used for cosmetics, household items, and within other sectors of the textile industry
  4. Coffee grinds require less energy in the fiber-making process, making it an “earth-friendly” alternative to traditional fabrics.


  • Organizational Stakeholders
  1. Clothing Distributors/Companies
  2. Coffee Distribution Companies/Businesses
  3. Textile Factories/Industries
  4. Consumers/Product End-users
  5. Landfills & Sanitation Departments


  • Deployment

The next three stages in deploying this technology could be:

  1. Forge partnerships with major performance clothing companies; demonstrate product viability and sequester investors
  2. Forge partnerships with major coffee service companies (like Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, etc.) to secure a supply of grounds for production
  3. Develop marketing strategies to gain traction in consumer market

See also: Apparel Industry numbers Annual coffee consumption Product Site S.Cafe summary

Fungus as a Biodegradable Building Material


  1. Sustainability Problem

Waste: It is estimated that anywhere from 25 to 40 percent of the national solid waste stream is building-related waste and only 20 percent of construction waste or demolition debris (C&D) is actually recycled.

  1. Technology Summary

Philip Ross Molds Fast-Growing Fungi Into Mushroom Building Bricks That Are Stronger than Concrete

  • Technology discovered and developed by mycologist Philip Ross
  • Fungus mycelium (thin, root-like fibers) can be used “to form a super-strong, water-, mold- and fire-resistant building material.”
  • Can be grown and formed into any shape; stronger (pound for pound) than concrete.
  • 100% organic and compostable material, reducing/eliminating construction waste.
  • Technology can be utilized as packaging material, building insulation, and construction material.


  1. Organizational Stakeholders

Potential Stakeholders include:

  • Architects/Engineers/Contractors
  • Building Material Supply Companies/Manufacturers
  • Property Owners/Product End-users
  • City/Government agencies (sanitation departments)
  • Landfills/Hazardous Waste Clean-up representatives


  1. Deployment

The next three stages in deploying this technology could be:

  • Fine-tune and approve material for commercial uses (“in order to receive recognition from the building industry, the material needs to be comprehensively tested, and the effects of weather need to be better understood.”)
  • Forge partnerships with institutions to demonstrate viability to the public.
  • Provide incentives (or subsidies) to property owners/builders to integrate building material into construction practices.

See also: Contruction Waste Percentage MoMA’s contemporary art space displays fungus built tower Alternative uses for technology Present status in developing technology

The Case for Biophilic Lighting



1: The Sustainability Problem

  • Those working in the industrialized world spend a majority of time indoors during the day, with little opportunity to access the beneficial qualities of natural light.
  • Lack of access to natural lighting has been shown to negatively impact concentration, attention span, fatigue, stress and rates of absenteeism.
  • Lack of daylight exposure in hospital patients can result in a decrease in the growth hormone needed to heal and weakened ability to fight infection.
  • Issue: Energy, Health


2: The Technology

  • Usai Lighting has introduced Color Select, an LED technology that mimics natural daylight cycles, and provides an expansive and customizable range of lighting colors.
  • LEDs are providing bright – and sustainable – lighting for hospitals and offices, using less than a third of the energy consumed by fluorescents, and seven times less than incandescents.
  • LEDs’ daylight-mimicking qualities have been found to boost productivity amongst caregivers. For patients, there needs to be a circadian cycle in place so they are able to acquire restful sleep.


3: The Stakeholders

  • Architects/Contractors
  • Electricians/Lighting Specialists
  • Health Practitioners/Employers
  • Patients/Employees
  • Consumers

4: Steps for Deployment

“Companies who have made these investments to provide spaces that offer a connected experience with our natural environment are reaping the benefits of having a productive and creative workforce, and a healthy bottom line.”

  • Disperse research and benefits of technology to major hospitals/corporations.
  • Develop incentives and partnerships to promote implementation of technology.
  • Expand use and development