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This week’s ten biggest climate innovation stories — 7 December

climate-innovation-7-dec

How does an urban farm also heat the building above it? How small is the world’s smallest solar charger? And, what scientific breakthrough could mean a reduction in ocean plastics?

This, and more, in the week’s ten biggest climate innovation stories.

1.

Black timber Villa S makes more energy than it consumes

Villa S ia a plus-energy home in the western Netherlands built to replace a former home from the 1960’s. RAU architecten designed the new solar-powered home that embraces the surrounding dune and forest landscape through large windows. The architects’ focus on sustainability also extends to materials, which include FSC-certified timber and “emission-free materials.

Read more on Inhabitat.

2.

Cremona, Italy, makes the circular economy real for cities

Cremona has become a European test ground for new ideas to promote a circular economy. In the last two years alone, Cremona has increased the percentage of waste collected separately—necessary for recycling—from 53 per cent to 72 per cent.

Read more on Green Biz.

3.

Electric cars already cheaper to own and run than petrol or diesel—study

Pure electric cars cost less over four years than petrol or diesel cars in the UK, US, and Japan, researchers say, but China is set to lead the market.

Read more on The Guardian.

4.

Modular power blocks snap together to scale up energy needs in remote areas

Power-Blox is a distributed energy system is made of 1.2-kilowatt battery cubes that store solar or wind energy. They snap together LEGO-like to save and provide more power. One unit can serve the needs of a few people, while several units can work together to create a modular microgrid, powering an entire village.

Read more on IEEE Spectrum.

5.

Swedish electric car startup offers five years of free solar charging to owners

The Uniti electric city car will come bundled with a green charging incentive for buyers in Sweden.

Read more on Tree Hugger.

6.

This underground urban farm also heats the building above it

Underneath a 26-floor office tower in Stockholm, an underground space once used as an archive for a newspaper will soon become a farm. And because of a unique business model, the urban farmers growing greens in the new farm won’t pay rent—their farm will pay for itself in heat.

Read more on Fast Company.

7.

German city offers ingenious alternative to single-use coffee cups

The city of Freiburg, Germany, created the Freiburg Cup, which coffee lovers can snag for one Euro and return to participating stores to be cleaned and used again—up to 400 times.

Read more on Inhabitat.

8.

Credit card-sized unit claims to be world’s smallest solar charger

Sunslice is a small folding solar charger that can fit into a pocket, while still producing enough electricity to compete with much larger offerings.

Read more on Tree Hugger.

9.

Scientists discover cheap method to identify “lost” 99 per cent of ocean microplastics

Previous surveys suggest only one per cent of marine plastic waste is identifiable. To suss out the “missing” 99 per cent, researchers from the University of Warwick in England decided to shine a light on the problem—quite literally—by using fluorescent dyes.

Read more on Inhabitat.

10.

Green-roofed Viewpoint Granasjøen is a modern take on the traditional Norwegian hut

Bergersen Arkitekter AS designed Viewpoint Granasjøen as a combination of shelter and summer house that recreates the old Norwegian Gapahuk (English: lean-to) as a multi-functional, flexible space that can be used throughout the year.

Read more on Inhabitat.

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