Photo of three people standing on a roof by solar panels

EPFL puts new high-efficiency rooftop solar panels to the test

While solar panels have become increasingly common, the ones usually found on rooftops and the like can convert at most between 17 and 19 percent of received solar energy to usable electricity. This average yield has plateaued, increasingly only about 3.5 percent since the 2000s. More efficient panels are available, like those used on satellites,

Photo of a display of a cocoon-like pavilion with various brownish-yellowish skins mounted on the wall

MIT lab creates sculptural pavilion made with dissolvable panels

Less than 10 percent of the billions of tons of plastic ever produced has been recycled, with much of it winding up in the Earth’s oceans where the plastic disrupts ecosystems and releases toxic chemicals. In response, researchers led by Neri Oxman of MIT’s Mediated Matter Group, which focuses on “nature-inspired design and design-inspired nature,”

New Swiss residential building shows off the latest in efficient tech

A seemingly simple, six-story apartment complex is going up in Zurich, Switzerland, and is putting to the test a number of new technologies that showcase a more sustainable approach to new construction. The project, Hohlstrasse 100, is designed by Dietrich Schwarz Architekten and is rising next to an existing, two-story commercial space that’s also being renovated

Ancient technology gets an update in sustainable cooling solution

“The way we cool our buildings right now is totally wrong,” said Indian architect Monish Siripurapu in a video produced the United Nations’ Environment program. The words are bleak, but arguably true; the electricity and hydrofluorocarbons  most modern cooling systems demand ironically warm the planet overall while they cool our conditioned spaces. On top of that, with global temperatures

London-based researcher brings architecture to life—with billions of bacteria

Bacteria often evoke a destructive image, with connotations of decay and illness. But like all living communities, as much as they consume, they also create (or, perhaps more accurately, excrete). And it’s this creative power that London-based architectural researcher Bastian Beyer is harnessing in his “Column Project.” With designer Daniel Suarez, Beyer has created solid, structural forms from

This algae facade curtain naturally filters polluted air

The ongoing threat of climate change and hazardous air quality in urban environments continue to foster sustainable elements within architectural design, ranging from the installation of photovoltaic panels to rainwater harvesting mechanisms. But what if a facade curtain could directly capture CO2? Responding to this challenge, London-based practice ecoLogicStudio, led by Claudio Pasquero and Marco Poletto, unveiled Photo.Synth.Etica at Dublin’s Climate Innovation Summit 2018. The large-scale

This gravity-powered battery could be the future of energy storage

Over the last decade, the renewable energy industry has boomed due to the proliferation of new technology that is reducing the cost of construction and long-term operability. However, one critical problem still remains: storing renewable energy during lulls in wind speed or sun exposure is often prohibitively expensive. In response to this issue, Energy Vault, a subsidiary of California’s IdeaLab,

Neri Oxman’s Fiberbots autonomously build human-scale structures

The MIT-based Mediated Matter Group, founded by architect and designer Neri Oxman, is well known for its groundbreaking explorations at the nexus of 3-D printing, design, and what Oxman refers to as “material ecology,” a term that covers projects ranging from a CNC-fabricated scaffold coiled with silk thread produced by 6,500 silkworms to a solid wooden chaise adorned