As countries from around the world finally convene to negotiate what would be a binding, international limit on carbon emissionsat the UN Climate Summit, it’s safe to say that environmental endeavors have risen to the forefront of the global public agenda. Heightened emphasis on environmental causes is also evident in the private environmental industry, which has made a number of impressive advancements of late.
The Rise of Green Building
A growing number of architecture firms are offering clients green building services that provide sustainable, energy-efficient designs that meet the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED criteria. Known as “green building,” this type of construction focuses on optimized airflow, ventilation, solar panel power, water usage, and reusable materials as a way to minimize a building’s carbon footprint and improve sustainability. While green building is gaining traction as a proactive choice for businesses around the world, it’s also becoming a requirement in many cities. For example, in Camden, NJ, a new sustainability ordinance requires that builders complete an official Environmental Impacts and Benefits Assessment before approval for construction is granted. An increasing number of cities are also giving tax breaks to those who construct LEED-certified buildings. In short, green building is evolving from a minority movement to the new standardfor residential and commercial building.
Water and electricity are naturally opposing forces, but when it comes to rain power, they’re a perfect match. Students from the Technological University of Mexico have recently completed a microturbine-based system, known as the Pluvia system, which is the first mechanism of its kind to use rain to generate electricity. The system funnels rain runoff from buildings to spin a microturbine, which in turn, charges 12 volt batteries that power small household appliances. Not only does the Pluvia system generate electricity, it runs water through a charcoal filter and houses purified water in a storage tank, available for future use as drinking water. The introduction of this revolutionary technology has the potential to change how both residents and businesses harness electricity and water.
Environmental Research and Testing
In addition to inventions, environmental research and testing companies also continue to push environmental causes to the forefront of the public’s conscious by providing specific information about the presence and effects of air pollutants, chemical fluids, and low levels of radiation. Improved understandings of how these elements affect human health and the environment have made the environmental research and testing industry boom; air, soil, and water sampling devices, made possible with high-integrity materials like FEP tubing, are essential for down hole mining safety precautions,as well as oil, gas, and other hazardous material leaks from production facilities.
These capture just some of the many ways in which the environmental movement is gaining traction through continued innovation. In what other ways does the environmental movement continue to progress?