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Researchers studying the iridescent properties of butterfly wings think that this could help engineers develop temperature sensors that are smaller and faster. This technology could work without the need for cumbersome cooling techniques, something that has always been needed in thermal imaging and medical diagnostics

Full article here

Thanks to Oliver.


Tree cover in American cities is shrinking, and it could be costing taxpayers billions of dollars.

A new U.S. Forest Service analysis of 20 U.S. cities, including Atlanta Ga. (above), pegs urban tree loss at about 4 million trees a year. That decrease translates into an astronomical annual loss in environmental services, such as reduced heating and cooling costs, when you consider that each tree represents as much as $2,500 in such services during a its lifetime (a return rate three times greater than tree care costs), the forest service says.

Urban tree-planting campaigns have made a difference, but not nearly enough to offset development. “Tree cover loss would be higher if not for the tree planting efforts cities have undertaken in the past several years,” David Nowak of the U.S. Forest Service’s Northern Research Station said in a press release. “Reversing the trend may demand more widespread, comprehensive and integrated programs that focus on sustaining overall tree canopy.”

Read it all here

Thanks to Oliver for bringing this up.

A light-emitting diode (LED) that emits more light energy than it consumes in electrical energy has been unveiled by researchers in the US. The device – which has a conventional efficiency of greater than 200% – behaves as a kind of optical heat pump that converts lattice vibrations into infrared photons, cooling its surroundings in the process. The possibility of such a device was first predicted in 1957, but a practical version had proved impossible to create until now. Potential applications of the phenomenon include energy-efficient lighting and cryogenic refrigeration.

Read the full article here:

Thanks to Alvin Lopez for pointing out.

Thanks to Alvin Riviera Lopez for sending me a link to this particular video on Youtube that talks about advanced materials that are the future of insulation.  Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientist Alex Gash enlightens us about aerogel or frozen smoke. Aerogel is dehydrated silica gel whose insulation properties are 39 times more than the best fiber glass of today because of the complex lattice structure. We might actually be looking at the home insulation material of tomorrow !

Here is an article pointed out by Narendran Raghavan from the EEB class. Editors and judges from the Renewable energy world group of websites choose “the best ” renewable energy projects in categories like solar, wind, hydro etc and present the Project of the year and Excellence in renewable energy awards every year. Here, you will be able to find the details about this year’s winners in each category !

Good morning all !! Looks like its going to be a great day today ! The first thing I saw as soon as I woke up this morning was my neighbor’s wet roof and I realized nature has been doing what she has always been the best at, cleaning up after us. This got me thinking about other things and I have always been amazed at how ingeniously disguised nature was.  I mean, look all around you, find anything that is not man made and challenge yourself to NOT find some extraordinary bit of engineering or something that NOT is there for a reason I bet you will lose all the time*

Lets just say this. Its like playing this computer game where things are hidden in plain sight and out observation skills are tested. Lets assume that everything that we currently have problems with have been there long before the advent of mankind and our ancestors and by “our ancestors” I don’t mean the genus “Homo” but the all the other life forms that existed before us, have successfully been able to solve ALL of it without a problem. Let’s take a page from their books and look long enough and hard enough to discover… or rather find the solutions to our problems that are hidden right in front of us.

People have been doing this for some time now and the branch of study is called “Biomimicry”. I for one love to learn more about these things and a great source for me is So don’t be surprised if many of my posts contain videos.   Janine Benyus‘s video below gives an introduction to get you started on Biomimicry and to find out if that’s your kind of thing.

Have a great day !!

* – if you are willing to accept your ignorance and are ready to research or… even better, think above and beyond

The FedEx Cargo Relocation Facility, is part of the O’Hare Modernization Program (OMP), now includes the largest green roof in the City of Chicago. The 3.9 acre structure is the size of three football fields or roughly 175,000 square feet.

The roof is visible from planes as they take off and land from O’Hare. Globally, this is the second largest green roof structure, behind a green roof at the Frankfort, Germany airport.

Designed and developed by Intrinsic Landscaping, Inc., the FedEx Cargo building is one of 12 green roof structures between O’Hare International and Midway Airport. Most airports are made of large areas of impermeable concrete surfaces. Green roofs cool the urban heat island effect and help with storm water management. In addition, they reduce noise, air pollution and lower energy costs.

“Green roofs act like a sponge for heat, light and water and they conserve energy by maintaining a constant temperature inside the building,” said FedEx Deputy Commissioner of Sustainability Amy Malick.

FedEx calculates that this structure will save 20 cents per square foot of green roof per year on energy costs alone and will absorb approximately two million gallons of storm water each year.

“The creation of the green roof space is a key component of going green across Chicago, and at both airports,” said Rosemaire S. Andolino, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Aviation. “I want to commend FedEx for making sustainability a priority on their new replacement cargo facility at O’Hare.”

FedEx and the OPM are pursuing LEED Gold certification for the facility, which would extend the company’s intent, announced earlier this year, of LEED certification for all new FedEx properties.

The FedEx facility is the latest success in many initiatives to make O’Hare greener, such as building LEED certified airport facilities, recycling construction materials on the airfield, utilizing clean emission vehicles and construction equipment, installing energy efficient lighting and providing a habitat for honeybees in the airport apiary.

Original Article  >>

Dr. Kissock went out of town to attend an energy conference and was unable to post the Chillers and Cooling Towers homework on the class website. Please download the homework files from here. Both assignments are due Tuesday, April 26.