Sustainability

Case study suggests new approach to urban water supply
August 14, 2017 05:14 PM - Massachusetts Institute of Technology

If you live in the developed world, safe water is usually just a faucet-turn away. And yet, global warming, drought conditions, and population growth in coming decades could change that, ushering in an era of uncertain access to water.

Now an MIT-based research team has evaluated those potential problems and, based on a case study in Australia, suggested an alternate approach to water planning. In a new paper, the researchers find there is often a strong case for building relatively modest, incremental additions to water infrastructure in advanced countries, rather than expensive larger-scale projects that may be needed only rarely.

Technology tracks bee talk to help improve honey bee health
August 9, 2017 08:10 AM - Simon Fraser University

Simon Fraser University graduate student Oldooz Pooyanfar is monitoring what more than 20,000 honeybees housed in hives in a Cloverdale field are “saying” to each other—looking for clues about their health. 

Pooyanfar’s technology is gleaning communication details from sound within the hives with her beehive monitoring system—technology she developed at SFU. She says improving knowledge about hone

Ongoing monitoring program finds potato psyllids but no evidence of bacteria that causes zebra chip disease
August 4, 2017 08:23 AM - University of Lethbridge

University of Lethbridge biogeography professor Dr. Dan Johnson and his team have been monitoring Prairie potato fields for the past few years, looking for evidence of the potato psyllid insect and a bacterium it can carry that can lead to zebra chip disease in potato crops.

“We found hundreds of potato psyllids last year, but we have found under 10 so far this year and none have the bacteria that cause zebra chip,” says Johnson, who coordinates the Canadian Potato Psyllid and Zebra Chip Monitoring Network.

The truth about cats' and dogs' environmental impact
August 3, 2017 02:56 PM - University of California - Los Angeles

With many Americans choosing to eat less meat in recent years, often to help reduce the environmental effect of meat production, UCLA geography professor Gregory Okin began to wonder how much feeding pets contributes to issues like climate change.

A Dolphin Diet
August 2, 2017 04:33 PM - University of California - Santa Barbara

The health of dolphin populations worldwide depends on sustained access to robust food sources.

A new report by UC Santa Barbara researchers and colleagues at UC San Diego and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration looks at three different dolphin species, studying what they eat and how they divide ocean resources and space -- important information for conservation and management. The team's findings appear in the journal PLOS ONE.

"We used the principle of 'you are what you eat' to unlock some of the secrets of dolphin diet," said lead author Hillary Young, an assistant professor in UCSB's Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology (EEMB). "All of the foods that we or any animal eat are incorporated after digestion into body tissues. Most Americans, for example, chemically look like walking corn cobs because the foods we eat contain so much corn syrup."

New membranes help reduce carbon dioxide emission
July 26, 2017 12:34 PM - University of Twente

The University of Twente and the German Research Centre Jülich are collaborating on developing membranes for an efficient separation of gasses, to use for the production of oxygen or hydrogen, for example.

Climate change poses threat to European electricity production
July 25, 2017 01:28 PM - Universiteit Leiden

The vulnerability of the European electricity sector to changes in water resources is set to worsen by 2030 as a consequence of climate change. This conclusion is reached by researchers at Leiden University in an article published in Nature Energy this month.

Sustainable food startup looks north through non-profit partnership
July 24, 2017 08:23 AM - University of Toronto

A University of Toronto startup that sells vertical hydroponic growing systems has joined forces with a Ryerson University-linked non-profit to bring down the stratospheric cost of fresh fruits and vegetables in Canada’s northernmost communities.

The unique partnership was forged at this year’s OCE innovation conference after Conner Tidd, a co-founder of U of T’s Just Vertical, ran into the founders of Ryerson’s Growing North. Tidd knew Growing North had built a geodesic greenhouse filled with hydroponic towers in Naujaat, NV.

New robotic lab tracking toxicity of Lake Erie algal bloom
July 22, 2017 12:41 PM - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

A new research tool to safeguard drinking water is now keeping a watchful eye on Lake Erie. This week, a robotic lake-bottom laboratory began tracking the levels of dangerous toxins produced by cyanobacteria that bloom each summer in the lake's western basin.

The goal is to provide advance warning to municipal drinking water managers and thereby prevent a recurrence of the water crisis that left more than 400,000 Toledo-area residents without safe drinking water for about two days in early August 2014 due to high levels of microcystin toxins.

Shading and Lighting Retrofits Slash Energy Use in New York ''Living Lab'' Office Demonstration
July 20, 2017 02:30 PM - DOE / Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

By using advanced lighting and automated shades, scientists from the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) found that occupants on one floor of a high-rise office building in New York City were able to reduce lighting energy usage by nearly 80 percent in some areas.

The dramatic results emerged at a “living laboratory” set up to test four sets of technologies on one 40,000 square-foot floor of a building.

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