If you’re a regular reader, you no doubt know we here at Groovy have a fascination with the seemingly magical properties of the Luffa. Not only can it be harvested to create the sponge-like scrubber most people love in the tub, but it can also help shade your home and keep things cool in the heat of summer. Just ask John Lawvere — an entire side of his trailer in Arizona is shaded from the sun with several Luffa vines. Additionally, he makes some extra cash from his crop by selling the “sponges” for $5/each come harvest time. Says John,
“I teach Physics at a community college in Tucson, AZ. My remodeling/plumber friend helped me a lot at building supports for Luffa vines. We have an idea about building structures over parking lots (near apartment complexes and other businesses) to save those people money on air conditioning while producing a valuable crop.”
Not a bad idea, right? We applaud John and his amazing “Luffa Tunnel” — something he says “convinced my girlfriend’s mother (in Belarus) that I was a good man.” Ha, nice.
For our original classic, “How To Make (And Grow) A Luffa”, click here
Just in time for the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing, the official grand opening of the Olympic Aquatic Centre took place this past Monday in celebration of its unique architecture and eco-friendly characteristics.
The building, four years in the making, is nicknamed the “Water Cube” and is a rectangular-shaped steel design covered by a membrane of brightly lit blue bubbles. Not only are these stunning to look at, but they also serve an important purpose in reducing energy costs by 30%. The membrane is made out of a material called ETFE, (Ethylene Tetrafluoroethylene) which absorbs solar radiation and reduces thermal loss. Very similar, I suppose, to the way a solar cover works on a pool.
Not only is ETFE recyclable, but it’s also very strong; capable of bearing up to 400 times its own weight. Gizmag fills us in on additional details,
This sounds like a wonderful idea — if anyone happens to have $200 million lying around.
A plan has been submitted to cover a stretch of California highway with a 24-acre park. It would be built on a deck constructed over the below-grade portion of the Hollywood Freeway (US-101). Organizers argue that by placing a “cap” over one of the world’s most congested freeway systems, the necessary ventilation system would clean the air before re-circulating it back into the environment — creating a positive improvement in air quality for LA. Additionally, the park would also provide a nexus between East Hollywood and Central Hollywood–”alleviating the strain on the community from the initial creation of the freeway through this section of Hollywood.” From the site,
If giant rain barrels aren’t aesthetically pleasing or you lack the room for installation, you may want to consider the Eco Sac; a flexible rainwater bladder storage system that hides away under decks or floors. Each sac is manufactured using “industrial strength fabric sealed by high frequency welding.”
According to the site, the eco sac is better than your average rain barrel because a.) it captures water faster than rigid tanks, b.) you can use multiple bladders which all fill at the same rate and at the same time c.) it is guaranteed not to leak and d.) it is algae resistant and the water stored is potable.
Pretty cool idea for those with limited space to capture rainfall. There are 54 different sizes to choose from, ranging from 2,200 liters to 8,600 liters. Apparently, you can join multiple sacs together to get up to 50,000 liters or more water storage.
Much like the portable grey water recycler we wrote about earlier this week, this product is currently only available in Australia. Something tells me however — with the water woes currently affecting parts of the U.S. — that we’ll be seeing more of these stateside shortly.
I caught this video today over at Dancing Rabbit TV. It’s a great look at building your own earthen walls. Head on over for a look: