Archive for February, 2011

NREL PVWatts Energy and Cost Savings Calculator

Friday, February 25th, 2011

PVWatts viewer

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) developed the PVWatts map and calculator tools to give non-experts access to solar radiation data and estimates for grid-tied photovoltaic systems in the 48 contiguous U.S. states, Alaska and Hawaii.  Users click on the map or type in an address to display the amount of sunlight that falls on a square meter at that location over the course of a year, as well as the local cost of electricity.  After identifying a location the user can export the data to the PVWatts Cost Savings Calculator.

PVWatts calculator

The Calculator takes a PV system size, the cost of electricity and the location’s exposure to solar radiation to calculate system efficiency, monthly and yearly cost savings.

Mushrooms Are the New Plastic

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Our friend and fellow NCIIA E-Team grant recipient Eben Bayer has an excellent video up on TED.  Eben and his team at Ecovative have been developing a system for the generation of a moldable and durable material from mycelium, the root structure of mushrooms.  Their process yields everything from packing material to bricks to insulation, the best part of which being that they can composted at the end of their use.

Sourcemap Visualizes Supply Chains

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011


Sourcemap is a project from MIT postdoc Leo Bonanni that proposes a “crowd–sourced approach to resource accounting through the democratization of sustainable design.”  Visit the site to track user–created supply chains for the troubled Boeing 787 Dreamliner, iPhone 3GS or a bottle of water.

As a company that sources components and manufacturing facilities locally, we at SMIT are particularly excited about Sourcemap’s mission.  It has the potential to allow consumers and designers alike to measuring the environmental environmental impact of diverse products and processes and put a face to the name of “sustainability.”

crowd-sourced approach to resource accounting through the democratization of
sustainable design