I received an email today about the latest Green Thinker Network (http://www.greenthinkernetwork.com/) updates.
The champion is a "smog-eating tile". I must say that I am somewhat disturbed by this. While the idea might be great, I though that sustainability is about the long run, the future, future generations and our kids etc. Having a short term solution to a man made problem, that does not make the problem as such any better or make it go away is like basing your head continuously against a wall and talking painkillers for the pain.
Can we please stop inventing workarounds and mitigations for originally wrong and bad system design? We all know we will be running out of oil - it's just a matter of time. Whoever ignores that fact has no idea about the basics of physics and is pretty ignorant or stubborn - or is just interested in short term money making.
The way we commute will change and it won't be fissile fuels. And as long as we do not have greened our energy supply systems, it won't be biofuel either as it uses too much energy to manufacture. Yes it kind of grows on trees, but not in a readily usable form.
And the runner-up is basically worse: electric underfloor heating blankets. Seriously, what is green and sustainable about it? A product made in the USA and claims to be 98% efficient in converting energy into heat. That's great, so we only have 30% loss in general in the generation of electricity and approx 30% loss in transmission and then 98% in application, so lets' see: X*70%*70%*98% = X*.7*.7*.98 = X*0.4802.
In comparison heat pump: X*.7*.7*3.5 = X*1.715
or wood burner: approx X*.7 while using a fully renewable resource
EECA fact sheet: Wood energy: using wood as a renewable energy source