Sustainable real estate, eco-friendly jeans, and a solar electricity breakthrough

Sustainable real estate, eco-friendly jeans, and a solar electricity breakthrough

Today we have a little round-up of what is happening in the realm sustainability to share with you, with some exciting pieces on transformations in the real estate market, the blue jean production process, and solar electricity production that all hold great potential for providing a more sustainable world.

Reaching for Sustainability in the Next Real Estate Cycle - In a great post, dissects an upcoming transformation in the real estate market that will trend incorporate a triple bottom line — profit, people, and environment.

Unlike the last housing cycle when developers aimed higher and higher, ultimately pricing out middle-income workers, home products in a sustainable market would target a mix of incomes, suggests Henry Cisneros, the former secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and chairman of CityView, a national real estate investment and pension fund manager based in Los Angeles.

Cisneros notes that the majority of housing would be priced to attract the largest group of consumers, those earning about 150% of area median income.

Project success would be measured by the “triple bottom line,” its impact on society and the environment, as well as profitability.

Cheap 3D Solar Cells Are 6x More Efficient, Work Underground -

In a technological breakthrough that could lead to more sustainable energy production, scientists have created solar cells 3 times the width of the human hair that are more efficient than photovoltaic panels. has more:

Scientists from the Georgia Institute of Technology have created the world's first 3-D photovoltaic solar system that actually works underground.

Using optical fibers common to the telecommunications industry, researchers seeded them with zinc oxide nanostructures--much like the white stuff found on a lifeguard nose. Those nanostructures were then coated with a dye-sensitized material that converts light into electricity. The electricity is then captured using a liquid electrolyte surrounding the nanostructures.

So only the very tip of the cable needs to be exposed to actual sunlight.

This 3-D system can be easily concealed, leaving rooftops panel-free. It gives architects and designers new options for incorporating PVs into buildings.

SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS PRACTICES AND LIFESTYLE: ECO-FRIENDLY JEANS - The clothing manufacturing industry, and especially blue jeans, are extremely water and resource intensive, taking thousands of gallons of water to produce enough cotton for one pair of jeans. However, one producer is looking to change their processes to reduce the environmental impact of your clothing. Women's Wear Daily has more:

“The hot topic is the environment,” said Michael Morrell, executive vice president of Olah Inc., a New York-based firm that represents mills, laundries and factories that are integrating sustainable business practices into the chemically laden denim industry. “It’s an issue that everyone has a conscious perspective on to a degree. People want to buy organic and be environmentally conscious. The ultimate question is, How much is the trend worth?”

Vietnamese denim factory and wash house Saitext is building a second plant in Ho Chi Minh City with the assistance of environmental consultants. Set up as a vertical operation with capabilities to cut, sew, wash, pack and ship, Saitext’s new operation will open in April with solar panels on the roof to heat water for the bathrooms, exterior walls covered in vines to absorb radiant heat and keep the building cool, and motion sensors that turn off the lights automatically. The 100,000-square-foot factory will also use wastewater from hand sinks to flush toilets and enable natural ventilation through windows on opposite ends of the building and through the roof. With about 500 employees, the factory will be able to manufacture 550,000 pairs of jeans a month.

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