Friday, November 14, 2014

The Coffee Pot That Only Works When It's Windy

It's going to take more than just reducing, reusing, and recycling to stop wasting energy and precious fuel. It's going to take synchronizing what humans want with what the planet needs. And that might begin with morning coffee. At least, that's how four researchers at the U.K.-based Lancaster University see it. To demonstrate their idea of the future, the team developed a prototype kit called the "Windy Brew," which only allows a kettle to boil when a nearby wind turbine produces enough electricity. No renewable energy means no coffee or tea .... The project, Simm is quick to point out, isn't meant to "force" people into changing their behavior, or punish them by withholding coffee until renewable energy is produced. (After all, anyone can remove the device and make the kettle boil.) Rather, it's about examining how energy affects people's daily lives, and figuring out how to live according to energy cycles ... These kinds of time shifted activities, based on energy availability, are what Simm and Ferrario hope the rest of the world adopts. It would begin with social interactions—deciding when to meet up with others, for example. Ferrario proposes a coffee shop that has deals on days when energy is more available. The positive reinforcement—more renewable energy leads to cheaper coffee—would encourage people to pursue an energy-saving lifestyle. more

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