Here is a really cool and simple technology. The Watercone is a solar still that can desalinate sea water or brackish water. The evaporated water condenses on the cone surface and then drips down into a small trough that also enables the cone to float on top of the dirty water surface that it is desalinating. The Watercone is the ultimate in decentralized small is beautiful/profitable technology. It can work because populations are spread out which means that the surface area required to harvest sunlight is not an issue, as it would be if you tried to make one centralized solar powered desalination facility. The device can create 1.0-1.7 liters of desalinated water a day. The base has a 60-80 cm diameter while the cone is 30-50 cm high.
Tendril is a smart metering company. They have smart meters that can be installed in homes and deliver near real time electricity pricing information. They use distributed software and algorithms to calculate and predict your energy costs during the day with a night time true up of prices using utility data. A next step for this technology would be to deliver near real time energy-service pricing. Delivering energy-service pricing in real time could help people understand how much their cold beers and hot showers are costing them.
Once you start delivering energy services pricing information you open up a world of energy service provision. No longer would people worry about how much their kWh cost, instead they would see that they were paying more than their neighbor for refrigeration services, and they would want to buy the new product that delivers the better lower cost service.
Customers wouldn’t be happy if they had just spent hundreds of dollars on a suboptimal refrigerator. Also, if there is a better refrigerator that provides lower cost refrigeration services in two years, customers are going to want it. Therefore, monetizing energy services would empower customers and drive cradle-to-cradle design of products since companies and customers wouldn’t want to get stuck with underperforming service providing capital goods.
Some steps of exploration within the context of the Green Dorm: Someone could easily monetize the energy services provided to a dorm that is already equipped to monitor its own energy use. If the kWhs are already monetized, then this process would be much simpler.
David also mentionedÂ Sketchup, an amazing tool for designing buildings and building components. Those with us in past quarters have experimented with it, but for anyone who hasn’t seen it, I suggest playing with it. You can put your buildings in Google Earth, and check their relationship to the sun for lighting and thermal conditioning.