It seems to me that the ultimate goal of sustainability is that it become the norm, and not the subject of news. The end result is that we don’t notice that our energy is generated without depleting resources.
When sustainable living is a seamless, and unnoticeable thing, and perhaps even when we stop talking about it (or blogging about it!), it will have succeeded.
And to illustrate, here’s a story about a means of generating energy that relies upon this idea, that everyday activity that isn’t really thought about by the participants can be the key to sustainable power. It’s about what is called ‘sneaky’ sustainability, put to practical application in Toulouse, France courtesy of GreenBiz.com, about the implementation of sneaky sidewalks in Toulouse
From the article:
The move is one of the latest in attempts by municipalities and companies to turn the basic elements of daily life into energy-generating activities, from revolving doors to workout equipment.
How does this technology work exactly? The tile converts compression into energy, with every step on it being the source. As the article points out, the technology is modeled from sustainable dance floor applications. In this setting, power is created as patrons trip the light fantastic, unaware of their role in the creation of power in the very club they’re dancing in.
Sidewalk activity to light streetlights is the next stage in implementation, which is hoped will not only provide alternate energy, but also will encourage more exploration of downtown Toulouse on foot. This is of course a nice double-whammy in the sustainability stakes, with less car use as an implication. Yet once again, less car use isn’t an issue, it’s just an outcropping of people’s enjoyment of a unique feature of their city.
Very sneaky, indeed!
For more information about ‘sneaky’ technology, here’s an article about sneaky solar technology which is set to be a possible evolution from what is described as ‘clunky’ solar panels.