WIRED NEXTFEST: The Future of Green

by , 10/04/06

Wired NextFest, Jill Fehrenbacher, Hydroponic Butter Lettuce, Hydroponic Garden, Wired Greenery

Its striking how seldom we talk about literal greenery here in the “green space” – especially when it comes to new technology. However, at “The Future of Green” pavilion at the Wired NextFest We found a few eco-innovations that are actually green.

ford green roof nextfest dearborn

Ironically, one of the biggest innovations in western green building design is the green roof. This “technology” has been around for an extremely long time and is finally making a come-back in a big way here in the West. Benefits of green roofs include storm water management, decreased air conditioning and heating costs, oxygen production, sound insulation, wind insulation, aesthetic value, bio diversity. Sedum is the ideal green roof material, as it is light weight, wind, frost and drought resistant. The company Xero Flor cultivates prefab sedum green roofs for the practical (read: lazy) environmentalist. Delivered as a complete system – on pallets or by crane – just unroll the sedum and voila, you’ve got a green roof!

Wired NextFest, Jill Fehrenbacher, Corn, Biodiesel, Ethanol, Green Fuel, Wired Greenery

Switchgrass a native species of the American Great Plains transforms sunlight into sugar faster than corn and entirely without fertilizers or pesticides. Edenspace Systems Corporation is working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop switchgrass and other new crop plants for ethanol production. The company also grows bio-sensing turf, a system of plants that makes removal of poisonous yet ubiquitous heavy metals such as lead and arsenic simple as cutting the grass or harvesting and disposing of ferns after they have done their soil cleaning duty.

hydroponic lettuce

Also on display from Edenspace is calcium and potassium enhanced lettuce, hydroponically grown in a nutrient solution. In the future, veggies will likely be grown in this manner either locally in your home or in vertical food growing facilities, many of which might be located in urban areas.

Others focusing on vegetables are the non-profit group The Growing Connection. Their 2.5-foot-long EarthBox is a low-cost and highly water-efficient food-growing tool. Made out of recycled plastic, the boxes feature a simple internal irrigation system that allows for fool proof growing using local inputs. Consuming one-fifth of the water of in-ground drip irrigation, the EarthBox is particularly well suited for underdeveloped areas that lack water but is also great for anyone who want to be responsible and conserve despite abundance.

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  1. Vicci October 10, 2006 at 7:49 pm

    Why would anyone want to eat calcium and potassium enhanced lettuce over natural grown lettuce. Most people eat lettuce for fact that it is natural. While the nutrients in the solution the lettuce is growing in may be natural, its still not a natural process of growing lettuce, otherwise lettuce would automatically include the nutrients calcium and potassium. In addition, I hope veggies are never grown in such a manner that it is normal to artificially grow the only food the American culture has left that is truly natural.

  2. Emil October 6, 2006 at 5:26 pm

    The text says “switchgrass” but the photo says “corn.” Perhaps you should edit to make that distinction, as well as mention that cellulosic ethanol technologies aren’t yet marketable. Until the enzymes are perfected and the costs come down, switchgrass pretty much only functions as a native grass and wildlife cover.

  3. Ulrike October 6, 2006 at 6:39 am

    The bio-sensing turf sounds very interesting. I’m curious, however, how does one safely dispose of ones lawn clippings to avoid recontamination as they break down?

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