This week at TreeHugger: With further proof that the future is green, we report on the latest innovation in newspaper publishing, and it turns out to be gadget-related. Tech giants duel as Google goes green for Earth Day, and Yahoo! goes one better by investing in renewable energy technology. Not to be outdone, Microsoft ordered ice cream and flipped the switch on 31,000 square feet of solar photovoltaics. Finally, we investigate a library in Mexico that just might use old airplane fuselages to hold itself together.
We found further proof that the future is green in a report on the latest innovation in newspaper publishing, and it doesn't have anything to do with paper. Several publications have started testing versions of electronic paper, using a device with low-power digital screens embedded with digital ink that could do for newspapers what the iPod did for music. The devices, which will be able to download books, newspapers and podcasts, are expected to intially cost about $400. For publishers confronting declining newspaper circulation in most parts of the world, they offer promise similar to that of blogs and other internet content: reaching more readers, saving on printing and distribution costs, quickening the pace of news and information and ultimately saving some trees.
Earth Day saw some posturing for green favor among TreeHuggers, with search engine giants Google and Yahoo! both taking a shot a being green. Google's Earth Day logo, complete with sun-catching solar panels and a breeze-loving windmill, was probably the higher-profile move, seen (and appreciated, we hope) by millions, but Yahoo! came through with the action in the form of the purchase of 804,000 kWh of clean renewable energy credits from new solar and wind projects in California. The commitment prevents the annual release of more than 800,000 pounds of carbon dioxide, a key greenhouse gas and is equivalent to planting 108 acres of forest or removing 70 cars from the road for a year. Ball's in your court, Google.
Microsoft, not wanting to be left in the dust, bellied up to the green bar for Earth Day as well. Gates & Co. ordered ice cream from green-company-extraordinaire Ben & Jerry's and flipped the switch on 31,000 square feet of photovoltaics, generating 480 Kilowatts, enough to power 300 homes or 1066 desktops with CRT monitors, at its new Silicon Valley HQ. According to the architects, the 32-acre campus "is predicated on a design mission of sustainability"— it has doors made of recycled wood, conference tables made of wheat grass, ceilings made of recycled newspaper and a low-drip water system for landscaping.
Lastly, New York design firm LOT-EK has just proposed reusing more than two hundred discarded fuselages from Boeing 727 and 737 airplanes as the major structural components for a new library in Guadalajara, Mexico. The fuselage is the only part of a decommissioned airplane that cannot be effectively recycled and the cost of its demolition exceeds the profit of aluminum resale, so if the library goes up, it looks like everybody wins; then you, too, could head on down to Mexico for some tequila and a visit to the weirdest library in the world. No word yet on whether or not frequent flier miles can be exchanged for late fees.
TreeHugger's EcoModo column appears every Tuesday on Gizmodo.