Working on my project "Untapped Energy" i try to observe projects and concepts related to Renewable Energy @ home from my perspective as a designer.
A search for "Renewable energy" @ flickr @ google images @ youtube @ vimeo returns a visual overview of the more popular aspects of renewable energy. Wind and solar power references are abundant. Some ideologists presents their home systems, but they seem bulky and expensive, usually installed at homes or cabins with generous resources. Some goverment and commercial interest are also represented.
There is a lot of projects that are tagged with various "green" keywords. "Echotech" "Greentech" "Green design" "Eco design" "Sustainable Design" "Green gadgets". These words generate a lot of noise and double hits. And they seem to often describe something made of wood or some technology wrapped in wood or veneer. It is hard to find the good projects just based on a keyword search, but you do get some pointers to blogs that can be used. I found that adding some more keywords generate more precise results: "Green Design Gadget", "Solar Design Lamp", "Solar design device", "Hydrogen design concept", "Energy design concept". But the results need evaluation. I'll get bak to that in a later post. Is seems to be better to use edited sites like Technololgy Review that has a great overview of the current state of energy technology.
First of all i find that it is perfectly doable to enable a solar or windpower augmented home, i'll even encourage people to do that. It comes at a cost, but so does a cool sofa too. Secondly there is a "design gap" between the current available renewable energy scheemes and the futuristic gadgets and gizmos that get a lot of publicity. But there are some exeptions, especially for small scale gadget solar (review) and fuel cell (review) chargers. The fuel cell looks like a late 80's gadget, like the early cell phones, but this seems to be the case for many first to market products.
I'm not so sure theese inital searches point to the direction i want to pursue with my "Untapped Energy" project.