What if you could recharge your cellphone battery using your breath? How much passive energy consumption might you eliminate at your company with electrical sockets that spit out plugs when equipment is not in use?
In fact, these “what ifs” have advanced from the drawing board to working prototypes. They are two of the 2011 winners announced recently by the red dot Design Award, an international competition that rewards innovation and excellence in design.
Improvements in energy efficiency and workplace productivity are two focus areas of the awards. Let’s take a look at some of the year’s ideas.
AIRE is an electronic mask capable of converting the wind energy provided by the wearer’s breath into electrical energy for the recharging of small electrical devices, such as a cell phone. In a similar vein, Charge Battery transforms mechanical energy (from the winding of a spring) into electrical energy for recharging without a power source.
PumPing TAP is a spring-loaded socket that ejects a plug if an appliance has been switched off. Residual power flows in all electronic goods when the power is switched off but the plug is not pulled out of the socket. Even though the electronic device is not operating, around 10% of the operating power may be wasted.
HOST LAMP powers a small humidifier by transforming a lamp’s waste heat into electrical energy. Lamps are among the most commonly used electrical items. They emit a great amount of waste heat in their production of light. HOST LAMP uses waste heat to power (or “host”) a second appliance, a humidifier, built into the top of the lamp.
There are dozens of red dot design concept winners—and some ideas appear more practical than others. Only time will tell how many have the necessary traction to make it into the broader energy efficiency marketplace. In the meantime, for energy saving solutions available in today’s market, contact Energy Smart for information on energy use assessments and money-saving efficiency upgrades for your business.