It's been an exciting week for green building as Inhabitat reported that some of the world's top architects unveiled plans for high-tech developments with light environmental footprints. Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) won an international design competition for Europa, a new green-roofed city outside of Paris. Construction began last week on a new solar-powered stadium for the Euro 2016 football championship designed by Herzog & de Meuron. San Francisco celebrated the reopening of the Exploratorium this week in a new net-zero building along the city's waterfront. In Mexico City, a helipad on the roof of an office building was converted into a co-working space with a gorgeous rooftop garden. Also Ekinoid, a spherical, self-sufficient home that sits on stilts and is built to withstand disaster.
Fiat announced that its new all-electric 2013 500e would sell for as little as $20,500. In other green transportation news, Boosted Boards unveiled the world's lightest electric vehicle. Outrider USA has launched a line of electric, three-wheeled recumbent bikes that can hit speeds of up to 40 MPH. Electric carmaker Fisker Automotive is in serious trouble, as lawsuits and debts pile up. The all-electric SportStar EPOS airplane made its first 30-minute flight.
Scientists continued to make amazing advances in renewable energy technology. A South Korean team engineered a novel device that uses both sunlight and vibrations to generate energy. Scientists in Illinois developed a tiny lithium-ion battery that is 2,000 times more powerful than rival batteries and can charge 1,000 times faster. Meanwhile, researchers in Switzerland are using tiny tin nanocrystals to develop lithium-ion batteries that can store twice as much energy. Wind power is on the rise as well, a new report finds that the US added 6,700 new turbines across the country in 2012, boosting capacity by 28 percent.
In other green design news, designers unveiled gorgeous super-energy-efficient lights. Also at Milan Design Week, designer Tobias Tøstesen unveiled an amazing oversized chandelier made from 8,000 Lego bricks. Electronics giant Panasonic celebrated its 100th anniversary by donating 100,000 solar lanterns to people who lack access to electricity in developing countries. GE unveiled its new HDlive ultrasound, which shows startlingly clear 3D images of babies in utero. Researchers at the Sheffield Centre for Robotics developed a vibrating "tactile helmet" that helps firefighters navigate in the dark.