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World’s Greenest Office Building?

To get a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) platinum certificate, a building must cut energy use to about half that of a typical structure. That’s tough. What’s tougher? The Living Building Challenge (LBC).

According to Time magazine, the LBC was created six years ago, and to win certification a building must use half the energy of a LEED platinum building and have net-zero energy and water systems. So far, only three buildings have managed that feat, and they’re quite small. However, a six-story, 4,600-square-meter office building will open this fall in Seattle that’s aiming to meet the LBC requirements.

The $30 million Bullitt Center will house the Bullitt Foundation, whose president is Denis Hayes, a former staff director who worked with Earth Day founder Former U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson.

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Get Fracking!

What’s relatively clean-burning, abundant, and possibly the next big thing in reducing America’s carbon footprint? Would you believe… natural gas? Vast reserves lie locked in the porous shale fields deep below Pennsylvania, Texas, and other states. But hydraulic fracturing, the technique used to extract the gas, has raised health and environmental concerns along with job prospects for petroleum engineers.

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Student Inventors: Manu Sharma

Manu Sharma and his innovative wind turbine

Ever dreamed of becoming an entrepreneur? If so, you’re in good company – over half of U.S. millennials (ages 18 to 34) say they want to start a business or already have done so, according to a recent survey from the Kaufmann Foundation. Even more exciting is the fact that nowadays, starting a business does not necessitate leaving school, as more and more universities are striving to accommodate entrepreneurial students.

In this new eGFI blog series, we bring you four inspiring stories of undergraduate engineering students who have successfully patented their original ideas, teamed up with classmates and professors to launch businesses, and navigated the startup world, all while keeping up with their coursework.

So step aside, Bill Gates – the days of dropout turned entrepreneur may be numbered.

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Power Up on the Floor

Anyone who’s ever worked up a sweat running for the school bus knows it takes energy to move. Now, a young inventor in England has come up with a way to capture the ambient kinetic energy of footsteps–or dance moves–and use it to generate electricity.

Pavegen tiles are rubber, waterproof squares made from recycled tires, and 80 percent of their inner workings are made from recycled materials, too. When people step on them, the tiles harvest the energy and convert it to electricity.

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Best of 2011: Our Top Stories

The Most Popular, Interesting, Weird, or Just Plain Cool eGFI Blog Posts of 2011

2011 was another busy year for engineers all over the world. From inventing a device that turns air into water to exploring the oceans in a tiny submarine, scientists and engineers are exploring uncharted territory.

Like last year, we at eGFI have chronicled the most awe-inspiring innovations and stories, so in case you missed one, we present:

The Most Popular, Interesting, Weird, or Just Plain Cool eGFI Blog Posts of 2011

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