This ‘quantum dot’ tech helps grow more plants by making sunlight more powerful

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Indoor farms can grow more food than fields by using special recipes of LED lights to induce more plant growth. This new technology lets a regular greenhouse achieve the same effect. Inside the sprawling warehouses where some indoor farming startups grow food under artificial light, custom “light recipes” adjust the color of LEDs to help plants grow faster. Even with efficient LED bulbs, the systems still use a huge amount of energy. But new technology designed for traditional greenhouses can manipulate sunlight in a similar way, without any use of electricity at all. Read Full Story

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Prefab was supposed to fix the construction industry’s biggest problems. Why isn’t it everywhere?

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The Canadian company Bone Structure can produce zero net energy homes months faster than a traditional builder. But its challenges highlight the difficulty of disrupting the entrenched construction industry. Marc A. Bovet wanted to build a house, but when it came to the actual construction, he was overwhelmed with options. He had bought an empty lot and hired an architect to design a custom home in Montreal for his wife and four kids. He had all the permits and approvals, so he began looking for builders. When quotes started coming in, he was stunned to see that the highest estimate was almost twice as expensive as the lowest. Read Full Story

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This app lets stores create a digital line to help enforce social distancing

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Just sit in your car or walk to a nearby park until it’s your turn, and you don’t have to worry if the other customers in line with you believe in social distancing. Instead of waiting in the long lines that stretch around your local grocery store during the pandemic—and hoping that the somewhat arbitrary six-foot rule for social distancing protects you from the customer coughing behind you—it may soon be easier to wait in a virtual line. A new app, SafeQueue , is designed to allow stores to manage the flow of customers digitally, so that customers can wait inside their cars or in a nearby park until it’s time to shop. Read Full Story

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At this new net-zero energy McDonald’s, on-site solar provides 100% of the power

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By 2030, emissions from McDonald’s restaurants and offices will need to drop 36%, compared to 2015, to meet the company’s science-based targets. This new restaurant now open at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida is one step toward that goal. At a new McDonald’s restaurant that just opened at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida (with COVID-19 protection measures in place), solar panels covering the roof—and solar glass panels throughout the building—are designed to generate enough energy that the restaurant can run on 100% renewable power. Read Full Story

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