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From smart thermostats that can be managed using our cellphones to energy efficient lightbulbs and rooftop solar panels, today’s buildings use a wide range of technology to reduce their environmental impact. In London, a system has been developed which could transform the way buildings look and behave. Architectural and urban design practice ecoLogicStudio has produced what it describes as a "photosynthetic building cladding system." Called PhotoSynthetica, it uses solar energy to take carbon dioxide (CO2) and other pollutants out of the atmosphere. The panels of the system harbor a solution containing algae microbes. In the latest episode of CNBC’s "Sustainable Energy" Marco Poletto, ecoLogicStudio’s director, described how one of the bio-plastic prototypes works. "The sun shines through the curtain and activates … photosynthesis," he said. "The design of this cavity is such that we can inoculate, or introduce, dirty air from the bottom," he added. "The air naturally rises through and comes into contact with the molecules of the algae, which cleans it. And then clean air and oxygen is released from the top back into the atmosphere." Poletto went on to explain why micro algae were useful for the system. "Their ability to capture CO2 is 10 times […]

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