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December 26, 2015

Inhabitat’s Week in Green: Ford’s self-driving cars, and more!

by John_A

Energy bills tend to spike in the wintertime, but this incredible UK home costs just $2 a month to run. The secret? Tons of insulation and a massive set of rooftop solar panels. We also spotted a futuristic Russian dome home that’s able to withstand massive loads of snow, and a team of Finnish engineers are building the world’s longest ice bridge at the start of next year.

When it comes to green energy, Costa Rica is king. The nation just announced that it sourced 99 percent of its energy from renewable sources in 2015. Researchers in Iceland developed a new wind turbine that’s tough enough to stand up to the strongest gales, and scientists developed a special glass coating that allows solar panels to capture sunlight from almost any angle. Sony announced that it’s working on smartphone batteries that last 40 percent longer, and Fairphone launched an ethically sourced smartphone that you can repair and upgrade yourself.

Ford believes self-driving cars will reach maturity in four years’ time — and according to a new report, they’re teaming up with Google to make autonomous vehicles happen. Meanwhile Volvo announced that its first production model with semi-autonomous technology will hit streets in 2017. Biking in the rain sucks, but fortunately Vanmoof just unveiled a clever bike poncho that fits over your handlebars to keep your torso, hands and legs dry in a downpour. And, as 2016 draws near, we’ve rounded up our top wearable technology and green design stories of the past year. Which is your favorite?

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