Pretty Green Power

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Solar and wind power may be environmentally attractive, but their components—solar panels that resemble mausoleum slabs, turbines that look like fans on steroids—often draw resistance on aesthetic grounds (see Senator Ted Kennedy fighting to keep wind farms out of Nantucket Sound). According to Plenty (April-May 2008), the Grow hybrid energy system, made by a Brooklyn-based sustainable design company (smitdesign.biz) and due to hit the market in 2009, combines the environmental upside of both technologies to create an apparatus that is as attractive as it is energy efficient. Inspired by green ivy, the product’s polyethylene “leaves,” which are installed on the side of a building, use photovoltaic cells to harness sun rays and tiny generators to capture the wind. Undulating in the breeze, these leaves also ripple hypnotically—allowing onlookers to revel in both form and function.