Browser – issue 123


Lance Turner’s regular ReNew column on useful websites

Public Laboratory

The Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science (PLOTS) is a community that develops and applies open-source tools to environmental exploration and investigation.

Using low cost DIY methods, a network of participants has grown with the goal of increasing the ability of communities to identify and take action on environmental concerns.

Anyone can participate, and in a number of ways, including adding to existing site pages, writing articles, improving documentation and organising local groups.

While most current participants are from the USA, anyone from anywhere can join and create a local chapter. There are already groups in Sweden, Chile, Lima and the UK, but none from Australia as yet.

For DIY types, the Tools section is the most interesting, with details on using everyday devices in practical projects—using a Roomba robot vacuum cleaner to measure indoor air quality is a great example!

While in fairly early stages, this sort of public collaboration site has enormous potential.


Green roofs have become quite a popular topic in recent years. A well-planned green roof can improve the thermal performance of a building considerably, while a poorly planned or maintained one can be more hassle than it’s worth.

The Greenroofs website labels itself as “the international greenroof industry’s resource and online information portal, with the goal to inform, promote and inspire the earth friendly technology of organic greenroof architecture through the interchange of ideas, projects, news, video, travel, research, organisation and government updates, marketing opportunities and exclusive features.”

That about says it all, and the site itself is full of interesting information on the subject, including latest news, guest features, hot trends, a list of recommended books on green roofs, events, employment opportunities, a green roofs video channel, green roof basics, products directory and more. While fairly US-centric, it’s a great example of what’s happening around the world.

Renew-logo-white-on-blue 534px

The Alternative Technology Association has rebranded as Renew!

Very soon, we will be launching our new Renew organisation website at this address,, full of latest news and useful information on sustainable living.

In the meantime, please choose where you’d like to go:

 Simply close this box for the Renew magazine website

Click here for the Renew/ATA organisation website