One of the most popular trends in sustainable living is to go
small: Live in a small house. Drive a small car. Have a small carbon
footprint. So it seems contradictory that by going big—really big—energy
equipment can become better for the environment.
But that’s the case with wind turbines, according to a new study by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.
the past 30 years, wind turbines have more than quadrupled in size. The
blade diameter of today’s models can surpass the length of a football
field. In tandem with this growth spurt, land-based turbines in Europe
became greener, the researchers concluded.
The report, published in the American Chemical Society’s journal, Environmental Science & Technology,
looked at the energy it took to build, transport, maintain, and dispose
of turbines, as well as the electricity the turbines fed into Europe’s