Urban energy, inspired by nature

Updated 7:16 AM ET, Wed January 21, 2015
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French company NewWind has taken the idea of green energy very literally. Inspired by nature, its "Wind Tree" has 72 "leaves" -- micro-turbines that rotate in the wind, generating up to 3.1kW of energy. Colucci/NewWind
A "Wind Tree" will go on display at Place de la Concorde, Paris, between March 12 and May 12 2015. NewWind
Its creator, Jerome Michaud-Larivire, with one of the micro turbines. FRED TANNEAU/AFP/Getty Images
But the French design isn't the first to combine wind power with a tree structure. Described as an "urban windmill," the "Power Flower," by NL ARchitects, has been designed to minimize space requirements. Having turbines on a vertical axis allows for a much denser construction than with conventional wind turbines. NLA Architects
NL Architects claim the concept is nearly silent and its turbines can produce energy from wind blowing in any direction. This rendering shows how it foresees that with the emergence of smart grids, products such as this will become a domestic energy solution. NLA Architects
At Singapore's "Gardens in the Bay" development, man-made "supertrees" collect solar energy during the day, which is used to light the magnificent structures after night fall. Courtesy Glen Obejera Espinosa
Eighteen supertrees varying from 25 to 50 meters in height combine to form a steel forest. They act as cooling ducts for nearby conservatories, collect rainwater and 11 of them have solar photovoltaic systems to convert sunlight into energy. Courtesy Glen Obejera Espinosa
In contrast to the dense urban environment of skyscrapers and high-rise buildings in Singapore, "Gardens by the Bay" is part of the government's overall strategy to transform Singapore into a "city in a garden." AFP/Getty Images