In the past few weeks, the Brad Pitt Make It Right foundation in New Orleans has been blanketed with all sorts of good press. The USGBC declared Make It Right to be the "largest and greenest single family community in the world." One of the newest homes in this green community is the FLOAT House by Morphosis Architects, which was designed and built under the direction of Thom Mayne and with the help of numerous UCLA graduate students. The FLOAT House is a prototype for prefab affordable housing that is adaptable to flood zones worldwide.
Yesterday, Dow Chemical Company (NYSE: DOW) unveiled its new line of DOW POWERHOUSE Solar Shingle. The Solar Shingle was designed to be integrated into rooftops with standard asphalt shingle materials. Dow expects the shingle systems to be available in limited quantities by mid-2010 and more widely available in 2011. And although the company says the system will provide a low-cost solar option for homeowners, we have not received any specific pricing details at this time (see below).
Green building certification is an interesting phenomenon. It’s meant to convey a message about the building’s level of “green” or “sustainability,” but the message is only as strong as the system that creates it. If you push beyond that message, you might ask: how many of these certified buildings are, say, positive energy? That’s the goal of Elithis Tower recently opened in Dijon, France. It has 1,600 sensors that examine energy and emissions. This information is then displayed on a special public sign in full transparency for everyone to see. The sign is both dynamic and clear.
Hocking College — a two-year technical college in Nelsonville, Ohio — has trained its students for jobs in Ohio's manufacturing sector since 1968. As these jobs began leaving the state, Hocking College saw the potential for growth in alternative energy jobs. The school launched the Energy Institute in 2002, with just three students to offer training in advanced energy and fuel cells. Enrollment has since increased to 125 students and the curriculum has also expanded to include hybrid and plug-in vehicle courses, as well as courses about wind and solar power.
The school's newly completed building, located in Hocking County, reflects Hocking College's commitment to participating in the new green economy. The 12,200 square-foot building is on track to become the first higher education building in Ohio to receive LEED Platinum certification.
This year's Innovation Pipeline at West Coast Green was relatively small. In part this may reflect the state of the economy, which has lead to decreased investments in new building technologies. Despite that, there are a few interesting technologies that have been brought to market recently or will hopefully be available soon. Here's a look at several products that may just change the future of this industry.