Articles - March, 2011

Ingenious PV Glass Window Hits Chicago

Pythagoras Solar makes a revolutionary solar-powered window – literally an insulated window with integrated photovoltaics – that has the ability to turn buildings into massive power producers. The company has been testing a pilot project on the south-facing windows of the 56th floor of Willis Tower, formerly known as Sears Tower. If the pilot goes well, Willis Tower could end up with a surface area of up to two megawatts of solar.

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A Smart Prototype for New Modern Prefab

This new home embodies one of the most interesting developments in prefab to hit the West Coast in several years.  The Sunlight Residence, a 2,560 square-foot home listed for sale at $850,000, is a prototype by Proto Homes constructed in a hybrid-prefab system with all sorts of smart, green, and stylish elements.  It’s completely wired — each new home comes with an iPad to control the lights, music, cameras, alarm, temperature, and fireplace — and quite green, too.

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Suberra: Durable Recycled Cork Slabs

After cork bark is plugged by the wine industry, it can be fashioned into a durable, high-density slab called Suberra by the folks at the Eco Supply Center in Richmond, Virginia.  They compress post-industrial recycled cork grain with a polyurethane binder to create 1-1/4″ composite slabs that are 25-1/2″ wide by 36-1/2″ long.

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The Pyramid of New Water Sources

Today is World Water Day and it just so happens that Jerry Yudelson, noted green building authority and author, has released a new conceptual tool to help people understand where water will come from in the future.  The tool mimics the popular Pyramid of Conservation used by Minnesota Power and explains water sourcing in ten increasingly expensive and complex steps.

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The State of Small Wind [Interview]

The U.S. market for small wind turbines — those rated 100 kilowatts or less — grew 15% in 2009 with the installation of about 10,000 new units, according to the AWEA Small Wind Turbine Global Market Study in 2010.  In the same report, AWEA found that the largest manufacturer of these turbines in terms of kilowatts sold is Arizona-based Southwest Windpower.  I had the opportunity to email with the company’s marketing director, Miriam Robbins, and she was kind enough to share what’s new with Southwest Windpower.

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Super Houseplants, Low-Fuel Homes, Cottage Award, + Mercury Reductions

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