The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) just released a new report, the AWEA Small Wind Turbine Global Market Study, detailing a sizable advance in the small wind turbine market in the United States. Small wind turbines, you may know, are those with a capacity of 100 kW or less. And the U.S. market for this niche grew 78% in 2008, with a total of 17.3 (MW) of new installed capacity. The report indicates that the growth is due, in large part, to private equity investment in the sector, as well as economies of scale, rising electricity prices, and heightened public interest.
Update 5-27-09: Michelle Kaufmann explains what's next.
A short few hours ago, an article popped up on the LA Times website breaking the unfortunate news that Michelle Kaufmann Designs is shutting down by the end of this week. Despite the fact that the article was written by Christopher Hawthorne — pretty much the most authoritative architecture critic on the West Coast, the news was hard to process. This is the firm that's built 40 green prefab houses, including the mkLotus, mkSolaire Smart Home, and a number of other beautiful green prefabs! MKD can't close its doors! But in an email late this afternoon, Michelle confirmed the news.
The Guardian just published an interesting article about the world's first Active House. An Active House, as compared to a super low-energy Passive House, is a highly efficient home that captures more energy than the occupants need for heat and power. In particular, this Denmark Active House should generate enough electricity over 30 years to cancel out the energy costs of building it. And it operates like a machine: a computer monitors the temperature and climate of the interior and opens, closes, and adjusts windows accordingly.
We've discussed both FreeGreen and Greensburg before, so we thought it would be proper to mention their collaboration on a green design competition. As you all know, FreeGreen provides provides free green house plans, and Greensburg is a tornado-destroyed town rebuilding everything in a green way. The two of them are hosting the Chain of Eco-Homes Competition, and I think it'd be incredible to see a reader take the $10,000 first prize.
Today, the Holcim Foundation honored four projects with Global Holcim Awards – a nod to projects that improve lives, reduce environmental footprints, and lead the way to a more sustainable future. I thought the “Innovation” project was quite interesting. The $50k Innovation prize went to Liz Ogbu and John Peterson of San Francisco-based Public Architecture for their design of an informal station where laborers can meet and wait for casual work. If you haven’t already seen the self-contained, off-the-grid station, check it out below: