As with all terms environmental, the devil is in the definition and the lawyers have been hard at work with so called zero energy buildings. A net ZEB, by definition, produces as much energy as it uses over the course of a year. To get to that point, buildings owners make their buildings as efficient as possible and then use, in the typical case, on-site renewable energy to get into zero energy territory. But there are other variations, including net zero site energy, net zero source energy, net zero energy costs, net zero energy emissions, and near zero energy, all of which have been kindly defined by the DOE. The DOE, as assisted by Building Green, has also launched a Zero Energy Buildings Database, with the following four buildings.
When Maria Surma Manka brought us news of Broadstar Wind Systems last June from Windpower 2008, our interest was stoked, especially considering the fact that Broadstar was claiming that their AeroCam turbine could achieve $1 per watt installed. Well, the company is still beta testing the AeroCam turbine, but demand is crazy and they’re "on track" to install more than 70 turbines. J.C. Penny Co. plans to install AeroCam turbines on their distribution facility in Reno, Nevada by November this year. Plus, 15 companies have contracted to test the turbines and 12 more are in talks.
I always find these lists interesting, but here’s the idea: "There are game-changers and then there are world-changers. From Internet giants working to make renewable energy cheaper than coal, to a sea captain monitoring the ocean’s plastic waste, to the growth of intentional communities (they’re not just for hippies anymore)—welcome to Plenty’s second annual list honoring (in no particular order) 20 dynamic individuals and 20 pioneering companies that are bettering the planet, plus 10 innovative ideas that will revolutionize how we live."
– the Second Annual Plenty 20
There’s kind of an edgy, underground movement of conscious homeowners and environmentalists that are finding creative ways to capture water and reuse it for their needs. BusinessWeek’s Malia Wollan just wrote an article called "Rainwater collectors work to ease shortages," and she talks about the popularity of the movement. In the article, Wollan mentions a website called HarvestH20, which has seen an increasing number of visitors seeking information and advice on rainwater collection and reclamation.
So the big day is September 8, 2008 — the day Mr. Thomas Friedman’s next book goes on sale. It’s called Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution–And How It Can Renew America. I have a feeling it’s going to be good, too, but I can’t pinpoint why. Maybe it’s because Friedman does a lot of research and assesses that research with a fresh perspective. Maybe it’s because he says new stuff — he’s not necessarily regurgitating what we hear everyday. Maybe it’s because he takes a strong position. Whatever it is, I have a stack of great books that I’ve been trying to get through, but this one will likely make it to the nightstand.