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UniCube Green Dorm Concept Takes Competition Prize

UniCube

I just noticed this interesting building designed by a college student in Australia and had to mention it.  Andrew Southwood-Jones conceived and rendered the building, actually a green dormitory, for an Autodesk competition and he took the prize in the architecture category.  Called UniCube, it was designed to maximize space, be sustainable, and look good.  Andrew designed the conceptual structure to use a number of sustainable strategies: drought-tolerant plant wall in checkerboard pattern on exterior; exterior "gabion walls" filled with rubble and stone; inner walls made from straw bales; a copper roof that catches wind for ventilation and air circulation (without requiring air conditioning); rotating solar panels generating power for the building’s lights; and rainwater collection for use in irrigation, toilets, and laundry. 

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[Video] GM Installing $78 M World's Largest Solar Roof

Earlier this week, GM announced that they were adding the world’s largest, rooftop, solar photovoltaic power installation to its car assembly plant located in Zaragoza, Spain (a factory that manufactures Opel vehicles for sale in Europe).   When the project is completed in the fall of 2008, the solar installation will have 85,000 solar panels covering about 2,000,000 sf of roof space.   Bloomberg further reports that the $78.5 million installation will avoid about 7k tons of emissions per year.

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Certified Green Homes to Save Coin on Insurance

Real_estate_bld_145x135It looks like the nation’s first provider of green insurance coverage for the commercial sector has decided to expand that coverage into the residential sector.  Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company will be offering green coverage to homeowners who either own a green home or who want to upgrade their home with green features in the event of a loss.  So in a loss situation, the homeowners can rebuild their home and have it certified under the LEED system. 

Homeowners with green homes will be offered a five percent discount on their insurance premium.  In addition, homeowners will be able to rebuild and replace as follows:

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