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.
It 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:
Reader and recent commenter Raedia just sent over details of her and her husband’s green home being built in Vermont. They were able to secure an in-town lot and decided to design and build something that was affordable, sustainable, and stylish. In looking at the images, I think they were able to do just that. With a super-insulated structure and passive heating and cooling, the home uses less of the mechanical systems for temperature control.
41% more energy efficient than code, solar panels, geothermal, universal design, FSC certified wood exterior, grey water system, reclaimed wood floors, recycled denim insulation, 3form scraps, recycled content materials, etc.
In conjunction with The Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit in Japan occurring right now from July 7-9, 2008, Japan and Sekisui House have released details of The Zero Emissions House, a high-tech, prefabricated home designed in the vernacular of traditional Japan. As the G8 Summit focuses on various issues pressing on the world right now, representative nations will be discussing the environment and how to deal with climate change. In that regard, Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) is constructing the house a short distance from the summit to show Japan’s potential contribution to cutting emissions in the world’s built environment.
It’s clear our country is reaching what future generations will see as a watershed moment as it relates to our current energy situation and how we handle it. In the U.S. alone, buildings account for roughly 70% of electricity use and 39% of energy use, so any discussion of our energy future naturally implicates the built environment. The current state of discussions on our energy future has brought together some incredible minds and one of those is the great T. Boone Pickens, an expert in recognizing scarce resources and future energy trends. Just today, he announced his efforts relating to the PickensPlan — a plan he explains himself in the above video.
Now, I think Mr. Pickens is definitely probing one of the better ways to alleviate our dependence on foreign oil, but I also think he’s skipping over an important aspect of this discussion on our country’s energy mix.