Not unlike John F. Kennedy’s goal to land a man on the moon, Al Gore challenges the nation to produce every kilowatt of electricity through wind, sun, and other earth-friendly sources within 10 years. Here are some links …
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.
So Sony noticed that we do a lot of book giveaways here, and they offered to let us test run a sleek, shiny, silver Sony Reader PRS-505. What’s the green angle to a Sony Reader? We can save a lot of resources if electronic readers capture the market: paper, resources to make paper, ink, transportation, space, etc. Make sure to read Smart Planet for a thorough eco analysis of the reader, though. Anyway, being avid readers, we decided to give it a shot, because, to be entirely honest, we can’t stop reading! So I opened up the box about a month ago (yep, I’ve been using it that long to be sure about what I say below), and I was blown away. Seriously. The screen is so much like paper — I couldn’t believe it. As a result, I decided, then and there, to try to make a video so you can see what I see.
This is Blue Ridge Parkway Destination Center, a $9.8 million visitor’s center near Ashville, North Carolina. As a modern structure seeking LEED Gold certification, it’s garnered significant press for its ecological design. Designed by Lord, Aeck, & Sargent, Blue Ridge was modeled to use 75% less energy than a comparable, conventionally designed building. That’s due, at least in part, to its incredible green features, such as the sawtooth Trombe walls on the southerly face, 10,000 sf green roof, natural daylighting, high-efficiency mechanical system, natural ventilation, radiant heating, rainwater reclamation system for on-site use, etc.
It seems like there’s a new, cutting-edge technology in the limelight everyday and today is no exception. You’ve heard of CSP — concentrated solar power, right? Well Sopogy has been in R&D for several years perfecting their MicroCSP technology. They developed the above pictured application for commercial, industrial, and small utility uses. MicroCSP takes traditional, large scale, open faced, desert, parabolic trough CSP panels and shrinks them down to 25% of the size. The trough is between 12 and 18 feet long and is meant for distributed energy solutions from 200 kW to 20 MW. It can be used on-site, too, whether on a roof or adjacent to a building.
A little over a year ago, we featured Shelter Architecture’s 5ive and later placed it on our Top Five Super Green Modern Homes list. In a year, a lot has happened. The home is now complete. It’s going to be honored with a 2008 AIA-MN Rave Award. And now, the USGBC has officially certified it as a LEED Platinum home. Congratulations on the noteworthy accomplishments!