- Enertia: Houses Heated + Cooled by the Sun – [includes video] No furnace, air conditioner, heat pump or swamp cooler — just an innovative design that harnesses geothermal energy and sunlight year round.
- Sydney Leading Light in Hour of No Power – This ambitious plan aims to send a message to Australians about climate change. It hopes its Earth Hour campaign will demonstrate the connection between the electricity people use in homes and offices and the climate change pollution that coal-fired power stations generate. Via Linton.
- New World Record Achieved in Solar Cell Technology – With DOE funding, a concentrator solar cell produced by Boeing-Spectrolab has recently achieved a world-record conversion efficiency of 40.7 percent, establishing a new milestone in sunlight-to-electricity performance. Via Celsias.
- Mileage From Megawatts: Enough Grid Capacity to Charge Plug-in Hybrids – A new study for the Department of Energy finds that "off-peak" electricity production and transmission capacity could fuel 84 percent of the country’s 220 million vehicles if they were plug-in hybrid electrics.
I like people that leave comments. Comment-ary adds color + perspective that I may not have otherwise considered. The blogger over at geekwhat did a post about the Top 5 Reasons Why Blog Readers Don’t Leave Comments, and I’m convinced there’s some substance to what he’s saying. I also saw the Eco-Entrepreneur (his blog is down right now) give away his 700th post to whoever commented for the number that he guessed. He guessed third, so the third commenter won. So in the spirit of giving and encouraging eco-edification via comments, I’m inaugurating the Official Jetson Green Prodigious Commenter Award. I will give away $25 to the 500th comment on Jetson Green. Not necessarily on this post, but when we get to that point, you’ll know…
First, we’re already partly there, so who knows when #500 will come? Second, I will provide payment to a paypal address or via mailed money order. I’m no stiff, don’t worry. Third, comments do not include spam or hate. These comments will be deleted and not figured into the mix. Fourth, when you comment, your email is registered, so I will contact you via email. Fifth, if I could muster up sponsors, I’d give that stuff away too…Maybe for round #2.
Update: 4/2 – only at 177 comments.
The December 2006 edition of Buildings magazine included the Editor’s Choice Top Product Picks (about 100 different products) and I wanted to talk about one certain product. Assume the following: you’re a developer, you’re going green, and you’re working hard to get approval on something like a large PUD, or maybe something like what the guys at LandPooling do. Well, you’re going to have beautiful, open green space and the proper benches and lighting to allow residents to enjoy the development. Take a gander at the Knight family of products available at Forms+Surfaces. The Knight Bench is sharp looking and comes backed/backless, with/without armrests, in 6-foot + 8-foot lengths. You choose. The bench is surface mounted.
First, it’s fabricated with solid aluminum made of 95 % recycled content. The surface is then clear-coated to resist oxidation (not sure what the coat is). The wood slats are Ipe, which is a sustainably harvested wood that has the USDA Forest Products Laboratory’s highest rating for decay and insect resistance. The bench is fully recyclable, which is important when looking to the life cycle.
The Knight series also includes a litter receptacle, bollard (CFL or HID), and pedestrian lighting. The geometric design of the Knight series is completely amazing. You’ll note that Forms+Surfaces is a member of the USGBC and committed to sustainability (www.forms-surfaces.com).
Green building renovation is the future; there are so many inefficient structures and the time will come when deciding not to renovate a building would be similar to using a typewriter when you have a laptop. Why not start now? Natural Home Magazine is chronicling a developer who will take a seedy, dilapidated (Boerum Hill) Brooklyn building and remodel it with cutting edge technology and green features. The developers, Rolf Grimstead + Emily Fisher of R&E Brooklyn, bought it and plan to make it New York’s first American Lung Association Health House.
The interior will use IceStone recycled counters (C2C), salvaged wood or bamboo flooring, and Kirei board cabinets. Finishes will be with low or no-VOC water-based poly (American Pride). The house will be wired with solar energy via photovoltaic panels. Also, there will be a solar-thermal and gas-fired system to heat and cool the place. In addition, the developers will use the Health House criteria (regarding moisture + humidity control, energy efficiency, and air filtration + ventilation) to guide them in making the indoor air quality top notch. This should be an interesting project to follow throughout 2007.
93 Nevins/453 Pacific: 2 Eco-smart Townhouses [R&E Brooklyn]
Brownstoner Blog Post on the 2 Eco-smart Townhouses [Brownstoner]
One aspect of green building that gets overlooked is financial independence. For instance, a commercial business may make an investment in solar power (provided incentives and rebates make it economically feasible) to stabilize electricity bills and hedge against future electricity cost increases. Another example is the principle of waste reduction in green building. Did you know that building green often costs the same or just a little bit more than standard code-built homes? And did you know that even then, green homes will require less money going forward than standard code-built homes? To that end, here are some affordable green building strategies (click this link to read more about each strategy): Global Green’s 20 Affordable Green Building Strategies:
- Orient the Building to Maximize Natural Daylighting
- Place Windows to Provide Good Natural Ventilation
- Select a Light-colored Cool Roof
- Provide overhangs on South-facing Windows (be careful of your hemisphere!)
- Install Whole-House Fans or Ceiling Fans
- Eliminate Air Conditioning
- Provide Combined-Hydronic Heating
- Install Fluorescent Lights with Electronic Ballasts
- Install High R-value Insulation
- Select Energy Star Appliances
- Design Water-efficient Landscapes
- Install Water-efficient Toilets + Fixtures
- Use Permeable Paving Materials
- Use 30-50% Flyash in Concrete
- Use Engineered Wood for Headers, Joists, and Sheathing
- Use Recycled-content Insulation, Drywall, and Carpet
- Use Low- or No-VOC Paint
- Use Formaldehyde-free or Fully Sealed Materials for Cabinets + Counters
- Vent Rangehood to the Outside
- Install Carbon Monoxide Detector
[Key: Energy, Water, Materials, Indoor Air Quality] Now, some of these may only work for new construction or for renovation, etc., but this is a good starting point for going green, in an affordable way. Keep in mind the geographic constraints–this isn’t an exhaustive list for every location in the world. Different locations present unique circumstances and opportunities can vary greatly. Via Global Green.
I’m a big-time reader–anything good I can get my hands on. But, I’m picky. So I take time to read BusinessWeek (BW) every week, and I can’t remember the last time they DIDN’T mention green this or sustainable that. This week, BW named green building one of The Best Ideas of 2006 (slide show). Again, this doesn’t come as a surprise because BW has been on green for a while now; back in July, for example, they had an article about the Green Wonders of the World. Here’s a snippet from this week: "The Hearst Building has lots of company in this year’s green all-star category, including Adobe’s new Silicon Valley headquarters, Google’s installation of solar panels at its Mountain View headquarters, and the new Bank of America tower in New York. BofA’s glassy wonder, now emerging over Bryant Park, is expected to become the greenest office tower in the U.S., complete with a living green roof and sensors that know when to pump fresh air into stuffy meeting rooms. Healthier workers. Fantasy digs. A smaller contribution to global warming. Green is good." Yes, indeed. For the inquisitive, I’ve posted on Hearst and Adobe before.