Green Building: Finding True South to Optimize Orientation

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You may have already heard that House & Garden Magazine took a green approach in its latest installment, the February issue I believe.  One article talks about an interview with William McDonough, in which he mentions the orientation of a home.  Earlier, I blogged about Global Green USA’s Top 20 list of low- or no-cost green building strategies and orientation was #1.  Regarding orientation, the rule is to "orient a building to maximize natural daylighting."  As part of the orientation process, one needs to find a building’s true south and build it in such a way, to maximize sun exposure/non-exposure, and thereby, optimize energy-efficiency (i.e., use the sun instead of artificial lighting, use the sun’s warmth instead of heating, use the shade’s cool instead of air conditioning, etc.). 

McDonough pointed out that many architects and builders don’t know how to find true south.  If a compass is used, the compass indicates south, which can differ from true south by more than 15 degrees.  Remember, orienting a home is about orienting the home to sun exposure, not magnetic south.  To find true south, one needs two things:  (1) to know your geography’s solar noon, and (2) to use the sun to draw perfect north/south line exactly at solar noon.  Solar noon is the time when the sun hits the highest point in the sky and can be found using the following Sunrise/Sunset Calculator.  Once the solar noon is figured out, take a line with a weight attached to it, hold it up in the air at solar noon, and the shadow line will reveal the proper north/south orientation of a home.  That line will point to true south and will help you build the home properly, assuming you have some latitude in deciding the orientation of the home.

Eco-Friendly Green Planet Paints: Natural + Zero VOC

Green_planet_paints Guest post contributed by Nancy Haecker, Co-Founder of Green Planet Paints, an Arizona-based company innovating natural, zero VOC paints for compelling interior applications

Beauty.  Simplicity.  Green Planet Paints (GPP) has developed an interior house paint that sets a new standard for environmentally responsible paint.  Using natural, renewable plant and minerals sources, GPP has created a soy based resin to replace the use of petrochemicals in paint, creating an innovative, zero VOC paint. They have also replaced the harmful dye coloring system with clay color pigments.  The results are a paint built and manufactured by sustainable principles that surpass conventional paints in performance and color.  Green Planet Paints are recommended for interior wall surfaces and come in exotic and earthy colors.  Green Planet Paints can be purchased at select retail stores or on the website.  Nancy Haecker can be reached at nancyhaecker [a] earthlink dot net.

3Form Named a Top 25 Fastest Growing Company in Utah Business Magazine

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I was in Utah over the weekend for Equity Green‘s wedding.  He’s a real estate tax guy named Garrett, so visit the archives if you want to learn about green real estate from that perspective.  While in town, I picked up Utah Business magazine, which included an article on the state’s 2007 Economic Forecast, and I noticed a list of the Top 100 Fastest Growing Companies [Registration required].  Guess who was on the list as the state’s #22 fastest growing companies?  3Form.  The magazine says 3Form is company that "creates resin products for design and construction industries."  More specifically, 3Form is committed to environmental solutions for their industry and was recognized by BuildingGreen in 2006, for having a Top-10 Green Building Product.  I’ve written about both 3Form and the Top-10 Green Building Products list previously at the links above. 
 

IceCycle: Innovation in Thermal Energy Storage


Guest post contributed and co-authored by Mark Glover, CEO of Trinity Thermal Systems, and David Anderson, COO of Trinity Thermal Systems.  Mark and David are joint founders, inventors, and pioneers in green energy storage technology.

The Current Energy Situation
Storage is an integral part of every man-made system we have.  We have food in our pantries, fuel in our car gas tanks, and water in our water towers to meet our needs on demand.  Man’s greatest machine is our mass network of electricity and grid, but it does NOT have storage built in.  Which means, it is not only how much, but when we use electricity that is important.  Electrical supply and demand must perfectly balance every minute of every day; standby electric capacity must exist to instantly ramp up to the highest possible peak demand at a moments notice, with reserve capacity of ten to fifteen percent in case demand is under estimated or mechanical breakdown occurs.  If we fail to meet even a moment of this growing demand, we have blackouts or brownouts that paralyze our business economy and threaten the health of our families.

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Green Key Real Estate Expands into Second Office (Marin County)

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Here on Jetson Green, I’ve talked about EcoBroker, but I’ve been waiting to talk about Green Key Real Estate.  I’ve been waiting to see how the market would respond to their services and today’s announcement makes it clear that Green Key Real Estate his hitting all the right market buttons (even in today’s erratic real estate market).  Green Key just announced the opening of a second office in Marin County, managed by the husband/wife duo of Cam + Pam Andrews.  This Green Key Marin team is committed to helping buyers and sellers reach their financial objectives without sacrificing environmental responsibility and social equity. 

When the first Green Key office (San Francisco) opened, it drew quite the splash in the blogging world.  Green Key is a residential brokerage firm committed to environmental responsibility and social equity.  Green Key’s certified by San Francisco Green business + EcoBroker.  It’s also building a database of green properties in their locale; recycling and composting office waste; minimizing paper use with technology; donating a portion of profits to green building organizations; and maintaining a reservoir of knowledge in the industry to help inquisitive purchasers and sellers.  Really, I think Green Key Real Estate is smartly executing on a well developed, eco-friendly business plan.  Via E-wire

The Sustainable, High-Performance illumaWALL by Duo-Gard

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The "illumaWALL," which is a translucent illuminated wall system designed to project a programmable million+ colors, has been singled out by both Architectural Record and Buildings magazines in their 2006 lists of top products.  If I must say so, that’s quite the achievement.  The illumaWALL incorporates translucent polycarbonate glazings with programmable LED lighting for custom design/build applications.  Depending on the type of energy a project is looking for, the illumaWALL could be used both in the interior and exterior, and in commercial, retail, hotel, education, entertainment, industrial, healthcare, or residential uses. 

From what I understand, the wall will also contribute LEED points towards a building owner’s certification.  The translucent polycarbonate glazings minimize heat gain and glare (which leads to lower heating and cooling costs) and the LED lighting incorporates low-voltage, low-heat design.  Not bad.  I could see how the illumaWALL would be good for a restaurant, spa, or retail store, depending on the overall design and brand concept.  Via PRNewswire + Duo-Gard + Info PDF

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