For those that follow the political realm, you may be aware that the Senate is considering a huge energy bill over the next 24 hours. Some of the details of this bill were the subject of an opinion article in the LA Times today. There are pros and cons of the bill affecting all sorts of energy concerns such as renewable fuels, coal-to-liquid technology, and automobile efficiency standards. Up for consideration is the Bingaman-Reid renewable portfolio standard (RPS) requiring the nation to get 15% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020. An RPS requires electric utilities to include a specific percentage of clean, renewable energy in their generation portfolios, or to purchase renewable energy credits from others. If you want to help see that the Bingaman-Reid RPS is supported, feel free to use the Power of Wind website to let your Senator know.
Every Sunday, Jetson Green features a different green skyscraper, and flat out, I’m amazed at the innovation architects and engineers are putting into these towering eco-phallics. So, in the spirit of looking at what we can do with modern technology, I thought it would be fun to highlight an article called "Uber-Eco-Towers: The Top Ten Green Skyscrapers," by Jon Schroeder for EcoGeek. Building on the hype from the recent sustainable skyscraper design conference (link), Jon has a list of what he’s determined to be the top ten green towers. Here they are from top to bottom:
- The Bahrain World Trade Center Towers
- The Pearl River Tower
- Bank of America Tower – One Bryant Park
- The Lighthouse Tower
- The CIS Tower
- The Hearst Tower
- The Burj al-Taqa – Energy Tower
- Waugh Thistleton Residential Tower
- 340 on the Park
- The Urban Cactus
Looks like 7 of the 10 that made Jon’s cut have been featured previously on Jetson Green. I’ll make sure to write an article on the other 3 buildings detailing their accomplishments. Nice list EcoGeek…
::"S2" is short for "Skyscraper Sunday," a weekly article on green skyscrapers posted every Sunday::
- Wired to Sell – Smart-home technology is becoming increasingly available with a variety of conservation and convenience features.
- Why Big Houses? The average, new American home is 2,400 sf; experts weigh in on America’s fascination with bigger is better.
- Wind Energy White Paper "In Defense of Wind," by Dallas attorney Trey Cox outlines concerns about wind energy industry’s rapid and unregulated growth.
- Peddling Smart Growth – call your project "smart" – even when it isn’t – and get millions in public funds.
This is a pretty huge announcement. The financial case for green building is so compelling that we occasionally see companies making the green change cold turkey saying, "Everything from now on will be green." That’s what Wachovia is doing. First comes news that Wachovia will take space in the Charlotte, N.C, green tower designed by TVS architects. Now, we have an announcement that starting in 2008, all bank branch construction will be according to LEED specifications. With major expansions expected in California and Texas, we’re talking about 300 green bank centers. Here’s the incredible part. Wachovia has determined that each green building will save the company about $80,000 in construction costs and 20% in operating costs, when compared to a traditionally constructed branch. Additionally, when leasing new space in the future, Wachovia has committed to take on space certified under the LEED for Commercial Interiors program. The company is currently studying ways to retrofit existing branches in a green way.
In addition to using about 20% less energy and 25% less water, these healthier buildings should increase worker productivity and have better indoor air quality. Wachovia plans to roll out its recycling program for paper, plastics, aluminum, and glass. Also, branches will feature preferred parking for low-emitting vehicles. Move Hummer, get out the way. Via.
If everything pans out, 5IVE is going to be one of the hottest homes to hit the modern + green scene. You watch, I’m calling it right now. This Minneapolis, Minnesota home is aiming for the distinct accomplishment of LEED Platinum certification under the U.S. Green Building Council guidelines. Platinum green homes get attention. John Dwyer, professor at University of Minnesota and founder of Shelter Architecture, designed the home for Jeff and Saleno Gallo. 5IVE is built with precast concrete walls with an r-value in the 30s, has one of the most efficient heating and cooling systems on the market, and will use the greenest possible materials, products, appliances, and fixtures.
The blogosphere is cool because we can use it to peer into the lives of others and learn from their experiences. Jeff Gallo and Dwyer are collaborating on a blog by documenting the step-by-step process of building one of the greenest homes in Minnesota. Right now, details are a little scant (for the unbuilt portions), so check the progress at the 5IVE blog for more specifics.
Right now, the world’s largest wind energy conference and exhibition, called WINDPOWER 2007, is going on. For those of you that can’t attend, here’s a link to the AWEA YouTube Channel and the AWEA Flickr Pool. Good stuff. Pictured above is the Skystream 3.7. I’m a big believer in wind technology, especially small wind technology because it has the potential to power our lives on a renewable basis. Think about the powerful combo of a plug-in hybrid car + home with solar panels + yard with small wind + thermal energy storage. Here’s what happens. During the night, you charge your car at home. Then you drive to work. At work, you charge your car again with solar/wind power. The hybrid makes it happen anywhere in the middle. We need to start mashing up renewable technology in a smart way. Microgeneration. Decentralization. WINDPOWER 2007 is a big part of making this happen.