About ten years ago, I worked at UPS in their "boneyard" — a place where all the pallets were unloaded and strewn in huge heaps on an asphalt parking lot. We’d neatly stack the pallets, place them in a trailer, and UPS would get rid of them, netting about $0.25 per pallet saved. At the time, I didn’t realize the amount of pallets in circulation around the globe. It’s estimated that there are about 2 BILLION ordinary unit load pallets in circulation globally, and about two-thirds of these are only used once. It’s further estimated that U.S. companies throw away roughly 4 billion board feet of wood pallets every year. Pretty crazy, I know.
So HDR Architecture came up with Unit Load_Redux, a temporary exhibition intended as a probe for sustainable living through the redux of pallets and the use of bicycle energy.
Atlantic City Convention Center has just signed a 20-year agreement with Pepco Energy Services to have a 2.36 megawatt solar roof installed on the building. When completed by the end of this year, the project is projected to be the largest single-building solar energy project in the United States. That’s 13,321 photovoltaic panels covering roughly two-thirds of the building AND a savings of roughly $4.4 million in electricity costs over the 20-year deal.
Conserval Engineering just announced the release of their newest product, SolarDuct PV/T, which is a rooftop solar PV system that goes beyond generating renewable energy from on-site solar power. With the SolarDuct PV/T system, solar panels are mounted on metal collector panels that channel excess heat from the solar array into the building’s HVAC system. As a result, this system, which is part photovoltaic and part thermal, can generate electricity and put heat to use when heat is needed in the building.
Looking for a simple, affordable, and eco-friendly way to furnish a home? Check out Victory Vintage Home for vintage furniture and accessories. One of the most environmentally friendly things that you can do is to re-use materials that already exist. Even new, environmentally-friendly materials often have some negative impact on the environment. For instance, furniture made from bamboo is called eco-friendly because bamboo is a rapidy renewable resource, but you then have to figure in the distance that bamboo usually travels to get to the United States. You would also want to know how it was harvested and a variety of other environmentally important factors.
Lumeta has developed what’s said to be the world’s first commercial-scale, "peel and stick" solar modules called Lumeta Power-Ply 380. The Power-Ply solar modules use adhesives to attach to the roof, making the system a cinch to install. The short video below shows two guys installing six modules on a roof in roughly 34 minutes — it seems so simple anyone could do it! Of note, the 4′ x 8′ modules don’t require roof penetrations or mounting systems, as opposed to most solar power systems. You may also note that the flat roof style installation sacrifices the optimal solar angle (and loses about 5% of the power production), but Lumeta is confident that the benefits to the peel and stick solar product outweigh the slight losses in production.