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VERDIER Solar Power Camper, Rethinking Westfalia VW

Verdier Solar Power Camper

Based on the old "hippy" classic VW Westfalia camper, Alexandre Verdier has completely redesigned the Westfalia into a modern, green camper with major appeal.  This camper is powered by a 200 hp hybrid (fuel or diesel) + electric engine.  Some other features include solar panels on the camper roof (40 watt – 12 volt), GPS navigation, wireless internet, and a sink with 4 spots for cooking.  Priced at $69,000, I’m thinking there’s market for something like this.  Don’t you?  Video + images below; via Modern Flat

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Human Bones + Nanoengineering = Green Concrete?

Greenconcrete_2 The following post may seem a little esoteric, if not absolutely dry, but don’t be intimidated.  Bear with me a second as the idea opens up towards the end of this article.  Every year, roughly 1.89 billion tons of cement (the main component of concrete) are manufactured.  Cement accounts for about 7-8% of all human-generated CO2 emissions (a main ingredient in the recipe for climate change).  Here’s what happens: cement is made by burning fossil fuels to heat a limestone and clay powder to 1500 °C.  Then, the resulting cement powder is mixed with water and gravel and the invested energy in the powder is released into chemical bonds that form calcium silicate hydrates.  Those calcium silicate hydrates bind the gravel to create concrete. 

So, the idea goes, human bone could show us how to manufacture concrete with less CO2 emissions.  Human bone achieves a similar packing density to concrete at the nanoscale, but with human bone, this packing density is achieved at body temperature with no extra release of CO2.  Stated otherwise, bone strength is achieved naturally without having to heat powder at a high temperature, and thus, without the CO2 release.  The problem is, however, the hardening of apatite minerals in the bone takes a long time.  Say, a month or more. 

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The Orb Steps Up for a Younger Generation

Home Office The Orb

This is incredible.  It would be nice if someone here in the U.S. would put something like THE ORB into production.  According to the company’s website, The Orb "is a new generation of mobile structures created specifically to fire the imagination of a younger, style conscious generation.  It has been designed to appeal across three distinct markets: commercial show units, holiday park homes and adaptable home offices.  Built to a standard far beyond that of comparable structures using marine technology, it is both incredibly durable, lightweight and transportable."  Appeal?  Done. 

Now, the website reveals some details on how The Orb is built (and Treehugger suggests that using GRP may not be that green), but I think one could use green materials to get it built.  Plus, you could toss up a few solar panels on a separate pole and provide renewable energy for it too.  Another positive aspect of The Orb is that it’s small by design, but chances are, this will not be a primary dwelling, so size is not an issue.  Regardless, I dig it and think it could be used in a variety of applications.  Plus, it’s kind of similar to Dasparkhotel (and we know that’s been successful).  More images below.  Via CubeMe

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Hamiltons Castle House Will Blow Your Top Off (S2)


This incredible design scheme is Castle House by Hamiltons of London.  Located at Elephant and Castle, the project will have two buildings: the 43 story tower with 3 nine meter diameter wind turbines at the top and the 5 story pavilion building on the side.  I’m not really sure what stage of development the project is in, but it was supposed to start in mid- to late-2006.  With completion projected for 2009, the residential project is targeting an "excellent" rating under the EcoHomes certification system.  When complete, Castle House will have 310 apartments comprising 247,500 sf and retail units on the ground level.  More images and modeling below the jump.  Via WAN + WAN

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Michael Jantzen's Solar Wind Pavilion Design Proposal

Solar Wind Pavilion

Our built environment should integrate clean tech and renewable energy generation of all forms and this is an example of that concept.  Michael Jantzen proposed a design for California State University at Fullerton that would turn the everyday gathering pavilion into a discussion on sustainability.  The pavilion could serve as the gathering place for up to 300 people.  From the images, notice the wind turbine and the solar panels on the roof.  Towering into the air at 150 feet tall, any energy harvested from the turbine and solar panels could be used by the university.  Inside, there’s a cylindrical digital projection display screen, roof-mounted fogging nozzles to cool the interior, and benches that can be stored inside the floor when not in use.  I think it’s an excellent idea, especially because students always want a place to gather and hang.  Why not here?  Via WAN +

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Project7ten Goes for Platinum, Draws Celebrity Crowd


Project7ten proves that ultra green can look ultra good.  This is another cool residential home project that will get LEED certified at the Platinum level.  Actually, as one of only a few LEED Platinum homes in the country, this project could become the discourse for a greener home.  The home was designed by Melinda Gray, founder of GRAYmatter Architecture, and is currently under construction.  Upon completion in the fall, there will be an open house for everyone to see how good a green home can look.  710 Milwood Avenue, Venice, California.   

The event where project7ten was introduced drew a crazy celebrity crowd with the likes of Cindy Crawford, John Cusak, David Duchovny, Toby McGuire, Laird Hamilton, Gabrielle Reece, and Ed Begley Jr.  How’s that for some ‘razzi fodder? 

So what’s going to make this home so green?  Rainwater reclamation system and grey water recycling, locally-sourced sustainable materials, recycled content countertops and insulation, FSC-certified lumber, solar panels to power the home, and appropriate landscape to shade the home during the summer and allow light during the winter.  Also, there will be Energy Star appliances and Kohler water-efficient fixtures.  The lucky purchaser will get an 18-month lease on a Ford Escape Hybrid, too.  Not too shabby.  Plus, with all the sponsors lined up to support the project, the developer Minimal Productions will donate a share of proceeds to charity.  More images below the fold. 

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