Michigan Home Skystream Video, Small Wind Benefits

Michigan Skystream

The Skystream here cost about $13k (including installation) and is intended to provide roughly 30-70% of the home’s energy, depending on weather conditions.  The video is interesting in that it shows the community reaction to the turbine: they love it.  Skystream turbines are good for places that have more than 1/2 acre of land and zoning that allows structures more than 42 feet tall.  Experts say the system should pay for itself over time, even without Michigan incentives.  Also visit the Skystream website. 

By |August 27th, 2007|Conservation, Energy Efficiency, Gadgets, News, Wind|0 Comments

Verdi Award-Winning Modular Landscape System

Verdi Lawnscaping System

First, it receives a 2006 red dot design award, and now, the Verdi Lawnscaping System has received a 2007 Gold IDEA Award.  Verdi is a low-maintenance, modular landscaping system that hopes to become the alternative to traditional grass lawns.  Verdi tiles are pre-seeded with built-in irrigation and they interlock for easy installation.  Once completed, the entire system can be attached to a grey water pump, which uses certain recycled water from the home to irrigate the landscaping.  The Verdi system also has other modular parts, such the solar-powered light tiles, shrub planters and path tiles, recycled glass composite inserts, and bamboo or molded recycled plastic inserts.  The technology is compelling because it has the capability to transform the process of landscape design in the backyard, terrace, or even on the roof.  And the built-in irrigation system reduces inefficient use of water, too.  This is a cool product concept to keep an eye on. 

Jellyfish House, Future Sustainable Structures [Video]

I watched this video of the Jellyfish House by architects Lisa Iwamoto and Craig Scott, and needless to say, I was kind of blown away.  It’s quite compelling to watch, but at the same level, it’s complicated.  I can’t say I understand everything that’s going on but I like it.  Jellyfish are responsive to the environment around them, so like jellyfish, one concept with this house is that water is filtered and harvested through the actual structure of the home.  The structure uses UV light filtration, which could come down in price in the future, and titanium dioxide, which is now used for self-cleaning glass in tall skyscrapers.  This concept prototype for the future of sustainable living was designed (hypothetically) for Treasure Island, a decommissioned military base in San Francisco Bay with toxic top soil. 


Even Montana Has LEED Platinum Buildings


Although it’s not all that attractive looking from these images, it’s the greenest building in Billings, Montana, and one of a select few buildings certified "Platinum" under the LEED-NC (new construction) certification system.  Using technology such as solar panels and composting toilets, it offices the Northern Plains Resource Council and consumes about 21% of the energy and 41% of the water of a similarly sized building.  Financially, the building cost about $140 psf, which is about $35 psf cheaper than if the older building had been demolished and a new one put in its place. 

In all honesty, there are only three other buildings in Montana that have green certifications from the USGBC.  BUT, this building, known as Home on the Range, has created a gathering place for local architects, students, and the public.  Now, there are 18 LEED projects in the registration phase in Montana.  That’s incredible.  We’re really getting some serious momentum behind this thing, that’s for sure. 


$16 B to Clean Energy, Thin Film Solar, Home Efficiency Tips + the Economics of Homes Sizes (WIR)

Week in Review
  1. Housing slowdown offers a chance to get real about HOME SIZES … good design and quality construction ultimately will prove more worthwhile than square footage. 
  2. Nine ways to make your home more energy efficient.
  3. Thin Film PV market could top $7 billion by 2015 … low cost, low weight, ease of manufacturing, and success on roof, wall, and window applications is driving the growth (see also Nanosolar). 
  4. U.S. House of Representatives passed a Democratic rewrite of U.S. energy policy that strips $16 billion in tax incentives away from Big Oil and puts it toward renewable energy sources like wind and solar power.

Capitol Hill Green Building, Ford's Plug-in Hybrid, SCU's Solar Home + Putting Buildings on an Energy Diet (WIR)

Week in Review
  1. Congress celebrates first green building on Capitol Hill with one building being renovated to LEED Silver level certification and saving energy by about 48%. 
  2. Ford Motor Company and Southern California Edison join together to make plug-in hybrid technology a reality. 
  3. Santa Clara University was chosen by US Department of Energy to design, construct, and display a fully functional, 650 sf solar powered home. 
  4. The Cost of Saving Energy – New Yorkers are working on energy consumption, but some buildings need to go on an energy diet.