Trump's Stalled Golf, $1 Trillion Clean Energy Market, Small Wind Obstacles, Stylish Prefab, + Green City Branding (WIR)

Week in Review
By |October 20th, 2007|Conservation, News, Prefab, Week in Review|0 Comments

Sidwell Friends School, Anatomy of a Green School

Sidwell Friends School

The Sidwell Friends School is the first LEED Platinum-rated K-12 school in the world, but what’s incredible is the story behind it.  First, it’s a renovation of a fifty year old facility.  Second, the renovation involved the students, so everyone was able to participate and learn about the benefits of a green building.  Matter of fact, about sixteen 5th – 8th graders studied the building, wrote about its benefits, and recorded an audio feature explaining each green feature.  Feel free to take the green building tour to learn about low-VOC materials, CO2 monitoring, natural light, native plants, the green roof and biology pond, photovoltaic panels, a heat recovery wheel, vertical solar fins, and the settling tank, etc.  This is quite the impressive interactive visual/audio tour.  Seriously, great work. 


PBS e² Series Returns with Pitt, Morgan Freeman

e2 design

"How did progress take priority over human mankind? …"  I’m the proud owner of season one of e² design, a six-part series that aired on PBS last fall.  I can’t wait for the next season and it’s coming soon.  Go check out  Brad Pitt’s back with “e² design."  This grouping of shows will feature Thom Mayne, architect of the San Francisco Federal Building; Enrique Peñalosa, the former mayor of Bogotá, Colombia; and Adriaan Geuze, lead architect of the Borneo Sporenburg development in Amsterdam.  PBS also brought on rookie, Morgan Freemen, for “e² energy."  This segment will feature Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Prize winner and founder of the Grameen Bank; Amory Lovins, founder of the Rocky Mountain Institute; and Dr. José Goldemberg, Brazil’s former secretary for the environment.  This is excellent video content.  Incredible content.  Unbeatable content. 

By |October 13th, 2007|Conservation, Gadgets, News|0 Comments

PG&E Puts $10 M Towards Ice-Based Peak Demand Energy Shifting

Ice Energy

Recently, Ice Energy, a company that makes an ice-based air-conditioning system (explained below), announced their collaboration with PG&E in California on a $10-million dollar project.  The project is called "Shift and Save," and here’s the background: in the middle of the day, when the temperature is the highest, energy demand and the cost of energy is very high.  But with Ice Energy’s product, consumers can "Shift and Save" by using energy in the nighttime, instead of the daytime.  Daytime energy consumption is the bottleneck, it’s the peak, so energy generation must be sufficient to match peak demand.  Interestingly, to the extent demand for peak energy can be permanently reduced, the need for new energy generation (i.e. coal plants) is reduced as well.  Nice. 

The system consists of a large plastic attachment for commercial air conditioning units that is filled with water, frozen overnight, and used to cool refrigerant during the day.  According to Ice Energy CEO, Frank Ramirez, "It stores energy at night, when energy is cleaner to produce, cheaper to buy and easier to obtain, and it makes it available for use during the day."  The new hardware costs about $10,500 and weighs about 5,000 pounds when filled with water.  It looks very similar to a standard AC unit.  Also, there can be an additional retrofitting cost of as much as $10,000 for existing buildings and a minimum $750 cost for new construction.  Ice Energy is testing residential models (but another company called Trinity Thermal with the IceCycle has residential models already out right now).  Anyone have experience to share?


By |October 1st, 2007|Conservation, Energy Efficiency, Gadgets, News|0 Comments

Lawrence Country Home with Trombe Wall, Small Wind + Solar Power

Lawrence Country Green Home

This home isn’t necessarily modern, but it has all the modern conveniences one could ask for: solar panels, small wind, radiant floor heating, air filtration system, and a trombe wall, etc.  Kent and Kathy Lawrence’s custom country home, which was completed in 2005, ended up costing roughly $300 psf.  The wind turbine alone came in at a cool $37,100 (producing 13,000 kwh/year), and that’s without tax subsidies.  And unlike many custom homes that tend to explore new boundaries of profusion, this home is only 2,200 sf.  Not bad.  But the Lawrence’s weren’t just concerned with smart design and energy efficiency.  Currently, they’re removing invasive plant species and planting native flowers, just trying to be gentle stewards of the land they inhabit.  I think this is a rather picturesque setting for a home … much the American Dream. 


By |September 28th, 2007|Conservation, Energy Efficiency, Gadgets, Materials, Solar, Wind|0 Comments

330 Hudson Street, Sustainable Design + Historic Preservation (S2)

330 Hudson Street Developer Tribeca Associates has chosen Brennan Beer Gorman Architects (BBG Architects) to design the overhaul of an historic 1910 warehouse building.  At a price of $220 million, the existing structure will be redeveloped into 292,000 sf of office space, with 12 stories of new hotel space rising from the office pedestal.  There will be a small portion of retail space and the hotel will be one of the few Silver LEED Certified buildings in the U.S.  Located at 330 Hudson Street (324-344 Hudson) in the downtown Hudson Square area of Manhattan, the new structure will combine sustainable design and historic preservation in a powerful 22-story package.  The iconic masonry exterior of the existing structure will undergo meticulous restoration, and the finished structure will include amenities such as event space, rooftop pool, sky bar, signature restaurant, outdoor terraces, conference center, and a fitness center.  Via Wired NY.


By |September 23rd, 2007|Conservation, Hotel, LEED, Skyscraper|0 Comments