Google is testing a prototype product that they've dubbed the PowerMeter, which is designed to convey electricity use information to electricity users. PowerMeter is premised on the famous phrase by Lord Kelvin: "If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it." Accordingly, the PowerMeter takes energy consumption information from your smart meter and gives it to you in real time using the iGoogle gadget. It's a dead simple concept — certainly the most low hanging of low hanging fruit. An absolute no-brainer that's important and more crucial than ever.
As the world descends upon Las Vegas for IBS 2009, undoubtedly, many will be walking through a stylish and posh idea house designed for the show. The New American Home is a running tradition and every year brings another one. I guess you could say it's a real life exhibition of the latest and greatest trends in home design. This year, as mentioned by BusinessWeek earlier, the trends include indoor/outdoor living, basement inclusion, the home office, wireless technology, less ostentation, and having a green badge of honor. The New American Home 2009 is claimed to be net-zero energy (based on the combined efforts of super efficiency and on-site power generation), and is definitely technologically advanced. Let's look further …
Cambridge Architectural recently released a new product called Solucent, an architectural mesh system for building interiors and exteriors. To market the product, they’ve created a clever tagline, too: "Where the Sun and Shade Mesh." This statement conveys two concepts. First, that architectural mesh is a flexible daylighting material that can be used to allow the desired amount of natural lighting through (and save costs on electrical lighting). Second, the mesh also reduces interior solar heat gain by shading the sun, a feature that also leads to energy savings on cooling costs.
Dean Kamen is a well-known entrepreneur and inventor of various technologies, including the Segway, Project Slingshot, and a hybrid electrical car with a Stirling engine. He’s also trying to establish an independent, net-zero energy island off the coast of Connecticut. The three-acre private island is called North Dumpling, and if granted his wishes, it would have its own constitution, flag, and national anthem. Kamen’s attempts at secession haven’t been successful yet, but that’s no surprise given the South wasn’t able to do it either. He has found success installing LEDs and saving energy, though.
Last summer, it was the ceramic rod curtain wall. Now, it’s the lighting system. Various green aspects of the New York Times Building continue to make high profile news and it’s only been a year since the modern building opened. Here’s the deal: The Times Company installed Lutron’s Quantum solution, a total light management system that includes daylight, occupant, target set point, time clock, and emergency lighting controls. Although the building was originally designed to use approximately 1.28 watts per sf of lighting power, with the Lutron technology, it’s actually using only 0.38 watts per sf of lighting power — a 70% reduction in lighting use. That means, based on New York City electric rates, they’re saving ~$315,500 and preventing the emission of 1,250 metric tons of CO2 annually. These are some serious numbers. Here’s where they recognized the most in terms of lighting energy savings:
Kjellgren Kaminsky Architects have designed six new passive house designs for presentation at the Stockholm Housing Fair occurring October 9-12, 2008. Shown in collaboration with Emrahus, these prefabricated, zero energy designs present a compelling concept for what is possible with good design and conscious materials. Passive houses, using the definition of KKA on their website, "are extremely well-insulated buildings that are largely heated by the energy already present in the building." Passive homes attempt to rely as little as possible on extra mechanical systems — they conserve first and foremost. Scroll through these six passive home designs and leave a vote for your fave: