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Visualizing Benefits of Roof Overhangs

Rh

If you’re in a sunny location and your home has windows, then you probably like to pull a curtain or close the shutters to keep direct heat from entering the home.  Just today I was driving by a modern home with slight overhangs and nodded my head in approval thinking: "buya … such a simple design element and it’s providing shading for those super large windows during the heat of the day."  I realize we’re talking about something basic, but if you have the chance, roof overhangs can make a difference as to how much you’re manipulating the interior temperature with mechanical systems.  Check this ranch house by Cottam Hargrave.  With that much glass in Georgetown, Texas, a little roof overhang is a prerequisite, don’t you think?!

Blue Ridge Parkway Center a Model of Ecological Design

Blue Ridge Destination Center

This is Blue Ridge Parkway Destination Center, a $9.8 million visitor’s center near Ashville, North Carolina.  As a modern structure seeking LEED Gold certification, it’s garnered significant press for its ecological design.  Designed by Lord, Aeck, & Sargent, Blue Ridge was modeled to use 75% less energy than a comparable, conventionally designed building.  That’s due, at least in part, to its incredible green features, such as the sawtooth Trombe walls on the southerly face, 10,000 sf green roof, natural daylighting, high-efficiency mechanical system, natural ventilation, radiant heating, rainwater reclamation system for on-site use, etc. 

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Home Depot To Save $16 M/YR By Switching to CFLs

Ecooptions

You may have noticed recent news that Home Depot will be providing free, in-store recycling of CFLs at all of its U.S. stores.  But buried in that story is another interesting factoid — a tidbit of information in the likes of plucking the low hanging fruit.  Home Depot announced that they will be switching to CFLs at all U.S. Light Fixture Showrooms and expect to save roughly $16 million in annual energy costs.

This news isn’t all that sexy, but it’s important.  Make the switch, if you haven’t already and stop throwing money out the window.  With the low hanging fruit, it’s true: money grows on trees!

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Pallet Structure Gets A Human Touch

Unit Load_Redux

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.

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Super Efficient SolarDuct Co-Generates Electricity and Heat Energy!

SolarDuct PV/T

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.

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Town of Babylon to Provide Funds to Make 65,000 Homes Energy Efficient!

In an innovative move, the Town of Babylon has set up an extensive program to work with citizens to pay for energy efficiency upgrades for every home in the town.  The basic premise of the program is that the town wants to help residents use less energy, so here’s what they plan to do.  They’re going to loan up to $12,000 at the super low interest rate of 3% to pay directly for renovation costs.  Under the program, residents get home energy audits that include recommended actions for renovations, including adding more insulation, changing out the HVAC system, etc.  The town pays for the renovations and the homeowner then makes payments to the town based roughly on the reduction in payments caused by having a more efficient home.  So it’s quite the innovative system. 

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