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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By |June 19th, 2008|Energy Efficiency, News, Recycled|9 Comments

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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By |June 18th, 2008|Energy Efficiency, Gadgets, Nature, Solar|3 Comments

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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By |June 16th, 2008|Energy Efficiency, News|0 Comments

Alberici Converts Old Plant into Modern Green HQ

[2:16]  As a global construction-services company in St. Louis, Missouri, Alberici sought to lead the transformation of the design and construction industry by renovating a 485-foot-long manufacturing plant into its new Class-A corporate headquarters.  The desire to convey resource efficiency, integrated design, and corporate responsibility prompted Alberici to achieve substantial resource and cost savings by combining various strategies, including:

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By |June 11th, 2008|Energy Efficiency, LEED, Modern architecture|0 Comments

Checking Out the 99k House Competition

Hybrid

Back in September 2007, Rice Design Alliance and the Houston Chapter of the AIA announced the 99k House Competition.  The general goal of the competition was to create an innovative design for a small house that is affordable, sustainable, and energy efficient.  More specifically, the competition called for a single family house with up to 1,400 sf of space, including 3 bedrooms, 1.5-2 bathrooms, on a 50′ x 100′ site in a historic neighborhood of Houston.  The construction budget for each home had to be under $99,000, too.

And recently, Hybrid / ORA out of Seattle was declared the winner of the competition (pictured above).  In addition, four other finalists each took $5k in prize money and had their home designs published for all to see.  Make sure to check out their ideas and download their designs below. 

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By |June 10th, 2008|Energy Efficiency, Single Family|0 Comments

How About SMEG's Retro Modern, Efficient Frig?

Black Orange Red

This fridge has a fantastic retro appearance and could save you a lot of money on your utility bills.  Designed by SMEG, it’s a compact 9.22 cubic feet and uses only  305 kWh/year.  That makes it one of the most efficient it its class according to the government’s energy guide, which is used to rate all Energy Star appliances.  This stylish fridge isn’t big — it’s under 5 feet tall, but maybe it will encourage you to trade space for style and save energy as a result. 

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By |June 9th, 2008|Energy Efficiency, Modern design|0 Comments