If you’re like me, you like to follow what others are doing to build modern, energy efficient homes. One such home I’ve been following is at Denver Modern. Angelo, a local Denver designer, and his family are building their home on a narrow lot and have been blogging the progress since September 2006. As you can tell from some of the images in this post, it’s cool pad with a small footprint. The Haida cedar siding is distinct and deep in character — a modern touch I really like. I can’t wait to see the interior take shape with all the materials they’ve been planning.
Proximity Hotel seems to have found a way to deliver a comfortable, luxury-type experience and still be one of the greenest hotels in the country. It was built to use roughly 36% less energy and 30% less water than a comparable hotel. Proximity Hotel also heats over half the building’s water with roughly 4,000 sf of solar thermal panels on the roof. In the video embedded below, Dennis Quaintance, Chief Design Officer of Proximity Hotel, mentions that the savings from the solar thermal investment is about $20k per year. He also talks about the hotel’s innovative elevator, which is the first Regenerative Drive Otis Gen2 elevator in North America — it captures energy while going down and uses it while going up.
Swift Wind Turbine is a quiet, rooftop mounted wind turbine. Unlike some designs you’ve seen previously, this one has an outer ring and five blades. The outer ring acts as a diffuser — the wind travels down the blades and is dispersed along the ring, therefore eliminating noise and keeping the turbine quiet. The company estimates a noise of less than 35 decibels for all wind speeds. The 7 foot diameter ring needs a roof line clearance of a couple feet and in good winds, can generate up to 2000 kWh of power (1.5 kW @ 14 m/s).
I realize that by blogging about this, I’m risking some criticism as to whether a parking structure can be green. I think it can, but I’ve heard mention from others that the term "green parking lot" is an oxymoron of sorts. After giving it some thought, I just can’t imagine a world, or a city for that matter, with absolutely no parking lot. They’re going to exist, so they might as well be super green and zero energy, to the extent possible. This building, which is the Santa Monica Civic Center parking structure, has a solar array that provides all the building’s energy needs.
But it’s not just energy efficient, it’s green, too.