This is the Helix Wind Turbine, a small-wind, residential scale option that could cut your electricity bills in half, if installed and situated properly. This 2-kw grid-tie or off-grid system is designed to catch winds at lower speeds. And it won’t hurt the birds, either. According to the company’s website, the Helix System is inexpensive, reliable, and simple — it’s a good choice for low wind speed residential and commercial applications. The Savonius turbine based design catches wind from all directions creating smooth powerful torque to spin the electric generator. Perfect customers live in areas that have amenable small wind zoning and get about 10 mph of wind/cross-winds. Via EcoGeek.
Hot on the heels of a growing bundle of green retailers comes news of Kohl’s future plans for new construction. Starting in 2008, newly constructed retail stores will be built to LEED certification. Currently, Kohl’s has plans for about 80 new stores and the changes will include adding more insulation, using recycled or reusable building materials, ensuring that materials are locally supplied, and controlling lights, heat, and cooling from central headquarters to prevent excess energy consumption. Twenty-two stores in California will use solar power to supply roughly 40% of their energy needs, and three stores in Wisconsin will use solar to power about 20% of their energy needs.
Matt Allert took second place in the Cascadia Region GBC‘s Emerging Green Builders Natural Talent Design Competition this year with his idea, the Dwelling Dock [pdf]. The Dwelling Dock is premised on the idea that sustainability should begin with the most basic building block of our communities: the dwelling. It’s an attempt to fully integrate the infrastructure of the housing unit with the environment. Although purely in concept stage, the Dwelling Dock would be prefabricated, and would include all the accoutrements we’ve come to expect in green homes: pervious paving, recycled materials, living roof, water collection, and photovoltaic panels.
Allert’s goals for the Dwelling Dock project include some of the following: (1) collect rainwater for re-use, (2) produce energy on-site, (3) minimize site disturbance and preserve existing site resources, (4) use local materials, and (5) integrate sustainable design with recycled, low-VOC materials. And I’ve got to admit, I really like the design elements. Butterfly living roof. 3-level living. A healthy mixture of privacy and transparency. Would you live in one?
A few days ago, Foster + Partners released design details of their newest mixed-use project in Astana, Kazakhstan — Abu Dhabi Plaza. This clustered matrix of multi-level buildings will include retail, leisure, hotel, office, and residential uses. David Nelson, Senior Executive and Head of Design at Foster + Partners said, "We are extremely excited to be working on this important project for Astana that will provide a new urban destination – visually and functionally. The design has resulted from a rigorous analysis of the city’s extreme climate, which has generated the unusual cluster diagram and has determined a façade that is both distinctive and highly efficient." In this geography, the temperature can get as cold as -40 degrees Celsius, and Foster + Partners found that the compact situation of buildings helped to maximize thermal insulation during the harsh winter months. The development also includes a series of temperate, year-round gardens with a network of sheltered pedestrian routes throughout the site. Light shafts between the blocks will have laminated glass panels that shower colorful light, shadows, and patterns on the lower levels.
- The market for true green homes is expected to rise from $2B to $20B over next five years.
- Energy-efficiency audits can find savings in places where consumers might never think to look.
- USGBC certifies the world’s first carbon neutral building.
- Clinton Climate Initiative and Wal-Mart team up to provide low-cost green building technology.
- Regency Centers launches formal green building program for retail developments.
I love these chips. Oregon-based Kettle Foods just received the LEED Gold certification for their new 73,000 sf chip facility in Beloit, Wisconsin. As you would expect with a LEED certified building, it has a lot of green aspects, including energy-efficient equipment, water filtration and conservation equipment, and low-VOC, healthy materials. They also installed 18 wind turbines on the roof, which, according to a press release, will generate enough electricity to produce 56,000 bags of chips every year.