Visualizing the Benefits of Clean Tech

Harnessing Wind

I have a couple clean tech articles I want to focus on.  It’s my personal belief that if we can learn and understand these technologies, we can apply and benefit from them.  The first article by BEST LIFE is called "5 Best Ways to Go Zero Energy at Home."  The article explains hot water panels, solar roofs, small wind turbines, water harvesters, and geothermal wells.  Importantly, for each technology, the generalized cost and potential benefits are explained.  If we know what the technology can do, and we can live with the price, why not talk to a professional about getting that technology installed on that next project?  That’s the way I see it. 

The other article is really an interactive web feature developed by National Geographic.  Titled "Harness the Power of Wind," the website takes you inside the workings of a wind turbine.  You can see what makes wind turbines work.  I gave it a look and figured out why wind turbines aren’t as effective here in the mountains of Salt Lake City, as opposed to locations near the ocean.  I also gave the "Try it Out" feature a try and maxed everything out.  With a 150 ft blade radius, 315 tower height, 49 mph wind speed, and 0 altitude, I’m producing 2,300 kw of power for roughly 759 homes.  I like those numbers. 

Brad Pitt's Hypnotic, Green Holy Cross Project

Active

My wife sent me this article from Perez Hilton about Brad Pitt, who will be appearing on NBC’s Today with Ann Curry to talk about his green development project in New Orleans.  I’m not a reader of the celebrity sites, so I would have missed this, but the New Orleans development project is really moving along.  And the green houses they are building are 100% incredible.  Brad has good style — it fits so well with Jetson Green, we should just bring him on as a regular writer! 

Global Green broke ground on the Holy Cross Project on May 10.  Yesterday, they unveiled the progress on this first home, which is still under construction.  It’s going to be a showcase home, but in total, the Holy Cross Project will have 5 homes and 18 apartments.  All of them will be affordable and green.  The goals of the project are to achieve LEED Platinum certification (LEED-H for the single family homes and LEED-NC for the other buildings), net zero energy, and carbon neutral building. By using solar panels, high performance building design, HVAC systems, energy and resource monitoring systems, and energy efficient appliances, the buildings in the Holy Cross Project will use at least 75% less energy than typical buildings. In addition, Global Green is also exploring the use of river turbines in the adjacent Mississipi River.

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Windermere West – Chicago Slanting Windows (S2)

Windermere West - Click to View Larger Wired has an interesting story about a new 26-story tower soon to be built in Chicago’s Hyde Park called Windermere West.  The building was designed by Jeanne Gang, with a little help from Arup.  Here’s the idea:  the hottest sun of the year is the highest in the sky and this is when electricity bills skyrocket.  So, Gang designed this sawtooth facade effect for roughly 2/3 of the south-facing balconies.  At a 71 degree tilt, the glass is angled enough to shade the interiors during that hot period of the day, but not so much that people feel like they will tip over into the streets.  Pretty neat?!  I wonder if this is actually going to get built.  It’s interesting to see how architects come up with creative solutions to incorporating natural light in just the right way. 

::"S2" is short for "Skyscraper Sunday," a weekly article on green skyscrapers posted every Sunday::

By |August 19th, 2007|Energy Efficiency, Modern architecture, Skyscraper|0 Comments

Powerfully Small and Green Ideabox

Ideabox

"It's like a loft you can take anywhere.Ideabox offers a pretty cool product in the modern, prefabricated housing industry.  Ideabox emphasizes good design, not square footage, and they make it easy to do.  With Ideabox, you're going to get the entire package right to your site.  There's one day to install it, one day to build the deck, and that's about it.  Depending on your site, all you really need to do is set up the water, power, septic, and sewer systems.  You can even go wireless with the turnkey solar system package, too. 

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Best Buy to Build Only LEED Certified Stores

Best Buy

It looks like Best Buy is upping its green cred with the recent announcement that starting in early- to mid-2008, all future Best Buy stores will be built to LEED standards.  In all honesty, the retail sector has been kind of slow to adopt programs such as LEED.  But this is starting to change.  Best Buy has the in-house architect and senior facilities manager working on getting LEED accredited right now.  Additionally, the company plans to get its eco-prototype store certified by the end of the year.  The eco-prototype will have energy-efficient lighting, rainwater recycling, recycled content building materials, a high-efficiency HVAC system, and some sort of day lighting system.

Best Buy’s greening will go beyond the new stores also.  Before the end of the fiscal year, it plans to increase its use of reusable containers by 30 percent; retrofit 20 percent of its 650+ stores with dimmable, zonable ceramic metal halide lights; and recycle 75,000 tons of cardboard, 1,800 tons of plastic, 15,000 tons of consumer electronics, and 27,500 tons of appliances.  Via MBJ

By |August 14th, 2007|Energy Efficiency, LEED, Water Efficiency|0 Comments

Even Montana Has LEED Platinum Buildings

25gb

Although it’s not all that attractive looking from these images, it’s the greenest building in Billings, Montana, and one of a select few buildings certified "Platinum" under the LEED-NC (new construction) certification system.  Using technology such as solar panels and composting toilets, it offices the Northern Plains Resource Council and consumes about 21% of the energy and 41% of the water of a similarly sized building.  Financially, the building cost about $140 psf, which is about $35 psf cheaper than if the older building had been demolished and a new one put in its place. 

In all honesty, there are only three other buildings in Montana that have green certifications from the USGBC.  BUT, this building, known as Home on the Range, has created a gathering place for local architects, students, and the public.  Now, there are 18 LEED projects in the registration phase in Montana.  That’s incredible.  We’re really getting some serious momentum behind this thing, that’s for sure. 

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