I spent three days camping and hiking in the mountains of Utah last week and used my iPhone to snap the above photo while slightly downhill from the summit of Mount Timpanogos, which has an elevation of 11,749 feet. In preparation for this trip, I researched for a sustainable, backpacker-worthy solution to keeping my iPhone powered in order to take photos, jot notes, listen to music, and maybe communicate with family when presented with an available signal. I don’t have an iPad, but this solution works for both iPhones and iPads, either one. Here’s what you need:
It’s surprising how easy it is these days to line up all the components necessary for a residential-scale photovoltaic array. Solar panels can be purchased on Amazon (among other places) and tracking systems are readily available, too. If you have the land or your roof isn’t right for your needs, Arizona-based Schletter makes a ground-mount kit for up to 2.5 kW of solar PV and it can be purchased for under $1,000.
It’s been a while since I’ve seen anything new in the world of small wind, but I recently noticed that Bornay turbines from Spain are now distributed in the United States. The company has several models, including two-blade models rated at 600 watts, 1500 watts, and 3000 watts, and a three-blade model rated at 6000 watts. The Bornay 1500, for example, is about a nine-foot turbine that weighs 90 pounds and cuts in at winds of six mph. The 1500-watt kit is sold for $20,000 by Electrex Industrial Services.
Since I last shared photos of the Dow POWERHOUSE Solar Shingle, this line of business has picked up. In October 2011, the Solar Shingle launched in Colorado, and Dow expanded the launch to Texas and California in April 2012. As part of the launch, this commercial — lazy roof — aired recently to show these markets how Dow is helping to reinvent the roof so that it not only provides shelter but power, too.
Jason Peacock has plans for a solar-powered cluster of compact homes on a plot of land in Wiscasset, northeast of Portland, Maine. The first house is complete — the Souler House — and it’s a 950-square-foot contemporary abode covered with a grid-tied 3.6 kW array. Peacock designed and built the home, and he’s also renting it out on VRBO for anywhere from $700 – $1000 per week, depending on the season.
This home by North Carolina-based Chandler Design-Build was named Project of the Year in the Small Volume Single Family category of the 2012 National Green Building Awards. Certified to both Energy Star and the National Green Building Standard, Paar Residence was built with a panelized, double-stud wall system and “serves as a showcase for a cutting-edge, air-to-water heat pump combined with a radiant heat and water heater application,” according to the NAHB. Plus, it’s a good example of “mainstream green,” said NAHB, with a traditional look that’s widely appealing.