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).
There was a fantastic article in the NY Times on a positive energy home dubbed Solar Harvest. Solar Harvest generated more electricity in 2006 than what it took from the grid, so Xcel Energy sent the owner a check for $8.45. Nice! Solar Harvest was built by Eric Doub and his company, EcoFutures, in Boulder, Colorado for $1.38 million, including land.
If you haven't noticed, Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill have been showing off some seriously green designs since leaving SOM* — this building is another such example. One of their newest projects, Clean Technology Tower, builds on principles of biomimicry and utilizes technology and building systems to interact with the surrounding environment. As you'll notice from the renderings below, wind turbines are located at the building's corners to capture wind at its highest velocity as it accelerates around the building. The number of turbines in the structure increases as you climb up towards the apex, where there's a veritable wind farm! Also at the top of the skyscraper, where winds are at a maximum, is a domed double roof cavity that captures air for the wind farm. The dome itself is also clad in photovoltaic cells that harness the sun's energy.
Located near public and private transportation, Clean Technology Tower will house roughly 1.8 million sf of office and 300k sf of hotel space. Although I'm not sure of the green skyscraper's precise location, Smith + Gill promises unparalleled views of Lake Michigan and the Chicago River from the dome atrium. Imagine working in a building where you can take the elevator to the top, watch the turbines whirl away, and see the entire city. It doesn't get much better than that.
I just noticed fresh news of this newly formed company called Torresol that’s developing a Solar Tower of Power for both Spain and Abu Dhabi. It’s cool news and interesting technology, but it strikes me: Does anyone want to use their celebrity or political influence to bring more of these to the U.S.? Hillary? Obama? Gore? Buffett? Pickens? There’s a ton a raw land in Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Texas, etc., and any given state could take a stab at a plan with transmission lines, right? I know we talked about an EnviroMission tower before, but I haven’t seen any movement on that front. It might take a green blogger coalition to get more of these built, but if we can’t figure it out, we’re going to see a new generation of dollars going to the same group of people. If you know what I mean …
A concentrating solar concentrating power plant like the one pictured above could generate power for something like 30,000 homes (17 mw).