This is big news for the green building revolution, because a solar farm like this could power roughly 190k homes in California. Referred to as the Topaz Solar Farm, this $1 billion, 550-megawatt plant would cover roughly 9.5 square miles, and if constructed, would be the world’s largest photovoltaic solar farm. Hayward-based OptiSolar is developing plans for the project as we speak. According to their current time line, OptiSolar will apply for a conditional use permit in May 2008 and begin construction in 2010. Topaz Solar Farm would then be completed over three years.
You've probably already heard of BedZED, but have you seen it? Feel free to watch a short little video about the cutting-edge community.
BedZED is a 100-home, sustainable community in Beddington (UK) that's designed to be a Zero Energy Development. Hence the Bed and the ZED.
The colorful wind-driven ventilation system gives it a quirky, kind of playful look — but don't be fooled: This joint is all business. Most of all, residents appear to enjoy the sense of community and quality of life.
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.