Articles With "alternative energy" Tag

Discovery Tower Peaks with a Mini Wind Farm [S2]

Discovery Tower Wind Turbines

Construction just began on what could be one of the most innovative office towers in the U.S.  Located at 1501 McKinney Street in Houston, Discovery Tower is a 30 story office building that will cost upwards near $300 million to build.  And as you can tell from the above renderings, the pinnacle was designed to have 10 wind turbines.  But that’s not just some fancy, green add-on to an otherwise generic building.  Discovery Tower will be built to achieve LEED Gold certification from the USGBC. 

With construction set to finish in the second quarter of 2010, the Gensler-designed green skyscraper will have air filtration, water-efficient plumbing, and an energy efficient heating and cooling system, among other things. 

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Hawaii Gateway Energy Center, a Fascinating Display of Solar Potential

HGEC

The Hawaii Gateway Energy Center (HGEC) is a 3,600 sf, $3.4 million facility situated on the south coast of Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii.  The new building serves both the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii and the Hawaii Ocean Sciences and Technology Park.  And as you may be able to gather from the images and models below, HGEC is a fascinating display of the future potential for synergies of solar power and building efficiencies.  The entire building is designed as a thermal chimney that captures heat and creates air movement using the structural form and thermodynamic principles.  Also, with the help of glazing, the building orientation and design pretty much eliminates the need for electric lighting during the day.  Notably, HGEC consumes about 20% of the energy that’s required by a comparable building. 

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Carbon Neutral Lighthouse in the UK

Lighthouseuk

In England, a handful of efficient demonstration homes have been built on the grounds of the Building Research Establishment Ltd, including “The Lighthouse,” which is the first net zero carbon house in the UK.  The house is also the first to attain level six in the Code for Sustainable Homes, which indicates that it is carbon neutral. The two-bedroom house is only 93.3 square meters (barely over 1000 sq. ft.) in a 2-1/2 story building.  The building has solar panels and evacuated solar tubes on its roof, as well as making use of passive measures with ventilation chimneys.  It also incorporates rainwater catchment as part of the building design.
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Windspire, One Step Closer to Cheap Small Wind!

Windspire Windspire Installed

We have to be skeptical with small wind because it’s been so shady up until now, but Mariah Power is seriously poised to release their vertical axis wind turbine this spring for $3,995.  This is incredible news.  They just passed the ETL (safety) certification and also comply with UL1741 and IEEE 1547.1.  Translation:  the Windspire is safe to go to market.  But you’ll notice that the Windspire features a new design, which is expected to produce about 1800 kilowatt hours per year in 11 mph average wind conditions.  That amount of wind power is roughly 25% of a typical household’s energy. 

The Windspire has several features that make it a likely candidate to dazzle the market.

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Seagull Streetlamp, Micro Green Tech That Inspires

This is just another example of micro-green technology in an entirely necessary and functional setting.  The video shows a streetlight running on both wind and solar in front of Panasonic Center in Tokyo.  In addition to the helix turbine and butterfly solar panels, there’s a high-efficiency light bulb and battery for capturing energy during the day (to be used at night).  Someone tell me why we don’t see more any of this in the U.S.?  Via EcoGeek.

Aeropoint Small Wind Turbine Pays Back in 2-7 Years!

Aeropoint1 Aeropoint2

I ran across some news that Marquiss Wind Power just raised $1.3 M in series A funding, which, in and of itself, isn’t that big of a deal to me (because funding doesn’t = anything).  That said, Marquiss Wind Power has quite the value proposition with their ducted wind turbine product called Aeropoint, a product that comes in three sizes.  It’s a small-wind turbine built for commercial buildings of 1-3 floors.  Based out of Folsom, California, the company had encouraging results with the first three test turbines.  Actually, the results were so good the company claims purchasers should have a payback period of 2-7 years.  You’ll notice that depending on a lot of different factors, a 2-7 year payback is about 2x faster than the payback for solar. 

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