Transportation is inextricably linked with (green) buildings. And for a number of reasons — peak oil, national security, price gouging, and concern for the environment — the current oil-based transportation system is dying. Its death started with hybrids, and to a certain extent, continued with natural gas vehicles. With the advent of electrical vehicles, we will all witness the slow, prolonged, and painful death of oil-based transportation. Tonight Dateline NBC gave us a glimpse of the next generation of transportation in Tesla Motors. The future of electrical cars is bright, but let's be clear: it's complicated, too.
This is ChargePoint, an electrical plug-in station that’s powered and monitored through a smart network. It was developed by Coulomb Technologies, who recently teamed up with Carbon Day Automotive to add a new little twist. Coulomb and CDA coupled the ChargePoint with a solar photovoltaic array to create one of the nation’s first Solar Plug-in Stations. These pictures show a Solar Plug-in Station provided for the City of Chicago. You may be interested in knowing that this Solar Plug-in Station was designed by Chicago’s own Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture (you know, the Eco-Bridge and Clean Technology Tower).
Solarsmith, a green building firm out of Santa Fe, New Mexico, recently helped Betsy Armstrong and Richard Barr build an eco-friendly, traditional southwest-style home in the foothills of Santa Fe. The residence's roof is filled with solar panels, which are tied into the grid, helping to heat water for the radiant floors, exercise pool and appliances. Excess energy is fed to neighboring homes.
With the glut of commercial space available today and the promise of stimulus money, some developers are looking at green building as a way to stand out. Brushing up on catch-phrases just isn't going to cut it; in the new construction space, they're competing with early adopters who have already embraced sustainable design, energy efficiency, and LEED and the like. They'll be competing with commercial projects like this.
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Jay Leno’s all about the green tech, I mean, his garage is running on wind and solar, and it powers approximately two-thirds of the place. So recently, he just put up this video demonstrating a new technology for rooftop wind applications. The Mag-Wind turbine is made by Enviro Energies and both Jay Leno and Ed Begley Jr. have their own versions on order. Naturally, Leno was excited to point out that his turbine will be bigger than Begley’s, but in addition to that, you’ll get an idea from the video how interesting the technology actually is. It’s built using magnetic levitation technology that reduces friction, noise, vibration, and energy loss. Some other interesting aspects of the Mag-Wind System include:
Dean Kamen is a well-known entrepreneur and inventor of various technologies, including the Segway, Project Slingshot, and a hybrid electrical car with a Stirling engine. He’s also trying to establish an independent, net-zero energy island off the coast of Connecticut. The three-acre private island is called North Dumpling, and if granted his wishes, it would have its own constitution, flag, and national anthem. Kamen’s attempts at secession haven’t been successful yet, but that’s no surprise given the South wasn’t able to do it either. He has found success installing LEDs and saving energy, though.