Last week, former President George H. W. Bush installed a 33-foot tall, Skystream 3.7 wind turbine to provide energy for the Bush’s Kennebunkport home. The Bushes were courted by Southwest Windpower, one of the forerunners in small-wind innovation, and after looking at the pros and cons, they decided to take the plunge. The turbine is connected to the grid and feeds excess power to the system.
Since the home is their summer home, it will probably have a substantial credit from all the energy they’re feeding into the system during the winter. The Bushes decided to purchase the turbine for financial and environmental reasons, but they’re also setting a good example, too. Via Portland Press Herald.
You may have heard about a huge mall, entertainment, tourist project in central New York called Destiny USA. It’s quite the scheme that’s been in planning for many years. I just caught news of some of their phase I and II plans for green building and energy. For the 1.3 million sf Phase I, they retained Tangarie Energy to place sixteen, 5 kW drill-bit shaped wind turbines in the parking lot, which will produce roughly 64,000 – 84,000 kW hours of clean energy. They also want to be 100% fossil fuel free and energy efficient, so we’ll probably hear more specific details in the future. The turbines are designed to work well in lower wind speeds and should provide about 30% of their energy needs.
Phase II will start in 2009. For that, they’re planning a 1,300+ key hotel tower and conference facility, which will be built to LEED Platinum certification. The unique looking hotel project, shaped almost like blades of grass, will generate electricity from its solar panel facade and hydro-electric turbines (using rainwater collected on the roof). Once finished in 2012, it is planned to be the tallest building in upstate New York.
The first Gold certified LEED-H home in Illinois is built from the renovation of an old neighborhood tavern. The 3,800 square foot building is used by the owners as both a residence and as the offices of their company: Smog Veil Records. The label has adopted an "eco-friendly" set of principles, and the owners felt their home/office ought to reflect those values as well. Daylighting, recycled materials, and efficient appliances were all part of this project. Inside, some of the floors are made of a terrazzo made from recycled glass and chunks of old vinyl records. (That's probably the only kind of vinyl flooring anyone should have.)
With the price of oil at $95 a barrel, economists estimate that U.S. households will spend an additional $90 billion on costlier gasoline. Estimating our population at 300 million, that’s an average of $300 per person. Between my wife and I, that means we’re giving up $600 of our economic pie to the recently increased cost of transportation, on average.
It’s nice to hear about companies that stretch just to get the LEED Platinum certification, especially when it’s easier to go ‘certified’ and brandish that certification like it’s a shiny, new, plug-in hybrid. Half-Moon Outfitters received the Platinum certification in the middle of the summer for their 9,600 sf distribution center in North Charleston, South Carolina. They went for Platinum under the LEED-NC 2.2 system, and more importantly, they didn’t skimp in the energy and atmosphere category, opting instead to rack up ten points. The distribution center was formerly an old Piggly Wiggly store, but it’s been through what could be the greenest renovation in the country. It’s now a super green, corporate office and distribution center.
Here’s what they did: First, they installed two 1550 gallon storage tanks, which combined with the water efficient fixtures and native landscaping, helped them use about 78% less domestic potable water than a conventional building. Second, they added insulation throughout the building and installed both a 4,900-watt photovoltaic system and 19 SEER efficient Lennox heat pump system. Third, they switched to energy-efficient fluorescent lamps and found ways to benefit from the building’s east-west orientation (passive and active solar strategies). Nice work!