This solar cell tree charger by Vivien Muller is kind of interesting. You can use it to recharge your cellphone, camera, or whatever, because it has 54 tiny photovoltaic panels and an internal battery that stores energy. The modular parts are connected and can be rotated infinitely creating a different tree for your favorite sunny spot at home.
So the big day is September 8, 2008 — the day Mr. Thomas Friedman’s next book goes on sale. It’s called Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution–And How It Can Renew America. I have a feeling it’s going to be good, too, but I can’t pinpoint why. Maybe it’s because Friedman does a lot of research and assesses that research with a fresh perspective. Maybe it’s because he says new stuff — he’s not necessarily regurgitating what we hear everyday. Maybe it’s because he takes a strong position. Whatever it is, I have a stack of great books that I’ve been trying to get through, but this one will likely make it to the nightstand.
It’s fun getting weeMail … we’ve just learned from Alchemy Architects about some new weeHouse announcements relating to affordability and sustainability. First things first, everyone wants to know about prefab pricing, right? You can now get a 2000 sf weeHouse with so called Good Stuff for around $125 per sf, give or take. Second, weeHouse has teamed up with The Fusion Companies to offer off-grid and supplemental Energy Kits for weeHouses.
We keep hearing about thin film solar innovation and building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV), but it may be hard to image how this technology will play a part in the future of our buildings. But I think CENTRIA Services Group has a product that could certainly change that: EnergyPeak. They’ve combined the flexibility of laminate photovoltaics (LPV) with strong, durable standing seam roof panels to create a rooftop solar option with a fast payback. I mean, just look at the diagram and check out its immediately recognizable benefits:
I just noticed this RoofRay mashup that uses Google Maps and various other information to help you calculate the solar potential of your building. It’s pretty interesting, actually. You can find your building, trace the potential solar roof area, adjust the calculations based on your estimate of orientation and angle, and then see what you have. After that, you start entering in your electricity usage information and the company you purchase electricity from (watch out though because they didn’t have Rocky Mountain Power’s information and may not have your information yet). After that, you cruise along where they start to provide you with an estimate of the system’s cost, rebates, and potential savings, etc.
The Silicon Valley-based law firm of Cooley Godward Kronish has just brought online the largest on-site solar system of any Bay Area law firm. The 465 panel, 87 kW system was installed on the roof of their Palo Alto-Hanover building of 130,000 sf. Installing a solar system of this size has almost lost its newsworthiness, especially with tons of companies placing monster solar arrays in service by the end of this year to take advantage of the tax benefits. But what’s really interesting, I think, is one of the reasons the firm decided to generate some on-site green power: their clients are in this business and inspired them to go green.