Articles With "alternative energy" Tag

Green Labeling, Sourcing Wind Energy, Sustainable Development + Landscape Design Rating System (WIR)

Week in Review
  • Most Americans and Canadians say "green" labeling just a marketing tactic.
  • Harnessing the Wind to Fuel India’s Growth – as nations examine their carbon output, wind turbines provide one alternative to coal.
  • Will sustainable development "shake up" architecture?
  • Clean energy can’t meet growing demand, which is outstripping supply, pushing up prices, and raising the specter that some states may not meet clean-energy mandates. 
  • Green Building Moves Outdoors – the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) announced the development of a new rating system for landscape design. 

National Solar Tour Day – October 6, 2007

Sunpower

Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s that time again:  October 6, 2007 – The National Solar Tour.  The ASES National Solar Tour is the largest tour of sustainable energy technology for buildings in the U.S.  Now in its 12th year, some 100,000 people across the nation will see how neighbors are using clean sources of energy to save on energy bills and protect the environment.  Through a series of open-houses and informative tours, participants learn about renewable energy options, energy efficient design, real-world costs, current rebates available, and other valuable insights. 

Tours are being organized in dang near every state, so if you have the interest, there’s probably a place you can go.  Here’s the main page to find a tour near you.  Image Credit: Sunpower.

PG&E Puts $10 M Towards Ice-Based Peak Demand Energy Shifting

Ice Energy

Recently, Ice Energy, a company that makes an ice-based air-conditioning system (explained below), announced their collaboration with PG&E in California on a $10-million dollar project.  The project is called "Shift and Save," and here’s the background: in the middle of the day, when the temperature is the highest, energy demand and the cost of energy is very high.  But with Ice Energy’s product, consumers can "Shift and Save" by using energy in the nighttime, instead of the daytime.  Daytime energy consumption is the bottleneck, it’s the peak, so energy generation must be sufficient to match peak demand.  Interestingly, to the extent demand for peak energy can be permanently reduced, the need for new energy generation (i.e. coal plants) is reduced as well.  Nice. 

The system consists of a large plastic attachment for commercial air conditioning units that is filled with water, frozen overnight, and used to cool refrigerant during the day.  According to Ice Energy CEO, Frank Ramirez, "It stores energy at night, when energy is cleaner to produce, cheaper to buy and easier to obtain, and it makes it available for use during the day."  The new hardware costs about $10,500 and weighs about 5,000 pounds when filled with water.  It looks very similar to a standard AC unit.  Also, there can be an additional retrofitting cost of as much as $10,000 for existing buildings and a minimum $750 cost for new construction.  Ice Energy is testing residential models (but another company called Trinity Thermal with the IceCycle has residential models already out right now).  Anyone have experience to share?

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LEED Costs, Urban Wind, Green Building Growth + Clinton Global Initiative Commitments (WIR)

Week in Review

Lawrence Country Home with Trombe Wall, Small Wind + Solar Power

Lawrence Country Green Home

This home isn’t necessarily modern, but it has all the modern conveniences one could ask for: solar panels, small wind, radiant floor heating, air filtration system, and a trombe wall, etc.  Kent and Kathy Lawrence’s custom country home, which was completed in 2005, ended up costing roughly $300 psf.  The wind turbine alone came in at a cool $37,100 (producing 13,000 kwh/year), and that’s without tax subsidies.  And unlike many custom homes that tend to explore new boundaries of profusion, this home is only 2,200 sf.  Not bad.  But the Lawrence’s weren’t just concerned with smart design and energy efficiency.  Currently, they’re removing invasive plant species and planting native flowers, just trying to be gentle stewards of the land they inhabit.  I think this is a rather picturesque setting for a home … much the American Dream. 

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ChooseRenewables.com, Site Specific Energy Analysis

Hypothetical Installation

Here’s a little shout out for a brand spanking new website called ChooseRenewables.com.  I like the website because it empowers individuals with facts necessary to live in a more sustainable way.  Included below are images of my experiment with CR, but this is all specific to MY HOME ADDRESS.  Every location is different, so feel free to plug in your address and see what it provides.

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