Articles With "alternative energy" Tag

Capitol Hill Green Building, Ford's Plug-in Hybrid, SCU's Solar Home + Putting Buildings on an Energy Diet (WIR)

Week in Review
  1. Congress celebrates first green building on Capitol Hill with one building being renovated to LEED Silver level certification and saving energy by about 48%. 
  2. Ford Motor Company and Southern California Edison join together to make plug-in hybrid technology a reality. 
  3. Santa Clara University was chosen by US Department of Energy to design, construct, and display a fully functional, 650 sf solar powered home. 
  4. The Cost of Saving Energy – New Yorkers are working on energy consumption, but some buildings need to go on an energy diet. 

07.07.2007 – Thoughts on Live Earth, John Mayer + David de Rothschild

Live Earth Global Warming Survival Handbook Unless you’re completely oblivious to what’s happening on Earth, you know there’s a world full of concerts going on.  Live Earth.  With some things, I like to exercise a modicum of skepticism to make sure I know my feelings on the issue.  I was slow to come around to Live Earth.  I mean, I love a good concert.  I’ve seen DMB in concert multiple times.  I respect many of these artists for their tireless contribution to musicality.  But, I popped open the Live Earth Global Warming Handbook and here’s Tip #45: Take a Bath Together.  How am I supposed to take this book seriously?  What is this, some silly excuse to get it on?  Well, I kept reading.  Tip #45 talked about low-flow toilets and a future world with water shortages.  Water heating can take up to 25% of a home’s energy use.  I decided I should change my attitude and bought the book.  To take the words of one of the greatest musicians (and I mean musicality when I say that), John Mayer:

To the journalists who will lay in wait for the perfectly maligned moment of hypocrisy, you will probably find one if that’s how you want to spend your time. Just use this as a measuring stick; give Live Earth’s initiative at least as much benefit of the doubt as you’ve given to the iPhone, or a new Radiohead album…Sure, if I wanted to be cynical, I could pose the question as to what happens if the biggest concert on Earth takes place only to hear the world respond with a resounding "that’s nice, but have you seen the cat that plays piano on YouTube?" But all I feel going into Saturday afternoon is hope. And lots of it.

Point well taken.  I’m watching Live Earth highlights of what looks like Foo Fighters, Smashing Pumpkins, Ludacris, Jack Johnson, and maybe the Pussycat Dolls?  I’m also thinking this event should raise the world’s awareness of the low hanging environmental fruit.  Plastic bags, CFLs, Junk Mail, etc.  I’ve spent the last 2-3 hours reading through David de Rothschild’s Global Warming Handbook and there’s some good leads here.  Here’s some content relevant to the scope of Jetson Green,

Good Links:
++The 10 Easiest Ways to Green Your Home [MSN RE]
++Re-Thinking Energy in Homes [Live Earth Green]
++Green Construction Saves Money and Earth [MSNBC]

The Greenest Home in San Francisco – Clipper House by LORAX Development

The Greenest Home in San Francisco - The Clipper House

I read an excellent article about San Francisco’s Clipper House by LORAX Development in Solar Today magazine and wanted to share some info about it.  The Clipper House has become a showcase for residential sustainable features, basically showing off everything but the financial case for green building.  The 2,600 sf home was designed by John Maniscalco/Architecture, Inc., and was completed in the summer of 2006.  For a cool $1.9 M, you could probably purchase this incredible home–often referred to as the Greenest Home in San Francisco. 

If you do, here’s what you’re going to get:  1.7 kw DC photovoltaic array with BP Solar panels installed by SolarCity (total cost $16,700, net AR $11,543); 64 sf of solar thermal glazed collectors by Heliodyne ($6,750); warmboard radiant heating system using PEX tubing ($50,000); rainwater-catchment system by Wonderwater Inc. ($25,000); hemp carpets colored with vegetable dyes; low-VOC paints and caulks throughout; energy-efficient windows and doors; hardwood floors made from 100-yr-old TerraMai railroad ties from Southeast Asia; FSC-certified kitchen cabinets; Richlite kitchen counters made from recycled paper products; recycled blue jean insulation by Bonded Logic; 50-year warranty James Hardie fiber-cement siding made partially with fly ash; and recycled plastic and wood Trex composite decking.  The Clipper House certainly prioritizes energy-efficiency, properly sourced sustainable materials, and indoor air quality.  Real nice. 

Good Links:
++Pushing Boundaries, Advancing a Market [Solar Today]
++520 Clipper in Noe Valley: Smart, Green, Luxe [LORAX - PDF]
++Clipper Street Green Home Facts & Images [LORAX]

SolTerra, MKD Green Townhouse Development

MKD Townhouses

Not only is Michelle Kaufmann Designs (MKD) taking the green prefab world by storm, but it looks like MKD is working with Communities by Design to build a 26-unit, green townhouse development.  Nice.  The two- and three-bedroom, two-story units will have covered parking, private and shared outdoor gardens, high quality finishes and fixtures, sustainable materials and systems, high-performance insulation, and solar panel systems.  The townhouse development will be located somewhere in San Leandro, CA, and should be opening in late 2007. 

Good Links:
++MKD + SketchUp + Google Earth Mashup [JG]
++MKD Sunset Breezehouse + mkSolaire [JG]

Top 3 Ways to Green a Property's Energy Mix

Top 3

With all this discussion about the Senate Energy bill and renewable energy, I thought it was time to kick in and enunciate the ways property owners can elect to greenify, greenize, or make clean by going green, their property’s energy mix.  Generally speaking, there’s wind, solar, biomass, small hydro, and geothermal–all of which are considered ‘green.’  But there’s also nuclear, which is not green because of the radioactive waste; coal, which is not green because of the GHG issue; and natural gas, which burns cleaner than coal but also has GHG issues.  The American grid relies on all these sources of energy, some more than others, and governmental regulations will impact the way the game is played.  Nevertheless, here are three things that a building owner can do now to greenify the energy mix. 

  1. Purchase Grid Connected Green Power from Participating Suppliers – roughly 600 regulated utilities offer green power.  Here, it’s a matter of getting in touch with the right utility company that can service your property and setting up a purchase of green power.  It might be a little more expensive…
  2. Install On-site Green Power Generation – there’s been some talk of a federal "net-metering" standard, but until that point, we’re dealing with a piece-meal system of net-metering.  Check your locality.  Netmetering allows you to send excess electricity into the grid and run the meter backwards.  It feels good when the bills are low.  Every building is different, so one must be diligent to determine what green energy source would work for your location. 
  3. Purchase Renewable Energy Certifications (REC) – this discussion can get rather detailed, so I’m not going to get into this, but we’re talking about offsets here.  All I can say is be careful about who you choose to buy these things from.  If you’re careful, you can make sure the money actually goes to support investments in the right kind of green power.  I’d even suggest exhausting #1 and #2 before working with this alternative. 

Again, location to location, some green energy sources are better than others.  Be smart about it.  These three steps apply to all types of buildings (residential, commercial, etc.).  Also, remember the cardinal rule of energy usage:  conserve first, green second, offset third.  Also, check this incredible article in Buildings magazine called "Green Power’s Future is Now."  It’s an excellent article and what I used to frame this post.  Img.

The Science Barge by New York Sun Works

Energy1k

This is unusual, but incredible, in a weird way.  The Science Barge is a sustainable urban farm powered by solar, wind, and biofuels, and irrigated by rainwater and purified river water.  It’s a mobile illustration of growing food in the city with no pollution or carbon emissions.  Check the solar panels and small wind turbines.  I’m thinking this is another illustration of the savvy behind solar and wind power for residential use.  Via Archidose.

TheScienceBarge



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