Right now, the world’s largest wind energy conference and exhibition, called WINDPOWER 2007, is going on. For those of you that can’t attend, here’s a link to the AWEA YouTube Channel and the AWEA Flickr Pool. Good stuff. Pictured above is the Skystream 3.7. I’m a big believer in wind technology, especially small wind technology because it has the potential to power our lives on a renewable basis. Think about the powerful combo of a plug-in hybrid car + home with solar panels + yard with small wind + thermal energy storage. Here’s what happens. During the night, you charge your car at home. Then you drive to work. At work, you charge your car again with solar/wind power. The hybrid makes it happen anywhere in the middle. We need to start mashing up renewable technology in a smart way. Microgeneration. Decentralization. WINDPOWER 2007 is a big part of making this happen.
Recently, Paris-based architect Jacques Ferrier unleashed his "Hypergreen" mixed-use skyscraper concept, which was submitted for a project competition in Paris. Hypergreen incorporates a curving lattice facade made of ultra-high-performance concrete that acts as the building’s primary structural system. It has the look of steel, almost resembling some of Foster’s designs such as Hearst Tower or 30 St Mary Axe. Measuring 246 meters in height, Hypergreen has the following green features: geothermal heat pumps, photovoltaic panels, integrated wind turbines, earth cooling tubes, vegetated sky lobbies, a roof garden, rainwater recovery system, and flexible and adaptable floor plates. The exoskeleton reduces the number of columns that make for odd floor plates.
++Jacques Ferrier Architecture [Official Website]
++Green Skyscraper Will Have ‘Steel-like’ Concrete Skin [BD+C - PODCAST]
I’m a little late getting to this because I’ve reserved it for the Skyscraper Sunday column, but news of this building pretty much swamped the blogosphere a couple weeks ago. This is the Burj al-Taqa, or Energy Tower, a project conceived by a handful of architects and Eckhard Gerber. If Gerber’s computer models prove correct, this tower will be completely energy independent, producing all its own energy via sunlight, wind, and water. Also, coming in with a price tag of $406 million for the giant 68-story eco-tower, the Burj al-Taqa will occupy #22 on the list of world’s tallest buildings.
This office tower is not short on innovation, so here are a few of the concepts Gerber has planned: the cylindrical shape is designed to expose as little surface area to the sun as possible, thereby reducing heat gain; a solar shield reaches from ground to the roof, protecting the building from the sun’s glaring rays; the tower’s facade is built from a new generation of vacuum glazing, to be mass-marketed in 2008, that will transmit two-thirds less heat than current generation products; negative pressure created by winds breaking along the tower will suck spent air from rooms out of the building through air slits in the facade; sea water will be used to pre-cool air; to generate electricity, the tower will have a 197-foot wind turbine and two photovoltaic arrays totally 15,000 square meters; and additional electricity will be generated by an island of solar panels (literally floating in the sea within viewing distance of the building) totally 17,000 square meters. Any excess electricity will be used to generate hydrogen (from the seawater via electrolysis), which be stored in special tanks. Night power will then be supplied by fuel cell technology. Also, Gerber plans to use mirrors to create a cone of light that will send natural light through the center of the building. Pretty impressive concepts all around. Via.
+New Tower Creates All Its Own Energy [Spiegel]
+Skyscraper Creates All Its Own Energy [Metaefficient]
+Dubai Burj al-Taqa Skyscraper to Generate All Its Own Energy [Engadget]
+The Burj al-Taqa ['Energy Tower'] [architecture.mnp]
::"S2" is short for "Skyscraper Sunday," a weekly article on green skyscrapers posted every Sunday::
I’m not sure if this concept will make it into practice, but I like the idea. We have zoos right? Why not create a botanical visitor’s attraction of the tropical rain forest? That’s the concept that Grimshaw Architects created and was rewarded with a 2007 MIPIM/AR Future Project Award in the Sustainability category. Generally, here’s how it works: the enclosed greenhouse will create a tropical zone, a rain forest of sorts, housing both plant and animal life that people can walk through and study. The goal of this man-made rain forest is to mimic the ecosystems from tropical regions of the world. It will have 50 meter high gabion walls around the enclosure that contain composting tubes for heat generation during periods when the passive solar gain isn’t enough to sustain the tropical environment. The idea is to harness the energy created by the decomposing biodegradable matter and re-create a tropical rain forest. Grimshaw hopes that by doing so, the Rainforest will have the potential to grow fruits and vegetables with vastly reduced food miles.
Transporting goods has a carbon cost associated with it, so people want to buy locally. But climate can vary dramatically from one place to another making it tough to get some things locally…that is, unless you can recreate the climate of another area. Think: oranges in Canada. To a small extent, this is what happens with a greenhouse. Here, however, you are creating a greenhouse on a grand scale, one that is carbon neutral and cyclical. It’s a good idea.
Looks like the new TXU is really moving in a green direction. This is what I was looking for, so let’s hope similar news follows in the future. Today TXU Wholesale, a subsidiary of TXU Corp. (NYSE: TXU), announced the purchase of about 209 megawatts of wind power from Airtricity. This will be Airtricity’s third project in Texas and it will use 209 1.0-MW Mitsubishi 1000A turbines. In total, the purchase now brings TXU’s investment in wind to 914 MW (powered by 965 turbines). The farm, known as Roscoe Wind Farm, is currently under construction 45 miles southwest of Abilene, Texas. By my BOE calculations, this news means that the portion of wind in TXU’s total energy portfolio (18,100 MW) is about 5.05%. Five percent of TXU’s energy is generated from wind. It’s not cheap, but this is the direction we need to go. Nice work.
+$300,000,000 Facility Will Provide Power to TXU [doc][Airtricity]
+TXU Adds to Wind Energy Portfolio with 209-MW Deal [TXU]