Every now and then, you see something just knocks your socks off. It’s either beautiful or creative or cutting-edge or all three. And that’s what happened when I read about these solar SunFlowers created by Mags Harries and Lajos Héder for Catellus Development Company in Austin, Texas. The permanent public art display was switched on in July and features 15 SunFlowers – photovoltaic solar collector panels on welded steel frames and stems.
Over the weekend, Hoffman Construction lifted four Southwest Windpower turbines into place on top of a new building, Twelve West. Located at Southwest 12th Avenue and Washington Street, Twelve West includes a mixture of office and apartment spaces and was designed by Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects to achieve LEED Platinum certification. ZGF included the turbines in early renderings, and developer Gerding Edlen, probably the foremost green developer on the West Coast, determined to give the turbines serious chance.
Update 12/17/2009: Honeywell Wind Turbine Coming Soon!
Last week, we mentioned that the small wind market is growing like crazy, and if things go as planned, there could be another turbine company to watch. The Honeywell Wind Turbine from EarthTronics, according to Martin LaMonica of CNET, will be sold in participating Ace Hardware Stores starting this October. EarthTronics claims the turbine can generate power at wind speeds as low as 2 mph. With Class 4 winds, the turbine can generate about 2,000 kWh per year, which is roughly 15-20% of an average home’s electricity needs.
The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) just released a new report, the AWEA Small Wind Turbine Global Market Study, detailing a sizable advance in the small wind turbine market in the United States. Small wind turbines, you may know, are those with a capacity of 100 kW or less. And the U.S. market for this niche grew 78% in 2008, with a total of 17.3 (MW) of new installed capacity. The report indicates that the growth is due, in large part, to private equity investment in the sector, as well as economies of scale, rising electricity prices, and heightened public interest.
Greentech Media broke news today of a prototype rooftop solar system made for simplicity, shipability, and affordability. The system is being developed by Armageddon Energy and is aptly called a "clover." The clover includes three hexagonal solar panels, a micro-inverter, and a triangular frame. It's lightweight (check out the regular folks below doing installation work) and can generate roughly 400 watts. The company just finished early stage testing and is readying a beta program for further testing.
Transportation is inextricably linked with (green) buildings. And for a number of reasons — peak oil, national security, price gouging, and concern for the environment — the current oil-based transportation system is dying. Its death started with hybrids, and to a certain extent, continued with natural gas vehicles. With the advent of electrical vehicles, we will all witness the slow, prolonged, and painful death of oil-based transportation. Tonight Dateline NBC gave us a glimpse of the next generation of transportation in Tesla Motors. The future of electrical cars is bright, but let's be clear: it's complicated, too.