The Skystream here cost about $13k (including installation) and is intended to provide roughly 30-70% of the home’s energy, depending on weather conditions. The video is interesting in that it shows the community reaction to the turbine: they love it. Skystream turbines are good for places that have more than 1/2 acre of land and zoning that allows structures more than 42 feet tall. Experts say the system should pay for itself over time, even without Michigan incentives. Also visit the Skystream website.
Let’s talk about zero energy architecture and the Truro Residence. It’s an amazing residence, currently under construction on one of Cape Cod’s beaches in Massachusetts. Designed by Independence Energy Homes (IEH) and being constructed by Silvia and Silvia, the Truro Residence is meant to accommodate a large family and friends and still remain environmentally responsible. When complete, it will have a tight building envelope, a geothermal heating system, solar photovoltaic system, tank-less water heaters, compact fluorescent lighting, and Energy Star appliances. The home also will feature popular green materials such as bamboo flooring, blue-jean insulation, and natural stone.
This is going to be a short post, but I stumbled upon this building integrated solar technology called "SUNSLATES." As you can see, they are low-profile roof tiles that fit on part of your roof. To get an idea of the size, a system of 216 Sunslates will take up about 300 sq ft on your roof. They’re installed in strings of 24, with each string having a home run cable that goes directly to the attic junction box. That cable then gets spliced into the cable that runs to the inverter (although I’m not an electrician and can’t be 100% certain). What’s the cost? Roughly $13,000 per 100 sf of Sunslates, or $13.00 per watt, before any state or federal rebates. Might be a little expensive, but I’m wondering if this kind of technology takes the "m" out of NIMBY. Recall the recent news regarding Al Gore not being able to install solar panels on his roof? Well, if the panels are integrated into the roof, does this shut the NIMBY up? Via.
I have a couple clean tech articles I want to focus on. It’s my personal belief that if we can learn and understand these technologies, we can apply and benefit from them. The first article by BEST LIFE is called "5 Best Ways to Go Zero Energy at Home." The article explains hot water panels, solar roofs, small wind turbines, water harvesters, and geothermal wells. Importantly, for each technology, the generalized cost and potential benefits are explained. If we know what the technology can do, and we can live with the price, why not talk to a professional about getting that technology installed on that next project? That’s the way I see it.
The other article is really an interactive web feature developed by National Geographic. Titled "Harness the Power of Wind," the website takes you inside the workings of a wind turbine. You can see what makes wind turbines work. I gave it a look and figured out why wind turbines aren’t as effective here in the mountains of Salt Lake City, as opposed to locations near the ocean. I also gave the "Try it Out" feature a try and maxed everything out. With a 150 ft blade radius, 315 tower height, 49 mph wind speed, and 0 altitude, I’m producing 2,300 kw of power for roughly 759 homes. I like those numbers.
2020 Lawrence breaks ground early next year, but it’s already making headlines. With prices ranging from $290k-$800k, 20 of the 60 units have been pre-sold. But there’s a compelling financial scenario lurking in the numbers of this $20 million development: buyers that go with the 2-kw photovoltaic system will get a quarter point break on the 30 year mortgage (assuming buyer’s go with Countrywide Financial). The result is that it becomes cheaper to buy a unit with the pv system, than without the system. Nice.
Additionally, 2020 Lawrence will be built to LEED silver certification and will be the first condo community in the region to receive a Near-Zero Energy Home designation. As far as green amenities, 2020 Lawrence will have dual-flush toilets, sustainable hardwood floors, reserved hybrid vehicle parking, and rooftop solar power, to name a few. Via BGTV.
Although it’s not all that attractive looking from these images, it’s the greenest building in Billings, Montana, and one of a select few buildings certified "Platinum" under the LEED-NC (new construction) certification system. Using technology such as solar panels and composting toilets, it offices the Northern Plains Resource Council and consumes about 21% of the energy and 41% of the water of a similarly sized building. Financially, the building cost about $140 psf, which is about $35 psf cheaper than if the older building had been demolished and a new one put in its place.
In all honesty, there are only three other buildings in Montana that have green certifications from the USGBC. BUT, this building, known as Home on the Range, has created a gathering place for local architects, students, and the public. Now, there are 18 LEED projects in the registration phase in Montana. That’s incredible. We’re really getting some serious momentum behind this thing, that’s for sure.