Articles With "residential" Tag

IceCycle: Innovation in Thermal Energy Storage


Guest post contributed and co-authored by Mark Glover, CEO of Trinity Thermal Systems, and David Anderson, COO of Trinity Thermal Systems.  Mark and David are joint founders, inventors, and pioneers in green energy storage technology.

The Current Energy Situation
Storage is an integral part of every man-made system we have.  We have food in our pantries, fuel in our car gas tanks, and water in our water towers to meet our needs on demand.  Man’s greatest machine is our mass network of electricity and grid, but it does NOT have storage built in.  Which means, it is not only how much, but when we use electricity that is important.  Electrical supply and demand must perfectly balance every minute of every day; standby electric capacity must exist to instantly ramp up to the highest possible peak demand at a moments notice, with reserve capacity of ten to fifteen percent in case demand is under estimated or mechanical breakdown occurs.  If we fail to meet even a moment of this growing demand, we have blackouts or brownouts that paralyze our business economy and threaten the health of our families.

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Green Key Real Estate Expands into Second Office (Marin County)

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Here on Jetson Green, I’ve talked about EcoBroker, but I’ve been waiting to talk about Green Key Real Estate.  I’ve been waiting to see how the market would respond to their services and today’s announcement makes it clear that Green Key Real Estate his hitting all the right market buttons (even in today’s erratic real estate market).  Green Key just announced the opening of a second office in Marin County, managed by the husband/wife duo of Cam + Pam Andrews.  This Green Key Marin team is committed to helping buyers and sellers reach their financial objectives without sacrificing environmental responsibility and social equity. 

When the first Green Key office (San Francisco) opened, it drew quite the splash in the blogging world.  Green Key is a residential brokerage firm committed to environmental responsibility and social equity.  Green Key’s certified by San Francisco Green business + EcoBroker.  It’s also building a database of green properties in their locale; recycling and composting office waste; minimizing paper use with technology; donating a portion of profits to green building organizations; and maintaining a reservoir of knowledge in the industry to help inquisitive purchasers and sellers.  Really, I think Green Key Real Estate is smartly executing on a well developed, eco-friendly business plan.  Via E-wire

Green Building: A Contractor's Perspective by Chris Hurst

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Guest post contributed by Chris Hurst, President/Contractor at Hurst Construction since 1986.  Over the past five years, I’ve focused on energy-efficient construction, passive solar design, and sustainable construction; here are a few observations on the green building movement from a nuts and bolts, contractor’s perspective.

Challenge #1:  Lack of Knowledge and/or Awareness
The average consumer, architect, or designer has no clue what I am talking about when I describe energy-efficient, sustainable construction.  To build a super-insulated passive house is not really difficult–sure it costs more, but the payback averages about 5 years for the extra cost.  Then you’re insulated from future energy price hikes (i.e., you can pay me a little bit more now or the utility/oil company can take a lot more for the rest of your life!). 

There really is an enormous amount of bad design out there…I average one client a month who has a horrible set of plans for a home with absolutely no regard for energy-efficiency, passive solar design, or practical sustainable design criteria.  Recently, a couple came to me with a home design plan with 58 corners (every extra corner adds time and money to a construction job); unfortunately, they payed $10,000 for this pile of crap.  We told them the only option was to trash it and start over. 

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Skyscraper Sunday: LEED Gold Connecting Old + New (Seattle)

Fifth_and_madison Boc_north_face

I came across an interesting statistic (which will be obsolete in no time) about LEED certified office buildings.  There are about 669 LEED certified office buildings, and of that number, only 38 are remodels.  Why?  When you have a building that’s occupied, how are you going do a green renovation without losing rents?  Here’s one way.  The former Union Bank of California Center, the 41-story, 34-year-old building owned by Beacon Capital Partners, is looking to be one of the few LEED-Existing Building (EB) certified structure in the United States.  Because most of the leases are due to expire over the next five years, the company will be able to renovate as space opens up.  They’ll shift tenants around until the building is complete.   

This is about a $36 million remodel job.  Green amenities will include the following:  shaved columns for added light; automated artificial lights; recycled and recyclable carpet; no- or low-VOC paints; recycled metal in ceilings; new insulation in walls that were uninsulated; new high-efficiency heating and cooling systems; water-efficient bathroom fixtures; and runoff water landscaping. 

Additionally, BCP started construction next door on a new, 24-story, 126-unit green condo tower at Fifth Avenue and Madison Street.  The new building will be complete in 2008.  BCP officials said they are seeking LEED Gold for both buildings.  I must say that will be a powerful juxtaposition of the old and new:  both environmental leaders in their own way (EB + NC).  Via Seattle Post-Intelligencer + Emporis.

BusinessWeek's Residential Green Tech: Wind Turbines, Geothermal, Solar Panels

There’s a slide show on BusinessWeek, which is part of a story written by Aili McConnon.  The story is called, "For Houses, It’s Glamorous to be Green."  For attribution, the link to the slide show is here, but I’ve taken the slide show images and text and created a photo loop through the filmloop software (shown above).  It’s pretty handy software, if I say so myself.  You can do a lot of editing in it and there are several different ways to display a show. 

In the slide show, there’s information on the StealthGen micro wind turbine, geothermal heating and cooling technology, Sharp’s solar panel easy-installation technology, and AeroVironment‘s Architectural Wind turbines (mentioned here before).  Easy learning, have a good weekend…

Noteworthy Green News: Week in Review

Week in Review
  1. Enertia: Houses Heated + Cooled by the Sun – [includes video] No furnace, air conditioner, heat pump or swamp cooler — just an innovative design that harnesses geothermal energy and sunlight year round.
  2. Sydney Leading Light in Hour of No Power – This ambitious plan aims to send a message to Australians about climate change. It hopes its Earth Hour campaign will demonstrate the connection between the electricity people use in homes and offices and the climate change pollution that coal-fired power stations generate.  Via Linton
  3. New World Record Achieved in Solar Cell Technology – With DOE funding, a concentrator solar cell produced by Boeing-Spectrolab has recently achieved a world-record conversion efficiency of 40.7 percent, establishing a new milestone in sunlight-to-electricity performance.  Via Celsias.
  4. Mileage From Megawatts: Enough Grid Capacity to Charge Plug-in Hybrids – A new study for the Department of Energy finds that "off-peak" electricity production and transmission capacity could fuel 84 percent of the country’s 220 million vehicles if they were plug-in hybrid electrics.


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