If you haven't noticed, the big news today is Microsoft Hohm, a free online beta application that's rumored to launch sometime next week. Microsoft Hohm will be a web-based service that takes information about your energy use — not just electricity — and examines it to provide recommendations to save money and energy. Here's what you can do:
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.
I noticed BuildingGreen added these exterior venetian blinds to the GreenSpec Directory recently. Hella exterior blinds are distributed in the U.S. through Savannah Trims and available in slat sizes of 2", 3.1", and 4". The blinds are aluminum, have lateral tension, and can be controlled manually or electrically. They're slick looking and come in a variety of heights, widths, and colors.
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.
The great American architect Daniel Burnham once said, "Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood." The Venus Project is no little plan — it's a proposal for a total redesign of the world. From cities on the sea to mass transit, mega sky scrapers, and even colonies in outer space, it covers every angle. Furthermore, it proposes to achieve all of this by switching to a resource-based economy and adopting radical lifestyle changes. The plan is large, thoroughly documented, and beautifully rendered. The architecture even comes with plans to build the machines needed to build these massive structures. Here's a look at just a couple of the many concepts …