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Vatican Gets Serious with Solar

Solarpaulvihall

Maybe Samsø started a trend in becoming a net exporter of renewable energy because it appears that the Vatican is thinking about doing something similar.  The curvaceous roof of Paul VI Audience Hall, a building that's located right by the famous St. Peter's Basilica, has been topped with 2,400 photovoltaic panels to source energy for lighting, heat, and air conditioning. 

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2008 Top-10 Green Building Products

Integrityblock

For the seventh year in a row, BuildingGreen has just announced their list of Top-10 Green Building Products.  The products, as you will note, have various and multiple environmental attributes.  BuildingGreen culls the ten products from new additions to the GreenSpec Directory, a print and online guide that organizes green products according to LEED credits.  Although the GreenSpec Directory has over 2,000 products in total now, BuildingGreen is selective in choosing those that get in.  As a result, Top-10 selections are regarded as the cream of the crop.  Without further ado, here they are:

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Smart Tech Helps NY Times Building Cut Lighting Costs Dramatically!

NY Times Building

Last summer, it was the ceramic rod curtain wall.  Now, it’s the lighting system.  Various green aspects of the New York Times Building continue to make high profile news and it’s only been a year since the modern building opened.  Here’s the deal: The Times Company installed Lutron’s Quantum solution, a total light management system that includes daylight, occupant, target set point, time clock, and emergency lighting controls.  Although the building was originally designed to use approximately 1.28 watts per sf of lighting power, with the Lutron technology, it’s actually using only 0.38 watts per sf of lighting power — a 70% reduction in lighting use.  That means, based on New York City electric rates, they’re saving ~$315,500 and preventing the emission of 1,250 metric tons of CO2 annually.  These are some serious numbers.  Here’s where they recognized the most in terms of lighting energy savings:

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Verdier Upgrades Solar Eco-Camper

Verdier

Over a year ago, we mentioned Verdier Van & Camper’s Eco-Camper, the posh recreational throwback to VW’s Westfalia, and it looks like the Solar Power Eco-Camper has a new look.  Verdier now offers five different personalities of the award-winning vehicle: Woody, Geeky, Ebony, Blueberry, and Purity.  The eco-camper configuration is an add-on package available in any personality and entails solar panels, hybrid engine, Sun Tracker system, two gazebos, a second floor area, sliding door with integrated ladder, folding furniture, cargo storage, etc.  The price?  $129,000. 

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13 Innovative Green Building Designs, Lifecycle Building Challenge Winners!

Spoor House

Yesterday the EPA announced winners of the second annual green building competition known as the Lifecycle Building Challenge, or LBC2.  The challege issued a proposal for designs and ideas that support cost-effective disassembly and that anticipate future use of building materials.  It was open to architects, reuse experts, engineers, designers, planners, contractors, builders, educators, environmental advocates, and students in three main categories: (1) Building, (2) Innovation, and (3) Outstanding Achievement Awards.  The winners have been selected and listed below with a quick image.  There’s seriously some excellent thinking at work here, so congratulations to everyone …

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Off-Grid Emergency Response Studio

ERS South

I’m completely fascinated by this Emergency Response Studio.  The gist is that Paul Villinski created a solar-powered, mobile artist’s studio from an old FEMA-style trailer — it’s off-grid, sustainable, and an excellent example of eco-reuse.  But there’s more.  According to an article in the LA Times, apparently Villinski tried to buy one of the 143,123 FEMA trailers purchased by the government in the aftermath of Katrina, that is, until the government stopped selling them and began buying them back due to formaldehyde fumes from glues used to secure rugs, plywood, and other fixtures.  So he bought this one for $5,015 from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife through a GAO auction.  And after getting rid of the nesting rodents, he cleaned it up and pimped it out for an exhibit called Prospect .1 New Orleans starting early November 2008. 

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