There’s kind of an edgy, underground movement of conscious homeowners and environmentalists that are finding creative ways to capture water and reuse it for their needs. BusinessWeek’s Malia Wollan just wrote an article called "Rainwater collectors work to ease shortages," and she talks about the popularity of the movement. In the article, Wollan mentions a website called HarvestH20, which has seen an increasing number of visitors seeking information and advice on rainwater collection and reclamation.
This solar cell tree charger by Vivien Muller is kind of interesting. You can use it to recharge your cellphone, camera, or whatever, because it has 54 tiny photovoltaic panels and an internal battery that stores energy. The modular parts are connected and can be rotated infinitely creating a different tree for your favorite sunny spot at home.
We keep hearing about thin film solar innovation and building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV), but it may be hard to image how this technology will play a part in the future of our buildings. But I think CENTRIA Services Group has a product that could certainly change that: EnergyPeak. They’ve combined the flexibility of laminate photovoltaics (LPV) with strong, durable standing seam roof panels to create a rooftop solar option with a fast payback. I mean, just look at the diagram and check out its immediately recognizable benefits:
I just noticed this RoofRay mashup that uses Google Maps and various other information to help you calculate the solar potential of your building. It’s pretty interesting, actually. You can find your building, trace the potential solar roof area, adjust the calculations based on your estimate of orientation and angle, and then see what you have. After that, you start entering in your electricity usage information and the company you purchase electricity from (watch out though because they didn’t have Rocky Mountain Power’s information and may not have your information yet). After that, you cruise along where they start to provide you with an estimate of the system’s cost, rebates, and potential savings, etc.
I like to think that the smartest, most entrepreneurial people are reading this blog and making a difference in their own sphere of the world. Actually, I know you are because I get your emails and comments and am always encouraged by the information sharing. So I’m thinking we should kick it up a notch and someone out there, some Jetson Green reader, needs to win this Urban Re:Vision Re:Construct Competition. The general goal of the competition is to uncover and reward innovation in sustainable materials and building practices. Anything seems to be on the table, from planning codes to toilets, dry walls to moveable walls, etc. You may create some new way to create a structure, a new technique, or a something else.
Submissions are due September 15, 2008 and winners will be announced at West Coast Green. Here are some ideas to get you thinking:
Martin Eberhard calls it "Solar Synergy" — his own phrase for the benefits derived from having an electric car and a home that's powered by solar photovoltaics. Eberhard was a founder of Tesla and he just received his shiny new Founders' Series Roadster. It's an incredible car, don't you think? Eberhard explains the synergistic benefits to having a 5.2 kW photovoltaic system (dead link removed) and all-electric Tesla Roadster (dead link removed).