Vampire energy, aka phantom loads, is estimated to cost U.S. consumers about $3 billion per year. I know, it’s not really that much … I mean, if you break it down to the individual level, that’s only $10 per person ($3 billion / 300 million). But the point is, it’s money that goes in the pocketbook of energy companies and their shareholders — it’s not going in yours. The chart above is courtesy of GOOD, the magazine that always brings a full-page spread to otherwise obfuscatory information.
Ciralight caught the attention of a few attendees at this year’s Greenbuild 2007 exhibition. Their flagship product, SunTrackerOne, is free-standing, solar-powered, and completely self-contained. SunTrackerOne has three mirrors that track and reflect the sun into buildings through a thermal barrier, light well, and diffuser. It’s different than passive lighting because it collects more light and diffuses it more effectively throughout a building. This lighting system is a major green innovation to keep an eye on, especially since Ciralight touts a seductive 15 – 35% return on investment on energy savings alone.
Last week, former President George H. W. Bush installed a 33-foot tall, Skystream 3.7 wind turbine to provide energy for the Bush’s Kennebunkport home. The Bushes were courted by Southwest Windpower, one of the forerunners in small-wind innovation, and after looking at the pros and cons, they decided to take the plunge. The turbine is connected to the grid and feeds excess power to the system.
Since the home is their summer home, it will probably have a substantial credit from all the energy they’re feeding into the system during the winter. The Bushes decided to purchase the turbine for financial and environmental reasons, but they’re also setting a good example, too. Via Portland Press Herald.
You may have heard about a huge mall, entertainment, tourist project in central New York called Destiny USA. It’s quite the scheme that’s been in planning for many years. I just caught news of some of their phase I and II plans for green building and energy. For the 1.3 million sf Phase I, they retained Tangarie Energy to place sixteen, 5 kW drill-bit shaped wind turbines in the parking lot, which will produce roughly 64,000 – 84,000 kW hours of clean energy. They also want to be 100% fossil fuel free and energy efficient, so we’ll probably hear more specific details in the future. The turbines are designed to work well in lower wind speeds and should provide about 30% of their energy needs.
Phase II will start in 2009. For that, they’re planning a 1,300+ key hotel tower and conference facility, which will be built to LEED Platinum certification. The unique looking hotel project, shaped almost like blades of grass, will generate electricity from its solar panel facade and hydro-electric turbines (using rainwater collected on the roof). Once finished in 2012, it is planned to be the tallest building in upstate New York.
Well, it’s that time again and BuildingGreen, a company that also publishes the GreenSpec Directory, today announced their list of Top-10 Green Building Products. It’s not so much that these products are better than everything else on the market, although they may be better, it’s that they’re cool additions to the GreenSpec Directory over the last year or so. Most of the following ten products have multiple environmental attributes, but here’s a slim breakdown: 4 save energy, 2 save water, 3 are made of green materials, 1 helps situate solar power, and 2 avoid hazardous manufacturing/disposal of materials. Without further ado: