A couple years ago, I watched with caution as Philippe Starck announced plans to design residential scale vertical axis wind turbines. Everyone loves the idea of small wind — especially VAWT designs — but practical issues can sometimes preclude actual energy generation with these things. Nonetheless, after two years of research, it seems the French designer has some actual products to speak about. Speaking to a crowd in Milan, Starck unveiled two Revolution Air turbine models to be made by Pramac.
At IBS 2010 last week, CertainTeed announced their new EnerGen Photovoltaic Solar Power Roofing System, which is offered through a partnership with Energy Conversion Devices, manufacturer of UNI-SOLAR thin-film solar laminates. The EnerGen system combines lightweight UNI-SOLAR panels with traditional asphalt roofing shingles. The photos in this article show a 3.2 kW EnerGen system installed on the official governor's residence of Michigan.
A new solar racking structure — one of the largest continuous elevated solar racking structures in the country that spans the length of three football fields — was just completed for the Manheim Auto Auction in Bordentown, New Jersey. Rated at 1 MW, the project includes 5,880 photovoltaic panels covering 104,000 square feet.
Part of an abandoned, former industrial site in Oakland is now Ironhorse at Central Station, a 99-unit affordable housing development. Owned by Bridge Housing, designed by David Baker + Associates, and built by J.H. Fitzmaurice, the ~$41.4 million project includes one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments for families with incomes ranging from $18,000 to $50,000. Ironhorse is a fascinating display of green, affordable housing that's also solar-powered.
Water efficiency is an important measure in green building everywhere, but in Australia — one of the driest countries in the world — water conservation is more widely practiced and water awareness is generally higher than it is in North America. In addition to pioneering water efficiency, Australians have discovered some problems due to the use of efficient, low-flow fixtures. One is the potential problem of "dry drains," however, a new invention called the Drainwave aims to solve the problem.