Commentators take pot shots at the bike storage and showers credit available in the LEED Green Building Rating System, but I've always liked it — it's hard to ride a bike to work when there's no bike rack. Certainly bike transportation is good for the environment, and Bike Arc has designed a modular bike park system that I believe will be huge in the next few years. The company incorporated the system into several designs to suit different needs: the Rac Arc is low profile, the Umbrella Arc saves space (see video below), and the Tube Arc and Half Arc versions protect vehicles from the elements.
As the magazine does every year, Sustainable Industries has just published its list of the Top 10 Green Building Products of 2009. Selections are chosen based upon environmental performance, scalability / market impact, innovation, design aesthetic, value, and compatibility with LEED. Download the guide at Sustainability Industries. Here are the top ten:
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 Architectural Review recently mentioned an interesting facade installation on an office building in Utrecht, Netherlands. Designed by Cepezed, in collaboration with Ned Kahn Studios, the facade is made with about 3,250 square feet of stainless steel mesh. The mesh grid holds transparent plastic disks, or squares rather, that vibrate and move to the wind. The effect is an artistic facade that produces a mezmorizing array of shade and light, together with exterior wave patterns that captivate.
Update 12/17/2009: Honeywell Wind Turbine Coming Soon!
Last week, we mentioned that the small wind market is growing like crazy, and if things go as planned, there could be another turbine company to watch. The Honeywell Wind Turbine from EarthTronics, according to Martin LaMonica of CNET, will be sold in participating Ace Hardware Stores starting this October. EarthTronics claims the turbine can generate power at wind speeds as low as 2 mph. With Class 4 winds, the turbine can generate about 2,000 kWh per year, which is roughly 15-20% of an average home’s electricity needs.
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.