The energy management space is really crowded, and the pace of innovation is hard to keep up with. While researching the various options on the market, I saw an opportunity to learn what one company's doing. Vantage, a long-time provider of home automation solutions for luxury homeowners, is located down the road in Orem, Utah, and the company just released a new Energy Management Solution. It's designed to save homeowners upwards of $600 – $1,500 per year, and the Vantage was kind enough to give me a tour of their offices to see how the solution works.
This is a story about an interesting collaboration of five different organizations: San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), Clear Channel Outdoor, Inc., Lundberg Design, 3Form, and Konarka. San Francisco needed to replace its existing transit locations, and the SFMTA selected Clear Channel for the contract based upon a transit shelter design by Lundberg Design. So far, the first five of roughly 1,200 new, sustainably designed transit shelters have been installed, and ~400 of the total will be powered by roof integrated photovoltaics. The shelters have wireless internet, NextMuni, and Push to Talk capabilities.
Photographer John B. Carnett just launched a monthly blog called Green Dream on Popular Science. You're probably going to want to follow it. On Green Dream, Carnett's sharing his experience building a dream home using geeky, affordable, green technology. I was drawn in by one of his early articles on the framing / insulation system that he's using to eliminate thermal bridging.
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: