We've heard about ecocities in far away lands, but now there's one planned for the Unities States. Located near Fort Meyers, Florida, Babcock Ranch will be powered entirely by solar power. It's a bold and progressive plan, and if Kitson & Partners can secure all the necessary regulatory approvals, construction will begin this year. The city includes a 75-megawatt, on-site, photovoltaic facility constructed by Florida Power & Light for nearly $350 million.
Autodesk recently completed tenant improvements at their new headquarters building on the East Coast. The company retained the services of KlingStubbins and Tocci Building Companies to design and build the interior to a LEED Platinum level of certification using LEED-CI. The result is modern office structure with abundant natural light and, of course, plenty of style. My favorite design element is the custom, prefabricated millwork explained in the YouTube video below.
Just last week, DesignBoom brought us news of this cactus-inspired design for the Minister of Municipal Affairs & Agriculture building in Doha, Qatar. It's a fascinating example of biomimicry — the skin of one of the hardiest plants of the desert is applied to the design of the facade of a desert building — with hundreds of smart shades that open and close depending on the strength of the sun.
Solarsmith, a green building firm out of Santa Fe, New Mexico, recently helped Betsy Armstrong and Richard Barr build an eco-friendly, traditional southwest-style home in the foothills of Santa Fe. The residence's roof is filled with solar panels, which are tied into the grid, helping to heat water for the radiant floors, exercise pool and appliances. Excess energy is fed to neighboring homes.
With all the recent discussion about crumbling infrastructure and stimulus spending, it seems appropriate to talk about a design proposal that is actively addressing many issues that are showing progress across the country. Project Green, slated for downtown Austin, Texas, represents a comprehensive approach to sustainability in the context of an urban, mixed-use development. In addition to incorporating the usual features like solar panels and wind turbines, this proposal takes a serious approach to handling the most precious resource on earth. Water.
What's Sunday evening without a little Ty Pennington and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition? I don't catch it every week, particularly if the Dallas Cowboys are on, but the program is a juggernaut for helping people in real need. So we caught news that ABC was planning a green show for April 6 and were put in touch with the team doing a 5 kW solar photovoltaics installation. They're using the Akeena Andalay system, which we mentioned previously was a Top 5 Green Building Product (as voted by the builders). The Akeena Andalay system is pretty sharp, and Linda Panitz, a solar evangelist herself, was on the set with Akeena to install the system. Here's our Q&A: