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Extreme Makeover Plans Green Solar Episode

Extreme Makeover Andalay

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:

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Hacking Architecture with the Conceptual Urban Space Station

The urban space station is a project taking aim at local environmental health, one building at a time.  Described by the designers as "parasite architecture," the semi-permanent structure sits atop any roof as it filters air, grows food, and re-uses organic waste for inhabitants.  

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PowerMeter Empowers Electricity Users

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Google is testing a prototype product that they've dubbed the PowerMeter, which is designed to convey electricity use information to electricity users.  PowerMeter is premised on the famous phrase by Lord Kelvin: "If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it."  Accordingly, the PowerMeter takes energy consumption information from your smart meter and gives it to you in real time using the iGoogle gadget.  It's a dead simple concept — certainly the most low hanging of low hanging fruit.  An absolute no-brainer that's important and more crucial than ever. 

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Conceptual Menir House Features Innovative Green Elements

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This conceptual proposal for a residence with combination solar panel and wind turbine offers the best of both worlds, with a dose of stage-like performance.  Shaped to look like a rock, the dwelling stores water in its outer shell as an insulator to conserve energy. Furthermore, the transforming device embodies a playful spirit with its daisy-like shape that seems more like a toy rather than a high tech piece of equipment. 

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New American Greenish Home 2009

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As the world descends upon Las Vegas for IBS 2009, undoubtedly, many will be walking through a stylish and posh idea house designed for the show.  The New American Home is a running tradition and every year brings another one.  I guess you could say it's a real life exhibition of the latest and greatest trends in home design.  This year, as mentioned by BusinessWeek earlier, the trends include indoor/outdoor living, basement inclusion, the home office, wireless technology, less ostentation, and having a green badge of honor.  The New American Home 2009 is claimed to be net-zero energy (based on the combined efforts of super efficiency and on-site power generation), and is definitely technologically advanced.  Let's look further …

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Rancho Verde Takes Platinum for Innovative Brownfield Redevelopment

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One of Chicago’s biggest names in landscaping now lays claim to one of the greenest locations in the city.  Christy Webber Landscapes, along with the City of Chicago and GreenWorks, came together to develop an area in a struggling neighborhood.  After decades of abuse as an auto impound, landfill, and iron-works, the polluted site had been declared a brownfield.  Subsequently, in 2003 the City of Chicago proposed an initiative to reclaim the site, and a short three years later, the 12.5 acre piece of land was clean and fully operational.  Called "Rancho Verde," in honor of the mostly Hispanic workforce that makes up the landscaping industry, the former brownfield is now the headquarters for Christy Webber Landscapes.  Rancho Verde features a one-story office building, warehouse, and a shop-yard big enough to hold dozens of trucks that keep Chicago looking healthy all year round. 

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