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Vatican Gets Serious with Solar

Solarpaulvihall

Maybe Samsø started a trend in becoming a net exporter of renewable energy because it appears that the Vatican is thinking about doing something similar.  The curvaceous roof of Paul VI Audience Hall, a building that's located right by the famous St. Peter's Basilica, has been topped with 2,400 photovoltaic panels to source energy for lighting, heat, and air conditioning. 

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2008 Top-10 Green Building Products

Integrityblock

For the seventh year in a row, BuildingGreen has just announced their list of Top-10 Green Building Products.  The products, as you will note, have various and multiple environmental attributes.  BuildingGreen culls the ten products from new additions to the GreenSpec Directory, a print and online guide that organizes green products according to LEED credits.  Although the GreenSpec Directory has over 2,000 products in total now, BuildingGreen is selective in choosing those that get in.  As a result, Top-10 selections are regarded as the cream of the crop.  Without further ado, here they are:

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LEED Platinum Home Breaks Records

Gottfried Home - LEED Platinum

We’ve seen a ton of LEED Platinum homes on this site, but today’s home achieves something new.  USGBC founder David Gottfried and his family recently finished the green renovation of their 1440 square foot Craftsman bungalow, a home that was originally built in 1915, and took it through the LEED for Homes certification process.  In doing so, they received a total of 106.5 points (out of a total 136) and the noteworthy accomplishment of being the highest-scoring green home renovation since LEED-H launched earlier this year.  The Platinum home is designed to be net-zero energy and utilizes technology such as solar photovoltaics and a solar- and hydronic-powered water heating system. 

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Smart Tech Helps NY Times Building Cut Lighting Costs Dramatically!

NY Times Building

Last summer, it was the ceramic rod curtain wall.  Now, it’s the lighting system.  Various green aspects of the New York Times Building continue to make high profile news and it’s only been a year since the modern building opened.  Here’s the deal: The Times Company installed Lutron’s Quantum solution, a total light management system that includes daylight, occupant, target set point, time clock, and emergency lighting controls.  Although the building was originally designed to use approximately 1.28 watts per sf of lighting power, with the Lutron technology, it’s actually using only 0.38 watts per sf of lighting power — a 70% reduction in lighting use.  That means, based on New York City electric rates, they’re saving ~$315,500 and preventing the emission of 1,250 metric tons of CO2 annually.  These are some serious numbers.  Here’s where they recognized the most in terms of lighting energy savings:

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Verdier Upgrades Solar Eco-Camper

Verdier

Over a year ago, we mentioned Verdier Van & Camper’s Eco-Camper, the posh recreational throwback to VW’s Westfalia, and it looks like the Solar Power Eco-Camper has a new look.  Verdier now offers five different personalities of the award-winning vehicle: Woody, Geeky, Ebony, Blueberry, and Purity.  The eco-camper configuration is an add-on package available in any personality and entails solar panels, hybrid engine, Sun Tracker system, two gazebos, a second floor area, sliding door with integrated ladder, folding furniture, cargo storage, etc.  The price?  $129,000. 

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The Union Modern Solar-Powered Lofts

Theunion

This is The Union by architect and developer Jonathan Segal Architect.  The project gets its name from its prior life as the union hall for San Diego’s textile manufacturing business.  When the textile union moved away, the building fell into disrepair, and rather than demolish it, Jonathan Segal decided to adaptively reuse the structure to create sustainable live/work units and his own architectural office.  The Union now includes additional buildings that, in total, comprise 13 residential loft units, of which some are market-rate and some are affordable.  Also, the rooftop solar panels provide ~50% of the units’ energy needs.

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