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Parans Fiber Optic Skylights Bring Natural Light to Dark Spaces

Parans - Huvco

Update 8/08/2012Parans is now available through Wasco.

The interesting thing about fiber optic lighting is that it creates the ability to put natural light in places where there is none.  Generally, here’s how it works.  Using a building-mounted panel with computer-controlled, sun-tracking lenses, natural light is channeled through optical fibers to luminaires that diffuse the light (see diagram below).

Since early 2008, HUVCO Daylighting Solutions has been offering a fiber optic lighting system like this, or the Parans System, which was developed in Sweden.  Although light only travels about 60 feet through optical cables, the ability to direct light in this manner is quite interesting.

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Solar Verde Zero Energy Green Homes

Solar Verde

I’m dedicating this article to all the traditionalist readers out there — I must admit, though, I’m seriously hesitant about the design here, but I know some of you love this style.  What I love, however, is the idea that green homes and communities can be zero energy.  That’s what Solar Verde is all about.  Solar Verde is a planned community of 20 homes and the developer claims its the first development east of the Rocky Mountains to offer a roof-top photovoltaic system as a basic design feature.  Homes come with a 4 kW solar PV system made with SOLARSAVE roof shingles.  As you can tell, the developer finished the first two model homes last July for this south Chicago green community.   

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Standing Seam BIPV with a Quick Payback

EnergyPeak

We keep hearing about thin film solar innovation and building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV), but it may be hard to image how this technology will play a part in the future of our buildings.  But I think CENTRIA Services Group has a product that could certainly change that: EnergyPeak.  They’ve combined the flexibility of laminate photovoltaics (LPV) with strong, durable standing seam roof panels to create a rooftop solar option with a fast payback.  I mean, just look at the diagram and check out its immediately recognizable benefits:

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RoofRay Your Building's Solar Potential

I just noticed this RoofRay mashup that uses Google Maps and various other information to help you calculate the solar potential of your building.  It’s pretty interesting, actually.  You can find your building, trace the potential solar roof area, adjust the calculations based on your estimate of orientation and angle, and then see what you have.  After that, you start entering in your electricity usage information and the company you purchase electricity from (watch out though because they didn’t have Rocky Mountain Power’s information and may not have your information yet).  After that, you cruise along where they start to provide you with an estimate of the system’s cost, rebates, and potential savings, etc. 

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Palo Alto Law Firm Installs Large 87 kW Solar System

Solar

The Silicon Valley-based law firm of Cooley Godward Kronish has just brought online the largest on-site solar system of any Bay Area law firm.  The 465 panel, 87 kW system was installed on the roof of their Palo Alto-Hanover building of 130,000 sf.  Installing a solar system of this size has almost lost its newsworthiness, especially with tons of companies placing monster solar arrays in service by the end of this year to take advantage of the tax benefits.  But what’s really interesting, I think, is one of the reasons the firm decided to generate some on-site green power: their clients are in this business and inspired them to go green. 

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You Should Win This Re:Vision Contest!

Reconstruct Anthony

I like to think that the smartest, most entrepreneurial people are reading this blog and making a difference in their own sphere of the world.  Actually, I know you are because I get your emails and comments and am always encouraged by the information sharing.  So I’m thinking we should kick it up a notch and someone out there, some Jetson Green reader, needs to win this Urban Re:Vision Re:Construct Competition.  The general goal of the competition is to uncover and reward innovation in sustainable materials and building practices.  Anything seems to be on the table, from planning codes to toilets, dry walls to moveable walls, etc.  You may create some new way to create a structure, a new technique, or a something else. 

Submissions are due September 15, 2008 and winners will be announced at West Coast Green.  Here are some ideas to get you thinking:

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