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:
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.
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.
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:
I’m in Huntington Beach this weekend taking a little r&r and didn’t realize how much of the housing here is built like the townhomes above: with an urban feel — tightly together with at least 2-3 levels. These townhouses are located on 19th Street in Santa Monica and called Green on 19. Three are already sold with the remaining two ready to go. Green on 19 was designed by Jesse Bornstein to provide modern living while supporting the global community’s need for energy efficiency.
Martin Eberhard calls it "Solar Synergy" — his own phrase for the benefits derived from having an electric car and a home that's powered by solar photovoltaics. Eberhard was a founder of Tesla and he just received his shiny new Founders' Series Roadster. It's an incredible car, don't you think? Eberhard explains the synergistic benefits to having a 5.2 kW photovoltaic system (dead link removed) and all-electric Tesla Roadster (dead link removed).