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Kuwait's First LEED Tower To Be Crowned with Wind

Sabahalahmendifc KEO International Consultants has received word from the USGBC that its design for Sabah Al Ahmed International Finance Center (ICF) has been precertified at the Gold level under the LEED-CS green building rating system.  The 1.2 million sf, 40-story tower is the first building in Kuwait to be registered or precertified by the USGBC.  As you can partially tell from the renderings, the design includes four stacked courtyard atriums ranging from 8-13 floors each.  Three of the atriums serve the office portion of the building, while the fourth atrium serves the 200 key, 4-star business class hotel.  The tower generates part of its energy from a PV system, as well as from roof-mounted wind turbines.  You may be able to see the lattice-work of wind turbines at the crown of the building; I think they’re the vertical axis, helical-type, but it’s hard to tell with this one image.  We’ll make sure to keep you posted …

The use of wind turbines at the building’s apex is similar to what’s planned for Discovery Tower in Houston.  It’ll be interesting to see these designs meet reality — the media world will definitely have fun running video and stories of building integrated wind turbines.

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Selsam Small Turbines – Just Right for Residential?

Selsam

The bloggers at Engadget picked up on the Selsam small wind turbines, which look a lot like one of those amateur ham radio antennas we used to see on houses.  This small-scale wind solution is basically a single elongated shaft made of strong carbon fiber.  The carbon shaft holds rotors that range in size from 14-18 inches in diameter.  Apparently, the more rotors you have on a rod, the better output you get.  Invented by Doug Selsam, this 13-rotor small wind turbine can produce roughly 200 watts in 20 mph winds (or more in higher wind speeds).  It’s currently being tested and developed in California, so who knows, we may just start seeing stuff like this on top of houses and buildings?

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Wind Could Power 20% of US Grid by 2030

Palm Springs Wind Farm

Here’s some interesting news: a new Department of Energy report claims wind turbines could generate 300 gigawatts of electricity — roughly 20% of the US electrical grid — by 2030.  There’s already a website in support of the news at 20%Wind.org.  The report doesn’t necessarily predict the future of the wind industry, but it paints a picture of what a particular 20% wind scenario could mean for the nation.  The wind industry currently produces about 17 gigawatts of electricity, so we’re talking about significant growth over the next twenty-something years.  That said, wind industry growth has been fierce in recent years and is on track to meet these numbers if growth holds pace.

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Smart Home: Green + Wired Debuts at MSI

Exterior_of_the_smart_home Exterior_of_the_smart_home_2

Architect Michelle Kaufmann has made a big splash in Chicago this week during the opening of her Smart Home: Green + Wired exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry. The PrairieMod crew and myself were fortunate enough to be able to spend the past two days previewing the home and are excited to share some details with you. If you’re interested, feel free to check out our podcast interview with Michelle where she explains how the project came to be and the 5 eco-principles utilized by her firm.

The showcase "Smart Home" is Kaufmann’s mkSolaire plan, which is designed for a city lot and has a loft-like feeling to it. Its goal is to address the space challenges found with infill lots and standard row home configurations. The brilliant thing about this exhibit is that it is fully functional, not just a shadow of what the design could be. And in case you’re wondering, the house will be dismantled after the exhibit closes in January 2009.

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OptiSolar Planning Largest PV Solar Farm in World!

Optisolar Topaz Solar Farm This is big news for the green building revolution, because a solar farm like this could power roughly 190k homes in California.  Referred to as the Topaz Solar Farm, this $1 billion, 550-megawatt plant would cover roughly 9.5 square miles, and if constructed, would be the world’s largest photovoltaic solar farm.  Hayward-based OptiSolar is developing plans for the project as we speak.  According to their current time line, OptiSolar will apply for a conditional use permit in May 2008 and begin construction in 2010.  Topaz Solar Farm would then be completed over three years.

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Water + Life Museums, World's First LEED Platinum Museum

Hemet Museum

In the process of digging the huge Diamond Valley Lake Reservoir in Southern California, some significant fossils were discovered.  The fossils have been sitting around for several years waiting for a super-modern museum to call home, so The Center for Water Education Foundation and the Western Center Community Foundation commissioned Lehrer Architects to design such a place.  The result is the Water + Life Museums, a complex that just so happens to claim a right to being the world’s first LEED Platinum certified museum. 

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