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Hawaii Gateway Energy Center, a Fascinating Display of Solar Potential

HGEC

The Hawaii Gateway Energy Center (HGEC) is a 3,600 sf, $3.4 million facility situated on the south coast of Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii.  The new building serves both the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii and the Hawaii Ocean Sciences and Technology Park.  And as you may be able to gather from the images and models below, HGEC is a fascinating display of the future potential for synergies of solar power and building efficiencies.  The entire building is designed as a thermal chimney that captures heat and creates air movement using the structural form and thermodynamic principles.  Also, with the help of glazing, the building orientation and design pretty much eliminates the need for electric lighting during the day.  Notably, HGEC consumes about 20% of the energy that’s required by a comparable building. 

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Best of Green Home Design 2008 [PopMech]

Best of Green Design 2008 - Popular Science

Popular Mechanics just published their yearly article, the Best of Green Design, which is a showcase of about 16 products and projects for your home.  Click the image above to read the whole list. 

Windspire, One Step Closer to Cheap Small Wind!

Windspire Windspire Installed

We have to be skeptical with small wind because it’s been so shady up until now, but Mariah Power is seriously poised to release their vertical axis wind turbine this spring for $3,995.  This is incredible news.  They just passed the ETL (safety) certification and also comply with UL1741 and IEEE 1547.1.  Translation:  the Windspire is safe to go to market.  But you’ll notice that the Windspire features a new design, which is expected to produce about 1800 kilowatt hours per year in 11 mph average wind conditions.  That amount of wind power is roughly 25% of a typical household’s energy. 

The Windspire has several features that make it a likely candidate to dazzle the market.

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Independence Station, #1 Highest Scoring LEED Building

Independence Station

This is going to be a cool development when it’s complete.  Slated to be the #1 highest scoring LEED building in the world by a fair margin (meaning: Platinum Certification at 64-66 points), Independence Station is 35% complete and should beat Oregon’s strict energy code by about 74%.  Steven Ribeiro, developer and principal at Aldeia Development, energetically remarks on his project: "This retro-futuristic, mixed-use building will run on 100% renewable energy, primarily vegetable oil and the sun."  Sounds good to me. 

Here’s a list of some of the green features planned for Independence Station:

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Seagull Streetlamp, Micro Green Tech That Inspires

This is just another example of micro-green technology in an entirely necessary and functional setting.  The video shows a streetlight running on both wind and solar in front of Panasonic Center in Tokyo.  In addition to the helix turbine and butterfly solar panels, there’s a high-efficiency light bulb and battery for capturing energy during the day (to be used at night).  Someone tell me why we don’t see more any of this in the U.S.?  Via EcoGeek.

Aeropoint Small Wind Turbine Pays Back in 2-7 Years!

Aeropoint1 Aeropoint2

I ran across some news that Marquiss Wind Power just raised $1.3 M in series A funding, which, in and of itself, isn’t that big of a deal to me (because funding doesn’t = anything).  That said, Marquiss Wind Power has quite the value proposition with their ducted wind turbine product called Aeropoint, a product that comes in three sizes.  It’s a small-wind turbine built for commercial buildings of 1-3 floors.  Based out of Folsom, California, the company had encouraging results with the first three test turbines.  Actually, the results were so good the company claims purchasers should have a payback period of 2-7 years.  You’ll notice that depending on a lot of different factors, a 2-7 year payback is about 2x faster than the payback for solar. 

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