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SMIT GROW Solar and Wind Facades

Grow .1

Green start-up companies are doing some crazy things, and this company, SMIT, is certainly one to watch.  SMIT, an acronym for Sustainably Minded Interactive Technology, spent the last two years in R&D with this interesting approach to solar and wind power.  SMIT's GROW product has two iterations, GROW.1 and GROW.2, pictured above and below. 

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Portland's First SIPs House to Save 70% on Bills!

SEED SIPs House

Update: 8/7/08 – check out Seed’s blog documenting the project at www.sipshousepdx.com.

Yesterday Seed Architecture Studio and Kaya General Contractors announced plans to build the first house in Portland using structural insulated panels ("SIP").  This sustainable home design is targeted to save 70% on bills (compared to a home built to current energy code) utilizing tech such as LED and fluorescent lighting, efficient appliances, passive cooling, and the ultra efficient SIPs.  Speaking of the home, Seed Architecture Studio owner Darin Dougherty said:

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Discovery Tower Peaks with a Mini Wind Farm [S2]

Discovery Tower Wind Turbines

Construction just began on what could be one of the most innovative office towers in the U.S.  Located at 1501 McKinney Street in Houston, Discovery Tower is a 30 story office building that will cost upwards near $300 million to build.  And as you can tell from the above renderings, the pinnacle was designed to have 10 wind turbines.  But that’s not just some fancy, green add-on to an otherwise generic building.  Discovery Tower will be built to achieve LEED Gold certification from the USGBC. 

With construction set to finish in the second quarter of 2010, the Gensler-designed green skyscraper will have air filtration, water-efficient plumbing, and an energy efficient heating and cooling system, among other things. 

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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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