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SunTrackerOne, Saving $$ with Smart Natural Light

Suntrackerone

Ciralight caught the attention of a few attendees at this year’s Greenbuild 2007 exhibition.  Their flagship product, SunTrackerOne, is free-standing, solar-powered, and completely self-contained.  SunTrackerOne has three mirrors that track and reflect the sun into buildings through a thermal barrier, light well, and diffuser.  It’s different than passive lighting because it collects more light and diffuses it more effectively throughout a building.  This lighting system is a major green innovation to keep an eye on, especially since Ciralight touts a seductive 15 – 35% return on investment on energy savings alone.

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Bush Sr. Installs Wind Turbine at Kennebunkport Home

Smallwindturbine

Last week, former President George H. W. Bush installed a 33-foot tall, Skystream 3.7 wind turbine to provide energy for the Bush’s Kennebunkport home.  The Bushes were courted by Southwest Windpower, one of the forerunners in small-wind innovation, and after looking at the pros and cons, they decided to take the plunge.  The turbine is connected to the grid and feeds excess power to the system. 

Since the home is their summer home, it will probably have a substantial credit from all the energy they’re feeding into the system during the winter.  The Bushes decided to purchase the turbine for financial and environmental reasons, but they’re also setting a good example, too.  Via Portland Press Herald

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Destiny USA to Build Green, Create Clean Energy (S2)

Destinyusaphasei

You may have heard about a huge mall, entertainment, tourist project in central New York called Destiny USA.  It’s quite the scheme that’s been in planning for many years.  I just caught news of some of their phase I and II plans for green building and energy.  For the 1.3 million sf Phase I, they retained Tangarie Energy to place sixteen, 5 kW drill-bit shaped wind turbines in the parking lot, which will produce roughly 64,000 – 84,000 kW hours of clean energy.  They also want to be 100% fossil fuel free and energy efficient, so we’ll probably hear more specific details in the future.  The turbines are designed to work well in lower wind speeds and should provide about 30% of their energy needs.   

Phase II will start in 2009.  For that, they’re planning a 1,300+ key hotel tower and conference facility, which will be built to LEED Platinum certification.  The unique looking hotel project, shaped almost like blades of grass, will generate electricity from its solar panel facade and hydro-electric turbines (using rainwater collected on the roof).  Once finished in 2012, it is planned to be the tallest building in upstate New York. 

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ASAP House, Northeastern Net Zero Energy Home

ASAP House

This is the ASAP House, a House About Saving A Planet designed by Laszlo Kiss.  Like many green designs generated these days, this home will be a net zero energy home — it will produce as much energy as it uses over a certain period of time.  To do that, the home will have good insulation, Energy Star lighting fixtures, a 10 kW photovoltaic array, and a geothermal heating and cooling system.  Currently, a prototype ASAP House is being built for Sag Harbor, New York.  Just last month, the factory was moving along well on three modules that will end up completing the home. 

The ASAP house will cost roughly $250-265 psf, depending on site conditions, and is being designed with LEED certification in the works.  It is anticipated that the finished home will be about 2,500 sf, with 4 bedrooms, and 2.5 bathrooms.  It’ll be fun to follow the blog progress and see the finished product.  At that point, we’ll officially have one more prefab contender, and more particularly, one that can service the Northeast! 

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House of Tomorrow, Zero Energy Green Prefab

House of Tomorrow

This green prefab, sponsored by French architecture magazine Architectures à Vivre, was on display last weekend at the Batimat Show in Paris.  I think it’s called La Maison de Demain, which I also think is French for House of Tomorrow.  We’ll go with that as the name for now.  Their website is in French, so if anything, you can glean certain design elements from studying the images.  Some of the below information is from Google’s translation, so I hope it’s accurate. 

The home is built with three prefabricated modules and meant to show that green design can be affordable and attractive.  An important aspect of the house is the open area in the middle, which could be used as a covered patio to extend the footprint of the home into the natural environment.  Everything about the home is green, too, as far as I can tell: FSC-certified wood and siding, green label paints, low-VOC recycled carpet tiles, LED lighting, low-flow toilet, reinforced insulation, and photovoltaic panels.  You’ll also notice the living roof that provides numerous efficiency benefits (and seems to get water from the slanted roof).  In the end, the compact, modern home is very efficient.  Matter of fact, it’s nearly net zero energy consumption once the solar panels are live.  Nice.

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Half-Moon Outfitters Takes Platinum in Green Rehab

Halfmoon

It’s nice to hear about companies that stretch just to get the LEED Platinum certification, especially when it’s easier to go ‘certified’ and brandish that certification like it’s a shiny, new, plug-in hybrid.  Half-Moon Outfitters received the Platinum certification in the middle of the summer for their 9,600 sf distribution center in North Charleston, South Carolina.  They went for Platinum under the LEED-NC 2.2 system, and more importantly, they didn’t skimp in the energy and atmosphere category, opting instead to rack up ten points.  The distribution center was formerly an old Piggly Wiggly store, but it’s been through what could be the greenest renovation in the country.  It’s now a super green, corporate office and distribution center. 

Here’s what they did:  First, they installed two 1550 gallon storage tanks, which combined with the water efficient fixtures and native landscaping, helped them use about 78% less domestic potable water than a conventional building.  Second, they added insulation throughout the building and installed both a 4,900-watt photovoltaic system and 19 SEER efficient Lennox heat pump system.  Third, they switched to energy-efficient fluorescent lamps and found ways to benefit from the building’s east-west orientation (passive and active solar strategies).  Nice work!

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