Solar Decathlon: Attactive Green Homes

Solar Decathlon

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a friend on the scene in Washington D.C., providing us these exclusive shots from the Solar Decathlon.  The Solar Decathlon joins 20 college and university teams in a competition to design, build, and operate the most attractive and energy-efficient solar-powered house.  And, as you can see from these images, this place is flooded with visitors.  I bet many of them are asking themselves, “what would it take to live in a home like that?”  “Why can’t I get a home like that?”  We’re seeing the essence of Jetson Green on display — this is the ultimate confluence of modern + green.

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By |October 14th, 2007|News, Solar|0 Comments

PBS e² Series Returns with Pitt, Morgan Freeman

e2 design

"How did progress take priority over human mankind? …"  I’m the proud owner of season one of e² design, a six-part series that aired on PBS last fall.  I can’t wait for the next season and it’s coming soon.  Go check out www.e2-series.com.  Brad Pitt’s back with “e² design."  This grouping of shows will feature Thom Mayne, architect of the San Francisco Federal Building; Enrique Peñalosa, the former mayor of Bogotá, Colombia; and Adriaan Geuze, lead architect of the Borneo Sporenburg development in Amsterdam.  PBS also brought on rookie, Morgan Freemen, for “e² energy."  This segment will feature Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Prize winner and founder of the Grameen Bank; Amory Lovins, founder of the Rocky Mountain Institute; and Dr. José Goldemberg, Brazil’s former secretary for the environment.  This is excellent video content.  Incredible content.  Unbeatable content. 

By |October 13th, 2007|Conservation, Gadgets, News|0 Comments

Windbelt Micro-wind, 10 Times Cheaper Wind Energy!!

Frayne

[Run time: 2:05 min]  I hope you enjoy this short video of Shawn Frayne, a young inventor that has created this device to generate, on the micro-scale, energy for LED lights and radios in developing countries.  This is the first approach that uses aeroelastic flutter to create super cheap electricity.  We’re talking about changing the way wind energy is harvested and captured.  Frayne won a 2007 Breakthrough Award from Popular Mechanics, and he deserves it.  This incredible technology is 10-30 times more efficient than the best micro-turbines.  So, Frayne hopes to fund third-world distribution of the Windbelt through sales in first-world applications.  So inspiring … 

UPDATE:  EcoGeek reports that Shawn Frayne has launched the website for Humdinger Wind Energy.  Soon, according to the website, developer kits are going to be available for schools, researchers, and independents.

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By |October 11th, 2007|Energy Efficiency, Gadgets, News, Wind|54 Comments

Stroh Haus, Unbelievably Modern Straw Bale Home

Stroh Haus

Stroh Haus is a home in Switzerland made of compressed straw bale and designed by Felix Jerusalem.  As you can see from the images below, the staw bale is used not only for the external walls, but also as a sound barrier insulation on the inside.  What’s incredible, though, is that green tint, translucent sheeting on the exterior.  Quite compelling, isn’t it?  I wish I had more to say on the home, but there’s not much information, other than what I’ve seen at Architechnophilia

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By |October 9th, 2007|Gadgets, Materials, Modern architecture, Single Family|2 Comments

REI Boulder Continues Green Building Tradition

REI Boulder

Over the weekend, REI opened the doors on a brand-spanking new, LEED-CI Silver certified, green retail store in Boulder, Colorado.  Designed by Gensler, this store is an extension of REI’s commitment to green building.  REI’s director of store development, Dean Iwata, said, "REI’s Boulder store builds on our more than 10 years of green building experience, and helps us test concepts that will pave the way for how our stores are built in the future, including design, material selections and use of technology."  I couldn’t be happier for the company — I think I’ve found a justification to splurge $165 on a new North Face Denali jacket.  Vote with your money, right?!

The store has tons of green technology, such as specially-designed Solatubes (which save major deniro and energy).  Also, using efficient, low-flow fixtures, the store uses 30% less water than federal code mandates.  70 percent of the store’s hot water is heated through solar energy.  REI Boulder is the first retail integration of Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV) and uses recycled, renewable, and low-VOC materials throughout.  Plus, as many responsible builders do, REI diverted 75% of construction waste from the local landfills by using it in other areas of the store or recycling it. 

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By |October 8th, 2007|Energy Efficiency, Gadgets, LEED, Retail, Solar, Water Efficiency|0 Comments

Bahrain WTC Wind Turbines, Coming Soon (S2)

Bahrain WTC Turbines

The word on the street is that the three wind turbines on Bahrain World Trade Center will starting generating electricity the last week of October.  As you can see from the images below, construction of the towers is moving along nicely.  The turbines are expected to generate roughly 11-15% of the buildings’ energy needs, or 1100 to 1300 megawatt-hours per year.  Architecturally, this building explores new territory by integrating large-scale wind turbines with the structure.  I’m sure Atkins Architecture has worked out all the modeling on noise and vibration, so the world is excited to learn from this experience.  Enjoy the images below. 

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By |October 7th, 2007|Gadgets, Skyscraper|0 Comments