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.
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.
Swift Wind Turbine is a quiet, rooftop mounted wind turbine. Unlike some designs you’ve seen previously, this one has an outer ring and five blades. The outer ring acts as a diffuser — the wind travels down the blades and is dispersed along the ring, therefore eliminating noise and keeping the turbine quiet. The company estimates a noise of less than 35 decibels for all wind speeds. The 7 foot diameter ring needs a roof line clearance of a couple feet and in good winds, can generate up to 2000 kWh of power (1.5 kW @ 14 m/s).
I realize that by blogging about this, I’m risking some criticism as to whether a parking structure can be green. I think it can, but I’ve heard mention from others that the term "green parking lot" is an oxymoron of sorts. After giving it some thought, I just can’t imagine a world, or a city for that matter, with absolutely no parking lot. They’re going to exist, so they might as well be super green and zero energy, to the extent possible. This building, which is the Santa Monica Civic Center parking structure, has a solar array that provides all the building’s energy needs.
But it’s not just energy efficient, it’s green, too.