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Building Green TV, Kevin Contreras, + 13-Episode PBS Series

I’ve embedded a quick view from the first season of Building Green TV for PBS.  Kevin Contreras is the show’s host and he’s going to navigate viewers through a variety of different green building situations.  In addition to the episode above, you can catch some more at their newly redesigned website.  Coming June 2007. 

S2: Hypergreen by Jacques Ferrier (+ Podcast)

Skyline

Grid_skin

Recently, Paris-based architect Jacques Ferrier unleashed his "Hypergreen" mixed-use skyscraper concept, which was submitted for a project competition in Paris.  Hypergreen incorporates a curving lattice facade made of ultra-high-performance concrete that acts as the building’s primary structural system.  It has the look of steel, almost resembling some of Foster’s designs such as Hearst Tower or 30 St Mary Axe.  Measuring 246 meters in height, Hypergreen has the following green features:  geothermal heat pumps, photovoltaic panels, integrated wind turbines, earth cooling tubes, vegetated sky lobbies, a roof garden, rainwater recovery system, and flexible and adaptable floor plates.  The exoskeleton reduces the number of columns that make for odd floor plates. 

Good Links:
++Jacques Ferrier Architecture [Official Website]
++Green Skyscraper Will Have ‘Steel-like’ Concrete Skin [BD+C - PODCAST]

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Mashup: MKD + SketchUp + Google Earth

MKD SketchUp

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to put a Michelle Kaufmann Designs home on your piece of land?  Now you can do it, and you’re going to love this.  Here’s what you do:

  1. Step 1:  Go to the Google 3D Warehouse and type in "MKD."  You should see designs for the mkSolaire, Sunset Breezehouse, and Glidehouse.  Nice.  These files are for use with SketchUp.  Download the design you want for your home. 
  2. Step 2:  Download a free copy of Google SketchUp and use SketchUp to open the file you downloaded in Step 1.  Using SketchUp, modify the landscape of your home.  (I must admit, I’m still learning how to use this program and do this step). 
  3. Step 3:  Download a free copy of Google Earth.  Find the location of your site.  Plop your SketchUp model on the site that you’ve located.

That’s the process.  It’s a pretty cool mashup allowing you to envision the land of your dreams with the home of your dreams.  If anyone does anything cool, drop a line below. 

S2: Zero Emissions, Zero Energy Office Tower – Burj al-Taqa

Burj al-Taqa Energy Tower I’m a little late getting to this because I’ve reserved it for the Skyscraper Sunday column, but news of this building pretty much swamped the blogosphere a couple weeks ago.  This is the Burj al-Taqa, or Energy Tower, a project conceived by a handful of architects and Eckhard Gerber.  If Gerber’s computer models prove correct, this tower will be completely energy independent, producing all its own energy via sunlight, wind, and water.  Also, coming in with a price tag of $406 million for the giant 68-story eco-tower, the Burj al-Taqa will occupy #22 on the list of world’s tallest buildings. 

This office tower is not short on innovation, so here are a few of the concepts Gerber has planned:  the cylindrical shape is designed to expose as little surface area to the sun as possible, thereby reducing heat gain; a solar shield reaches from ground to the roof, protecting the building from the sun’s glaring rays; the tower’s facade is built from a new generation of vacuum glazing, to be mass-marketed in 2008, that will transmit two-thirds less heat than current generation products; negative pressure created by winds breaking along the tower will suck spent air from rooms out of the building through air slits in the facade; sea water will be used to pre-cool air; to generate electricity, the tower will have a 197-foot wind turbine and two photovoltaic arrays totally 15,000 square meters; and additional electricity will be generated by an island of solar panels (literally floating in the sea within viewing distance of the building) totally 17,000 square meters.  Any excess electricity will be used to generate hydrogen (from the seawater via electrolysis), which be stored in special tanks.  Night power will then be supplied by fuel cell technology.  Also, Gerber plans to use mirrors to create a cone of light that will send natural light through the center of the building.  Pretty impressive concepts all around.  Via.

Good Links:
+New Tower Creates All Its Own Energy [Spiegel]
+Skyscraper Creates All Its Own Energy [Metaefficient]
+Dubai Burj al-Taqa Skyscraper to Generate All Its Own Energy [Engadget]
+The Burj al-Taqa ['Energy Tower'] [architecture.mnp]

::"S2" is short for "Skyscraper Sunday," a weekly article on green skyscrapers posted every Sunday::

Green Corporate America, British Eco-Towns, Wal-Mart's Solar Play, + A Green Gas Station (WIR)

Week in Review
  1. McGraw-Hill Construction released the Greening of Corporate America SmartMarket report detailing corporate America’s opinions on green building and sustainability. 
  2. Future British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, has announced a plan to build 5 affordable "eco-towns," which will include wind and photovoltaic energy sources. 
  3. Wal-mart announced a major initiative to outfit 22 stores with solar power, an amount that could be up to 20 million kWh per year. 
  4. A $3 million BP gas station in South Baltimore becomes latest green building with an amazing living roof, among other things. 

M-CH: Less is More Edition

m-ch

Let’s face it, less is more.  What you see is the micro compact home, aka m-ch, which is a 76 sf home designed by Richard Horden, a professor at Technical University of Munich (TUM).  m-ch was designed to meet the growing demand for short-stay living.  I think Horden’s on to something.  Right now, there’s a horde of 7 m-chs that TUM students and staff occasionally stay in.  But there’s also a 16-unit village of m-chs being developed for a site near Vienna, Austria. 

What’s great about the m-ch is its high-tech design.  It’s all geeked out with the latest in electronics and technology.  Future models plan to use solar panels and horizontal-axis wind turbines to make the home self-sustaining.  For $96,000 (delivery + installation anywhere in Europe), you get a sliding table for 5, two 7.5 foot beds, shelves and drawers, an electrical systems control panel, bathroom and shower, and a kitchen with a microwave, fridge/freezer, sink, waste unit, and work surface.  For a quick jaunt and a little fun, what more could you ask for?  Via WiredCool images below the fold. 

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