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Video: Construction 2.0 + CleverHomes

[Run time: 54:30 min.]  I was reading the Scobleizer and found a fairly substantial video interview with Toby Long, founder of the San Francisco-based, design-build firm CleverHomes.  Cleverhomes is one of those companies swimming upstream in a construction river of anti-progress, anti-innovation, and staunch traditionalism.  I love the Scoble laugh, seriously, it makes the interview pretty good.  Long talks about the interface of technology + construction, or what I’m calling Construction 2.0, with an added dimension of sustainability.  Going forward, the environmental consequences associated with construction need to be figured into a given project’s analysis.  He also mentions structural insulated panels (SIPs), building information modeling (BIM), sustainability, and modern vernacular.  Get past the beginning and give it go…

LEED-H Silver Kelly Woodford Retreat Near Mt. Hood, Oregon

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As one of the first residential LEED homes on the west coast, the Kelly Woodford home is blazing a trail for the future of residential construction.  In addition to its USGBC certification, the home is "net zero energy use" and Energy Star certified.  The 2,000 square-foot, three-bedroom/two-bath retreat has a great view of Mt. Hood and some pretty impressive green features.  Tom Kelly and Barbara Woodford built the home as a family getaway (with the Neil Kelly Company as general contractor), but they’ve also made the home available half the year to Neil Kelly employees to enjoy. 

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Climate Change Legal Practice, Green Building Lending, Texas Geothermal, + Green Sans LEED (WIR)

Week in Review
  1. The Law Firm of Holland & Hart Announces New Global Climate Change Practice – The firm is the first and only law firm based in the Rocky Mountains to organize a practice group concentrating on this rapidly emerging area of law and policy.  Holland & Hart’s Global Climate Change Practice Group consists of attorneys who counsel clients on the climate change aspects of energy and natural resources development, industrial energy use, regulatory compliance, renewable energy and energy infrastructure projects, corporate disclosure and governance, carbon markets, litigation, and government relations.
  2. New Resource Bank Aims to Make it Easier to Build Green – A new banking program here aims to encourage developers and investors to start green building projects by offering financial incentives like providing more money at a lower cost, higher loan-to value, and lower interest rates.
  3. Texas Issues First Lease for Geothermal Energy Exploration and Development along Gulf Coast – Texas has awarded the state’s first lease for geothermal energy production to Ormat Technologies, Inc., which plans to explore the renewable energy’s potential along seven Gulf Coast counties.  The company paid $55,645, or $5 an acre, for the right to explore 11,129 acres for pockets of hot water and steam under the ocean floor, the General Land Office announced Tuesday.
  4. Building Greener and Cheaper than LEED – While many argue over the costs and benefits of requiring LEED-certification, some affordable housing developers have shown that building green doesn’t require following the program’s recommendations.

LEED-H Silver, Energy Star, Earth Advantage – Dolph Creek Townhomes

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In Portland, Oregon, there’s a sustainable development called The Headwaters at Tryon Creek, which is a 2.88 acre, master-planned, mixed-income community that prioritizes sustainable building practices, energy + water conservation, wildlife habit restoration, and stormwater management.  One portion of the development includes the Dolph Creek Townhomes, which are 14 for sale, attached townhouses that are LEED Silver, Energy Star, and Earth Advantage certified.  Quite the list of certifications!  These luxury townhouses vary in size from 1,585 – 1,695 square feet, and in price from $369,950 – $379,950…purchasers qualify for the State Residential Energy Tax Credit. 

In addition to saving up to 45% on annual energy costs, here are some of the green features:  solar panels with 80 gallon storage tank, energy efficient windows, green label carpet, formaldehyde free cabinetry and wood products, heat recovery ventilators, on-demand gas and solar water heating, polyfoam insulation, exhaust fans in all the garages, drip irrigation system, and low-flow toilets, showers, and water faucets.  Of course, the floors will be bamboo (hopefully not the Chinese import variety) and the patio will have ipe hardwood decking.  From what I’ve seen, this looks like quite the community. 

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Innovative Home – Spring 2007

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This is the best $9.95, I’ve spent in a long time.  I read Innovative Home when it comes out every quarter, but the Spring 2007 edition is unbelievable.  Go get a copy.

The Plenty 20 + Fiberstars' Efficient Fiber Optics

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The February/ March 2007 edition of Plenty Magazine has a really good article called "The Plenty 20" by Danielle Wood.  You won’t find it online, so go pick up a copy.  Generally speaking, magazine lists have a tendency to be contrived, opinionated, and/or incomplete, but I thought The Plenty 20 was rather thorough.  The article profiled an Ohio-based company called Fiberstars (NASDAQ: FBST).  The U.S. government funded the research that became Fiberstars’ Efficient Fiber Optic Technology (EFO) with grants totaling about $13 million.  Now, its lights illuminate the Declaration of Independence and the Magna Carta. 

How efficient are EFO lights?  Their efficiency is analogous to improving gas mileage in your car from 12 MPG to 50 MPG.  That’s efficient.  So efficient, these lights were used in the green Bill Clinton Presidential Library. 

EFO lights do not emit heat or ultraviolet rays, so they are perfect for museum or archival applications.  One 70-watt metal halide lamp, which connects to a fiber optic system, can equal the output of eight 50 watt bulbs.  Specifically in terms of efficiency, the EFO saves up to 80% on energy consumption, saves on maintenance (requires less work due to longer life), and saves one watt of HVAC for every three watts of lighting because the EFOs do not emit heat.  Not bad.  Further, Fiberstars EFO may reduce mercury emissions by up to 75% and their Reuse-Recycle Program allows customers to reuse 97% of the lamp and recycle the rest.  Currently, most of Fiberstars’ customers are commercial entities such as Whole Foods, McDonalds, Trump Tower, Starbucks, Nordstrom’s, Chevron, etc.  Maybe we’re not that far from turn-key consumer applications?

Here are some of the other companies on The Plenty 20: Nanosolar, ECD Ovonics, Greenfuel Technologies, Envirofit International, GE, Organic Valley, Tesla Motors, Southwest Windpower, Domini, Toyota, Whole Foods, Green Mountain Energy, Konarka, Goldman Sachs, Ormat Technologies, Ice Energy, Green Sandwich Technologies, Green Mountain Coffee, and Naturalawn.

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