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BusinessWeek's Residential Green Tech: Wind Turbines, Geothermal, Solar Panels

There’s a slide show on BusinessWeek, which is part of a story written by Aili McConnon.  The story is called, "For Houses, It’s Glamorous to be Green."  For attribution, the link to the slide show is here, but I’ve taken the slide show images and text and created a photo loop through the filmloop software (shown above).  It’s pretty handy software, if I say so myself.  You can do a lot of editing in it and there are several different ways to display a show. 

In the slide show, there’s information on the StealthGen micro wind turbine, geothermal heating and cooling technology, Sharp’s solar panel easy-installation technology, and AeroVironment‘s Architectural Wind turbines (mentioned here before).  Easy learning, have a good weekend…

Noteworthy Green News: Week in Review

Week in Review
  1. Wind Energy Scores Major Legal Victory in U.S. (Texas) – Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center in Texas, currently the world’s largest wind farm, did not create enough noise to be considered a private nuisance.  Via Hugg
  2. Google Plants Solar Trees – About a third of the 9,000 solar panels (total 1.6-megawatt solar system) Google’s installing will take the form of overhanging parking shades at the million-square-foot campus in Mountain View. The others will be mounted on rooftops.
  3. Boston Ready to Go Green – Boston is expected to become the first major city in the nation to require private developers to adhere to a strict set of so-called green-building standards, officials said yesterday.  (I need to fact check to determine whether it’s the first city). 
  4. Green State v. Brown State: Report Details California and Texas Energy Use – Despite its size California’s per capita energy consumption ranks 46 out of the 50 states. Texans, on the other hand, are power hogs, with the state the 5th largest consumer of energy. Texas produces 10.2 percent of the country’s coal-fired electricity; California a tenth of 1 percent. California, however, generates the most power from solar, wind and other non-hydro sources, accounting for about 26 percent of the U.S.’s renewable energy.

On that last note, I’m a Texan and I must say, doesn’t it feel good to know that our state has become the laggard in terms of modernizing energy infrastructure and sourcing?  If we can find a way to boot out the rich executives that are hamstringing Texas’ energy situation, there’s a growing population of innovative leaders and thinkers that will generate returns for our future.  The question is, would you rather take the profits on your 35mm film sales OR would you like to own the patent on the digital camera

Modern Rammed Earth: Red Hill Residence (Australia)

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I’m a big-time proponent of green buildings, but if I hear straw bale, adobe, tee pee, or the like, I tend to lose interest.  And the same goes for rammed earth.  That is, until I saw the Red Hill Residence, which happens to be a modern rammed earth home, designed by Christopherchris Architecture.  Not sure what rammed earth is?  Wikipedia + Earth Architecture.  Here’s the home’s description straight from an article translation:

A contemporary new home for a young family relocating from a busy city environment to the Mornington Peninsula. Constructed primarily from locally sourced rammed earth and ship lapped cedar paneling, the house is sited across the ridge of the property.  The elemental form of the building is enhanced by the contrasting and intersecting selection of material, textures and colours, threaded together by the linear rammed earth wall. Key views to the valley are enjoyed from all living areas and bedrooms, whilst the master bedroom is privileged to a unique vista down to the peninsula and onwards to bass straight.

This Australian home is a beauty!  Tell me this:  would you buy it?  I think I would, but I’d like to hear more about the pros and cons of rammed earth building.  So far, we know that rammed earth can be molded and contoured to create modern, expressive buildings.  Feel free to drop a comment so everyone reading will gain from your insight and experience.  Via Moco.

Rammed_earth_kitchen_1

Skyscraper Sunday: City of Arabia's "Green" Times Residences

City_of_arabia_times_residences_1 Dubai has money like no other place I’ve ever seen.  They’re working to beat Taipei 101, so they can have the tallest building in the world.  Now, they’ve announced this building called Times Residences, which is aiming to be the only rotating residential structure in the world.  Solar energy will be stored and used to rotate the 80,000 ton, 30-floor structure, 52 degrees every 24 hours.  The project will cost about $109M/Dh400.  Construction is slated to begin June 2007 and end in the first quarter of 2009.  Units will range in size from 1-5 bedrooms and everything will be up-scale + luxurious.  The project was designed by Glenn Howells Architects + Palmer and Turner

In total, there will be 200 residences and everyone will have a 360 degree view due to the solar- powered rotation.  Apparently, one will also be able to tell time by the way the building is lined up, etc.  Although prices for the residences have not been released, sales are expected to begin in March 2007.  What’s more, the developer, Dubai Property Ring, plans to build 23 more rotating towers in each of the world’s time zones.  Whether the building actually gets built is another story.  And although the company states the technology will allow the building to rotate 5 mm/second using a mere 21 electric kettles’ worth of electricity, I’m thinking there must be a better use for all that solar powerWhat do you think?  Via ecofriend.

Extra Links:
Rotating Tower to be Solar-Powered [Gulf News]
Dubai to Get ‘World’s First Turning Tower’ [Middle East Times]
Dubai Plans First Rotating Skyscraper [USA Today]

Noteworthy Green News: Week in Review

Week in Review
  1. Enertia: Houses Heated + Cooled by the Sun – [includes video] No furnace, air conditioner, heat pump or swamp cooler — just an innovative design that harnesses geothermal energy and sunlight year round.
  2. Sydney Leading Light in Hour of No Power – This ambitious plan aims to send a message to Australians about climate change. It hopes its Earth Hour campaign will demonstrate the connection between the electricity people use in homes and offices and the climate change pollution that coal-fired power stations generate.  Via Linton
  3. New World Record Achieved in Solar Cell Technology – With DOE funding, a concentrator solar cell produced by Boeing-Spectrolab has recently achieved a world-record conversion efficiency of 40.7 percent, establishing a new milestone in sunlight-to-electricity performance.  Via Celsias.
  4. Mileage From Megawatts: Enough Grid Capacity to Charge Plug-in Hybrids – A new study for the Department of Energy finds that "off-peak" electricity production and transmission capacity could fuel 84 percent of the country’s 220 million vehicles if they were plug-in hybrid electrics.

Natural Home + 2 Eco-Smart Townhouses: A Project in Green Renovation (Brooklyn)

Re_brooklyn_home

Green building renovation is the future; there are so many inefficient structures and the time will come when deciding not to renovate a building would be similar to using a typewriter when you have a laptop.  Why not start now?  Natural Home Magazine is chronicling a developer who will take a seedy, dilapidated (Boerum Hill) Brooklyn building and remodel it with cutting edge technology and green features.  The developers, Rolf Grimstead + Emily Fisher of R&E Brooklyn, bought it and plan to make it New York’s first American Lung Association Health House.

Green Features:
The interior will use IceStone recycled counters (C2C), salvaged wood or bamboo flooring, and Kirei board cabinets.  Finishes will be with low or no-VOC water-based poly (American Pride).  The house will be wired with solar energy via photovoltaic panels.  Also, there will be a solar-thermal and gas-fired system to heat and cool the place.  In addition, the developers will use the Health House criteria (regarding moisture + humidity control, energy efficiency, and air filtration + ventilation) to guide them in making the indoor air quality top notch.  This should be an interesting project to follow throughout 2007.

Extra Links:
93 Nevins/453 Pacific: 2 Eco-smart Townhouses [R&E Brooklyn]
Brownstoner Blog Post on the 2 Eco-smart Townhouses [Brownstoner]



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