Not only is Michelle Kaufmann Designs (MKD) taking the green prefab world by storm, but it looks like MKD is working with Communities by Design to build a 26-unit, green townhouse development. Nice. The two- and three-bedroom, two-story units will have covered parking, private and shared outdoor gardens, high quality finishes and fixtures, sustainable materials and systems, high-performance insulation, and solar panel systems. The townhouse development will be located somewhere in San Leandro, CA, and should be opening in late 2007.
With all this discussion about the Senate Energy bill and renewable energy, I thought it was time to kick in and enunciate the ways property owners can elect to greenify, greenize, or make clean by going green, their property’s energy mix. Generally speaking, there’s wind, solar, biomass, small hydro, and geothermal–all of which are considered ‘green.’ But there’s also nuclear, which is not green because of the radioactive waste; coal, which is not green because of the GHG issue; and natural gas, which burns cleaner than coal but also has GHG issues. The American grid relies on all these sources of energy, some more than others, and governmental regulations will impact the way the game is played. Nevertheless, here are three things that a building owner can do now to greenify the energy mix.
- Purchase Grid Connected Green Power from Participating Suppliers – roughly 600 regulated utilities offer green power. Here, it’s a matter of getting in touch with the right utility company that can service your property and setting up a purchase of green power. It might be a little more expensive…
- Install On-site Green Power Generation – there’s been some talk of a federal "net-metering" standard, but until that point, we’re dealing with a piece-meal system of net-metering. Check your locality. Netmetering allows you to send excess electricity into the grid and run the meter backwards. It feels good when the bills are low. Every building is different, so one must be diligent to determine what green energy source would work for your location.
- Purchase Renewable Energy Certifications (REC) – this discussion can get rather detailed, so I’m not going to get into this, but we’re talking about offsets here. All I can say is be careful about who you choose to buy these things from. If you’re careful, you can make sure the money actually goes to support investments in the right kind of green power. I’d even suggest exhausting #1 and #2 before working with this alternative.
Again, location to location, some green energy sources are better than others. Be smart about it. These three steps apply to all types of buildings (residential, commercial, etc.). Also, remember the cardinal rule of energy usage: conserve first, green second, offset third™. Also, check this incredible article in Buildings magazine called "Green Power’s Future is Now." It’s an excellent article and what I used to frame this post. Img.
This is unusual, but incredible, in a weird way. The Science Barge is a sustainable urban farm powered by solar, wind, and biofuels, and irrigated by rainwater and purified river water. It’s a mobile illustration of growing food in the city with no pollution or carbon emissions. Check the solar panels and small wind turbines. I’m thinking this is another illustration of the savvy behind solar and wind power for residential use. Via Archidose.
Americans Want Solar, Florida Green Builder, Google's Plug-in Investment + Green Design Litigation (WIR)
- Nearly 90% of Americans think that solar electricity should be offered on all new homes.
- Florida home builder decides that all its properties now and in the future will be green certified.
- Google Dot Org announced that it would invest about $10 M to accelerate development of battery technology, plug-in hybrids, and vehicles capable of returning stored energy to the grid.
- Need for green legal counsel becoming increasingly salient as green claims are brought against design professionals.