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Hawaii Gateway Energy Center, a Fascinating Display of Solar Potential

HGEC

The Hawaii Gateway Energy Center (HGEC) is a 3,600 sf, $3.4 million facility situated on the south coast of Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii.  The new building serves both the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii and the Hawaii Ocean Sciences and Technology Park.  And as you may be able to gather from the images and models below, HGEC is a fascinating display of the future potential for synergies of solar power and building efficiencies.  The entire building is designed as a thermal chimney that captures heat and creates air movement using the structural form and thermodynamic principles.  Also, with the help of glazing, the building orientation and design pretty much eliminates the need for electric lighting during the day.  Notably, HGEC consumes about 20% of the energy that’s required by a comparable building. 

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Independence Station, #1 Highest Scoring LEED Building

Independence Station

This is going to be a cool development when it’s complete.  Slated to be the #1 highest scoring LEED building in the world by a fair margin (meaning: Platinum Certification at 64-66 points), Independence Station is 35% complete and should beat Oregon’s strict energy code by about 74%.  Steven Ribeiro, developer and principal at Aldeia Development, energetically remarks on his project: "This retro-futuristic, mixed-use building will run on 100% renewable energy, primarily vegetable oil and the sun."  Sounds good to me. 

Here’s a list of some of the green features planned for Independence Station:

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Seagull Streetlamp, Micro Green Tech That Inspires

This is just another example of micro-green technology in an entirely necessary and functional setting.  The video shows a streetlight running on both wind and solar in front of Panasonic Center in Tokyo.  In addition to the helix turbine and butterfly solar panels, there’s a high-efficiency light bulb and battery for capturing energy during the day (to be used at night).  Someone tell me why we don’t see more any of this in the U.S.?  Via EcoGeek.

Office Building of the Future, Just Like a Tree! [S2]

Toweroftomorrow This is a preview of what William McDonough (you know, Cradle to Cradle and Time’s Hero for the Planet) will be talking about this week in Abu Dhabi at the World Future Energy Summit.  Dubbed the "Tree Tower" by Building Magazine, a leading UK construction magazine, the speculative Office Building of the Future was originally just a concept for Fortune Magazine in 2006.  There is no commission for the building, but at the very least, it illustrates principles of good design for all buildings.

Blending nature and man-made construction, the Office Building of the Future will positively impact the environment.  Solar and geothermal power create energy, tree-filled terraces recycle water, and multiple skins weatherproof and insulate the inside of the building.  The building, designed with materials that can either be reused or returned safely to the earth, is made to absorb natural light, too.  In all, it’s a super showcase of principles necessary to build something that doesn’t take more than it gives.  We’ll see if McDonough makes any announcements this week.  Thoughts?

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Nanosolar Kicks Off the Solar Revolution: 12/18/07

Nanosolarpanelsrmrhead_web I mentioned Nanosolar back in August because I found an excellent video about the company — they’re poised to dramatically flip this solar industry inside out.  Today comes news that they shipped their first product and received an actual revenue check.  This is a big deal.  Thin film solar is incredible because it can be used more flexibly and produced at a much lower cost. 

Their powersheet product was recognized by Popular Science as 2007 Innovation of the Year.  Now that the product is a reality, we’re going to see some craziness.  They’ve accomplished a slew of world’s firsts (below) and decided to auction off an early batch of product on eBay.  Unfortunately, that’s all you’re likely to get because they’re sold out for the next 12 months!  Better start your orders now. 

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Saving the Environment, Thin-Film Solar, Regenerative Green, + Lower Operating Costs (WIR)

Week in Review
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