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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

SunTrackerOne, Saving $$ with Smart Natural Light

Suntrackerone

Ciralight caught the attention of a few attendees at this year’s Greenbuild 2007 exhibition.  Their flagship product, SunTrackerOne, is free-standing, solar-powered, and completely self-contained.  SunTrackerOne has three mirrors that track and reflect the sun into buildings through a thermal barrier, light well, and diffuser.  It’s different than passive lighting because it collects more light and diffuses it more effectively throughout a building.  This lighting system is a major green innovation to keep an eye on, especially since Ciralight touts a seductive 15 – 35% return on investment on energy savings alone.

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ASAP House, Northeastern Net Zero Energy Home

ASAP House

This is the ASAP House, a House About Saving A Planet designed by Laszlo Kiss.  Like many green designs generated these days, this home will be a net zero energy home — it will produce as much energy as it uses over a certain period of time.  To do that, the home will have good insulation, Energy Star lighting fixtures, a 10 kW photovoltaic array, and a geothermal heating and cooling system.  Currently, a prototype ASAP House is being built for Sag Harbor, New York.  Just last month, the factory was moving along well on three modules that will end up completing the home. 

The ASAP house will cost roughly $250-265 psf, depending on site conditions, and is being designed with LEED certification in the works.  It is anticipated that the finished home will be about 2,500 sf, with 4 bedrooms, and 2.5 bathrooms.  It’ll be fun to follow the blog progress and see the finished product.  At that point, we’ll officially have one more prefab contender, and more particularly, one that can service the Northeast! 

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House of Tomorrow, Zero Energy Green Prefab

House of Tomorrow

This green prefab, sponsored by French architecture magazine Architectures à Vivre, was on display last weekend at the Batimat Show in Paris.  I think it’s called La Maison de Demain, which I also think is French for House of Tomorrow.  We’ll go with that as the name for now.  Their website is in French, so if anything, you can glean certain design elements from studying the images.  Some of the below information is from Google’s translation, so I hope it’s accurate. 

The home is built with three prefabricated modules and meant to show that green design can be affordable and attractive.  An important aspect of the house is the open area in the middle, which could be used as a covered patio to extend the footprint of the home into the natural environment.  Everything about the home is green, too, as far as I can tell: FSC-certified wood and siding, green label paints, low-VOC recycled carpet tiles, LED lighting, low-flow toilet, reinforced insulation, and photovoltaic panels.  You’ll also notice the living roof that provides numerous efficiency benefits (and seems to get water from the slanted roof).  In the end, the compact, modern home is very efficient.  Matter of fact, it’s nearly net zero energy consumption once the solar panels are live.  Nice.

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