Articles - Solar RSS Feed

Thoughts on The Clean Tech Revolution (Updated)

Thecleantechrevolution So I received from HarperCollins a copy of Ron Pernick + Clint Wilder’s latest book called The Clean Tech Revolution.  I’m a big enthusiast of renewable technology because it has the potential to change the world of real estate and green living.  Preliminarily, let me say that this book is an incredible read.  Seriously.  It’s smart and approachable.  To get an idea of the breadth of the book, here are the chapter subjects:  solar energy, wind power, biofuels and biomaterials, green buildings, personal transportation, smart grid, mobile technologies, water filtration, creating your own Silicon Valley, and clean-tech marketing.  And the book is geared towards individuals, investors, corporations, and governments alike. 

The authors are Clean Edge guys and they know what they’re talking about.  The research put into each topic is unbelievably thorough.  The Clean Tech Revolution is not some chump book by someone that just recently jumped on the green bandwagon (not that there’s anything wrong with that).  The authors talk about the tipping point of green brought about by six C’s–cost, capital, competition, China, consumers, and climate.  These six things have come together to make clean tech something of a revolution that will occur over the next 20, 30, 40 years plus.  It’s pretty exciting.  In each of the chapter categories mentioned above, the authors identify several companies to watch.  For instance, the authors say we should keep an eye on the following companies in the ‘green building’ chapter:  Aspen Aerogels, Clarum Homes, Cree, The Durst Organization, Interface Engineering, Ortech, PanaHome, Rinnai, Turner Construction, Wal-Mart Stores

Update:BusinessWeek published an extensive review over the weekend saying, in part: "But what sets Pernick and Wilder’s book apart is its focus on the business benefits of going green, from money saved by building eco-friendly corporate headquarters and lowering heating and cooling bills, to money earned by startups committed to creating clean technologies. Other books, magazines, and Web sites tend to include clean-tech and green business within a spectrum of other lifestyle, political, environmental, or design topics."

I’m not going to give away too much, but I’m really impressed with this book.  Actually, I’ve got two people in mind that I want to pass a copy to, and they’re not getting mine. 

5th STREETpads by Greenpads LLC

5th STREETpads

The husband and wife team of Liz Miranda and Tim Rempel started Greenpads LLC in 2005, and 5th STREETpads is their first project.  Matter of fact, this six-unit multifamily development received a slew of awards, including the 2006 Build It Green Award + 2006 Design Advocates Design Award for Multi-family Development.  5th STREETpads has six, 2-3 floor townhomes that vary in size from 1360-1640 sf.  The development is a great example of comfortable, lower-impact living as a result of building up, not out.  Here are some of the green features:  Borrego solar system that provides up to 85% of each unit’s electricity; hydronic radiant floor heating with floor-to-floor thermostat control; blown-in wet cellulose and bonded logic thermal insulation; SIP panel roof system; low-VOC painting in all the units; FSC-certified Brazilian cherry flooring; large double-glazed, low-E windows and sliding doors for optimal natural lighting; skylights in all the units; green Italian laminate cabinetry; filtered water and Energy Star appliances throughout; and Toto low-flow toilets.  These are incredible homes.  And although some materials seem to have a heavy carbon impact due to shipping and transporting, we’re talking about a solid step in the right direction for the greening of multifamily real estate development. 

Good Links:
++Greenpads LLC
++Rempel Architects

Winds of Change: Bingaman-Reid Renewable Portfolio Standard Energy Amendment

Powerofwind

For those that follow the political realm, you may be aware that the Senate is considering a huge energy bill over the next 24 hours.  Some of the details of this bill were the subject of an opinion article in the LA Times today.  There are pros and cons of the bill affecting all sorts of energy concerns such as renewable fuels, coal-to-liquid technology, and automobile efficiency standards.  Up for consideration is the Bingaman-Reid renewable portfolio standard (RPS) requiring the nation to get 15% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.  An RPS requires electric utilities to include a specific percentage of clean, renewable energy in their generation portfolios, or to purchase renewable energy credits from others.  If you want to help see that the Bingaman-Reid RPS is supported, feel free to use the Power of Wind website to let your Senator know.

S2: Zero Emissions, Zero Energy Office Tower – Burj al-Taqa

Burj al-Taqa Energy Tower I’m a little late getting to this because I’ve reserved it for the Skyscraper Sunday column, but news of this building pretty much swamped the blogosphere a couple weeks ago.  This is the Burj al-Taqa, or Energy Tower, a project conceived by a handful of architects and Eckhard Gerber.  If Gerber’s computer models prove correct, this tower will be completely energy independent, producing all its own energy via sunlight, wind, and water.  Also, coming in with a price tag of $406 million for the giant 68-story eco-tower, the Burj al-Taqa will occupy #22 on the list of world’s tallest buildings. 

This office tower is not short on innovation, so here are a few of the concepts Gerber has planned:  the cylindrical shape is designed to expose as little surface area to the sun as possible, thereby reducing heat gain; a solar shield reaches from ground to the roof, protecting the building from the sun’s glaring rays; the tower’s facade is built from a new generation of vacuum glazing, to be mass-marketed in 2008, that will transmit two-thirds less heat than current generation products; negative pressure created by winds breaking along the tower will suck spent air from rooms out of the building through air slits in the facade; sea water will be used to pre-cool air; to generate electricity, the tower will have a 197-foot wind turbine and two photovoltaic arrays totally 15,000 square meters; and additional electricity will be generated by an island of solar panels (literally floating in the sea within viewing distance of the building) totally 17,000 square meters.  Any excess electricity will be used to generate hydrogen (from the seawater via electrolysis), which be stored in special tanks.  Night power will then be supplied by fuel cell technology.  Also, Gerber plans to use mirrors to create a cone of light that will send natural light through the center of the building.  Pretty impressive concepts all around.  Via.

Good Links:
+New Tower Creates All Its Own Energy [Spiegel]
+Skyscraper Creates All Its Own Energy [Metaefficient]
+Dubai Burj al-Taqa Skyscraper to Generate All Its Own Energy [Engadget]
+The Burj al-Taqa ['Energy Tower'] [architecture.mnp]

::"S2" is short for "Skyscraper Sunday," a weekly article on green skyscrapers posted every Sunday::

Green Corporate America, British Eco-Towns, Wal-Mart's Solar Play, + A Green Gas Station (WIR)

Week in Review
  1. McGraw-Hill Construction released the Greening of Corporate America SmartMarket report detailing corporate America’s opinions on green building and sustainability. 
  2. Future British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, has announced a plan to build 5 affordable "eco-towns," which will include wind and photovoltaic energy sources. 
  3. Wal-mart announced a major initiative to outfit 22 stores with solar power, an amount that could be up to 20 million kWh per year. 
  4. A $3 million BP gas station in South Baltimore becomes latest green building with an amazing living roof, among other things. 

Modus Development, Array: Modern + Solar + Green

Array Exterior

Modus Development is an innovative development group that works with infill sites in good locations to enhance the value of the land by improving the quality of life for those that live on it.  How do they do that?  With modern, cutting-edge, green designs.  Currently, Modus is working on a 9 townhouse project in Scottsdale, Arizona, called Array.  Each townhouse in Array will have a 2-kilowatt photovoltaic system provided by American Solar Electric.  The system is expected to generate about 28,800 kilowatt hours of electricity annually and offset roughly 30,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions.  In addition, Modus is building the project to LEED standards, which will make it the second LEED-certified project in the area.  According to Ed Gorman, President of Modus Development, "By adding the solar panels to the rooftops of every home, we create homes that are both architecturally unique and cost very little to operate."  Each 3-story townhome will have about 1,800 sf, with 2-bedrooms, a den/office/bedroom option, 2.5 bathrooms, and a detached 2-car garage. 

Good Links:
+Modus Development [developer]
+[merz] project [architect]
+Modus Offers Solar for Scottsdale Townhomes [Phx Biz Journal]

Read more »



Popular Topics on Jetson Green