I just thought I would blog about this real quick because it caught my attention in the latest edition of BusinessWeek. There was a full page ad saying, "Imagine that. You can do well in the world without hurting it." Pictured in the ad is a pretty neat looking building (above), which is interactive at www.utc.com/curious. Go give it a look…United Technologies’ (NYSE: UTX) green building page has information on electrochromic glazing, 100% recycled structural steel, vertical axis wind power turbines, photovoltaic solar power arrays, zero VOC paints, green roofs with an integrated reclamation systems, conserving energy, fuel cell power plants, and combined cooling, heating and power (CCHP) systems. Maybe someone should actually build the structure that’s in this rendering.
In 2009, China is expected to surpass the U.S. as the largest emitter of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the world. Over 26% of the population (roughly 340 million people) lack access to clean drinking water and over 40% of Chinese cities lack sewage treatment facilities. But the country is trying to innovate solutions for the future. Recently, USA Today had an interesting article called "China Envisions Environmentally Friendly ‘Eco-City.’" According to the article, state-run developers are building an eco-city in Dongtan, which is 3/4 the size of Manhattan. Dongtan is located on Chongming Island about an hour from Shanghai. The $1.3 billion project may be a model for eco-cities all over the world.
The eco-city will be carbon neutral with the main grid of the city designed for walking and cycling, not for cars. The city will be powered by solar and wind power, biofuels, and recycled organic material. There will be green roofs for energy efficiency and insulation benefits and rainwater capture to maintain the landscaping. All vehicles will operate on clean fuels and about a fourth of the city will be open green space. Without all the gas and diesel vehicles clogging the streets, residents should be able to open up a window and enjoy the air. About 20% of the city is held out for affordable housing, but some of the farmers still say it’s out of their price range. See also SIIC.
As one of the first residential LEED homes on the west coast, the Kelly Woodford home is blazing a trail for the future of residential construction. In addition to its USGBC certification, the home is "net zero energy use" and Energy Star certified. The 2,000 square-foot, three-bedroom/two-bath retreat has a great view of Mt. Hood and some pretty impressive green features. Tom Kelly and Barbara Woodford built the home as a family getaway (with the Neil Kelly Company as general contractor), but they’ve also made the home available half the year to Neil Kelly employees to enjoy.
In Portland, Oregon, there’s a sustainable development called The Headwaters at Tryon Creek, which is a 2.88 acre, master-planned, mixed-income community that prioritizes sustainable building practices, energy + water conservation, wildlife habit restoration, and stormwater management. One portion of the development includes the Dolph Creek Townhomes, which are 14 for sale, attached townhouses that are LEED Silver, Energy Star, and Earth Advantage certified. Quite the list of certifications! These luxury townhouses vary in size from 1,585 – 1,695 square feet, and in price from $369,950 – $379,950…purchasers qualify for the State Residential Energy Tax Credit.
In addition to saving up to 45% on annual energy costs, here are some of the green features: solar panels with 80 gallon storage tank, energy efficient windows, green label carpet, formaldehyde free cabinetry and wood products, heat recovery ventilators, on-demand gas and solar water heating, polyfoam insulation, exhaust fans in all the garages, drip irrigation system, and low-flow toilets, showers, and water faucets. Of course, the floors will be bamboo (hopefully not the Chinese import variety) and the patio will have ipe hardwood decking. From what I’ve seen, this looks like quite the community.
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…
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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?