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BusinessWeek's Residential Green Tech: Wind Turbines, Geothermal, Solar Panels

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…

Noteworthy Green News: Week in Review

Week in Review
  1. 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
  2. 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.
  3. 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). 
  4. 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

Skyscraper Sunday: City of Arabia's "Green" Times Residences

City_of_arabia_times_residences_1 Dubai has money like no other place I’ve ever seen.  They’re working to beat Taipei 101, so they can have the tallest building in the world.  Now, they’ve announced this building called Times Residences, which is aiming to be the only rotating residential structure in the world.  Solar energy will be stored and used to rotate the 80,000 ton, 30-floor structure, 52 degrees every 24 hours.  The project will cost about $109M/Dh400.  Construction is slated to begin June 2007 and end in the first quarter of 2009.  Units will range in size from 1-5 bedrooms and everything will be up-scale + luxurious.  The project was designed by Glenn Howells Architects + Palmer and Turner

In total, there will be 200 residences and everyone will have a 360 degree view due to the solar- powered rotation.  Apparently, one will also be able to tell time by the way the building is lined up, etc.  Although prices for the residences have not been released, sales are expected to begin in March 2007.  What’s more, the developer, Dubai Property Ring, plans to build 23 more rotating towers in each of the world’s time zones.  Whether the building actually gets built is another story.  And although the company states the technology will allow the building to rotate 5 mm/second using a mere 21 electric kettles’ worth of electricity, I’m thinking there must be a better use for all that solar powerWhat do you think?  Via ecofriend.

Extra Links:
Rotating Tower to be Solar-Powered [Gulf News]
Dubai to Get ‘World’s First Turning Tower’ [Middle East Times]
Dubai Plans First Rotating Skyscraper [USA Today]

Noteworthy Green News: Week in Review

Week in Review
  1. Enertia: Houses Heated + Cooled by the Sun – [includes video] No furnace, air conditioner, heat pump or swamp cooler — just an innovative design that harnesses geothermal energy and sunlight year round.
  2. Sydney Leading Light in Hour of No Power – This ambitious plan aims to send a message to Australians about climate change. It hopes its Earth Hour campaign will demonstrate the connection between the electricity people use in homes and offices and the climate change pollution that coal-fired power stations generate.  Via Linton
  3. New World Record Achieved in Solar Cell Technology – With DOE funding, a concentrator solar cell produced by Boeing-Spectrolab has recently achieved a world-record conversion efficiency of 40.7 percent, establishing a new milestone in sunlight-to-electricity performance.  Via Celsias.
  4. Mileage From Megawatts: Enough Grid Capacity to Charge Plug-in Hybrids – A new study for the Department of Energy finds that "off-peak" electricity production and transmission capacity could fuel 84 percent of the country’s 220 million vehicles if they were plug-in hybrid electrics.

Natural Home + 2 Eco-Smart Townhouses: A Project in Green Renovation (Brooklyn)

Re_brooklyn_home

Green building renovation is the future; there are so many inefficient structures and the time will come when deciding not to renovate a building would be similar to using a typewriter when you have a laptop.  Why not start now?  Natural Home Magazine is chronicling a developer who will take a seedy, dilapidated (Boerum Hill) Brooklyn building and remodel it with cutting edge technology and green features.  The developers, Rolf Grimstead + Emily Fisher of R&E Brooklyn, bought it and plan to make it New York’s first American Lung Association Health House.

Green Features:
The interior will use IceStone recycled counters (C2C), salvaged wood or bamboo flooring, and Kirei board cabinets.  Finishes will be with low or no-VOC water-based poly (American Pride).  The house will be wired with solar energy via photovoltaic panels.  Also, there will be a solar-thermal and gas-fired system to heat and cool the place.  In addition, the developers will use the Health House criteria (regarding moisture + humidity control, energy efficiency, and air filtration + ventilation) to guide them in making the indoor air quality top notch.  This should be an interesting project to follow throughout 2007.

Extra Links:
93 Nevins/453 Pacific: 2 Eco-smart Townhouses [R&E Brooklyn]
Brownstoner Blog Post on the 2 Eco-smart Townhouses [Brownstoner]

Shizen Urban Design Condominium: A Net Zero Energy Project

Shizen_condo

Every now and then, I find an innovative real estate development group that just knocks my socks off.  After living in Japan for 2 years, I love to hear anything about the place, so you can imagine how cool I think Sakura Urban Concepts is.  Sakura is Japanese for the "cherry blossom tree," which buds in early April and you can see blossoming trees all over Japan for about two weeks.  It’s incredible to see.  This forward-thinking group is behind a new urban design building in Portland called Shizen, which happens to be Japanese for "nature."  Not only is Shizen going to be a net zero energy building, but it’s going to have sophisticated design, sense of community, and sustainable lifestyle written all over it.  Be sure to check out Shizen’s website!

Green Features:
Shizen_kanji This project is funded, in part, by a grant from Portland’s Office of Sustainable Development (via funds from a Green Investment Fund partnership).  First, the site was home to a famous Portland Bakery, the Helen Bernhard Bakery, so Sakura purchased the property and had the house moved down the street.  The house was renovated and looks pretty good.  By moving the house, 200 tons of material was diverted from the landfill.  The condo will have a 23 kW photovoltaic array that generates roughly 1/3 of Shizen’s annual electricity; a biodiesel fueled microturbine will generate the other 2/3 (and enough to heat domestic hot water and space heating); there will be radiant floors in entries and bathrooms; rain that falls on the roof will flow to a 25,000 gallon cistern under the parking level, and that water will be used for toilet and irrigation water; 60% of Shizen’s energy savings will be through its high mass, well insulated envelope and high efficiency lights and appliances; double-glazed, argon-filled, triple coated low-e windows will allow light and block solar gain in the summer; and the roof will be a r-38 insulation. 

Site Specifics:
Shizen will be located on 1706 NE Schuyler (one block north of Broadway/NE 17th).  There will be 7 units, and construction starts in March 2007.  The total building will have about 15,500 square feet (so average of 2,200 square feet per residence?) and the land site is 7,500 square feet.  Not bad at all…Once you go green, you don’t go back.

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