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Michigan Home Skystream Video, Small Wind Benefits

Michigan Skystream

The Skystream here cost about $13k (including installation) and is intended to provide roughly 30-70% of the home’s energy, depending on weather conditions.  The video is interesting in that it shows the community reaction to the turbine: they love it.  Skystream turbines are good for places that have more than 1/2 acre of land and zoning that allows structures more than 42 feet tall.  Experts say the system should pay for itself over time, even without Michigan incentives.  Also visit the Skystream website. 

Hamiltons Castle House Will Blow Your Top Off (S2)

Turbines

This incredible design scheme is Castle House by Hamiltons of London.  Located at Elephant and Castle, the project will have two buildings: the 43 story tower with 3 nine meter diameter wind turbines at the top and the 5 story pavilion building on the side.  I’m not really sure what stage of development the project is in, but it was supposed to start in mid- to late-2006.  With completion projected for 2009, the residential project is targeting an "excellent" rating under the EcoHomes certification system.  When complete, Castle House will have 310 apartments comprising 247,500 sf and retail units on the ground level.  More images and modeling below the jump.  Via WAN + WAN

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Michael Jantzen's Solar Wind Pavilion Design Proposal

Solar Wind Pavilion

Our built environment should integrate clean tech and renewable energy generation of all forms and this is an example of that concept.  Michael Jantzen proposed a design for California State University at Fullerton that would turn the everyday gathering pavilion into a discussion on sustainability.  The pavilion could serve as the gathering place for up to 300 people.  From the images, notice the wind turbine and the solar panels on the roof.  Towering into the air at 150 feet tall, any energy harvested from the turbine and solar panels could be used by the university.  Inside, there’s a cylindrical digital projection display screen, roof-mounted fogging nozzles to cool the interior, and benches that can be stored inside the floor when not in use.  I think it’s an excellent idea, especially because students always want a place to gather and hang.  Why not here?  Via WAN + HumanShelter.org

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Top 3 Ways to Green a Property's Energy Mix

Top 3

With all this discussion about the Senate Energy bill and renewable energy, I thought it was time to kick in and enunciate the ways property owners can elect to greenify, greenize, or make clean by going green, their property’s energy mix.  Generally speaking, there’s wind, solar, biomass, small hydro, and geothermal–all of which are considered ‘green.’  But there’s also nuclear, which is not green because of the radioactive waste; coal, which is not green because of the GHG issue; and natural gas, which burns cleaner than coal but also has GHG issues.  The American grid relies on all these sources of energy, some more than others, and governmental regulations will impact the way the game is played.  Nevertheless, here are three things that a building owner can do now to greenify the energy mix. 

  1. Purchase Grid Connected Green Power from Participating Suppliers – roughly 600 regulated utilities offer green power.  Here, it’s a matter of getting in touch with the right utility company that can service your property and setting up a purchase of green power.  It might be a little more expensive…
  2. Install On-site Green Power Generation – there’s been some talk of a federal "net-metering" standard, but until that point, we’re dealing with a piece-meal system of net-metering.  Check your locality.  Netmetering allows you to send excess electricity into the grid and run the meter backwards.  It feels good when the bills are low.  Every building is different, so one must be diligent to determine what green energy source would work for your location. 
  3. Purchase Renewable Energy Certifications (REC) – this discussion can get rather detailed, so I’m not going to get into this, but we’re talking about offsets here.  All I can say is be careful about who you choose to buy these things from.  If you’re careful, you can make sure the money actually goes to support investments in the right kind of green power.  I’d even suggest exhausting #1 and #2 before working with this alternative. 

Again, location to location, some green energy sources are better than others.  Be smart about it.  These three steps apply to all types of buildings (residential, commercial, etc.).  Also, remember the cardinal rule of energy usage:  conserve first, green second, offset third.  Also, check this incredible article in Buildings magazine called "Green Power’s Future is Now."  It’s an excellent article and what I used to frame this post.  Img.

The Science Barge by New York Sun Works

Energy1k

This is unusual, but incredible, in a weird way.  The Science Barge is a sustainable urban farm powered by solar, wind, and biofuels, and irrigated by rainwater and purified river water.  It’s a mobile illustration of growing food in the city with no pollution or carbon emissions.  Check the solar panels and small wind turbines.  I’m thinking this is another illustration of the savvy behind solar and wind power for residential use.  Via Archidose.

TheScienceBarge

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. 

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