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.
- Massachusetts Power Plants to Pay Emissions Penalties: State Rejoins a Northeast Greenhouse Gas Initiative – Massachusetts power plant owners will have to pay a penalty for every pound of emissions that contribute to global warming under an agreement signed by Governor Deval Patrick yesterday that is expected to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for an ambitious energy conservation and renewable energy program.
- Green Schools the Hottest Market for Green Building According to McGraw-Hill Construction’s Latest Report – MHC found that the education sector is the fastest-growing market for green building, good news for the industry, given that education construction (at the K-12 and university levels) is the largest construction sector, by value, at $53 billion for 2007.
- Wind Farm Building Boom to Continue in 2007: Wind Power Capacity in the U.S. Grew 27% Last Year – The U.S. now has enough installed wind power capacity (11,603 megawatts) to power between 3 million and 3.5 million homes, which reduces annual greenhouse gas emissions by 23 million tons of carbon dioxide. The number of homes relying on electricity produced by wind energy will rise to nearly 4.5 million by year’s end if the AWEA’s forecast is accurate.
- The U.S. Climate Action Partnership: Big Businesses and Eco-Advantage – The companies in the U.S. Climate Action Partnership are Alcoa, BP America, DuPont, Caterpillar, General Electric, Duke Energy, Lehman Brothers, PG&E, PNM Resources and FPL. These big businesses have a goal help the U.S. create public policy that would act aggressively and sustainably to slow, stop, and reverse the growth of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. See also NRDC.
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?
The fact of the matter is, if you’re going to build green buildings, you gotta have green materials. And green building is getting easier because demand is increasing and creating innovative green products to fit all varieties of projects. There are different angles to take with a sustainable project and it’s not all about energy efficiency. You’ll want to look at everything. I like to think in terms of consumption. What are you consuming and how much of it are you consuming? Is the building water efficient? What does it do with waste (such as recycling)? Does waste equal food (C2C)? Did you have to ship it across the world to procure it? What’s the indoor air quality of the building? How does it look and feel? Did you benefit the community by buying the materials, paying the laborers, or building the project?
To make life a little easier, there’s the GreenSpec Directory, which includes more than 2,100 green product listings. It’s a veritable idea bank ($89.90). To give you a taste of what some of the products are, BuildingGreen announced the Top-10 Green Building Products during GreenBuild in November. Here they are. I’ve linked to the BuildingGreen product information and used "(company)" for the corporate website link. BuildingGreen doesn’t receive money from these companies for placing a product in the GreenSpec Directory, so the information is totally objective in that regard.
- Polished Concrete System from RetroPlate (company)
- Underwater Standing Timber Salvage by Triton Logging (company)
- PaperStone Certified Composite Surface Material by Klip Tech Composites, Inc. (company)
- Varia + "100 Percent" Recycled-content Panel Products by 3Form, Inc. (company)
- Recycled-content Interior Molding by Timbron International (company)
- SageGlass Tintable Glazing by Sage Electrochromics (company)
- Water-efficient Showerhead with H20kinetic Technology by Delta (company)
- WeatherTRAK Smart Irrigation Controls by HydroPoint Data Systems, Inc. (company)
- Coolerado Cooler Advanced, Indirect Evaporative Air Conditioner by Coolerado, LLC (company)
- Renewable Energy Credits from Community Energy, Inc. (company)
If you have an experience with any of these products, feel free to drop a comment so all the readers can benefit. Once you go green, you never go back!