This Week in Energy News – February 22, 2013

This week in Jetson Green Energy News, New York City is preparing for the next big storm and a California land rush could result in alternative energy providing the state with 100% of its power needs.

New York City East River Blueway Plan

Proposed: Four Miles of Manhattan’s East River to be Redeveloped with Storm Barrier

WXY Architecture + Urban Design, working with local officials and community groups, has developed the East River Blueway Plan to redevelop a stretch of Manhattan’s waterways to combat storm water surge, calling “for the creation of wetlands, parks, bicycle and pedestrian pathways and bridges, and the redevelopment of a disused beach under the Brooklyn Bridge.”

Toyota Sponsors 4,500 Trees for New York Restoration Project MillionTreesNYC

Founded in 1995 by Bette Midler, the New York Restoration Project (NYRP) has launched the MillionTreesNYC effort, a collaboration with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation and other local organizations that has plans to plant one million trees in New York City by 2017. Toyota has already agreed to sponsor the planting of 4,500 trees towards this year’s annual goal of 15,000.

Renewable Energy Projects in California Could Meet 100% of the State’s Power Needs

A land rush on California’s farming region to plant solar farms adds up to 227 proposed solar projects that, combined with wind and other renewable energy sources, “generate enough electricity to meet 100% of California’s power needs on an average summer day,” the California Independent System Operator says.

Net-Zero Certification Program Launched by EarthCraft Virginia

Currently in a pilot stage, a two-art certification program being designed by EarthCraft Virginia will provide projects and homeowners with “Net-Zero Ready” and “Net-Zero Certified” status for energy-neutral and energy-positive residential buildings. The program is targeted to new construction in the southeastern United States.

National Research Council Report Advises Department of Defense to Continue LEED Efforts

A new report that has been compiled by the United States National Research Council, as requested by Congress, on “the use of energy-efficiency and sustainability standards for military construction,” has reviewed previous efforts by the U.S. Department of Defense to achieve LEED Silver or equivalent ratings in new construction and major renovations and gave them the “thumbs up.”

Renewable Energy Breakthrough Uses Geometry to Trap Solar Power

Researchers at Illinois’ Northwestern University have found a way to triple the period of time that light can be trapped within thin-film photovoltaic cells by “manipulating the arrangement of a polymer layer on an organic solar cell.”

Emerging Technologies Could Affect Building Industry Sustainability Efforts

A list of the most promising technology breakthroughs, released by the World Economic Forum’s Global Council on Emerging Technologies, which are expected to enable humans to deal with problems related to tackle population growth, resource demands, and other sustainability issues, included organic electronics, three-dimensional printing, self-heating materials, and remote sensing.

Public Demonstration of Tiny Houses in Washington D.C. Aims to Change Minds and Regulations

Boneyard Studios, founded by Brian Levy and Lee Pera, has created a community of tiny, movable houses as public demonstration of the trend in residential downsizing, hoping to “encourage changes in local laws to permit smaller, more affordable living options here and on vacant land across the city.”

Changing Business Models to Embrace Sustainability Equates to Increased Profitability

A study conducted by MIT Sloan Management Review and The Boston Consulting Group has revealed that “companies reporting profits from sustainability rose 23 percent in 2012, to 37 percent of the total” and that “that companies in developing countries change their business models as a result of sustainability at a far higher rate than those based in North America, which has the lowest rate of business-model innovation and the fewest business-model innovators.”

Visit link: This Week in Energy News – February 22, 2013

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Caruth Home in Dallas Boasts LEED Gold Features, Blends Seamlessly With Nature

caruth 1

Architect Tom Reisenbichler has designed this gorgeous Caruth Boulevard home located in Dallas, Texas. While the home is recognized for its LEED Gold design, it is also known for bringing an exceptionally luxurious style into green living.

caruth 2

The surrounding trees provided a base for the home design, which uses sharp horizontal lines that reach into the trees and seamlessly blend nature with architecture. The upper balcony is a great spot to relax in the evening, with enough shade from surrounding trees to stay cool during the day.

caruth 3

The open floor plan provides the perfect space for entertaining, and features like photovoltaic solar panels, recycled building materials, and drought-resistant native plants make it a low-impact space that is as contemporary as it is sustainable.

caruth 4

This Week in Energy News – February 15, 2013

This week in Jetson Green Energy News, governments are helping citizens to become more energy efficient and reports have been released that quantify energy development efforts.

NEC Italia and Acea Spa to Develop Storage Systems For Rome Smart Grid Project

NEC Italia and Acea Spa to Develop Storage Systems For Rome Smart Grid Project

NEC has agreed to provide two lithium-ion battery energy storage systems as part of a smart grid project in the Rome metropolitan area.

U.S. Departments of Energy and Treasury Announce $150 Million Energy Credits

Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credits will provide for manufacturing projects that are related to  clean energy and energy efficiency. The tax program aims to strengthen competitiveness, increase energy security, and create new jobs.

North American Energy Independence?

The United States has achieved number one status in natural gas production, which has increased by 27 percent in the last four years, thanks to advances in technology, such as horizontal drilling, that some fuel industry experts speculate could eventually lead to energy independence in North America.

About 40% of 2012 Wind Industry Installations Came Online in December

Based on figures from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Annual Electric Generator Report, 59 new wind projects began commercial operation, for a total of 5,253 MW last December.

Global Photovoltaic Capacity Increased by 30 GW in 2012

The European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) released data that showed an increase in PV capacity by about 30 GB last year, while global solar power capacity exceeded 100 gigawatts for the first time.

EU Approves £600 Million for UK Energy Efficiency Program

The United Kingdom’s Green Deal program helps homeowners to invest in energy-efficient improvements by allowing loans to be repaid through energy bills.

Egypt May Look to Wind and Solar for Economic Sustainability

Citing several sources, Inspired Economist suggests that Egypt could focus on sustainable economic development. For instance, by 2014, 750 MW of wind power projects are slated to come online and a new solar thermal plant development has utility-scape potential.

2013 State of Green Business Report Released

The sixth annual edition of State of Green Business Report includes data on 1,600 companies worldwide and the U.S.-based S&P 500. Download it for free, and check out the Top Trends section to see projections on the world of sustainable business.

Online DOE Database Reports on Worldwide Ocean Energy Development

The US Department of Energy (DOE) launched Tethys, an online database that contains “results of environmental monitoring and research efforts on wave, tidal, and current energy development worldwide” that is expected to “help industry regulators and energy project developers deploy sustainable ocean energy projects in an environmentally responsible manner,” according to a DOE Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE) news release.

London’s Hydrogen Fuel Network Expands

New fuel stations, a roll-out of a 700-bar delivery system, and upgrades to transport for the main hydrogen fuel station moves London closer to a fully-integrated hydrogen fuel network.

Read more: This Week in Energy News – February 15, 2013

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InterModal Design Ships Prefab Homes Worldwide

Shipping Container Modular Home External outdoors

Shipping Container Modular Home External outdoors

A subsidiary of Hive Modular, InterModal Design, manufactures durable, prefabricated homes from recycled shipping containers that can be shipped almost anywhere in the world. Shipping container shelters from InterModal Design (IMD) can be used for off-the grid living as primary residence, guest house, or office space. Dwellings can be built out with essential comforts such as kitchen space, a living room that can be transformed into a sleeping area, and bathroom facilities.

With a 3-in-1 structure, the IMD home maximizes the space of the container, creating a single structure with multiple functions. Chairs can be stored flat and a bed and table are installed in a drop-down fashion to be stowed away when not in use.

Shipping Container Modular Home double story

Shipping Container Modular Home double story

Several units are available, with pricing and details in spreadsheets on the IMD website, starting at US$35,000. Upgrades can be requested and custom projects are billed at $100 per hour. You cover costs of site preparation, delivery, and setup, with many areas requiring building permits for additional costs.

While you must assume responsibility for compliance with your local jurisdiction code ordinances for container usage, InterModal Design is available to assist with modifications to containers and designs to bring it to code.

Shipping Container Modular Home Design

Shipping Container Modular Home Design

Each standard plan includes basic furnishings, plumbing and electrical, but check the spec sheets for details on specific finishes to determine your need for upgrades. As your container home is being built, you can prepare your site, set the foundation, and hookup any necessary utilities. Delivery may require a crane and set crew. IMD will assist you in determining the best solutions for foundations and installation.

All products from IMD come with a 1-year warranty, honoring any state-required home warranties in the United States beyond that period of time.

Shipping Container Modular Home internal diagram

Shipping Container Modular Home internal diagram

Shipping Container 2 story home

Shipping Container 2 story home

Shipping Container Modular Home External outdoors

Shipping Container Modular Home External outdoors

Prefab Norris House in Tennessee is a Living Lab for Energy and Water Use

New Norris House

Since 1933, the Tennessee Valley Authority community of Norris, Tennessee has showcased a variety of prefabricated houses with modern amenities such as electricity, heat, and indoor plumbing that were quite rare in Appalachia.

Today, the same community hosts the New Norris House, which showcases the principles of affordable sustainable living. The 1,006-square-foot prefab cottage is proudly exceeding LEED-Platinum standards by 30%, utilizing sunlight and rainwater to focus on self-reliance and conservation. The house uses 50% less energy than other homes in the area and requires no fossil fuels to run.

New Norris House

The demonstration home was created by a team of University of Tennessee-Knoxville College of Architecture + Design students and faculty members, who used passive solar design and ventilation to maintain comfortable temperatures during all seasons. Natural daylight was an important consideration for the design, and a retractable awning on the southern side controls the amount of heat distributed throughout the home in summer and winter. A solar hot water panel and tankless electric water heater work together to maintain water temperatures, and about 85% of roof runoff is used for toilet flushing, laundry, and irrigation.

Milan’s Bosco Verticale On Track to Become World’s First Vertical Forest

Bosco Verticale Forest

Milan, Italy is one of Europe’s most polluted cities, its air quality frequently breaching safety limits set by the EU and causing city officials to install a ventilation system in 2009 in an effort to reduce damage to Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper that resides in the Santa Maria delle Grazie church. In 2003, a medical study compared breathing air in Milan to smoking almost a pack of cigarettes each day. On top of that, there is less space dedicated to vegetation in Milan than any other Italian city.

Short on space for increasing the presence of greenery, the city turned to architect Stefano Boeri to create the world’s first vertical forests, incorporated into the “Bosco Verticale” apartment towers, currently under construction and nearing completion.

Bosco Verticale Build

The two residential towers, which are part of a rehabilitation project in the historic district between Via De Island Castillia and Confalonieri, loom 111 meters and 78 meters and will be home to over 900 trees that cover nearly 9,000 square meters of terrace space. They are 24 floors and 17 floors high with combined capacity for 730 trees, 5,000 shrubs, and 11,000 plants.

In addition to producing oxygen, mitigating smog, and providing an ecosystem for insects and birds, the trees and plants on the terraces will help to cool the apartments and reduce the energy costs for air-conditioning, especially when summers in Milan can get hotter than 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

The vertical forest idea has inspired a social housing tower in Spain, called the Torre Huerta, and a “Flower Tower” in Paris that features nearly 400 bamboo plants on its ledges.

Bosco Verticale External

Bosco Verticale Forest Build

Bosco Verticale Build -1

The Month in Review: January 2013

Here are some of the top stories in eco news for the month of January, 2013.

Fiscal Cliff Deal in United States Extends Biofuel Incentives

In Green Car News, the United States Senate signed off on a budget agreement that was designed to avoid the “fiscal cliff” and has been the center of debate. For the biofuel industry and green vehicle proponents, the good news is that biofuel initiatives from the 2008 Farm Bill will be extended, which should help to save jobs and reduce dependency on foreign oil.

Transocean Agrees to Pay $1.4 Billion in Fines and Penalties for 2010 Oil Spill Disaster

The United States Department of Justice announced that Transocean had agreed to pay civil and criminal fines and penalties for its part in the 2010 oil spill disaster, Deepwater Horizon, under a federal court settlement.

Warren Buffet Makes Solar Energy Deal

Two California SunPower solar photovoltaic power plant projects have been acquired by Warren Buffett’s MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company for over $2 billion, adding to its solar energy portfolio that includes the 550-megawatt Topaz Solar Farms in San Luis County, California and a 290-megawatt solar power plant in Yuma, Arizona.

Winners Announced for 2013 Green Car Technology Award

The Mazda SkyACTIV was awarded the winner of the 2013 Green Car Technology Award at the Washington Auto Show on January 31, 2013. Nominees that were recognized in Green Car Journal  as the ‘Top 10 Green Car Technologies for 2013′ included Fiat MultiAir; Fisker EVer Powertrain; Ford Auto Stop-Start, EcoBoost, and Energi technologies; Honda Eco Assist; Mazda SkyACTIV; Nissan Easy-Fill Tire Alert; Tesla Powertrain; and Toyota RAV4 EV Powertrain.

U.S. Green Building Council Lists Top 10 States for LEED

Based on 2010 U.S. Census data, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) annual list of the top 10 states for new LEED certifications in 2012 includes regions that are transforming buildings and communities across the country. Washington, D.C. takes the number one spot, followed by Virginia, Colorado, and Massachusetts.

Los Angeles Deploys LED Street Lights to Save Millions

The Los Angeles Bureau of Street Lighting published an update on the status of a project aimed at converting street lighting to energy efficient LEDs. The report states that 114,067 units have been replaced, which will result in $5,325,793 electricity savings per year, a savings of 63.3% over the high-pressure sodium (HPS) street lights.

Related Articles on JetsonGreen.com:

  1. Solar PV Install Costs Continue to Drop
  2. New Venue for Solar Decathlon 2013
  3. Top-10 Products from BuildingGreen [2013]

See the original post here: The Month in Review: January 2013

Japanese Home Offers a Minimalist Design With Natural, Earthen Floors

Low-Carbon Concrete Products to be Developed by Atlas Block and CarbonCure

Atlas Concrete Carbon Neutral Block

Atlas Block, a manufacturer of concrete products based in Ontario, has signed a licensing agreement with CarbonCure, an emerging leader in science-based concrete technology for green building, to manufacture low-carbon concrete that will significantly reduce the carbon footprint of the concrete industry.

Several months have been spent testing the bolt-on technology from CarbonCure at the Atlas Block Hillsdale plant. The method sequesters carbon dioxide into the concrete during the manufacturing process. CO2 waste is consumed during concrete production to transform it into solid limestone, thus creating a better concrete product.

“This could transform the entire concrete industry,” said Don Gordon, CEO of Atlas Block. “I’ve been in this industry many years. This is easily the most exciting technological improvement I’ve seen.” Concrete is responsible for approximately 5 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions as the most widely used construction material.

Several major firms are beginning to spec the Atlas Block products, including B+H Architects. “B+H Architects is so impressed with the environmental sustainability of this technology that Atlas Block with CarbonCure products will be exclusively specified on all new products,” said Matthew Roberts of B+H Architects.

Atlas Block joins CarbonCure distributors, The Shaw Group of Nova Scotia, and Basalite Concrete Products of Dixon, California to meet the global demand for innovative green building materials.

Atlas Concrete Production

http://youtu.be/K9wupS_hESA

Related Articles on JetsonGreen.com:

  1. Strong Greener Concrete with CarbonCure
  2. Omni Block is an Insulated Concrete Block
  3. Top-10 Products from BuildingGreen [2013]

The rest is here: Low-Carbon Concrete Products to be Developed by Atlas Block and CarbonCure

O+A Architecture Builds Pavilion Out of Recycled Shipping Containers in Amsterdam

This recycled shipping container stage was created by architecture studio O+A in celebration of Amsterdam’s Over het IJ theatre festival’s 20th anniversary. Made of locally sourced materials, the containers have been retrofitted to create a temporary space designed for live artistic performances.

The repurposed containers were used as building blocks, creating a lasting impression for visitors with its overwhelmingly large scale. The horizontally stacked containers were used as pop-up stores, platforms, and even a restaurant, featuring long tables and a corrugated bar.

The three-dimensional checkerboard structure provides indoor and outdoor space that is raw yet cozy, the perfect combination for architecture enthusiasts and festival visitors who need a space to relax after a long day of festivities.