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.”

See more here: This Week in Energy News – February 22, 2013

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Emigration Canyon Home is First Recipient of LEED Silver Green Home Certification

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Located in Utah’s Emigration Canyon just north of Salt Lake City, this contemporary 2,500 square foot home was designed for a family with small children by Sparano + Mooney Architecture. It provides breathtaking canyon views from every angle, and is the first recipient of the LEED Silver green home certification thanks to sustainable materials and energy-efficient qualities.

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The main living room consists of a 30-foot operable wall that transforms it into an outdoor room, and cor-ten steel cladding mixed with board-formed wood textured concrete create a modern, low maintenance interior that maintains a natural style. The lower level is an open, flexible design, ideal to be used as an art studio, playroom, home office, or entertainment room.

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Solatube skylights maximize the use of natural light, and an in-floor radiant system provides energy-efficient heat during cold Utah winters. The surrounding landscape complements the architecture with native, drought-resistant plants that provide a seamless transition between the cozy home and rustic canyon surroundings.

Read more here: Emigration Canyon Home is First Recipient of LEED Silver Green Home Certification

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Malta Home Maximizes a Small Lot With Cantilevered Design

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Located on the tiny island of Malta, this sustainable home by Chris Briffa Architects was designed on a lot only 250 square meters in size. The green-roofed, energy-efficient Hanging Home has turned into a significant design challenge, incorporating the small space with eco-friendly features into this modern yet traditional home.

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In order to bypass the zoning challenges of the small lot, nearly half of the house is cantilevered over the outdoor space, with portions of the living and dining rooms literally floating over the outdoor pool on a slab of concrete.

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The home uses low-energy radiant floor heating to stay warm in the winter, and stays cool in the summer through natural ventilation. The design allows for plenty of natural daylight and cross ventilation, keeping energy use at a minimum. Overall, the natural materials and strategic design provide a sustainable, energy-efficient home that is simple, stylish, and comfortable.

Shipping Container Home for Orphans Inspires Environmental Awareness

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Located on a 26,000 square meter agricultural smallholding in Midrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, the New Jerusalem Children’s Home aims “to become one of the best children’s homes in Africa in the provision of holistic and integrated quality care to orphaned, abandoned, abused, traumatised, vulnerable and HIV positive children.” Founded in 2000 by two sisters, Anna and Phina Mojapelo, the current facilities include nurseries, dormitories, a communal kitchen and dining area, a crèche, a Montessori preschool, play area, and a permaculture vegetable garden.

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4D and A Architects worked with New Jerusalem to develop new housing and facilities and settled on the use of recycled shipping containers instead of the traditional brick and mortar option. In a heart-touching news story about the Home, broadcast by local news station, SABC, a reporter and cameramen visited after the first phase of the shipping container home project was completed.

The resulting structure is environmentally-friendly, after the architect, Sean Wall, and his team solved problems of waterproofing, the installation of a functional sanitation system, and providing for adequate insulation, while achieving a colorful, livable aesthetic and “environmentally pleasant” solution. The project was entirely funded by donations and houses thirty of the eighty children in the Home.

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The children who live here are mostly discarded at birth, and there was some resistance to the shipping container idea, as Anna and Phina were uncomfortable about putting abused and orphaned children in containers. However, the new structure has inspired the children into participating in keeping the area clean and recycling, even going so far as to call it a “five-star hotel.”

Adrienne Feldner, of organizational sponsor, Orange Babies, says, “I think it’s awful for the children to always be the recipients, to always be on the receiving end of charity and never to be in a position to give.” She says that the children’s involvement in the environmental concerns of the Home has “given them a sense of dignity.”

All developments of New Jerusalem are centered on the education of the children, as well as the protection of their environment.

If you are inspired to help the New Jerusalem Home to continue in their efforts, their website’s Get Involved page calls for volunteers, a wish list of needed items, and methods for donations. Orange Babies, a non-profit that sponsors New Jerusalem with food, medication, and baby things, accepts donations and sponsorships. The BackaBuddy website has a “donate now” button to facilitate online donations to specific causes, including the New Jerusalem Children’s Home.

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More: Shipping Container Home for Orphans Inspires Environmental Awareness

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University of Wyoming’s Biodiversity Institute Achieves LEED Gold Status

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The University of Wyoming’s Berry Biodiversity Conservation Center has been awarded LEED Gold certification for a variety of sustainable building features.

The university is home to Laramie’s only living roof, and is known for sustainable features including locally sourced building materials, native or adapted landscape vegetation, natural air ventilation, and building exhaust energy recovery.

The Berry Center is a 44,000 square foot building located in the northwest corner of campus, housing multiple groups and individuals that study animals, plants, and other organisms. The space contains laboratories, archive facilities, four classrooms, and office space for faculty and grad students.

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“It’s fitting that a bunch of scientists interested in biodiversity conservation should work inside a green building, because sustainable building practices support our goal,” says Dorothy Tuthill, building administrator and associate director of the Biodiversity Institute. “We use the Berry Center as a teaching tool. We can show that green building features not only reduce human impacts on the natural world, but that the outdoor space, including our native-prairie green roof, can actually enhance biodiversity in an urban environment.”

A few notable sustainability features include racks to hold 140 bicycles, low-flow showers in changing facilities, low-emitting wood, paints, carpets, adhesives, and sealants, vast use of natural daylight, low-flow faucets and toilets, and the 3,600 square foot green roof.

Here is the original post: University of Wyoming’s Biodiversity Institute Achieves LEED Gold Status

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Rieteiland House Offers Energy Efficiency and Beautiful Panoramic Sunset Views

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The Rieteiland House in Amsterdam, The Netherlands is a breathtaking piece of architecture created by Hans van Heeswijk Architects.

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Designed on a newly established island’s plot of land, the box-like design features three floors and a basement with panoramic views of the beautiful surrounding landscape. The street-facing facade is clad in aluminum siding with sections that open up to display windows, and the water-facing side is made completely of glass and sliding doors. Each level has a panoramic view toward the west, the water, and the park, offering sunset views from every level.

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Special attention has been given to the sustainability features of this home, including some of the furniture, which was custom-made to accommodate the design. Thermal energy storage, a cold and heat pump, and solar collectors are all used to maximize energy efficiency and cut down on the home’s footprint.

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Source and images via Contemporist.com

Read more here: Rieteiland House Offers Energy Efficiency and Beautiful Panoramic Sunset Views

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Prefab Fishers Island House Steps Up the Modern Modular to Luxury Vacation Living

Fisher Island Pre Fab House

Recently published by Resolution: 4 Architecture, this time lapse video shows how builders stacked thirteen prefabricated boxes to create this stunning six bedroom, five bathroom home in Fisher’s Island, New York.

For a total size of 4,469 square feet, the private vacation home resides on a wooded lot from which residents can gaze upon either side of Fishers Island, just off the coast of New London, Connecticut. Its UK-based inhabitants entertain family and friends here during holidays and summer months, sleeping dozens of guests.

The structure features a media room, a bunk room, two-car garage, guest suite, workshop.

Outdoor amenities include a screened porch, fireplace, shower, and  kitchen.

Environmentally friendly features include a solar photovoltaic system with solar hot water system, a green roof, grass pavers, and a 96% energy-efficient boiler.

Inside, you’ll find bamboo floors, maple cabinets, aluminum-clad wood windows with Low E insulated glass, Caesarstone countertops, and slate bathroom floors.

The exterior of the building is made of T&G cedar siding, Azek infill panels, IPE decking, and cement board panels.

Fisher Island Pre Fab House Night

With a design by Joseph Tanney and Robert Luntz of Resolution: 4 Architecture, the project architects for this home were Paul Coughlin and Brendan Miller, with manufacture by Simplex Industries and contracting by BD Remodeling & Restoration. Interior decoration and furniture was designed by David Bentheim.

Fisher Island Pre Fab House

 

Follow this link: Prefab Fishers Island House Steps Up the Modern Modular to Luxury Vacation Living

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This Week in Energy News – February 8, 2013

German PV Installations Set New Record

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The Federal Network Agency of Germany (Bundesnetzagentur) photovoltaic solar (PV) installation counts that set new records at 7.6 GW of PV power plants installed and connected to the grid.

First Solar Acquires New Mexico Solar Power Project

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The 50-megawatt solar power project First Solar has acquired from the solar division of Element Power is billed as the state’s largest and raises questions about solar energy as a commodity.

Siemens Energy Launches New Offshore Wind Turbine

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With a generating capacity of four megawatts and a rotor diameter of 130, the new design was launched at at the annual conference of the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) in Vienna.

NRG Solar Starts Operation of Alpine Solar Generating Station

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NRG Energy, Inc. announced its 66-megawatt (AC) photovoltaic facility has started commercial operation, which is now California’s largest fully operational solar plant.

New Australian Proposal for Solar Use on Public Housing

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Western Australia Greens have announced their $68 million plan for the installation of solar PV panels on roofs of public housing homes and apartments

Scotland to Invest in Low Carbon Action Plan

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The Scottish Government announced plans to invest over $1.8 billion in the next three years on climate change strategies with goals to “cut carbon emissions from electricity generation by more than four-fifths by 2030.”

Spain Breaks Wind Farm Energy Record

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The Spanish Wind Energy Association says that Spain’s wind farms produced more electricity than other power sources, delivering over 6 terawatt hours during January.

Minnesota Utilities to Phase Out Coal Plants

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Minnesota Power, the state’s second-largest utility, will be phasing out coal production at two facilities and the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission ordered Otter Tail Power to stoop burning coal at one of their plants.

UK Investing in Wind Farms

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The UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is investing £50m on six wind farms through a stake in a renewable energy fund.

See the article here: This Week in Energy News – February 8, 2013

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Golden Gate Valley Library Reaches LEED Gold Status

Golden Gate Valley Library

When the Golden Gate Valley Library of San Francisco was renovating and updating to accommodate the Americans with Disabilities Act, the organization figured it was also time to green up the space and achieve LEED Silver for Commercial Interiors status. The building has since reached LEED Gold status.

Tom Eliot Fisch and Paulett Taggart Architects worked together on the project, performing a number of eco-friendly upgrades. Rather than adding a ramp or addition to the street-facing exterior, the team used a courtyard on the side of the building for a contemporary style, wheelchair-accessible glass and aluminum elevator.

The team also replaced windows with the most access to sunlight with high-performance glazing to reduce solar heat gain, and restored and cleaned the rest for added efficiency while maintaining the historical structure. They also added in a high efficiency mechanical system and energy efficient lighting to reduce energy use while improving comfort for visitors. Low flow faucets reduce water use, and low VOC paints and finishes improve air quality. Existing furniture was restored, and a photovoltaic rooftop system meets 25% of the energy demand.

To top it all off there is also an improved bike parking area, a new teen area, and improved accessibility for visitors with disabilities. The reservations, completed in 2011, have received several awards for its sustainable preservation of the building, originally built in 1918.

Related Articles on JetsonGreen.com:

  1. Affordable LEED Homes Open in San Jose
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  3. LEED Platinum Condos at Primera Terra

Excerpt from: Golden Gate Valley Library Reaches LEED Gold Status

Shoal Bay House Offers a Minimalist Retreat Along Hawkes Bay

This gorgeous, minimalist Shoal Bay House by Parsonson Architects is a modestly designed, attractive home that is the perfect spot to enjoy a weekend retreat with family or friends. It is located on the east coast of southern Hawkes Bay, a great place to enjoy the beaches of New Zealand.

It is made of two interconnected gabled structures, one for bedrooms and another for living space. The house is lifted off the ground, which maximizes interior space by providing extra room to store kayaks, bikes, and beach equipment. The home is constructed of responsibly-sourced wood, uses a wood-burning stove to stay warm, and heats the water through solar power.

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Decks are located at each end of the living space, providing the perfect spot to view both the sunrise and sunset.

This sustainable getaway house was one of HOME Magazine’s Home of the Year Finalists in 2009, and won a NZIA Local Award in 2010. For more photos and details, please visit p-a-co.nz.

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Shoal Bay House Exterior

Parsonson Architects

Related Articles on JetsonGreen.com:

  1. Japanese Home Offers a Minimalist Design With Natural, Earthen Floors
  2. Doe Bay Cottage Prefab on Orcas Island
  3. Passive House Retreat in Rhode Island

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