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.”

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

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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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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

 

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Elegant Grass Lamp Provides Light for Home and Hydroponic Vegetation

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.

Electronically Tintable Dynamic SageGlass Unveiled at BAU by Saint-Gobain

Sage Glass transition stage 1

SAGE Electrochromics, which was recently acquired to become a wholly owned subsidiary of Saint-Gobain of Paris, is demonstrating its newly developed advanced dynamic glass that it calls “SageGlass” at the 2013 BAU, the “World’s Leading Trade Fair for Architecture, Materials, Systems” in Munich.

SageGlass is electronically tintable to allow for modulation of light, glare, and solar heat gain. With the push of a button, or by of building automation systems or the proprietary SageClass control system, the glass can alter the solar heat gain and visible light transmission. Providing for efficient and flexible control of exterior light, SageGlass replaces blinds and motorized window shades that block light coming through windows, curtain walls, and skylights.

Sage Glass stage 2

Using a patented technology, the glazing level of SageGlass tint is dynamically controllable from 2% to 62% of light transmittance while maintaining transparency so that outdoor views are unobstructed to maximize energy efficiency while improving the comfort  and productivity of building occupants and increasing the value of the building.

Sage Glass Stage 3

According to a recent press release, SageGlass tint achieves this by managing “solar heat with a g value varying from 0.42 in its clearest state to 0.05 in the darkest state (values for a DGU with a Ug value of 1.1 W/m2.k).” The SageGlass dedicated automatic control system enables the tint to automatically adapt to outdoor luminance.

“BAU will be a terrific opportunity to showcase SageGlass’s impact on daylight and sun heat for the first time to the German market,” said SAGE SAINT-GOBAIN Europe, Director of Marketing and Sales, Kirk Ratzel.

Sage glass tint triple pane glass

Motion Detecting BugPlug Powers Off Gadgets to Save Electricity

BugPlug Energy Saving Device

Many of our home devices are wasting electricity when they are consuming power in standby mode.  Some of these gadgets don’t even have an on/off switch and you have to unplug it or connect it to a power strip that you can turn off.

It might only be a few watts, but add up all of the phantom power consumed in your home and you might be motivated to find a way to save electricity costs. Some estimates put the power usage of standby devices at ten percent of total consumption. Heat generated from devices can limit their lifespan and require your air conditioning systems to work harder.

The solution? Reduce your carbon footprint and your power bill by turning off standby devices whenever possible.

While there are automatic shutdown sockets available, the BugPlug solves the problem of leaking electricity in a fun and attractive package.

BugPlug Design and features

This innovative little bug will help you save on electricity drains of stand-by devices, turning them off when you’re not in the room. Polish design team Ah&Oh Studio, Magda Kalek and Kamil Jerzykowski, created the Bug Plug for the 2009 Greener Gadget Competition.

The design was influenced by urban vinyl toys and features motion sensors built in to the two antennaes. When you enter the room the BugPlug is monitoring, it powers on the devices that you have connected to it. The BugPlug has a detachable power cord that can be used with a variety of plugs.

When you leave the room, the timer powers off the devices after a period of time that you configure. Adjust the timer in the BugPlug’s belly button for up to thirty minutes after the BugPlug notices there is nobody in the room.

Until the BugPlug goes into production, there are a wide variety of products available that include automatic shutdown features and timers. I found several options on Amazon, including surge protectors and devices with built-in timers, by searching keywords: automatic shutdown, auto shut-off

What are you doing in your home and office to reduce energy consumption from standby devices?

BugPlug how it works

BugPlug design how it works

BugPlug Single Bug

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.

Seadrift Residence is a Zero-Energy Home With Natural, Stylish Features

Seadrift Home

This Seadrift Residence home by CCS Architecture in San Francisco may not look out of the ordinary for a modern lakehouse, but this sleek and stylish 1,900 square foot home is as environmentally friendly as it is stylish.

The middle of the living space consists of a rotating fire orb that is designed to distribute warmth equally throughout the room. The generous amount of wood throughout the home gives a natural, inviting look while providing plenty of natural insulation.

Seadrift Home Internal

Some of the environmental benefits of this home include the photovoltaic roof that provides solar energy, smart heating technology that reduces energy consumption, efficient lighting fixtures that are still aesthetically pleasing, and an innovative low-flow water management system. All of these features turn the Seadrift Residence into a zero-energy home that does not sacrifice the environment for style.

For more photos and information on the architects of this beautiful beach home in Stinson Beach, California, visit CSS-Architecture.com.

Seadrift Home External

Seadrift Home Internal

Related Articles on JetsonGreen.com:

  1. Celo Residence Connects with Nature
  2. Vivint Upgrades Home Energy Offering
  3. Stylish Greenfab Home Unveiled in Seattle

See more here: Seadrift Residence is a Zero-Energy Home With Natural, Stylish Features

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Empowerhome – The Sustainable Net-Zero Home of the Future


Empowerhome - The Sustainable Net-Zero Home of the Future

The Empowerhouse, a home that produces all of its own energy, has just been built in a Washington D.C. neighborhood. It was designed by students at the New School and Stevens Institute of Technology as part of a Solar Decathlon design competition, which partnered with the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development. This made one of the competition’s homes a reality for the first time ever.

This “net-zero” home consists of a bright, bold exterior, with an interior built out of recycled materials and receives plenty of natural light. The exterior contains stormwater management systems that help control heavy runoff impacting polluted rivers. Each unit has a terrace with a green roof and small agriculture plot, with a rain garden in the rear that captures rainwater escaping from the roof gardens. There is also an underground cistern that collects rainwater and uses it to water the property.

Empowerhome - The Sustainable Net-Zero Home of the Future

The parking space is made of permeable pavers, allowing stormwater to sink into the soil. It is also placed on D.C.’s first residential green street, which contains a trough full of dirt and plants that soak up street runoff and absorb oily pollutants.

Empowerhome - The Sustainable Net-Zero Home of the Future

The house is a shining example of how sustainable, affordable housing is possible, even in inner-city neighborhoods. Now that Habitat for Humanity is involved as well, it is likely that more of these homes will be popping up around the country.