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 the rest 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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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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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

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

Electronically Tintable Dynamic SageGlass Unveiled at BAU by Saint-Gobain

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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.

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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