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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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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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.

Elegant Grass Lamp Provides Light for Home and Hydroponic Vegetation

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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Mehoopany Wind Farm Now in Full Commercial Operation

Mehoopany Wind Farm Windmill Farm

BP Wind Energy and Sempra U.S. Gas and Power announced in early January 2013 that their $250 million wind farm project in Pennsylvania has gone into full commercial operation. The Mehoopany Wind Farm, located about twenty miles northwest of Scranton, is the state’s largest wind project.

“This is a great project all the way around,” said Sempra US Gas & Power president and CEO, Jeffrey W. Martin. “The State of Pennsylvania has been a recognized leader in providing critical fuels to help grow our nation’s economy for over a century. This project continues in that proud tradition by harnessing clean, sustainable wind energy that will benefit mid-Atlantic customers for decades to come.”

Mehoopany Wind Farm Installation

Each of the 88 GE xle wind turbine generators on the farm has a rated capacity of 1.6 megawatts (MW). All together, they should produce about 141 MW of electricity. Long-term power purchase agreements, made possible by the National Renewables Cooperative Organization, are in place with Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative, Inc. and Old Dominion Electric Cooperative.

“Today’s announcement is an important milestone that marks yet another success for the BP and Sempra US Gas & Power teams that have worked so hard to deliver this project into full commercial operation,” said BP Wind Energy president and CEO, John Graham, in a recent press release. “We appreciate the on-going support that we have received at both the state and local level and look forward to a long-term partnership in the community.”

Mehoopany Wind Farm

In addition to the contribution to the power supply in the region, the project created more than 400 jobs during the course of construction and about 10-15 permanent employees will be needed to maintain and monitor the facility, which will be operated by a wholly-owned affiliate of BP Wind Energy.

In the last five years, BP has made more investments in the United States than any other oil and gas company, investing more in the United States than in other countries. Since 2005, about $8 billion of BP Alternative Energy investments have gone towards alternative energy development. US BP Wind Energy has interests in sixteen wind farms that are located in nine states with a gross generating capacity of around 2,600 MW.

Mehoopany Wind Farm windmill

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.

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Excerpt from: Golden Gate Valley Library Reaches LEED Gold Status

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

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

Roundhouse Garden Buildings Inspired by Yurts

Rotunda Tiny House

Rotunda Living, a small home builder based in the United Kingdom, has designed some small, contemporary round houses inspired by nature’s shapes and elements. They look like the perfect backyard getaway to use as a studio, guest bedroom, pool house, or meditative escape space.

The design is similar to a yurt, but with solid walls. The plan is to use locally-sourced materials and a local supply chain to create quality, sustainable materials that will not sacrifice aesthetics. Each design uses natural, breathable, and efficient materials for insulation and construction, providing a healthy environment that inspires creativity in an atmosphere inspired by nature.

Rotunda Tiny House

If you’ve always wondered how closely you could incorporate nature into the design of a small home or room, these roundhouses offer an option that is pretty close. For more information on their designs and inspiration, visit rotunda-living.co.uk.

Rotunda Tiny House Interior

Images via Rotunda Living

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Continued here: Roundhouse Garden Buildings Inspired by Yurts

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Altius Architecture’s Bala Park Island Cabin

This gorgeous Bala Park Island cabin designed by Altius Architecture is a 3-bedroom, 2,200 square foot seasonal home located near Lake Muskoka in Ontario, Canada. The home is separated into two sides, consisting of a public and open kitchen, dining and living areas, and a side with private bedrooms. The roof contains clerestory windows, offering views of the nearby ridge, and the Douglas Fir roof joists allow for a clean pattern across the ceiling on the ground floor.

Two of the first energy efficiency strategies put into place for the cabin were orientation and passive solar design. Since it is not intended for use during the cold winter months, the most important factor is to keep it cool in the summer and provide enough heat during the spring and fall to maintain a comfortable temperature.

A Contraflow Masonry Heater is used for heating, which burns over 90% efficiency with radiant heat on demand. Renewable materials and finishes are also used in the design, along with low energy lighting, a solar hot water system, non-toxic materials, and water-efficient appliances.

Additional information and photos are available at Altius.net

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