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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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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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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New Orleans Architect Turns a Dumpster Into a Pool

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Stefan Beese, a New Orleans-based architect, has dove into an innovative form of recycled design with the “Dumpster Dive DeLux”, a pool made out of a defunct dumpster. You won’t be finding any cool old furniture when you jump in, but it will definitely feel much more luxurious.

The 22’ x 7’ steel refuse container is lined with protective foam insulation and pine wood slats on the exterior. The modular design makes it simple to pack it up and move it to a new location, so you don’t have to worry about leaving your dumpster pool behind if you move to a new neighborhood.

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Golden Gate Valley Library Reaches LEED Gold Status

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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
  2. LEED Gold Hall Built with 184 Modules
  3. LEED Platinum Condos at Primera Terra

Excerpt from: Golden Gate Valley Library Reaches LEED Gold Status

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

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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.

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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.