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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Shipping Container Home for Orphans Inspires Environmental Awareness

Container Home Build 6

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.

Container Home Build 9

Container Home Build 4

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.

Container Home Build 2

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.

Container Home 9

More: Shipping Container Home for Orphans Inspires Environmental Awareness

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Assemble Your Tiny Home Faster Than IKEA Furniture with AbleNook

AbleNook Mini Modular House Outdoors

Imagine that you could assemble your home in a matter of hours, as easily as you put together a desk that you bought from IKEA. Imagine that it dissembled more easily than the IKEA desk so that you could take it anywhere, even the harshest of environments.

More sturdy than a trailer, with a more beautiful architectural aesthetic, the AbleNook expandable portable dwelling is a tiny home design that is looking for your help to become a reality for disaster victims, military families, and lovers of sustainable living around the world.

The AbleNook concept shelter is billed as “a rapidly deployable portable structure” of interlocking components that can be put together without tools by just about anyone. Components arrive in a flat-pack box to reduce waste and transportation costs.

Team AbleNook began as part of a summer independent study project and has evolved into a desire to revolutionize dwelling manufacture, deployment, and inhabitation.

Supported by the University of South Florida’s Division of Patents and Licensing, they have filed for a patent on the technology and procured a grant to construct the prototype.

AbleNook Mini Houses Modular Home Solar Roof

Built out, the single module prototype is 20 feet long, 13 feet high, and has a 10 foot high ceiling. It packs into a 4x8x6 cube container.

Able Nook Mini Modular House

The AbleNook project, headed up by Sean Verdecia and Jason Ross, is currently seeking funding on Kickstarter. As of this writing, they have received pledges totaling over 15% of their $60,000 goal. You can back this project with a $1 minimum pledge before Monday, February 4 at 2:52 p.m. EST.

AbleNook Mini Houses Modular Setup Details

AbleNook Mini Houses Details

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Follow this link: Assemble Your Tiny Home Faster Than IKEA Furniture with AbleNook

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Live from CNU 20 beginning Wednesday!

While typically focusing on the dwelling unit here at Jetson Green this week we’ll widen our lens to the urban realm and context of our communities at the 20th Congress for the New Urbanism in West Palm Beach.

CNU 20 is the premier conference for urbanism and planning and will feature sessions on key sustainability issues such as sprawl repair, rainwater management, green infrastructure, urban agriculture, and effective messaging of sustainability.

There will be plenty of opportunities to follow along with the conference online and through social media.  CNU is dedicated to helping spread the lessons and ideas and will be hosting a live blog and posting full sessions to You Tube after the conference.

A few of the plenaries will also be streamed live which you can find out more the CNU website.  We’ll be tweeting using the hashtag #CNU20 all week and bringing you some feature content later in the week!

Related Articles on JetsonGreen.com:

  1. Live Work Home Takes LEED Platinum
  2. Live-Work Cargo Containers on an Island
  3. Register for West Coast Green 2010!

View original post here: Live from CNU 20 beginning Wednesday!