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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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

FSC Wood Interwoven Eco Panels by ASI

These are Interwoven Eco-Panels by New York-based Architectural Systems, Inc.  The company has tons of green materials for retail, hospitality, and entertainment projects, etc, but these interlocking panels would work as a focal point in a multifamily- or single-family project, too.  They come in walnut, maple, and American oak with no VOCs and FSC-certified wood, upon request.  Interwoven panels may contribute toward LEED credits for low-emitting materials and certified wood, according to ASI.

[+] More about Interwoven Eco-Panels by Architectural Systems.

Credits: Architectural Systems, Inc.

Related Articles on JetsonGreen.com:

  1. Viridian Intros Reclaimed Wood Veneers
  2. Viridian Debuts New Reclaimed Oak Floor
  3. LEED Retains Status Quo of FSC Only

See the rest here: FSC Wood Interwoven Eco Panels by ASI

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House-Lamp is a Tiny Prefab LED Luminary

House-Lamp is a new Kickstarter project by San Francisco-based architect Lauren Daley.  The project features three styles — modern, bungalow, and eco — of architecturally inspired luminaries made of CNC and laser-cut basswood with a solid wood or plywood base.  Daley is offering these LED-powered illuminated houses without the task lamp for $250 and with the task lamp for $275. Pictured is Eco with laser-etched rooftop solar PV.

[+] More about LED-powered House-Lamps by Lauren Daley.

Related Articles on JetsonGreen.com:

  1. Alva: An Edison Inspired LED Lamp
  2. 8 Modern LED Desks Lights for the Home
  3. Egle LED Table Lamp from Artemide

More: House-Lamp is a Tiny Prefab LED Luminary

LEED Platinum Avant Garage in Fishtown

This is Avant Garage, a four-unit residential project by Postgreen Homes in Fishtown Proper.  Designed by Interface Studio Architects, these homes are targeting LEED Platinum and Postgreen’s President Chad Ludeman tells me he can see no reason why they won’t achieve that level of certification (just like the 100k House which also took home the USGBC’s 2010 LEED-H Project of the Year).  Here’s a little background on this stunning new development in Philadelphia:

This project was unique in that we inherited the zoning of homes with garages on a back alley street with no parking on it. To help get the owners of the land out of a bind, we partnered with them and ran with the zoning in place,” according to Ludeman in an email to Jetson Green.

In other words, Postgreen embraced the situation with a full pass-through garage and doors on both ends.  With three units already sold, one owner turned the garage into an arcade and music room and another pointed an entertainment center out one end for backyard movie nights with neighbors.

Postgreen is an open book in terms of how they’re building these homes, but to give you idea, they have super insulation (12″ double-stud walls with dense pack cellulose), extreme air sealing (ZIP System sheathing and tape), triple-pane windows, HRVs, air-to-air heat pumps, heat pump water heaters, green roofs, and rainwater collection, etc.

The four green homes average about 2,100 square feet, including the garage, and have a base price of $360,000 – $375,000.  If you’re in the area, Avant Garage is located at 401-407 Memphis Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

[+] More about Avant Garage by Post Green Homes in Fishtown Proper.

Credits: Daniel Sandoval.

Related Articles on JetsonGreen.com:

  1. Work Begins on New LEED Platinum Prefab
  2. LEED Platinum Sungazing Home in Utah
  3. Live Work Home Takes LEED Platinum

See the article here: LEED Platinum Avant Garage in Fishtown

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July Month in Review [+Thoughts]

It’s been another month, and I’m happy to have you as a reader.  I want to be honest for a second … I hope you don’t mind.  Sometime in the last month, Jetson Green celebrated about five years in publication.  Can you believe that?!  I’m just in awe of what I’ve learned and seen and covered.  There’s so much going on in just our tiny niche of “green homes.”

I should let you know that I personally never saw myself becoming a publisher when I started this site.  I started Jetson Green as an outlet for something that I’m passionate about — green homes, modern prefab, alternative energy, etc.  Increasingly, to give these topics the kind of attention worth reading, I find myself spending more time with research and less time with publishing.  I find myself reading more and writing less.  And I’m thinking more and saying less.

Some of this comes from a deep desire to avoid wasting your time.  That’s the last thing I want to do.

But some of this introspection, if you will, may come from being somewhat of a new dad with young boys.  Maybe it comes from an evolving attitude towards life in general.  Or maybe it comes from a nagging thought inside my head: “Who on earth practices law during the day, blogs at night and on the weekend, stays active in the local community, and sleeps give or take five hours a night every night for five years?“  Talk about the most unsustainable work-life balance ever.

That said, I have to say, I’m having a blast and wouldn’t change a thing so far.

What’s happening, however, is I’m seriously evaluating my trajectory for the next year.  For full disclosure, I’ve been approached a few times about selling this site, and those talks haven’t materialized because I am the site.  I get the feeling potential buyers want some sort of passive income stream or something — robots pumping out widgets for a steady line of income.  So, to make this a serious business, I need to focus on building a team, creating processes, and becoming the most dominant publisher ever.  And maybe that’s where things go.  Or maybe not.  I’m thinking about these things and will probably make some changes that you’ll notice over time.  I’ll keep you posted, that’s for sure.  But I just want to let you know that the next year should be different.  If things aren’t different, I think I’ll have failed you as a reader and myself in my own personal goals.

If you have any thoughts, please feel free to email me at preston at jetsongreen dot com. Again, I’m thankful to have you as a reader.  Keeping sending us your news and tips.

Meanwhile, here’s an outline of coverage from July.  The most shared new coverage from the month centered around shipping container projects: the bright Liray House and a faux container hotel in China.

Innovative Prefab & Other Projects:

Technology & Products Innovation:

Know-How & Other Green News:

Also, subscribe to our weekly newsletter for updates, article summaries, newsworthy links, and other site news.

Related Articles on JetsonGreen.com:

  1. Modern Home Contained in Missouri
  2. Container House Fit for Valentine’s Day
  3. Eco-Pak is a New Home in a Container

Read more: July Month in Review [+Thoughts]

Factory-Built Micro-Homes in San Francisco

This is a rendering of a new form of sustainable development that will manifest itself in San Francisco in an infill project called SmartSpace SoMa.  SmartSpace will have 23 micro-dwellings each with ~150 square feet of living area, 300 cubic feet of storage along a wall, and nine-foot ceilings.  The project, which will be built with off-site fabricated modules from ZETA Communities, will also aim for LEED Gold certification and near net-zero energy.

In other words, SmartSpace SoMa is a dense, tiny-house community in a walkable neighborhood with a Walk Score of 98/100.  The location is 38 Harriet Street.

The project will be built with the cutting-edge of construction methodologies. Modules should be completed this month in a factory after two weeks of work, and the ribbon cutting is set for October 2012.  That’s quite the turnaround time for a four-level building.

Planned green elements include LED and CFL lights, EcoBatt insulation, low-VOC finishes, Energy Star appliances, formaldehyde-free cabinetry, low-flow fixtures, a cool roof, rainwater collection, solar-thermal water heating, and FSC-certified lumber.  Residents will also have secure on-site bike storage and access to various modes of transportation, including the local carshare.

[+] More about SmartSpace Soma micro-dwellings in California.

Related Articles on JetsonGreen.com:

  1. How Are Prefab Homes Built in a Factory?
  2. Affordable LEED Homes Open in San Jose
  3. Stillwater Dwelling Built in Santa Barbara

Go here to see the original: Factory-Built Micro-Homes in San Francisco

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BioSIPs in the Greenest Home in Canada

When I mentioned a project by students aiming to build the greenest house in Canada (by means of the Living Building Challenge and LEED Platinum certification), I noted that students planned to use “prefabricated straw bale walls.” It turns out they finished this portion of the project using BioSIPs from NatureBuilt Wall Systems in Ontario, Canada.

These BioSIPS are 16″ thick with an insulation value of about R35. The walls consist of tightly-packed straw that’s covered in 1″ of cement and lime plaster, according to NatureBuilt.

With the high level of insulation and thermal mass of these walls, NatureBuilt indicates that a homeowner can save money on heating and cooling costs, particularly through the specification of a smaller HVAC unit.

In terms of installation, BioSIPs can be unloaded with a boom truck or crane in about one day, and the actual work to attach the walls to the foundation takes maybe a couple days. Endeavour Centre students shared the process of making BioSIPs and installing BioSIPs online, in case you’re interested in reading more detail.

[+] Follow the construction progress of Canada’s Greenest Home.

Credit: The Endeavour Centre.

Related Articles on JetsonGreen.com:

  1. Students Build Greenest Home in Canada
  2. Prefab Green Home Office in East Bay
  3. LEED Platinum Sungazing Home in Utah

Go here to see the original: BioSIPs in the Greenest Home in Canada

Passivhaus Apartments Built in Sweden

A couple years ago, Kjellgren Kaminsky Architecture and builders Höllviksnäs Förvaltnings AB won an open competition for four Passivhaus homes on a vacant lot in the city of Malmö, Sweden.  The team won the competition and the low-energy houses are now finished.  The project may be referred to as Salongen 35 and includes a greenhouse, green roof, gray water treatment, and solar panels.

Specifically, solar panels provide about 40% of annual hot water needs, while 82% of energy in the indoor air is recovered through a heat exchanger.

The exteriors were finished with plaster, fiber cement, wood, and aluzink (for the roof), and the interiors have whitewashed pine, brushed pine, and recycled terracotta, depending on the area.

All wood is FSC-certified, and the appliances are top of class for energy efficiency to keep in line with the Passivhaus regime.  Salongen 35 also has dashes of greenery here and there with flower boxes, lawns, green walls, a green roof, and the greenhouse that is used for local food production.

This isn’t KKA’s first work with Passivhaus — another great project is their Villa Nyberg.

[+] More detail about the design and build of Salongen 35.

Credits: Kasper Dudzik, KKA.

Related Articles on JetsonGreen.com:

  1. Low-Impact One Tonne Living in Sweden
  2. Traditional Style Passivhaus Built in Ohio
  3. Passivhaus Rainbow Duplex in Whistler

Continued here: Passivhaus Apartments Built in Sweden

Visual Inspiration for Your Next Project

I signed up for Pinterest a long time ago and have enjoyed scanning other pins for visual inspiration.  The site is exploding, and we’re getting more visits — you can follow current pins here — from Pinterest readers every month in our server logs.  I should’ve used it to plan out my Water-Wise Bath Redo but I kind of had an idea already going into that project.  My next project will definitely get a Pinterest board, though.  If you’re on there, link up and let’s keep it going.

[+] Connect with JetsonGreen.com on Pinterest.

Related Articles on JetsonGreen.com:

  1. My Green Bath Rehab on HouseLogic
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  3. WaterSense Bath Rehab on HouseLogic

Excerpt from: Visual Inspiration for Your Next Project

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