Floridians Eye Hurricane Forecast At WIND Conference

Orlando, FL (PRWEB) February 01, 2013

Gulf Coast homeowners and businesses eagerly await reports as professionals related to the windstorm insurance industry and storm damage restoration assemble from across the world in Orlando, Florida this week for WIND’s Annual Conference. In the wake of massive flood and wind damage from superstorms of recent years, including Katrina, Charley, Frances, Ivan, Jean and others, alarms have been going off, and property insurance rates have gone through the roof … even if insurance is still available for such events as sinkhole and flood! These topics are front-and-center at WIND.

Since 1995, the size of storms in the Gulf has increased 35%. Having been “bulls-eye” at one point in the progression of four successive, major Florida hurricanes in a row in the mid-2000′s, the author and her North-Central Florida neighbors have experienced the fears and insurance rate hikes, with prayers for those whose homes were devastated or loved ones lost. Their eyes are now turned toward the WIND conference prognostications, insights and exhibitors.

Of local Florida interest at the conference, also, are solutions for anticipated future storm effects, the latest technologies for things such as foundation underpinning or grouting for Florida?s weak soil conditions and sinkhole remediation as presented by exhibitor, Foundation Services of Central Florida, wind and water damage repair by Florida Source Construction, and properly constructed and reinforced sea walls, a specialty of Stable Soils of Florida.

Windstorms are a serious matter, deadly serious. North America’s extreme weather disasters have increased 500% over the past three decades, according to the world?s largest reinsurance company, Munich Re. Further, strategic business futurist, Joyce Gioia, predicts continuing major changes in violent wind and rainstorms, with rising storm surges and flooding, adding: “Flooding is responsible for 36% of the loss of life from weather-related events.”

Most recently, massive Hurricane Sandy ravaged hundreds of miles from the Gulf Coast all the way up the Eastern Seaboard. This added to the hurricane devastations of 2004-2005 to force sweeping changes in insurance laws, court proceedings and claims processing concerning sinkhole, inland flooding, storm surge and wind damage, as well as new attention focused on advances in construction technologies, restoration techniques, weak soil erosion and sinkhole risk, properly designed sea walls and more.

That?s why this year’s WIND conference is highly focused on these issues, including special sessions on Florida developments, with top professionals from all different disciplines and points of view to discuss trends, research, their insights, claims processing software and predictive tools, as well as reparations and construction for storm aftermath.

Quite timely, WIND chose noted hurricane season forecaster, Dr. William Gray, for Wednesday’s Keynote Speech: “Past and Likely Future Variations in Hurricane Wind Damage.” After discussing the unusual hurricane season of 2012 (including Sandy!) and outlook for 2013, Dr. Gray shared insights into the surprisingly large multi-decadal cycles in US landfalling major hurricane activity.

His conclusion? The US has been unusually fortunate in recent years since 1995 (except 2004-2005 and Sandy) in avoiding major hurricane wind and flood damage, but should not expect this luck to continue. His research further indicates that approximately 80-85% of tropical cyclone related damage (normalized for population and wealth) is due to major hurricanes. Also, it is unlikely that there is a significant impact of rising levels of CO2 on tropical cyclone activity.

Windstorm Insurance Network, Inc. (WIND)

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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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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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

Firefly is a New VAWT Small Wind Turbine

South Carolina-based Firefly Power is one of 20 other social- or environmentally-inclined companies presenting at the i2i Awards program in conjunction with SXSW Eco in Austin through Friday, October 5, 2012.  The company makes lightweight small wind turbines out of carbon-fiber blades in the vertical axis form.  The residential unit is rated at 1.8 kW, weighs less than 60 pounds, cuts in at 10 mph winds, and is expected to sell for about $7,000, according to Firefly Power.

[+] More about vertical-axis turbines by Firefly Power.

Related Articles on JetsonGreen.com:

  1. Small Wind Turbine Available at Lowe’s
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Read the rest here: Firefly is a New VAWT Small Wind Turbine

Wind-Oil: Homemade Food from Small Wind

Recall for a second a project called Rubble Floor by Dave Hakkens.  Hakkens recently published another project called “Wind-Oil” to show how to use industrial processes at home to create good food.  He made an oil pressing machine that’s powered by a small-wind turbine.  The machine has a worm drive that presses nuts and seeds — walnuts, peanuts, sesame seeds, linseeds, hazelnuts, etc — and spits out oil in one bottle and a food pulp in another.

[+] More about Wind-Oil by Dave Hakkens.

Credits: Dave Hakkens.

Related Articles on JetsonGreen.com:

  1. Bornay Two-Blade Small Wind Turbines
  2. New Small Wind Turbine Unveiled at CES
  3. The State of Small Wind [Interview]

Continued here: Wind-Oil: Homemade Food from Small Wind

Whisper Turbines Refreshed by Southwest

Southwest Windpower, maker of the small-wind turbine Skystream, just announced a refreshed Whisper line of turbines for battery-charging applications including off-grid residential homes.  The Whisper 100 (7′ diameter) has the potential to generate up to 100 kWh per month at 12 mph; the Whisper 200 (9′ diameter) has the potential to generate up to 200 kWh per month at 12 mph; and the Whisper 500 (15′ diameter) has the potential to generate up to 538 kWh per month at 12 mph.

[+] More about off-grid Whisper wind turbines by Southwest Windpower.

Related Articles on JetsonGreen.com:

  1. Small Wind Turbine Available at Lowe’s
  2. Small Wind Turbines Flourish in the U.S.
  3. Small Wind Now Available at Home Depot

See more here: Whisper Turbines Refreshed by Southwest

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SunShower SSIP House Built in NOLA

In September 2010, I mentioned the winning design in a competition involving steel SIPs from OceanSafe.  The REOSE Sunshower SSIP model, designed by Tulane University professors of architecture, Judith Kinnard and Tiffany Lin, is now complete and demonstrates a home that can withstand hurricane-force winds and extreme weather while still incorporating the latest in energy- and water-saving technologies.

Located at 222 Harrison Avenue in New Orleans, Sunshower SSIP House was built with readily available, off the shelf materials that fit in a single cargo container.  The idea is that a kit of the same materials could be deployed elsewhere to create a home fit for post-disaster recovery.

The Oceansafe SSIP panels are made with an EPS core and galvalume panels that snap together to withstand winds of up to 225 mph and an earthquake of up to an 8.6 magnitude.

Sunshower has about 1,050 square feet with two bedrooms and two bathrooms.  Part of the roof is optimized for 5 kW of solar panels, while the other funnels water into a 1,000 gallon Rainwater Pillow.  The home also benefits from solar thermal, geothermal, a small wind turbine, and back-up batteries.

Woodward Design + Build and C&G Construction built the Sunshower SSIP House with sustainable design consultant The Regen Group for a total estimated construction cost of between $110,000 – $150,000 (roughly 60 vendors contributed materials to the home).

[+] More about the Sunshower SSIP House in New Orleans.

Credits: Oceansafe and The Regen Group.

Related Articles on JetsonGreen.com:

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See the original post: SunShower SSIP House Built in NOLA

Spanish Island to be Powered by Renewable Energy

A large-ish scale project in renewable energy is underway just off the coast of Spain on El Hierro, the smallest of the Canary Islands. The island which is 104 Square miles in size will switch to a new energy plan later this year which will be fully reliant on renewable forms of energy – mostly wind energy.

The new energy plan will cost the island somewhere around $87 million dollars. However, once the plan is in place El Hierro will be self reliant and energy costs will be paid to the island – where they can then be used for other projects aimed at sustainability.

The new plan emphasizes wind power as its primary source. This will replace the old diesel generators that currently power the island, which require the importation of diesel fuel from the mainland to generate power. The main wind farm on the island, which will be finished later this year, will produce 11.5 megawatts of energy which will provide the 11,000 residents of the island with the vast majority of their power.

A second portion of the plan aims at answering the question often posed to wind and solar advocates: what happens when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing? For El Hierro, the answer is a hydroelectric storage facility. When there is excess energy produced on the wind farm it will be used to pump water up to the top of an extinct volcano, where it will stay as a source of reserve energy. Should the island need more energy, they can open the hydroelectric plant and use the stored water to power the island on a windless day. The reservoir at the top of the old volcano can hold enough water for seven days worth of energy if it is needed.

Although the island will still keep its diesel generators for backup, and although this is not solar related exactly, the ramifications this will have on the renewable energy market as a whole will be huge! When El Hierro switches over to its new energy plan later this year it will be proof, to the many who criticize wind and solar energy enthusiasts, that a renewable energy economy can work on a much larger scale than many had presumed.

Just as places like Denver airport are trying to slowly switch to a more renewable energy plan – one that for them relies heavily on solar – it is good to see substantial changes in other areas of the globe as well. If El Hierro can power itself completely with renewable energy how long until other small – and large – islands begin to realize they can, and should, do the same?

Hanley Wood University Launches The Blueprint for Safety: Wind Mitigation from the International Code Council (ICC)

Washington, DC (PRWEB) November 21, 2011

Hanley Wood University announces the launch of a new online course, The Blueprint for Safety: Wind Mitigation, from the International Code Council (ICC). Developed to assist in all steps/codes for properly retrofitting an existing home to prevent wind damage, this course details critical home areas that should be evaluated and makes appropriate code-based recommendations for critical area retrofits. It also identifies ICC codes and best practices related to those recommendations.

?Hanley Wood University is excited about our new partnership with the International Code Council, and is thrilled to be the exclusive reseller of this particular course for remodelers, contractors and designers,? said James Bohi, Managing Director, Hanley Wood University. ?We are committed to providing quality, relevant programs for construction and design professionals. This course offers critical information about reducing damage during a significant wind event, and will be of great interest to our audience.?

?This course presents, in an engaging and interactive format, a series of code-compliant home retrofit recommendations, from the roof to the foundation,? said David Dufresne, Executive Director of Education & Certification for ICC. ?Making this course available both directly from ICC and through Hanley Wood University?s extensive channel will ensure the broadest possible audience for this timely and critical education.?

The Blueprint for Safety: Wind Mitigation is offered at http://www.hanleywooduniversity.com. The course fee is $ 99 and includes course content, knowledge questions, interactive exercises, and a final exam.

About Hanley Wood University

Hanley Wood University, a service of Hanley Wood, LLC, is the premier destination for building construction professionals seeking training programs and continuing education. It offers a robust platform of courses that serve multiple professions, fulfill association requirements, and cover a wide array of topics vital topics across the residential and commercial construction industries. Hanley Wood University serves the information needs of audiovisual professionals, builders, concrete contractors, interior designers, lighting designers, masonry contractors, remodelers and other industry professionals with a dynamic learning platform. http://www.hanleywooduniversity.com

About The International Code Council

The International Code Council is a member-focused association dedicated to helping the building safety community and construction industry provide safe, sustainable and affordable construction through the development of codes and standards used in the design, build , and compliance process. Most U.S. communities and many global markets choose the International Code.

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