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Green Building

Integrating Renewable Energy into the Home

Renewable energy solutions for the homeowner

Guest post by Greg Tornga A renewable energy primer for the home Coal, oil and gas = fossil fuels = nonrenewable = will one day not exist Solar, wind, plant, hydrogen, heat, ocean and flowing water = renewable energy = is constantly replenished by the earth’s atmosphere. Introducing Solar Powered Energy Into the Home The term ‘solar powered’ means powered by sunlight.  Scientists have found ways to convert sunlight into electricity through the creation of Solar Photovoltaic Technology.  You must be seeing solar panels popping up in all sorts of locations – homes, businesses and even lined up in big fields. This is a way to create renewable energy and bring us one step closer to removing the need for non-renewable …

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Green Building – What Everyone Should Know

Growing the sustainable built environment makes economic and environmental sense

  Green or “sustainable” building incorporates environmental principles alongside other building considerations. This ideal of environmental concern in building new structures and improving older ones continues to gain traction, and often guides companies and homeowners alike to make eco-friendly construction decisions. For new structures, the point of being sustainable is not to only use sustainable products, such as bamboo, and recycled and re-purposed building materials. From lights to flooring and from the bones of the new building down to the plumbing and electrical, the top construction leaders are embracing this sustainable movement. Isn’t green building expensive? This is one of the most widely held misperceptions in the construction industry. Building green isn’t expensive. Not only in the short-term financial output, say for …

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Soy and Organic Insulation

Guest post by Taylor Dardan The popularity in all things “green” has certainly risen throughout the past decade. With people often concentrating on making decisions that involve outdoor air quality, some of the best ways to have an impact is within the home. A larger undertaking than just switching out a few household products, switching to soy and other organic insulation is a great way to improve the sustainability of the home, cut down on utility costs, and cut down on indoor toxins. The long-term utility costs and benefits are among the major reasons organic insulation is becoming so popular, aside from just the benefit of helping to save the environment. Soy insulation may be a little more expensive than …

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Sears Tower Going Solar

Sears Tower (now known as the Willis Tower) is going green with new energy producing windows

Going green is not just about new construction and technology, it’s about retrofitting and reusing existing foundations.  The tallest skyscraper in America, the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower), is getting a green retrofit. Converting just the south side of the 56th floor will generate 2 MW of electricity.  The windows will be replaced with high power density photovoltaic windows.  They produce as much electricity as a standard photovoltaic panel, while still allowing daylight in and reducing heat loss. The resulting ambiance is calmer and cool, much like a tinted car window.  Only this window generates more electricity than is used within the room. Imagine the application of this technology on the desert skyscrapers of the middle east, …

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Flexible City Adjusts for the Seasons

This city design is just a concept, but took third place in a contest to redesign the master plan for Andalsnes in Sweden.  The architects behind the design, Jägnefält Milton say the design is the best response to the wildly different seasonal temperatures in the area.  So what is the design?  A moveable, grid and block based city of course! The city plan calls for railroad tracks and buildings composed of blocks that can be moved and reassembled as per the needs of the season.  The summers are full of tourists and warmth, while the winters are cold and dreary.  This design would allow the town to greatly expand during the summer to take advantage of the warmth and to …

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New Skyscraper Will Have Helium Elevators

Hippie Magazine is all about cool eco innovations.  Sometimes they’re useful in the “why didn’t anyone think of that before?” kind of way.  And sometimes they’re more like “I don’t know why anyone would do this but it sure sounds cool”.  This story is the latter. Elevators seem to work just fine.  But in the case of the upcoming Taiwanese skyscraper designed by architect Stefan Dorin, visitors can ride on giant, helium-inflated platforms secured to the sides of the building.  These platforms will be able to carry up to 72 people (I’d hate to be number 73!) up and down the structure. The balloons will be made from the same high-tech fabric used to create the Japanese swimming cube for …

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Green Schools of the Future

Designing a greener, more sustainable school

Educational institutions are often privileged to experience the latest in building technology.  Why? because they are charged by their communities to be the most forward-thinking, progressive-minded groups.  After all, they’re supposed to apply the latest technology because they develop it. In addition, institutions of higher learning often receive massive donations and grants to apply the latest technologies.  Even public schools are getting in on the green floor as they realize saving money on utility bills may be part of the solution to shrinking public budgets. Under ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act), over $48 billion was awarded to the Department of Education that can be used for construction and weatherization efforts by schools. We can expect schools with passive solar …

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Earthships – Building an Off-Grid, Truly Sustainable House

The following two videos give an overview of an Earthship. Earthship biotecture is the product of forty years of research and development into completely self-sufficient housing made entirely from recycled materials.

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Super Green Rotating Home

The race is on to create the most efficient homes.  We’re now to the point in eco-evolution that homes are becoming mini power plants.  It’s not longer enough to just make a home without a carbon footprint, we’re now able to build homes that produce more clean energy than they consume. The home, dubbed “Heliotrope” actually rotates to collect the maximum amount of solar energy.  With a giant solar array on the roof and eco-friendly design throughout, the home produces five-times more energy than it uses. Of course the home also includes energy saving features such as a waste-water filtration system and a rainwater collection system on the roof. Fit for any eco-geek, this home is just one more step …

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Olympic Skating Arena Cutting Edge Green-Wins “Gold” for Beauty and Sustainability

Vancouver, host to the ongoing winter Olympics, has long been considered one of the world’s most livable cities. And with the Olympics come the eyes of the entire world. Vancouver is now on display and one of the crown jewels of the Olympian host city is the Richmond Olympic Oval. Completed a little more than a year ago, the facility has won numerous architectural awards, including the Structural Engineers 2009 Award for Sports or Leisure Structure. Located just outside Vancouver along the Fraser River in Richmond, the $178 million complex features a distinctive wave-shaped roof that is the largest clear span wooden structure in the world. Inside the building 15 soaring wooden arches span the expansive roof, creating a rippling effect …

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