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47 posts from August 2008

August 31, 2008

Home Wind Power, Eco-rentals, Green Equity Office, + Solar Power's Future

Week in Review

*WIR = Week in Review; a Saturday showcase of excellent links.

August 30, 2008

Solar Cell Tree Charger, A Home Gadget Worth Buying

Treecharger

We don't really talk about small gadgetry and knickknacks on this website, but this solar cell tree charger by Vivien Muller is, I think, kind of different.  You can use it to recharge your cellphone, camera, or whatever, because it has 54 tiny photovoltaic panels and an internal battery that stores energy during the day.  The modular parts are connected and can be rotated infinitely creating a different tree for your favorite sunny spot at home. 

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August 29, 2008

[Video] Margarido House and The View

Remember earlier this week when we talked about the Margarido House, you know that posh, modern home that's about to be the first LEED-H Platinum home in Northern California?  Well, the always entertaining Sally Kuchar of SallyTV has just posted these videos and we thought it'd be fun to share.  You might know Sally from her recent work designing the Silicon Valley Dwell Nexthouse, but she's also a regular contributor to Apartment Therapy SF and MoCo Loco.  I can't help but watch these videos and think about the endless possibilities presented by thoughtful design and modern green materials. 

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Modern Sky Hill Townhomes in Atlanta

Skyhill Townhouses

Check these urban townhomes out.  They're pretty interesting.  The design here is part of a development called Sky Hill, a twelve townhome community in Midtown Atlanta.  Designed by Kuo Diedrich, Sky Hill is clustered into four buildings with three townhomes each.  They're all 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom units of ~3000 sf and have been LEED registered (not certified).  Each home has a rooftop terrace and equipped with a plant-growing system by LiveRoof.  Apparently the end units have an elevator option, which most would agree is kind of, well, you know.  But being located in an infill location with pedestrian friendly design opens up the possibility for living a greener kind of lifestyle.   

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August 28, 2008

Get Ready for Hot, Flat, and Crowded

Hotflatcrowded So the big day is September 8, 2008 -- the day Mr. Thomas Friedman's next book goes on sale.  It's called Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution--And How It Can Renew America.  I have a feeling it's going to be good, too, but I can't pinpoint why.  Maybe it's because Friedman does a lot of research and assesses that research with a fresh perspective.  Maybe it's because he says new stuff -- he's not necessarily regurgitating what we hear everyday.  Maybe it's because he takes a strong position.  Whatever it is, I have a stack of great books that I've been trying to get through, but this one will likely make it to the nightstand. 

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August 27, 2008

Parans Fiber Optic Skylights Bring Natural Light to Dark Spaces

Parans - Huvco

The interesting thing about fiber optic lighting is that it creates the ability to put natural light in places where there is none.  Generally, here's how it works.  Using a building-mounted panel with computer-controlled, sun-tracking lenses, natural light is channeled through optical fibers to luminaires that diffuse the light (see diagram below).  Since early 2008, HUVCO Daylighting Solutions has been offering a fiber optic lighting system like this, or the Parans System, which was developed in Sweden.  Although light only travels about 60 feet through optical cables, the ability to direct light in this manner is quite interesting. 

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Green Meets Danish Modern at Denmark50

Furnimontage

Denmark50, located in Los Angeles, is comprised of a showroom and warehouse full of vintage Danish Modern furniture and accessories.  And of course, buying vintage is such a green way to go.  The showroom (below) is a nice display of what the company has to offer, but the warehouse (also below) is the really amazing part.  Mid-Century Danish furniture is stuffed into the large space as far as the eye can see: couch after couch, chairs, tables, and any other piece one could imagine.

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Solar Verde Zero Energy Green Homes

Solar Verde

I'm dedicating this article to all the traditionalist readers out there -- I must admit, though, I'm seriously hesitant about the design here, but I know some of you love this style.  What I love, however, is the idea that green homes and communities can be zero energy.  That's what Solar Verde is all about.  Solar Verde is a planned community of 20 homes and the developer claims its the first development east of the Rocky Mountains to offer a roof-top photovoltaic system as a basic design feature.  Homes come with a 4 kW solar PV system made with SOLARSAVE roof shingles.  As you can tell, the developer finished the first two model homes last July for this south Chicago green community.   

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August 26, 2008

Colorfully Green Graham Street Lofts

Graham Street Lofts

This is a small little mixed-use building called Graham Street Lofts.  With 12 residential units and some ground floor commercial, the infill building sits in the Eliot neighborhood of Northern Portland.  Residential units start at ~$324k and each home is energy efficient and modern inside.  The R-30, 10-inch thick PerformWall ICFs are made of recycled polystyrene and cement and help to keep the interiors quiet.  Combine the efficient envelope with hydronic radiant floors and overall home energy use is quite low, too.  Additionally, Graham Street Lofts has some of the following green amenities and finishes:

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August 25, 2008

Margarido House Going LEED Platinum

Margarido Home

The Margarido House is on its way to being the first home the nation that's both LEED-H certified and GreenPoint rated.  It's also aiming to be the first custom home in Northern California to be LEED-H Platinum certified.  The ~4600 sf home is still waiting on Platinum certification, but it's important to note that because of it's large size, the homeowners had to pursue drastic green measure to get into Platinum territory.  And they did quite well, actually, building a home that's 55% more efficient than California's Title 24 energy standards.  Check out this list of green features:

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