Solara and Los Vecinos are affordable housing projects that were designed with the goal of net zero energy performance with a very small increase in the incremental cost per unit. The projects also have a number of other “green” features.
Steve Gurney, an ecologist at Arizona State University, has put together a software package that illustrates where fossil fuels are being burned in a city down to the individual building and street level.
You can find more information about The Hestia Project here.
THIS POST IS PART OF OUR FRIDAY VIDEO SERIES.
One of the first panel sessions I went to featured a talk by Jeff Harris, of the Alliance to Save Energy.
He covered a lot of ground in defining “net-zero energy,” covering state and federal goals around NZE, detailing many of the appeals of NZE, and then focusing on the potential of NZE communities.
What I found most interesting during his talk was the specific examples of the military’s focus on getting a number of bases to NZE. He noted that there are more than 6 pilot sites targeting ZNE (often used interchangeably with NZE) by 2020. Two of the sites have the additional aggressive goal of being “triple-net-zero,” or net zero energy, water, and waste.
He also mentioned a specific site – Fort Carson – and showed some analysis (I think by the National Renewable Energy Lab, NREL) of what kinds of strategies and systems will be needed to achieve the ZNE goal.
After the session, I found an NREL report online that provides significant detail on the recommendations provided for Fort Carson” “Targeting Net Zero Energy at Fort Carson: Assessment and Recommendations” (link opens a PDF).
I’m spending the week at the 2012 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficient Buildings.
I’ll be sharing interesting information, ideas, and resources with you as the week progresses. Right now, I’m listening to Jeff Harris of The Alliance to Save Energy discuss some of the advantages of thinking about achieving net zero energy goals by looking at the goal at the scale of net-zero energy communities.
“California officials on Thursday approved energy efficiency standards for new homes and commercial buildings that officials are describing as the toughest in the nation. …
“The new requirements, set to go into effect in 2014, will reduce energy use in California homes and businesses by 25 percent or more, commission officials said.”
Read the full story at the San Francisco Chronicle. I’ll post more details about the new building efficiency standards tomorrow.
For those that want the details now, the full 2013 Building Energy Efficiency Standards Rulemaking is online here.
This week’s video is a time lapse of the construction of the 2009 Solar Decathlon entry from Cornell University, nicknamed the “Silo House.”
THIS POST IS PART OF OUR FRIDAY VIDEO SERIES.
Image Credit: Google Green Blog
According to the Google Green Blog, a recently completed project to update the Geothermal Map of North America by SMU Geothemal Laboratory (supported by Google.org), estimates that the technical potential of geothermal energy exceeds 2,980,295 megawatts. More details can be found on the blog here.
Google has also worked to develop this information as a layer in Google Earth. The file can be downloaded from a link towards the bottom of this page. The map shows Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) Potential from depths from 3km to 6.5km and excludes protected lands such as National Parks.
An important note: I am not in any way endorsing EGS. Messing with the Earth at big scales makes me nervous, since we have so little information on the potential impact of our actions. I live in earthquake territory. Also, I read this alarming article in the New York Times a couple years ago. An excerpt:
All seemed to be going well — until Dec. 8, 2006, when the project [in Basel, Switzerland] set off an earthquake, shaking and damaging buildings and terrifying many…
As early as this week, though, an American start-up company, AltaRock Energy, will begin using nearly the same method to drill deep into ground laced with fault lines in an area two hours’ drive north of San Francisco.
…For geothermal energy to be used more widely, engineers need to find a way to draw on the heat at deeper levels percolating in the earth’s core.
Some geothermal advocates believe the method used in Basel, and to be tried in California, could be that breakthrough. But because large earthquakes tend to originate at great depths, breaking rock that far down carries more serious risk, seismologists say. Seismologists have long known that human activities can trigger quakes, but they say the science is not developed enough to say for certain what will or will not set off a major temblor.
It is well worth reading the entire article. And it is well worth remembering that just because it is called “clean” energy does not mean that there are no potential hazards associated with the energy production and use.
As I was listening to the radio this morning, I heard a story about Bay Area company ZETA Communities…
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As Population, Consumption Rise, Builder Goes Small
The planet may not feel any different today, but there are now 7 billion people on it, according to the United Nations.
That number will continue to rise, of course, and global incomes are likely to rise as well. That means more cars and computers, and bigger homes: the kinds of things Americans take for granted. It’s that rise in consumption that has population experts worried…
In an industrial park outside of Sacramento, Calif., there’s a factory inside what looks like an old airplane hangar.
Zeta Communities builds modular homes here. Project manager Scott Wade says they’re not like “stick-built” homes — “stick-built meaning they build it one piece at a time,” Wade says, “whereas we build it an assembly at a time.”
In cities, modules can be stacked to make a new generation of efficient buildings. At Zeta headquarters, architect Taeka Takagi rolls out a blueprints with one of Zeta’s prototypes.
“It is a micro studio,” she says. “The units are under 300 square feet.”
You can read or listen to the entire story on the NPR website.
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You can also watch videos of a unit being built in the ZETA factory and a unit being installed on our website here.
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Last week, I attended the 2011 BERC Energy Symposium, on the UC Berkeley campus. There were a number of interesting folks both speaking and attending, so I’d like to give you all a sense of what was covered.
I attended a panel on energy and behavior on Friday morning – I will post some thoughts on it in the next few days.
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Coverage from The Berkeley Science Review:
- Brian Lambson live blogged the 2011 BERC Innovation Expo on Thursday night (10/20/11).
- Anna Goldstein live blogged the 2011 BERC Energy Symposium on Friday morning (10/21/11). She attended the morning panel on ““The Role of Nuclear Power in a Green Energy Landscape.”
- Chris Holdgraf live blogged the 2011 BERC Energy Symposium on Friday afternoon (10/21/11). It looks like he attended the afternoon panel on “Toward Terawatt Solar: Growing the Pie Together.”
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You can find more information about BERC and this year’s expo and symposium here.
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