Posts Tagged With: Renewable

Green Building December 12th Luncheon: Unstoppable: The Transition to Renewable Energy

Today, building owners and designers are looking to minimize the energy and carbon footprint of new and existing buildings. LEED V4 and the Architecture 2030 Challenge are pushing the industry beyond energy efficiency features into on-site renewable energy generation. Join Taylor Brown and Devin Welch from Sun Tribe Solar, a Charlottesville-based solar energy company, as they discuss renewable trends and design best practices. Come learn more about solar photovoltaics, battery storage options, and Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) from leaders in the field.

Taylor Brown co-founded Sun Tribe Solar to increase solar PV’s market share on the east coast and is now operating as the Technical Director. Before launching Sun Tribe, Brown worked for Siemens Energy North America. For the first five years with Siemens, Brown was a field project manager performing modernizations and upgrades on steam turbine generators ranging from 150 MW to 920 MW throughout the United States. Brown holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Virginia Tech.

Devin Welch, co-founder, is also responsible for market strategy at Sun Tribe Solar. Passionate about sustainability, Welch has spent his career championing free market principles as a means to achieve positive change across a broad range of environmental issues, with a focus on finding and capitalizing upon the critical intersections of sustainable best practices and corporate self-interest. At Sun Tribe, Welch continues his work on market transformation by engaging with individuals, businesses, and governments to reimagine the way energy is produced while realizing tangible benefits for all stakeholders. As a member of the leadership team, he has helped Sun Tribe to become one of the fastest growing solar companies in Virginia. Welch is a published author and holds a B.S. in Management from Virginia Tech.

When:
December 12, noon to 1:00pm (lunch provided)

Register for Lunch Here!

Where: 
City Space
100 5th Street, NE, Downtown Mall, Charlottesville, VA

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Solar Panel Orientation

The more research you do into renewable resources, the more you realize that matching demand for power to the renewable supply is the trickiest part. According to this study, for people that are away at work in the middle of the day, it makes more sense to point solar panels south-west instead of directly south. Makes sense right? Well, yes and no. If you aren’t attached to the grid, or your power company doesn’t allow net-metering and you work all day then yes, this makes perfect sense, why not make the power when you’re using it. If you have net-metering from your power company, why not produce the most power and use the grid as your battery; then due south is still the way to go.

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Biomass Generator

Next time that a big storm hits your town and knocks out the electrical grid, don’t think about how nice it would be to have a gas guzzling, smelly generator to run you fish tank and lava lamps. Think instead of a biomass generator. This interesting technology has seen some  advancements that have made biomass power generation a hands-off operation that users expect from their emergency equipment. Of course, the technology can be used for all sorts of power needs. All Power Labs is a company leading the way in developing this clever technology; they have an interesting past and a bright, progressive future.

The generator first converts woody biomass (like wood chips, acorns, corn husks, etc.) to a gas; this is certainly the most complected step which this guide explains much better than I can. An engine is then used to burn that gas to produce mechanical or electrical power.

biomass

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Turning Straw Into Buildings

Strawbales are an excellent insulation material and because of their density, are also excellent thermal mass. They are also a rapidly renewable resource. Up to this point, however, they have been on the fringes of building technology because of the time it takes to build with the material. ModCell has come up with a viable way to turn stawbales into super-insulated building panels for commercial and residential use. They claim that these panels are zero carbon or better to create, which is infinitely better than rigid insulation can even think to claim. Brilliant!

modcell panels

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Green Building Material? Cross Laminated Timber

Here’s the idea, glue a bunch of small pieces of wood together from quickly growing trees and make yourself a massive chunk of wood. Make these chunks in to massive panels and design them so that they can be easily joined together in the field and super strong by alternating the direction of the grain.  It sounds a lot like plywood on steroids. This may seem against the tree-hugger in you, as well as going against the first R rule: Reduce. Actually this is a green technology, here’s why:

First of all, think about the building itself. Mass in a building helps to regulate the temperature of a building, much like a battery (or more technically accurate, a capacitor) it slowly gains heat from its surroundings and slowly releases it. Plenty of people have written about this already: Greenpassivesolar.com is just one. When you have massive walls you need less insulation to have the same effect. Bingo, less fiberglass or foams off-gassing into the building. Panels also take less time to put together in the field, so you spend less time with no roof and waste less material on the jobsite.

Second, think about the environment: Trees are some of the best carbon sequester-ers (I know that’s not a word) on the planet. By building something out of wood, one effectively stores that carbon. This principal is a green one only if the trees used are fast growing (rapidly renewable) and responsibly harvested. The building must also be built to be useful for a very long time.

Read more from europe here:

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Design Tool: 2030 Palette

Architecture 2030 is a team of non-profit crusaders that want to radically transform the way that structures are built and how they interact with the environment. The 2030 Challenge is much like the EPA’s very successful CFC reduction program that let the Ozone Hole repair itself. Instead of CFCs, this challenge is to phase out the use of fossil fuels in buildings by the year 2030.

Not to leave everyone hanging wondering how to accomplish this goal; they are developing a great free resource of information on how to build carbon neutral and resilient structures and plan resilient communities which is called the 2030 Palette. The website is complete with pictures, descriptions and rules of thumb for many concepts vital to low impact built environments. Check out this fantastic tool for Architects, Engineers, Owners and people who want to learn more about how our buildings interact with the environment.

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The Double Envelope Passive Solar Home

The double envelope passive solar house concept is explained well by Enertia here. The double envelope can obviously be expensive and I believe that is why it has a hard time being adopted as a mainstream building technique, but it can drastically cut energy bills if done correctly. Using the sun as a heat pump and fan while taking advantage of massive walls and southern windows make for a very efficient home indeed.

enertia-building-system-4

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