Posts Tagged With: Technology

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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Green Building November Luncheon: Graywater Treatment and Planning

Water issues such as drought, infrastructure failure, and restrictions on use are things we have all gotten used to hearing but often don’t consider further. The truth is that globally our thirst for water is increasing at an alarming rate with no end in sight. The reality is that only 2.5% of the earth’s water is freshwater and half of that is tied up in glaciers and ice caps. Water reuse is a viable solution to the water issues facing us all. Understanding how to apply basic principles of water reuse planning and system application will ensure we have enough water for generations.

Speaker: Benjamin Sojka, Vice President of Design, Rainwater Management Solutions

Pre-approved for 1.0 GBCI and 1.0 AIA CE

When:
November 14, noon to 1:00pm (lunch provided)

Register for Lunch Here!

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

Categories: Announcements, Design, Preservation, Technology | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Green Building October 10th Luncheon: Advanced Energy Design Guide: Net Zero Energy

The march of technology has brought buildings that generate just as much power as they annually consume (Net Zero Energy) really close to the mainstream. A team of professionals are developing a roadmap for builders, owners, and designers to make it easier to take the leap to Zero.

Steve Davis is a nationally recognized leader in sustainable design and construction with over twenty years’ experience designing award-winning projects for residential, commercial, government, and institutional clients.

Steve has long been deeply involved in advancing the building community’s understanding of stewardship, conservation, health, and wellness. For his efforts, he was awarded the distinction of LEED Fellow, by the Unites States Green Building Council in 2015. Recently, he has been active working with doctors and public health researchers to integrate evidence-based health strategies into the built environment.

DATE AND TIME

Tue, October 10th, 2017, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM EDT

LOCATION

City Space, 100 5th Street NE

Fee: Free for members, $10 nonmembers: Register Here

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Decentralized Drinking Water Purification Systems

What if all the water you used in your house was purified on site and you used it again? It is actually not all that different than a well and septic system, but it is a closed loop system relying on technology instead of an open one relying on the surrounding environment. In the wake of these rapid fire extreme weather events, perhaps it is time to start thinking about more resilient, decentralized systems for providing something as vital to survival as water.

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The Cloud Shower: Disruptive Shower Technology?

There are two types of technology change: Incremental and Disruptive. As a designer, disruptive is way more fun.

Incremental: How do we get more with less? For showers, building codes limit their consumption to 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm) while green building rating systems are pushing manufacturers to get more with less; down to 1.5 gpm. The problem is that at a certain point there is a physical limit to the incremental change and efficiency gains will level off. My gut says that for shower heads this point is somewhere around 1.2 gpm. Any 50% reduction is something to be proud of, but it has taken a long time.

Disruptive: What if we ask a different question altogether: “Is there a better way to take a shower?” A couple startups are trying to answer this question with what they call a cloud shower. Previously only available as a luxury shower add-on, the technology is similar to a type of commercial humidifier. They claim that their technology not only uses 75% less water, but also provides a much more luxurious showering experience: providing more even coverage and rinsing more effectively. We now have a sudden 75% drop in water consumption, which also results in a major drop in the amount of water that needs to be heated, which in turn saves a lot of money. All this by simply swapping out a shower head! Brilliant!

Categories: Design, Education, Energy Efficiency, Technology | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Futuristic Food Recycling

A really ladqvmwe8qzpicyuwgjlaerge portion of human’s waste stream is totally compostable, but a lot of us still don’t compost it for a variety of reasons and it ends up in a landfill. Zera Food Recycler is a futuristic solution (sadly, not quite a Mr. Fusion) that automatically processes food scraps into plant food in 24 hours. Unfortunately it is expensive right now and involves replaceable filters, but it is just the first step in a bringing another tool to reduce landfill waste online. It is great to see inventors asking the right questions. Can technology ultimately save us?

 

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GVGBC Luncheon: Save the Bay!

watershedJoin us at City Space in downtown Charlottesville at noon on January 12th to learn more about what local organizations are doing to help reduce the amount of pollution in the Chesapeake Bay through credits for reducing stormwater runoff and education.

Please read more and register for the event at GVGBC.org

Categories: Announcements, Education, Preservation | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Bamboo Deck String Lights

Humans are predictable creatures. For some reason we feel more comfortable in places that are the right proportions and scale for the activity that occurs there. If you have found this post, then you are probably looking to make your deck more intimate, romantic, or inviting for reading, dining or talking. Lighting has long been used to “enclose” outdoor rooms to make the great outdoors feel more comfortable, and string lights have become a very inexpensive and effective way to do this.

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Bamboo Uprights

In order to get the deck lighting high enough to create a “roof” over a deck, the lighting needs to be 8 to 10 feet above the floor. Most decks have railing between 3 and 4 feet tall, so extra height will be needed to make the desired effect work. Bamboo is a very strong, extremely fast-growing grass that can grow in a large variety of climates, so it is a low-impact and in a lot of cases free choice for making the uprights (ie posts) that will hold the lights up. Above and beyond being very strong, renewable, and cheap, bamboo’s characteristic shape offers a few extra features that can reduce the amount of mechanical fasteners that you need to use.

Sourcing and Preparing the Bamboo

Do not plant your own Bamboo: the plant is not native in most locations and will quickly take over your yard and spread to your neighbors’. Look around where you live for a bamboo patch, chances are that the people whose property it is on will be more than happy to let you have a few twigs. If you are a bit shy, some garden centers may have it in stock.

Look for pieces that are between 10 and 14 feet tall, so that when the small top branches are cut, you will be left with a roughly 8 to 10 feet pole between ½” to 1” in diameter. On a deck, the number of uprights will either be the number of deck railing posts or every 6 to 8 feet. Cut the bamboo down close to the ground, then trim off all of the branches. When trimming the branches, leave ½” to 1” of the base of the branch attached to the pole, these branches sticking out just a little bit are how the string lights will be attached.

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Attaching the Bamboo Uprights to the deck

The way that the bamboo uprights are attached to the deck will vary based on the deck construction but the concept is the same for all decks. The pole needs two points of attachment to the deck to make it stable and sturdy. Special brackets (think tiki torches) are available for just this task, but they will probably cost more than the string lights themselves. If you do go this route make sure that they are made to withstand the outdoors or they will break or rust all over the place.

In my case the deck railing overhangs the railing posts by an inch, so a simple bracket would not work anyway. two 3” long pieces of notched 2” x 2” treated lumber per bamboo upright did the trick nicely. Drill a hole to allow for a zip tie to grab the bamboo and use two exterior deck screws to attach the pieces of lumber to the outside of the railing post. Attaching the bamboo is as easy as tightening the zip ties because the natural bulge every 8 to 12 inches along the bamboo upright will act as a positive stop and keep the upright from slipping downward with gravity.

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Choosing String Lights

There is now a huge variety of string lights available. When using bamboo uprights, the huge commercial bulbs with thick cords will look too large, so pick ones that have thinner cords and smaller bulbs. Incandescent bulbs are a waste of energy so luckily LED technology has come a long way in the past few years.

The first thing to consider is how bright do you want the lights to be. There are really only two choices: mood lighting and illumination. If you are just looking to make the deck a more inviting place, then mood lighting is all that you need, and if you only need mood lighting, then solar powered string lights are a great way to go. They always turn on at dusk, don’t require any outdoor electrical plugs, don’t cost anything to operate, plus they still allow for stargazing and watching fireflies. Outdoor lamps can be used to supplement the lighting in the areas and times that it is needed.

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If you must have more light, then you need to look into plug-in LED string lights. When looking for LED string lights, look for reviews online to make sure that they do not strobe; cheaper sets often flicker at 60 hz, which can drive your eyes insane and will completely ruin the effect of calm. Make sure they are rated for continuous outdoor use.

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The second thing to consider is the color of the light from the bulbs. LEDs are available in any color imaginable, so if you really want purple lights, go for it. I personally like the warm white type of lights (2700K) which produce a glow similar to incandescent bulbs.

Attaching the String Lights to the Bamboo Uprights

This is by far the easiest part of the process. Be gentle when hanging the string lights, especially with the solar powered ones. Pick a height on the bamboo uprights that looks right (start with 8 feet if you can’t decide), and wrap the string lights one turn around each bamboo upright above the closest branch to the desired height, then push the loop down to the branch and notice that the bamboo branch provides a stop so that the lights can’t slide down the upright.

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If you want your string lights to hover above the deck and attach the your house you have to get a little creative. Is it best not to drill any more holes in your house than there already are, and coincidentally most houses have attachments on the side like gutters or radon pipes that can be used to attach the lights to. Pay attention to any sharp objects that could cut the light string so use things like spring links (carabiners) to make the attachment to the house less straining.

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I hope that this has given you some more ideas about how to create an outdoor room that invites you to enjoy the outdoors.

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UVA Sustainability Days

Thursday11/13 & Friday 11/14 UVA Sustainability Days
Events start at 9:30 am Thursday and end by 2pm Friday.  See schedule for exact times and locations
Take part in UVA Sustainability Days to celebrate and innovate sustainable solutions on Grounds. There will be sustainability-themed events such as a Poster Competition, Film Screening, Zero Waste Workshop, Panel Discussion, Hoos Talking Green, and much more! Please RSVP, as space is limited for some of the events.  Free.  Info. and RSVP at http://www.virginia.edu/sustainability/u-va-sustainability-days/

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Natural Swimming Pools

If the idea of a chlorinated pool makes your skin itch, then maybe a pool filtered by plants is the way to go. The plants are chosen very carefully to do certain functions in the cleaning process and integrated into the pool system. The affect can be quite a bit more stunning and organic than any pool that you’ve ever seen.

Check out the full article here: http://landarchs.com/natural-swimming-pools/

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