Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 30 April 2014

District of Columbia Adopts Innovative New Construction Codes to Promote Sustainable Building
Apr 22, 2014 - The District of Columbia has again demonstrated its commitment to being at the forefront of sustainable building practices by adopting the 2013 D.C. Construction Codes. Mayor Vincent Gray announced the adoption this past Wednesday, which takes effect today. New among the District’s codes is the D.C. Green Construction Code. Developed with the input and support of local experts and stakeholders, including members of the U.S. Green Building Council, National Capital Region (USGBC-NCR) Chapter and the national office of the U.S. Green Building Council, these codes represent the mainstreaming of many core elements of green building practice and propel the community forward in the District’s race to be the greenest and most livable city in the nation. read more>>>

These 6 cities are among the greenest in the world
It's cool to be green in Adelaide, Australia, where solar-powered buses are the norm.

April 22, 2014 - Solar-powered buses. Carbon neutral buildings. Motion-sensitive lights and water faucets.

Sounds like something out of "The Jetsons."

But cutting-edge technologies like these are already the norm in some of the world's greenest cities, where the environment takes precedence over industry and the debate over sustainable living has long been decided in favor of it.

As the world celebrates Earth Day, GlobalPost takes a look at six cities that are among the most environmentally friendly based on their energy sources, transportation options, sustainable planning and other factors: read more>>>

Green Living Everyday

Con Edison setting solar example
April 22, 2014 - Con Edison is setting a solar example for customers at its landmark office tower in Manhattan. In cooperation with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), among others, the utility is encouraging customers to consider using the sun for their electricity generation needs by installing its own solar array.

"Our customers are discovering that they can use the power of the sun to cut their electric bills and help ensure a safe, sustainable future for New Yorkers," said John McAvoy, Con Edison's president and CEO. "We wanted to share our customers' experience by installing solar panels on our building. We're reducing our own electric bills, and helping the environment too." read more>>>

A Green Factory to Crop Up On Chicago's South Side
April 18, 2014 - While most 19th century manufacturing hubs were known for their poor working conditions, the Pullman District on Chicago’s South Side was the country’s first model industrial town designed to provide a safer and healthier environment for the Pullman sleeping company’s workers. Over a century later, Method, the green cleaning products brand, is now carrying on the District’s progressive legacy with the construction of its new 150,000-square-foot sustainable factory. The company asked William McDonough + Partners to design its sprawling building, spanning roughly five acres on a brownfield site where the original Pullman lumberyard once stood. Prior to construction of its new facility, Method has committed to cleaning up the 22-acre property, and then transforming it into lush parkland for its employees and the surrounding community. read more>>>

Taiwan reaffirms commitment to green energy
04/23/2014 - ROC President Ma Ying-jeou said April 22 that the government is committed to developing sustainable energy and the green economy in Taiwan as per the U.N. Rio plus 20 framework.

The green economy policy being implemented by the National Development Council will provide guidelines for government agencies to promote economic growth while furthering the green initiative, Ma said. This is key if Taiwan is to continue fulfilling its obligations as a leading proponent of global greening, he added. read more>>>

ENERCON launches two turbines specifically for strong wind sites
15 April 2014 - ENERCON has announced plans to develop two new wind turbines designed specifically for strong wind locations

The turbines will be Wind Class I versions of both the E-82 and E-101 turbines. The announcement was made at the Hannover Fair earlier this month (April 7-11) where both new machines were presented.

The E-82 series will have a rated power of 2.35MW and will be optimised for full load and cost-effectiveness. read more>>>

Now Turn to the Right
March 2014 - The Mueller Community is a redevelopment of Austin’s former Robert Mueller Municipal Airport. The transit-oriented neighborhood, located three miles from downtown, thoughtfully mixes housing, open space, and commercial uses according to a green master plan that will surely be replicated by cities and towns across the U.S. But sustainability aficionados who visit the Mueller Community will notice that something feels slightly different from a best-practices model. For one, the place boasts a large concentration of Chevy Volts. For another, rooftop photovoltaics are not facing unanimously south, the installation convention for the Northern Hemisphere.

Pecan Street is responsible for the anomaly. This University of Texas at Austin–based think tank promotes a smarter energy grid through two divisions: Its Pecan Street Research Institute analyzes utility system reliability, renewable energy integration, and especially customer resource-use behavior, while the Pike Powers Laboratory and Center for Commercialization incubates new companies pioneering smart-grid and other clean technologies. read more>>>

On Cape Cod, Solar Projects Turn up the Wattage
04/15/2014 - The clouds appear to have cleared, at least partially, for several large solar energy projects on Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard .

Projects in nine towns totaling nearly 12 megawatts worth of solar energy are under construction again, four months after work came to a screeching halt when the installer announced it was going out of business. An additional 16 megawatts are being installed by a separate company, primarily on Cape and Vineyard landfills.

"I'm just pleasantly surprised it's going as smoothly as it has," said John Checklick , president of the Cape and Vineyard Electric Cooperative , the regional energy organization responsible for the projects.

In total, the projects are expected to save cooperative members and participants $2.8 million in the first year of operation, according to the cooperative. read more>>>

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House windows that double as solar panels? Shiny quantum dots brighten future of solar cells
April 14, 2014 - A house window that doubles as a solar panel could be on the horizon, thanks to recent quantum-dot work by Los Alamos National Laboratory researchers in collaboration with scientists from University of Milano-Bicocca (UNIMIB), Italy. Their project demonstrates that superior light-emitting properties of quantum dots can be applied in solar energy by helping more efficiently harvest sunlight.

"The key accomplishment is the demonstration of large-area luminescent solar concentrators that use a new generation of specially engineered quantum dots," said lead researcher Victor Klimov of the Center for Advanced Solar Photophysics (CASP) at Los Alamos. read more>>>

Renewables Beat Fossil Fuels 6 Months In A Row
Why 80% of new electricity capacity added to the grid in the past 6 months was clean energy.

April 24, 2014 - Forty four years ago, on the first Earth Day, we were only using solar cells on satellites. NASA was still four years away from launching the program that would give birth to the modern wind turbine.

Fast forward to the present and renewable energy is beating fossil fuels on every front. Every day seems to bring more news of another city or company that has blown past its clean energy targets, or another region where solar and wind power are now cheaper than coal and gas.

The chart below is a snapshot of life on the cusp of a new energy era. Between October 2013 and March 2014, 80% of the new electricity installed in the United States was renewable energy. In California, where I live, we installed more solar in 2013 than in the previous 30 years combined. read more>>>

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