Friday, April 4, 2014

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 4 April 2014

10 Traits of Eco-friendly Homes
Mar 29, 2014 - Living in a green home is better for the planet and better for your health, pocket and conscience. A green home is one which can be sustainably built, operated and maintained. Here is a list of traits that mark a sustainable home.

1. Sustainable site conditions
A green home should be built in a place where you can have solar access, a garden, a water supply, enough air, privacy and an atmosphere that is inspiring to you.

2. Good orientation

Rainbow-catching waveguide could revolutionize energy technologies
March 28, 2014 - By slowing and absorbing certain wavelengths of light, engineers open new possibilities in solar power, thermal energy recycling and stealth technology

More efficient photovoltaic cells. Improved radar and stealth technology. A new way to recycle waste heat generated by machines into energy.

All may be possible due to breakthrough photonics research at the University at Buffalo.

The work, published March 28 in the journal Scientific Reports, explores the use of a nanoscale microchip component called a "multilayered waveguide taper array" that improves the chip's ability to trap and absorb light. read more>>>

Green Living Everyday

NAHB: National Green Building Standard Set for 2015
March 28, 2014 - The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), building science society ASHRAE and the International Code Council (ICC), developers of the ICC Family of Codes for the built environment, today agreed to jointly develop the 2015 edition of the ICC/ASHRAE 700 National Green Building Standard. This is the third edition of the standard and the first time that ASHRAE has partnered on its development.

“ASHRAE’s participation is welcome news for the home building industry,” said NAHB Chairman Kevin Kelly, a home builder and developer in Wilmington, Del. “This cements the position of the National Green Building Standard as the preeminent green standard for residential construction.” read more>>>

Revolutionary solar cells double as lasers
March 28, 2014 - Latest research finds that the trailblazing 'perovskite' material used in solar cells can double up as a laser, strongly suggesting the astonishing efficiency levels already achieved in these cells is only part of the journey.

Commercial silicon-based solar cells -- such as those seen on the roofs of houses across the country -- operate at about 20% efficiency for converting the Sun's rays into electrical energy. It's taken over 20 years to achieve that rate of efficiency.

A relatively new type of solar cell based on a perovskite material -- named for scientist Lev Perovski, who first discovered materials with this structure in the Ural Mountains in the 19th century -- was recently pioneered by an Oxford research team led by Professor Henry Snaith. read more>>>

Incredible Solar-Powered 'Cumulus' Parasol Opens Automatically When the Sun Starts Shining!
03/28/14 - The Cumulus parasol is a solar powered parasol that inflates itself when the sun starts shining. This artificial cumulus protects you from the sun. Whenever the sun comes out, the parasol inflates automatically to a cloud-like shape using a solar panel positioned at the top in about 20 seconds. The inflated Cumulus has a diameter of two meters. Lacking a metal core structure, the inflated cloud is aerodynamic, allowing it to withstand windy weather. The nylon surface makes it durable, lightweight, and strong, while the silicone coating makes it water proof. When it is sunny, the solar cells power a fan that inflates the body of the parasol. When the sun goes away the parasol deflates automatically, or it can be turned off using an additional switch integrated in the pole. read more>>>

Rotating Girasole Home Follows the Australian Sun
03/28/14 - Distracted motorists in the quiet Canberra suburb of Crace often skid straight into the roadside as they pass the corner plot of the Girasole house. There’s nothing out of the ordinary about the modern home's appearance, which is designed to complement the character of the street, but not many have ever seen an entire home move. Inhabitat was fascinated to visit this extraordinary house; would it move fast enough to cause motion sickness, we wondered? How do you design a functional interior within a circle? And how does the house run almost entirely on natural resources? Hit the jump to see a time-lapse of the Girasole's rotation and learn more about the extraordinary house that follows the Australian sun. read more>>>

New Jersey a solar model for the world?
March 31, 2014 - The recent Intersolar Summit celebrated New Jersey as a leader in solar energy -- not only in the state, but across the nation -- with some going so far as to claim that New Jersey should be a model for the United States and foreign countries.

As China opens a new coal plant almost every week to meet the country's energy needs, New Jersey is consciously choosing to go with new, future-oriented energy policy, New Jersey State Senator Bob Smith said in his Intersolar keynote.

Energy providers are central to achieving the solar goals of New Jersey and the United States, but continued success can only be achieved when policy makers work with these providers. read more>>>

Additional CHP could save the U.S. billions
March 31, 2014 - As electricity prices continue to rise, an increasing number of industries are considering combined heat and power (CHP) as an alternative for power generation, due to the option of using both natural gas and biomass as fuel.

In fact, Europe's CHP installed capacity will increase from an estimated 202 GW in 2014 to 245 GW by 2020, according to research and consulting firm GlobalData, driven by growing electricity demand and increasing environmental awareness.

"With its strict emission and carbon savings targets, coupled with its focus on decentralized energy, Europe is comfortably the biggest market for CHP installations. Russia alone boasts a huge CHP installed capacity and depends on this technology to meet a large share of its heat requirements," said Sowmyavadhana Srinivasan, GlobalData's senior power analyst. "The waste heat collected in CHP plants can also be used for district heating, which will lead to significant long-term cost savings." read more>>>

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Microgrid Solar Partners with Missouri Science and Technology to Develop Innovative Solar Village
March 27, 2014 - St. Louis-based Microgrid Solar is proud to be the engineer-of-record and installer of the first microgrid in the U.S. to be centered around a “Solar Village”. Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) created the Solar Village, which consists of multiple houses built by the university’s students, from 2002 to 2009, for competition in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon. This competition challenges collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. Missouri S&T students, faculty and staff, along with members of the university’s microgrid advisory board (Ameren, City Utilities of Springfield, Rolla Municipal Utilities and Electric Power Research Institute), several Missouri manufacturers (Milbank, EPRI, and Ford) and the Army Corps of Engineers, have worked together for two years to design and implement the advanced microgrid testing facility at the Rolla, Mo., campus.

The term “microgrid” is used to describe an energy “islanding” capability, whereby a campus or grouping of buildings, has the ability to operate independently from the electrical grid and other centralized power sources, creating its own smaller grid, essentially. read more>>>

First result from Connecticut's big microgrid push
Mar 27, 2014 - Upgrades to a microgrid at Wesleyan University in Middletown, MA make it the first project to be finished under Connecticut's microgrid expansion initiative. Wesleyan received a grant of nearly $700,000 to connect a second gas generator and expand the microgrid to encompass the athletic center (which doubles as an emergency shelter).

Connecticut's microgrid initiative has been heavily promoted by Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy. "In an environment that is rapidly changing, unusually cold weather, unusually hot weather, unusually strong storms, we have to make sure we're in a position to take care of our citizens," said Malloy, who started working on microgrids when he was mayor of Stamford. read more>>>

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