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Illinois Gives Good Wind – Fourth in the Nation for Wind Power Generation!

wind-power-JOL

I had a chance to drive through some of the great wind fields of Illinois over the last month — Laura and I have ostensibly been vagabonding here in the US since there’s no work.

I put together a quick video on Illinois wind power — check it out, wouldja?  Share it with your friends!  Illinois, a state that sent 4 of its last 7 sitting governors to prison for corruption, is the fourth largest wind producer in the United States!  I guess you go, Illinois still works?

Illinois gives good wind!

…and on Vimeo, in case you like it there better (I have to admit I love their interface…)

Illinois Gives Good Wind! from Jim Hutchison on Vimeo.

Acting Green vs. Buying Green [Infographic]

I saw this great infographic over at Inhabitat, from a cool website called eLocal — the idea behind it is the idea of the difference between buying green and acting green.  It’s pretty clever, check it out!

After all of this time, I still kinda cringe that we call it “green.”  I feel like the reality of the situation should be enough to force people to think with a little bit more earthen responsibility, as “green” really refers to sustainability.  perhaps I’m a wee bit pessimistic about the whole thing, but the real idea behind branding the idea of sustainability as being “green” is to save the Earth.  She needs saving, folks.

A Solar Condensation Water Filter – Totally Random.

I have been working so much and so frequently on a multi-float Halloween parade entry I’ve designed with so much help from co-designer Ashley Bellet (who is an outstanding costume designer, by the way).  All I can think about in my non-work-time is going camping with two good friends, Roger and Ru, so I have been thinking a lot lately about camping and the kind of nerd stuff that I like to try when camping.  It’s almost as if camping represents some kind of peaceful non-work place where there are magic bottles of Shiner Bock just begging me to drink them, and the breeze coming off of the lake is as good as zoning out in front of the TV.

Solar water condensation filters – have you seen anything like this before?  This is the kind of stuff I dreamed in my head as a kid – my folks gave me this awesome little 18X24 drafting set when I was 8 or 9, I don’t remember.  I used to draw this kind of stuff in my room with my little t-square and 30-60-90 triangle.  I also came up with a flying ninja space wagon, a large rocket that could drive my GI Joes around the house, and for some reason, plan views of my little imaginary mountain towns… OF THE FUTURE.

Do you have any idea what it is I’m rambling about here?  From Len McDougall’s The Self-Reliance Manifesto: How to Survive Anything Anywhere:

 

Another way to go about this is by taking a large container and a small container and some plastic wrap to make a sort-of crock-pot style water catcher – like this:

Nothing major, imagine a black aluminum pan or a bucket, even – and inside, a smaller jar that will collect the condensate.  Over the top of the large container should be a piece of clear (or at least very translucent) plastic wrap that acts as the “airtight” barrier between the water environment and the outside air, and a little rock.  Like, a rock – not like Lynyrd Skynyrd.  When you put the rock in the center of the plastic wrap, you’ve created a little funnel that pretty much directs the water right into the collecting container!  Now how simple and awesome is that?!

Ok.  Back to your breakfast.  Just a total random bit of my brain, interjecting itself onto the world.

 

Burning in the Sun

Have you seen trailers for this movie Burning in the Sun? Below is not a trailer, it’s an in-depth video about the film’s subject, Daniel Dembélé. You have got to check it out.

From Al Jazeera:

Twenty-six-year-old Daniel Dembélé is equal parts West African and European, and looking to make his mark on the world.

Seizing the moment at a crossroads in his life, Daniel decides to return to his homeland in Mali and start a local business building solar panels – the first of its kind in the sun-drenched nation.

Daniel’s goal is to electrify the households of rural communities – 99 per cent of which live without power.

Burning in the Sun tells the story of Daniel’s journey growing the budding idea into a viable company, and its impact on Daniel’s first customers in the tiny village of Banko.

Taking controversial stances on climate change, poverty and African self-sufficiency, the film explores what it means to grow up as a man, and what it takes to prosper as a nation.

This is something that inspired me this morning to drive 2011’s possibilities of solar, wind, geothermal, and wave power as hard as I can. I’m tired of hearing stories about how gas is going up higher than five or six bucks a gallon soon, and how companies like BP are skirting around the legal system like it was a flea market in which the only penalty is paying too much.

Let’s kick ass in 2011 to make up for 2010’s shortcomings!

The SEL – Sustainable Emergency Light

Jonathan Janke has created an emergency light source that is pretty cool – it’s chemically luminescent, creates no heat, is not affected by wind, and has the packaging material integrated into the design.  Meet the Sustainable Emergency Light:

The SEL is about as large as a large coffee mug, and creates about 24 hours of light.  From the image above you might notice the four capsule-looking things on the top – those are the chemical activators.  Once pushed, they add liquid to the lower container and create light.  One of my favorite aspects of this fixture is that once it’s reacted completely and no longer gives off light, you can mail it back to the manufacturer who will fill it again and mail it back.  The SEL uses a non-toxic chemical, and never expires if stored properly.  Pretty cool.

The green color of the chemical light emitted from the SEL reminds me of that scene in The Abyss with Ed Harris when he’s in the liquid breathing suit using light from a green chemical light trying to diffuse a nuclear warhead, trying to tell apart the difference between a white and yellow wire in the green light!

More of the Sustainable Emergency Light:

Thanks, Design Blog!

A Fully Solar Powered Stadium

solar stadium

Okay, wow.  Toyo Ito has designed a 100% solar powered stadium for the 2009 World Games that has a 40,000 seat capacity, can feed its excess power back into the community during the off-season, and has over 8,000 solar panels on its roof.  Some info from the World Games website on the stadium:

The whole construction of the Main Stadium, with a capacity of 40,000 seats, designed by Toyo Ito, only required two years of work, and was finally tested for lighting facilities on January 15, 2009. It took over six minutes to power up the lighting in the stadium, which illuminates the track and field with 3,300 lux. Two jumbotrons screens on each side of the stadium, along with a surround sounding system, make this an international standard soccer field and facility, ensuring that it is the perfect venue for the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as the Rugby 7s and Flying Disc events.

The City of Kaohsiung is particularly proud of this project. During the construction period, no site accidents occurred, while the construction crew successfully overcame the technical difficulties presented by installing spiral steel girders and 8,844 solar panels on the roof.

Moreover, this stadium is notable for its eco-friendliness: the solar panels on the stadium roof generate 1.14 million kWh of electricity per year, thus reducing 660 tons of annual carbon dioxide output. In addition, all the raw materials used in the main stadium are 100% reusable and made in Taiwan.

This is amazing.  Think of it – something that is built that is actually sustainable.  I’m getting a little exhausted with all of the greenwashing lately, especially when 75% of it is total crap.

solar stadium

solar stadium

taiwan solar stadium

world games 2009

Thanks, MetaEfficient!

Grid Parity for Solar in the UK… in 2013?

A company called Solarcentury has written a report that says the UK will have solar grid parity by 2013, because PVs will be cheaper than fossil fuel.  Given the rate of growth of PV collection power in the last six months, I think nothing is impossible – but they are strong words.

The report says that consumers, not commercial markets, will be at the parity mark in 2013 – commercial will hit in 2018.  An article at the Guardian also says that the consumer price for PV will be around 17p-18p per unit.  This is about 7-8p than is being paid now according to my research on London’s average price.  Londoners, what are you paying per unit for electricity?

The article from the Sustainablog is pretty great, and the report is worth reading.  Get the report here from Solarcentury (PDF link).

Also, I found a cool little video on photovoltaics via Solarcentury’s youtube channel – worth a look-see!

Styro Light – Apple’s Packaging Put to A Second Use

Eric Lawrence won a Sustainable Award from Design Within Reach Austin’s M+D+F competition recently for the Styro Light – his fixture that was created using the styrofoam packaging corners from Apple laptops.  I think this is a well-exhibited design – the frame is aluminum, and there are 16 5W dimmable compact fluorescents illuminating the space.

Check out a few picures of this work – great job, Eric!

styyrolight

styrolight

styrolight

Thanks, Unplugged!

Empire State Building Cleaning Up Energy Expenditures

A series of sustainability retrofits has been announced for New York’s Empire State Building – the goal is to reduce energy costs for the skyscraper by 40%.  Is this a lofty goal?  There’s a $20 million dollar grand retrofit planned, and the energy savings from it are supposed to total somewhere in the neighborhood of $4.4 million.  Not a bad return, considering.  There are some snippy commentaries on this plan – overall, sure, it’s great – let’s save money.  Why has it taken so long to fix these big money magnets associated with power expenditures in the Empire State Building?  What do you think?

Clinton Climate Initiative, Rocky Mountain Institute, Johnson Controls, and Jones Lang LaSalle are all participating in this big project – the larger project at hand is a $500 million dollar renovation plan of several spaces.  I don’t know the timeframe to accomplish all of this, but the Empire State Building systems retrofits are supposed to be finished by 2010, and tenant space renovations by 2013.  Here’s a bit of the plan for the Empire State Building:

  • 1. Window Light Retrofit:  Refurbishment of approximately 6,500 thermopane glass windows, using existing glass and sashes to create triple-glazed insulated panels with new components that dramatically reduce both summer heat load and winter heat loss.
  • 2. Radiator Insulation Retrofit: Added insulation behind radiators to reduce heat loss and more efficiently heat the building perimeter.
  • 3. Tenant Lighting, Daylighting and Plug Upgrades: Introduction of improved lighting designs, daylighting controls, and plug load occupancy sensors in common areas and tenant spaces to reduce electricity costs and cooling loads.
  • 4. Air Handler Replacements: Replacement of air handling units with variable frequency drive fans to allow increased energy efficiency in operation while improving comfort for individual tenants.
  • 5. Chiller Plant Retrofit: Reuse of existing chiller shells while removing and replacing “guts” to improve chiller efficiency and controllability, including the introduction of variable frequency drives.
  • 6. Whole-Building Control System Upgrade: Upgrade of existing building control system to optimize HVAC operation as well as provide more detailed sub-metering information.
  • 7. Ventilation Control Upgrade: Introduction of demand control ventilation in occupied spaces to improve air quality and reduce energy required to condition outside air.
  • 8. Tenant Energy Management Systems: Introduction of individualized, web-based power usage systems for each tenant to allow more efficient management of power usage.

Let’s hope we see innovation like this everywhere we look.  Here’s a video of the Clinton Climate Initiative’s involvement in the project:

Thanks, Earth2Tech and Treehugger!