I have done quite a few posts on wind turbines but this is the first one on water turbines. I was watching a TV program called "Big Ideas Small Planet" and one of their interviews was with Trey Taylor. His company in New York, Verdant Power, has developed a water turbine and has actually installed it in the East River, New York City, along the eastern shore of Roosevelt Island! New York has some amazing water currents and its awesome to see a company take advantage of that for renewable resource purposes. Its called the RITE project and Verdant is using a tidal-powered Kinetic Hydropower System (KHPS), which they developed and patented. The project is slated to eventually run rows and rows of water turbines in the East River generating enough renewable energy to supply power to 8,000 New York homes.
You want small...I'll give you small. The G-box by Sarah Wigglesworth Architects. This tiny little space is a plywood-clad cabin design and comes fully insulated so that it can be used all year round. It is prewired and comes ready to be hooked up to the electrical grid. The website says it comes in a kit and can be fully assembled by two people. If you live in London, you can have one of these things delivered, by crane, completely assembled. If you had the right set up and could smoothly integrate the G-box to your home (not necessarily attaching it but setting it up in the backyard or something), you could definitely add additional equity to the market value of your home without a lot of costs incurred for construction, drawings and renderings from architects, etc.
I just picked up the July 9th edition of Business Week (the one with the chicken breaking out of the egg on the front cover...good issue!) and it had a cool little tidbit about a couple of architecture grad students, Joseph Cory and Eyal Malka, who created this thing called the WatAir. It was designed for a competition sponsored by Arup and WaterAid.
I came across this on youtube. Its a prefab structure called the bCube. The video shows some concept drawings of the prefab "blocs", which look great and stack together nicely. Each of the units are stacked on top of each other, connected by a staircase topped off with a green roof. They claim to be 100% green, lowest carbon dioxide emission, lowest carbon footprint and lowest energy consumption...but I am not sure what they are comparing to. Another video showcasing the bCube placed their starting price at $10,000. I will keep you posted if I find a website or other info.
You want bubbles? You got it! Get ready for this little beauty. Beijing is building an aquatic center for the 2008 Olympic Games...with the outside facade being a little bubbly. This is pretty crazy! Designed by PTW Architects in Australia, it was the engineers who took off with the idea of bubbles and made it a reality. By using computer programs and complex algorithms, they figured out how to apply the idea of a bubble looking surface to an actual building.
Wired and LivingHomes have come together for quite the collaboration. They are going to build a 4,100 square foot, $4 million, LEED, green, prefabricated, luxurious home. Right now on their website, they have a video featuring LivingHomes founder Steve Glenn. He talks a little about the Wired Home and some of its features. Not only are they going to build a pretty sweet house, they are deconstructing the previous structure, reusing what they can for the Wired Home and then donating what they can't use to Habitat For Humanity. The home is in L.A. and has some rocking views. Once completed, its going to be pretty impressive.
There is a cool, new book out about small structures and green architecture. I picked it up on Saturday at Borders and it has some interesting stuff in it. Written by Phyllis Richardson, it covers 40 or more small, green, prefab structures. From the Mirador in Chile to the greening of Detroit Pavilion, there are tons of pictures and a write-up on each structure.
Studies have shown that people are happier and more productive when they are exposed to natural sunlight during the course of their workday as opposed to artificial light. In 1999, the California Board of Energy Efficiency commissioned a study and found that increased sales, increased productivity, increased wellness and reduced energy costs resulted from companies using natural solor lighting instead of artifical light. Enter in Sunlight Direct.