Category Archives: Energy

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Shipping Container Homes Prove That Size Isn’t As Important As Many Think

Shipping container homes are catching on. When you step into a building with a low ceiling or one which is divided by many walls, it may feel small to you. This has led architects and even homeowners to pursue more “open” concepts which make buildings feel bigger. In these open concepts, walls are removed to…

A Journey Through the Natural Building Techniques: Straw Bales

When it comes to insulating your home you may feel as though your choices are quite limited. You are likely to be standing in the aisle of your local hardware store, gazing up at various fiberglass insulation, rigid insulation, cellulose, or even spun rock insulation called Roxul, and wondering which is the healthiest for you…

Can Solar Energy Help Save Greece?

What happens to renewable energy programs in a country that gets whacked by a full-scale debt crisis, like the one that struck Greece beginning in 2009 — do the programs whither and die in the winds of austerity? And how do people view such programs when many of them can’t afford to heat their houses?

Arizona Desert Hosts World’s Largest “Net-Zero Energy” Building

In the Arizona desert lies the world’s largest “net-zero energy” building. It is the Phoenix Regional Office of DPR Construction. It was given this certification by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI). Located on the corner of 44th and Van Buren, the energy efficiency transformation took 10 months to complete. It is the largest building in…

Guest Post: Increased Efforts by Hotels to Become Green

As manufacturing costs of solar panels and equipment have decreased, many hotels are investing in the realization that patrons are more likely to visit and return to a hotel that is more green. Hotels around the world are mounting solar arrays in order to improve the natural habitat of humanity while saving money on energy…

Great Green Construction Products Made From Paper

Sustainable composite surfaces show great promise to green designers

We have written before about this sustainable counter product made from recycled waste paper. It is time now to revisit Hoquiam, WA-based PaperStone.

Stained Glass Windows Capture Solar Energy

No, I’m not talking about letting sunlight into the room. These windows actually generate electricity! They are being installed in the Cathedral of the Holy Family in Saskatoon, Saskatechewan, and they are connected to the local electricity grid. Solar panels are usually connected to the local electricity grid to supply the grid with electricity using…

Green Building Innovation in Mumbai

Mumbai is the wealthiest city in India and receives significant international investment. Many foreign banks and financial institutions have branches here, enabling Mumbai’s economy to grow and become a world city. It’s in a rush to expand and prosper. We have picked a couple of recent green building projects in the heart of Mumbai. These…

Transparent Solar Film — Efficiency Of Novel Solar Cell Doubled By Researchers At UCLA

A novel, transparent, two-layer solar film — possessing an impressive solar conversion efficiency of 7.3% — has been created by researchers at the University of California–Los Angeles. The solar film can be placed on windows, buildings, sunroofs, electronics displays, etc; harvesting energy while still at the same time allowing light to pass through and visibility/transparency…

Finally! An Integrated Solar Power Supply

Bosch has decided to step up to the plate and construct an integrated solar power supply system called the BPT-S 5 Hybrid. Almost everything is integrated into it. The company integrated an inverter, Saft lithium-ion batteries, and an energy management system (charge controller) into a single unit which is certified and safety tested  for domestic installations….

Guest Post: Sustainably Sourced Materials & Doing Your Bit for the Environment During Your Next Building Project

When planning your next building project, think about the materials you’re going to use and how you’re going to recycle and reuse any materials you have left over when you’ve finished your project.

Guest Post: Go Green On Your Roof

A green roof or a living roof has a profound effect on the quality of life of an individual and the surrounding community alike. Its influence is particularly noticeable in urban areas, where concrete and unnatural materials dominate the landscape. Besides the obvious aesthetic appeal, having vegetation on the roof has many practical advantages over other available roofing solutions, spanning from long-term financial gain to improving living conditions on a grand scale. The following is a brief introduction to some of the benefits of green roofs.

China Imposes Anti-Dumping Duties On US Polysilicon Manufacturers

US polysilicon anti dumping duties China

The solar energy trade war between China and the US continues to grow — China will now be imposing anti-dumping import tariffs of up to 57% on solar-grade polysilicon from the US and South Korea, according to a recent announcement from China’s Ministry of Commerce. The import tariffs — which will not affect European polysilicon…

New Record Efficiency For Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells

A new efficiency record for dye-sensitized solar cells has been achieved by researchers at EPFL in Switzerland — the new record of 15% has now been achieved thanks to a new fabrication process created by the researchers. Dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) are a very promising type of solar cell — largely as a result of…

Guest Post: PVC’s Resilience and Its Foreseeable Future

In the 1960s Dustin Hoffman movie, “The Graduate,” a man hoisting a drink at a cocktail party declares to a business associate: “The future’s in plastic.” As time marched on, it turned out these words were absolutely correct, whether or not you happen to like the material, and the chemical formulations that make the material…

Guest Post: Fungus As Building Material?

The lifespan sees practical application of Mycoform blocks used for housing in third-world countries. Planetary ONE has sought out grants to send its building materials and development plan to emerging economies to encourage startup manufacturing of the Mycoform bricks. Initially potential manufacturers spend $150 on a hydraulic press and $50 for the steel mold used to shape the aluminum. Manufacturers also need to build a greenhouse for growing the spores.

Enphase Energy Announces New Commercial Solar Initiative in Europe

“Commercial solar projects are becoming more widespread in Europe. In France, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg, Switzerland and United Kingdom, small commercial systems up to 100kW represent a fast-growing, addressable market for our microinverters,” said Olivier Jacques, Managing Director for Enphase Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). “Enphase offers installers and users a technology solution with a modular architecture, integrated intelligence, lower levelized cost of energy (LCOE) and increased project profitability.”

Prefab Marvel from NRJA: DOM(E)

The building has an self-supporting internal structure made from laminated timber with metal mounts, 200mm insulation and a 9mm fiber concrete slab covered with liquid rubber as exterior finish. On the inside the structure is covered with birch plywood which gives an impression of a warm, homely atmosphere. Both frame and filling for the dome are prefabricated and assembled on-site. The perimeter of the house is covered with pre-prepared foundation insulation. The dome utilizes its shape to provide natural ventilation.