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First Passive House School In Maine Is Also Net Zero Energy

The Friends School of Portland in Maine is the first Passive House school building in the state, and only the third in the country.  The neighboring OceanView Retirement Community is donating solar panels for the school to use, making the facility net zero energy (NZE). “One of our core values is stewardship and we certainly apply that to our environment,” said Jenny Rowe, Head of School at the Friends School of Portland.  “This new facility not only provides a symbol…

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Team Orange County's entry into Solar Decathlon 2015

Team Orange County Focuses On SoCal Issues In Solar Decathlon 2015

Team Orange County’s entry into this year’s Solar Decathlon addresses some of the issues found in the Southern California home market, including the use of solar energy and landscaping without water. Casa del Sol, as their entry is called, is inspired by the resilient and diurnal characteristics of the California poppy.  It is designed with appropriate shading and natural ventilation to allow it to open and close in tune to the path of the sun.  Strategically positioned windows automatically open…

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Free single family home design

Sustainable Home Designs Now Free Online

The Australian government has begun making free sustainable home designs for single family homes available online. The plans showcase modern, sustainable designs featuring a large main bedroom with a generous walk-in closet and ensuite bathroom. There is also an open plan living and kitchen area with cathedral ceilings, bathroom and laundry. The flexible, functional floor plans are available in two size options: 3 bedroom plus study and 2 bedroom plus study. Both include a single car garage.  Karen Andrews, parliamentary secretary for industry and…

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Smartflower supplies solar power

Solar Power Takes The Form Of A Sunflower

smartflower POP+ enables anyone to start their own personal energy revolution. The integrated power storage unit makes this all-in-one solar power system – the only one of its kind in the world – up to 100% independent of the grid day and night. How does smartflower work? With the first rays of the sun, smartflower deploys its circular 18 m2 solar module panels and produces electricity. Both the design and the efficiency are inspired by the sunflower – with two movable…

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DURA House, designed and built by NYC College of Technology

New York City Team DURA Designs Stackable Post-Disaster Home for Solar Decathlon 2015

One of the teams in this year’s Solar Decathlon, is from New York City’s College of Technology.  This team focused on the issue of providing disaster housing that can be easily transported and stacked, if needed, to provide a high density of housing in a small footprint. Team DURA (Diverse, Urban, Resilient, Adaptable) created a stackable design to provide relief after catastrophic storms that can also be used for mobile and low-income housing in urban areas. “A lot of our…

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Refinishing redwood decking

13 Redwood Refinishing Tips

Redwood is a wonderful material for outdoor structures like decks and fences, but not everyone is in love with its gray, weathered look.  Refinishing redwood is actually quite easy and can be done by novices and professionals alike. Cleaning The first step, of course, is to remove any debris from the structure.  This can be done easily with a broom or scraper (for harder to remove substances).  Or, you can skip right to the big guns and use a power…

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Tiny House Trends: Homelessness & Sustainability

Having been interested in tiny houses for a while now, I continue to be pleasantly surprised by new developments in the movement. One of the more recent developments in the many uses for tiny houses is making permanent housing the first, most crucial part of a comprehensive strategy to help counteract homelessness. Home ownership is a significant step forward for most members of the homeless community. It is perhaps the most important factor involved in restoring a sense of dignity…

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Building Materials, Fossil Fuels’ Ugly Cousin

We still live in a time when we do plenty things that are very harmful to our planet. It seems we’re all aware that fossil fuels like oil and coal create a considerable portion of our greenhouse gas pollution. But many people don’t understand that we also do a lot of harm to our planet with the materials we use to build and remodel our homes and buildings. If you examine some our most prominent building materials, it quickly becomes obvious…

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Coca Cola Saves Energy With Umisol Window Film

Umisol Infrared Blocking Filter was recently installed at the Coca-Cola headquarters in Brussels.  The project is expected to create a net profit of 14 €/m²/year. Energy efficiency is central to the European strategy with the 2020 – 2030 – 2050 EU Directives for smart and sustainable growth and the progression to a resource-efficient economy.  By 2050 the EU aims to significantly reduce emissions by 80-95% compared to 1990. The greatest potential for energy savings exists in buildings. The Commission’s plan regarding…

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Rain tunnel technology provides drinking water from air

Rain Tunnel Technology Provides Drinking Water from Air

New technology from Bangalore promises clean drinking water by drawing moisture from the air.  Rain Tunnel Technology, invented by Dr Rajah Vijay Kumar, Chief Scientific Officer at the De Scalene Research Organization, will soon be available for both commercial and household use. Getting water from the atmosphere is not new. It has been around for more than 500 years but has never been really successful. All the techniques used up until now were based on condensing the air to extract the…

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