Solar Decathlon 2013 – Orange County Great Park

Flux Home University of Southern California USC

CLICK HERE   See the Flux House in Ojai **** an internationally, renowned, architect moves the 2013 Solar Decathlon Flux Home to Ojai, CA

The Solar Decathlon  is a very cool event – a college competition to build solar homes.  Usually in Washington, DC – last year the 2013 Solar Decathlon exhibit was in Orange County, California for the first time.  Although I follow the event every year – this year I went to see the houses.

They say architects are at their best when they are old – experienced.  This truth exists but there is something really fun, fresh and appealing about these college students taking on the task of building a home – an efficient and new style of home.

  • lots of shed roofs
  • passive solar design using shading
  • open and flexible plans
  • solar systems

 

The Decathlon was held at the former El Toro  Marine Air Base – which is being transformed into “Great Park” – at 4700 acre real estate development – CLICK HERE for more info

A runway of cool houses …

Continue reading “Solar Decathlon 2013 – Orange County Great Park”

New Green Fireplace ! Rumford Style with glass door that works!

So you still want a real fireplace but can’t handle the trade off of what it does to your green building? 

We all love fireplaces but in most buildings they are a horrible energy suck !

  • Sucks out the conditioned air – even with the best glass doors (which are alway ugly)
  • Pollutes the environment
  • Leaky
  • Drafty

Well check this out !  I met the owner of the Canadian company Renaissance Fireplaces at my Builder 20 meeting in Quebec this fall.  

His revolutionary product uses a “guillotine door” (comforting sounding name eh?).  The door is counter balanced and slides up into the wall cavity – so it works with an air tight seal.

Interestingly – after considerable research – his labratory and scientists couldn’t improve on old Cout Rumfords famous design for a fireplace.  This means the fireplace lights easily, burns efficiently and throws heat into the room instead of up the chimney.

Check out their web site for videos and more information

http://www.renaissancefireplaces.com/en/photo-gallery

This’ll blow your hair back! Solar Decathlon 2011

Its Solar Decathlon time again ! 

I love this annual competition.  Crazy ideas – experimental – cutting edge – out of the box (as they say!) – weird – fun – they say if you want to learn and be creative – you should take things apart – turn them upside down – backwards – shatter ideas and then put it all together.  Well that’s what they do here.  Watch all 20 of the competitors entries and I guarantee you will get an education.  Watch with an open mind and remember – we are looking for new stuff here!

Press play to watch the SCI-Arc video.  Right in my  back yard – SCI-Arc is cutting edge and a little bit Hollywood too!

Solar Decathlon Teams

The 20 university-led teams that design, build, and operate the competition’s solar-powered houses are the heart of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon. Learn more about each of these teams competing in Solar Decathlon 2011: Continue reading “This’ll blow your hair back! Solar Decathlon 2011”

The Weather !

Note:  This is a fascinating read!  Much longer than your average blog – but read it all. This report was written by my father – who actually barely survived the great hurricane of 1938 in Long Island, NY (no peaking at the end of the article!)  Written from the perspective of how “The Weather” might affect world financial markets, reminds us we are but a tiny part of our environment.  Whether you believe climate change is human caused or not – we still live in it!  Is it possible to effect change in our future climate?

From The New York Times, July 21, 2010 by David Leonhardt, Washington, D.C. “This city has just endured its hottest June since records began in 1872, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. So did Miami. Atlanta suffered its second-hottest June, and Dallas had its third hottest. In New York, the weather  July on record.”  ……

“According to NASA, 2010 is on course to be the planet’s (writer –  the PLANET’s) hottest year since records started in 1880. The current top 10, in descending order, are: 2005, 2007, 2009, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2004, 2001 and 2008.” All 10 of the Planet’s hottest years (since 1880) have occurred in the last 11 years. Only 1999 escaped. Three of the very hottest were in the last five years – and 2010 will probably make it four of the last six. Hot temperatures cause weather havoc. The Pacific has its Typhoons and Tsunamis  — the latter caused by Earthquakes, of course.  The Left Coast has its Earthquakes too, but Fires and Mud Slides can usually be blamed on Hot Weather. Mighty Thunderstorms and Tornados throughout the Midwest and Southwest can be blamed on Heat Waves. (Not to mention Air Shears and Airplane Turbulence. Just ask the D.C. to L.A. 777 passengers driven down in Denver a couple of weeks ago.) Continue reading “The Weather !”

Japan Quake – Inconceivable Environmental Disaster

This phenomenal video footage is the most amazing I have seen of the Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami.  As an ocean go-er from a tiny age  – I have often feared the idea of giant waves and the helplessness of escaping.  This astonishing video shows a  clear sunny day and the view of the lines of waves (walls of water) heading toward the shore.  The incredible strength of the water – pulverizing buildings into scrap – tossing giant boats miles inland – and moving cars like they are ping pong balls – is astonishing to see in such clear footage.  A truly astonishing environmental disaster!

[pro-player width=’530′ height=’253′ type=’video’]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQTJy5mWejA[/pro-player]

Environmental Consequences

Can there be a connection between quakes and global warming ?  We are just one planet – we’ve changed the alkalinity of the ocean … I know quakes and storms happen and are part of nature but you have to wonder how we effect the planet !

Life

DEATH – The incredible loss of life from this disaster will make it one of the worst in our lifetimes.   These disasters seem to keep on coming … Katrina almost 2000 dead – the tsunami in Thailand over 5,000 dead, Haitian earthquake over 300,000 dead.

Nuclear Power

MELT DOWN – in a nutshell forget about future nuclear power.  You can’t find a plan for our future energy needs that hasn’t included lots of Nuclear power.   Despite the obvious shortcomings of Nuke’s – they produce lots of power without CO2.  The world seemed to be hot on course to ramping up – warp speed – the development of Nukes – but this quake will kill that!  This puts more pressure on coal, oil  and gas as our primary sources of power.  Hopefully this will also push growth of renew-ables from the paltry 7% of current global energy. Continue reading “Japan Quake – Inconceivable Environmental Disaster”

Oberlin College – Super Green School

LEED Green Building Rating System Silver Standard Adopted

In June of 2006 the Oberlin College Board of Trustees adopted a policy that all new construction and major renovations on campus have to be designed and built in accordance with the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver standard. The adoption of this standard will significantly reduce the use of resources on campus in the future, as the built spaces will both be built more efficiently and perform more efficiently.

Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies

The Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies (AJLC) was one of the first and most innovative green buildings on a college campus. It helped launch the green building movement of the mid 1990’s and its innovative systems have since inspired green buildings in many other locations and settings. Continue reading “Oberlin College – Super Green School”

Show Us Your Projects ! – Bio Diverse Farm – Super Green Building

This amazing project caught my eye !  Just check out the spec’s … containers – green houses – graywater – gardens – solar – Bert calls this the “Bio Diverse Farm” – check it out

Click on photos to enlarge

Send us your projects!

Also CLICK  HERE FOR “THE CONTAINER VIDEO”

Hi Otis

This Design project might interest you. The main points are:

Site.

Southern Gulf Islands, British Columbia

2 acre plot, gentle slope to SE

Winters Wet, Summer very dry limited ground water

Climatic zone 6-8

Continue reading “Show Us Your Projects ! – Bio Diverse Farm – Super Green Building”

You should watch this … Best Presentation on Energy Global Warming

This guy Nathan Lewis is fascinating. 

If you want a better understanding on the global energy picture and global warming, I highly recommend you watch this presentation.

http://nsl.caltech.edu/energy

The first lecture ….. “JPL von Kármán Lecture Series Feb 2008”

Note: if you don’t have the video player “RealPlayer” you will need to download it and there is a link to do so – which is simple.

Presentation Abstract

This presentation describes and evaluates the technical, political, and economic challenges involved with widespread adoption of renewable energy technologies.

First, we estimate the available fossil fuel resources and reserves based on data from the World Energy Assessment and World Energy Council. In conjunction with the current and projected global primary power production rates, we then estimate the remaining years of supply of oil, gas, and coal for use in primary power production. We then compare the price per unit of energy of these sources to those of renewable energy technologies (wind, solar thermal, solar electric, biomass, hydroelectric, and geothermal) to evaluate the degree to which supply/demand forces stimulate a transition to renewable energy technologies in the next 20-50 years. Continue reading “You should watch this … Best Presentation on Energy Global Warming”