Building leaks account for roughly 30 percent of the energy used to heat and cool a building. Scientists at the UC Davis Western Cooling Efficiency Center have developed a new building-sealing technology that can reduce leaks by 50 percent, and with further improvements, has the potential to bring leakage down to nearly zero.
Mat McDermott from earthtechling.com makes the case for rooftop solar and the potential for it to explode in the US:
“Over 300 Gigawatts of Power Waiting on Our Rooftops – And That’s Just the Top 10 States. Just looking at the United States, recent research from the Solar Energy Industries Association shows that there’s huge rooftop solar power potential waiting to be tapped. California leads the nation with 76 gigawatts, just on the roof of buildings. Texas trails a bit with 60 GW — especially remarkable considering how much of the state, particularly in the western half is barely developed at all, much wilderness or rangeland. Florida has 49 GW of potential rooftop solar power; Ohio has 27 GW; Illinois 26 GW; Georgia and New Jersey 25 GW each; North Carolina 23 GW; Michigan and Pennsylvania each have 22 GW.”
The latest issue of our company e-newsletter is out today, featuring a look at our company’s first 20 years, our new energy efficiency manager, Greg Carnegie and recent project news.
In Milan, a green construction of an entirely different variety is underway with the building of two residential skyscrapers.
The two buildings (26 stories and 18 stories) will quite literally, be covered in green. 480 big and medium-size trees, 250 small trees, and roughly 11,000 groundcover plants, according to Boeri Studio, the architectural firm behind the design. It’s the equivalent of almost 2.5 acres of forest on the sides of the buildings, the firm says.
The City of Lancaster, California is on the verge of becoming the first city in the country to require solar panels on all newly constructed homes. The mandate is just the next step down a path toward becoming the net-zero community that Mayor R. Rex Parris proposed a few years ago.
With more than 16 megawatts of installed capacity, Lancaster ranks third in the state for solar behind San Jose and San Diego. However, when it comes to per capita installation, the city has more than 130 kilowatts of solar for each of its 153,000 residents, which is more than double the per capita solar in San Jose and San Diego combined.
Nice write up on mydesert.com about a solar project our company is installing at multiple Palm Springs Unified School District sites for SunEdison. In total, the project encompasses the installation of solar panels at ten schools and the district service center. This has the potential of more than $25 million in savings by stabilizing power expenses over the next two decades, according to the article.
Futurist Glen Hiemstra points out an unrealized opportunity for solar panels – the American road – and imagines, as Solar Roadways has, that you could replace the concrete or asphalt with solar cells beneath a layer of glass:
“Operating at 15% efficiency the U.S. road system would provide more than four times our current electricity needs, or about as much electricity as the whole world uses. … The primary complication is manufacturing glass that is strong enough for an 18-wheeler to drive on, that is clear enough to allow sunlight in but opaque enough not to emit too much glare, with sufficient traction and durable enough to last for years.”
The Voice of San Diego tracks progress made toward Mayor Bob Filner’s promise to power all City and San Diego Unified School District buildings with solar power within five years. As The Voice points out, there are numerous and significant roadblocks – economic, capacity and otherwise – standing in the way of this lofty goal. But where there is a will there is a way, and Reno and other like-minded companies with expertise in solar development stand poised to contribute to the effort.
Pike Research recently published a high-level overview of “Five Metatrends to Watch in 2013 and Beyond” in the energy sector. Trend No.3: Technologies are converging. Dave Roberts at Grist, interprets:
“What Pike means by this is that energy technologies (and sources) have traditionally developed independently of each other, but they are starting to combine into “integrated solutions,” pulled along by market demand. So, for instance, where once a building owner might have bought a furnace from one company, building upgrades from another, and a backup diesel generator from another, she might now be searching instead for a provider of power services. A service provider is not selling particular technologies, it is selling heating, cooling, and/or emergency backup, which it might provide through any of a number of combinations of renewable energy, energy storage, and efficiency upgrades….Whereas one kWh is as good as any other kWh, energy services can be specialized and custom-crafted for niche markets. Service providers have an increasingly diverse array of renewable energy generators, fuel cells, energy storage, and intelligent automization solutions to choose from. The toolbox is getting bigger.
Roberts concludes: The effects of this market convergence will also be difficult to forecast, for the same reason: It involves dozens of technology, regulatory, and business practices evolving in concert, with unpredictable, emergent network and system effects.
Our site modifications at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina in downtown San Diego are winding down. Property enhancements include a new entrance drive at the Bay Tower, new walkways to the Bay View Lawn and Pavilion function spaces and redesign of the 2,000 square foot terrace outside the Bay Tower Lounge, just steps from San Diego Bay.