Archives for posts with tag: Solar Power

If you’re ever been on a living roof, chances are that you haven’t forgotten the feeling. Clean air, nice humidity and coolness not to mention the beauty of being surrounded by plants instead of standing on hot black tar or shingles. The benefits of living roofs are illustrated in this example. Living roofs or green roofs

  • Provide storm water management that retains 65-100% of rainwater
  • Improve air quality by absorbing pollutants
  • Reduce the urban heat island effects by cooling roofs
  • Add an aesthetic quality and increase the quality of life for people who live and work around them
  • They reduce energy costs by keeping the heat down during hot climates
  • They increase the life of roof membranes since many UV rays are blocked and in freezing temperatures the longevity of the roof is also increased since they are less exposed
  • They increase the green space in urban environments which is increasingly important during this time of concern about the urban heat island effect

LEED is one of the most common ways for people to keep track of how efficient their buildings are in terms of energy, water and carbon. Additionally Green Halo Systems is used to track waste, salvaging and recycling for construction projects and for properties. Green Halo Systems can keep track of LEED points and additional benefits of using this free software is that people who want to know the inner workings of their home to make it more green will benefit from an array of features by using Green Halo Systems.

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Another great Green article from Green Halo
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Green building is expected to grow 10% in upcoming years and many in the industry consider sustainable building to be the “right way to build” now a days. At a time when people are still building, consuming, and spending the majority of their time indoors it is critical that we build more sustainable buildings. Calrecycle.ca.gov explains that green buildings are designed to meet certain objectives such as “protecting occupant health; improving employee productivity; using energy, water, and other resources more efficiently; and reducing the overall impact to the environment”. If you’ve ever been in a green building before, high achieving green buildings are stunning. The air quality inside certainly feels better than most buildings, the overall impact to the environment is also great because of the landscaping that is chosen and you would notice different materials that are likely made from recycling.

This article is preparation for a very special “How to Choose a Green Contractor” interview/article that is coming soon. What’s important to know ahead of time, is what a green building looks like because it is a fairly new idea. Some of the benefits are lower operating costs over the life of the building, improved productivity, reduced environmental impact, and increase in health and in comfort.

Some green buildings look like the modern marvels they are but they can also be designed to be more lavish like other fabulous homes of the past. Now, let’s look at some inspiring homes, and please read next week for the special piece that’s coming up!

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Another great Green article from Green Halo
Track your recycling at www.greenhalosystems.com
Follow Green Halo on Twitter at http://twitter.com/greenhalousa

 

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Adobe Systems Inc. which is a digital marketing and digital media company headquartered in San Jose, Ca is very proactive when it comes to sustainability and energy conservation. The company has recognized that their industry is increasingly energy intensive and so they aim to reduce energy consumption and to stabilize their costs. Their ultimate goal is for their buildings to “produce or offset as much energy as they consume, resulting in Net Zero energy usage”. So far, the company has been tracking Scope 1, 2 and 3 carbon emissions (for purchased energy of the leased sites and for employee business travel since these two areas are part of their value chain). Reducing energy demand has been an area of observance for Adobe since before 2002. The company has impressive statistics about their energy efficiency projects and renewable/alternative energy here: http://www.adobe.com/corporate-responsibility/energy-conservation.html

In addition, Adobe even tracks over 30,000 data points on energy usage and critical operations.

Adobe’s commitment to the environment is legendary for the corporate world. In an area of relatively poor air quality, it is refreshing to see Adobe’s headquarters which are revolutionary, awe-inspiring and clean.

The country’s first all-electric school bus began transporting students to and from Kings Canyon Unified school district in central California. The new electric vehicle is a modified SST Trans Tech Bus with an electric powertrain from Motiv Power Systems. The electric bus is estimated to save the school district around 16 gallons of fuel a day, which equates to a total annual savings of $11,000. For a school district like Kings Canyon, which serves one of the largest geographical areas in California, these savings are quite significant.

Green Halo - America's First All-Electric School Bus Launches in CaliforniaThe pilot project was the result of collaboration between Motiv Power Systems and Trans Tech Bus Company and the California Air Resources Board, which contributed $400,000 cost-saving vouchers to the ambitious project. Thanks to a federal highway program, three more electric buses are on their way to the Kings Canyon district and similar programs are in the works in both Chicago and New York.

Although the initial cost of an electric bus is much higher than the traditional gas-guzzling bus, electric buses offer long term savings such as lifelong fuel and maintenance costs, not to mention the reduction of harmful greenhouse gases. According to founder and CEO of Motive Power Systems, “The buses cost about twice as much as a comparable gas bus, but cost 1/8 as much to fuel and 1/3 as much to maintain,” he said. “In the life of a school bus, 2-3 times the cost of the vehicle is spent on fuel and maintenance.”

The smaller electric buses hold up to hold 25 students and are equipped with four or five battery packs that allow for a range of 80 to 100 miles. Although the smaller buses were refitted for the pilot program, full-size electric bus fleets are also being considered for an all-electric makeover in the future.

Another great Green article from Green Halo
Track your recycling at www.greenhalosystems.com
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Consumers heading down to their local Best Buy for a new laptop or microwave will now be able to pick up solar panels as well. Best Buy and SolarCity have announced a new partnership to sell off-the-shelf photovoltaic systems in 60 Best Buy stores in Arizona, California, Hawaii, New York, and Oregon. To give the new program an exuberant kick off, SolarCity is giving every customer a $100 Best Buy gift card when they sign up for solar service through Best Buy before Earth Day on 22 April, 2014.

Green Halo - Best Buy Now Sells Solar PanelsThe San Mateo solar company hopes this new partnership will reach homeowners too wary or intimidated by installing solar panels on their homes. The initiative is an expansion of a pilot program the two companies carried out last year at Best Buy stores in California and New York. Previously, the company also teamed up with the Home Depot and Honda to provide affordable solar panels.

Despite these efforts, a recent SolarCity survey of U.S. homeowners detailed that only 45 percent of residents thinks that solar power is more affordable than it was three years ago. SolarCity has a long history of experimental strategies to reach more consumers. Before this new program, the company provided systems for free in exchange for long term contracts, or financing installations through investment institutions like pensions and hedge funds.

If you would like to get in on the deal, you can sign up here for a free consultation to discuss a plan. SolarCity promises to install photovoltaic panels for free with no up front costs. As long as the customer is enrolled they will receive green, renewable energy at a lower price than they currently spend on electricity.

Another great Green article from Green Halo
Track your recycling at www.greenhalosystems.com
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The old half-demolished Bay Bridge that once connected San Francisco to Oakland is about to get a new lease on life. While thousands of tons of steel and concrete will be shipped to China as scrap, a local entrepreneur is planning to recycle big sections of the bridge into a multipurpose building called the Bay Bridge House, which will resemble its original bridge’s form. In a bid to save as much of the National Historic Monument as possible, an architecture contest was launched last fall to help establish the design, which aims to be as green as possible.

Following a whole host of ideas on how to recycle the parts, this winning design was announced. The Bay Bridge House will become a museum and an apartment that will be rented to cover costs.

The design itself is intriguing. The ‘mini-bridge’ concept will use a huge amount of steel – enough to build around 1,600 cars – for the frame, while the floors will be built using the former pavement. Lane markers will still be included, giving it a playful edge that ensures nobody will forget the building’s history. As well as reusing these materials, the design will have an array of sustainable features, such as rainwater recycling, solar energy, and a green roof. In the end, the home is expected to earn a LEED green building certification.

Where the Bay Bridge House will be erected remains unknown. But with so much heavy material to shift, the bridge shouldn’t be going too far from home.

More info on the project to save a piece of history here

Another great Green article from Green Halo
Track your recycling at www.greenhalosystems.com
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Charging your laptop may soon be as easy as sitting in the sun, as Apple has been awarded a patent for a new solar-powered MacBook. Still just a novel idea, a small solar panel affixed to the back of the laptop, where the Apple logo is currently placed, could generate the energy required to run the machine. If the company runs with the new patent, Apple fans could soon use their laptops in remote locations without plugging into the grid.

MacBook users around the world are just about powerless without an outlet – unless they live in solar-powered homes. U.S. patent no. 8,638,549 could change all that.

Green Halo - Apple Awarded Patent for Solar Powered MacBooks Green Energy

The dual display MacBook would look like regular MacBooks, except it would be backed with a plate made up of laminated layers similar to the dual-glass technology used in the iPhone 4. The layers could either house touch panels accessible when the laptop is closed, or host solar cells.

The photovoltaic cells could be used to produce green energy for the laptop. Working for an just an hour in the sun could produce sufficient energy to keep the MacBook running. Although still merely a patent at this stage, a solar-powered MacBook or even iPhone would be an amazing step in sustainability that would also allow Apple’s customers even more freedom.

Another great Green article from Green Halo
Track your recycling at www.greenhalosystems.com
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Green Halo - World's Tallest Vertical Garden Solar Energy

Milroy Perera Associates unveiled their design for the world’s tallest residential vertical garden in Sri Lanka. The tower will house 164 apartments across 46 floors packed with greenery.

The project aims to create a vertically distributed experience of living on the ground floor and boasts several sustainable features such as the use of solar energy, natural ventilation and drip irrigation. To minimize solar heat gain, the architects have designed the entire building such that no glass surfaces are directly exposed to sunlight.

Air conditioning is reduced to a minimum thanks to the optimal orientation of apartments, which allows for natural ventilation. In addition, the plants will act as sound and heat buffers and provide cleaner air. The vertical garden will be watered using an automated drip irrigation system that saves water and works independently from the occupants. Some of the building’s energy requirements will be met via solar panels installed on the roof and will be used for public lighting, elevators, recycling systems and other utilities.

Green Halo - World's Tallest Vertical Garden Solar Energy 2

Another great Green article froGreen Halo
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The solar energy industry is still in the process of exploring how to make photovoltaic panels more efficient and less intrusive, and researchers at Stanford have already pushed forward with peel-and-stick solar panels. However, for high power usage the devices must be large and in direct contact with the sun at all times, meaning they need to track its position in the sky using sensors and equipment that are expensive and susceptible to bad weather. Currently seeking funding through Indiegogo,Rawlemon is an alternative in the shape of an oddly beautiful eyeball-shaped lens, that uses refraction to concentrate sunlight with minimal need for tracking.

Designed by German architect Andre Broessel, the invention uses a large glass sphere lens, which collects diffuse light from multiple angles. The shape of the lens focuses this light into a fine beam — much like a magnifying glass — that can deliver a greater amount of sunlight — around 70 percent more — than traditional photovoltaic panels can collect on their own, even when they track the sun. The system enables Broessel to reduce the size of the solar panel to around one percent of the typical PV device. At the same time, the Rawlemon product is arguably much more aesthetically pleasing than the gray, oblong panels currently in use.

The project is running an Indiegogo campaign until 1 March, where backers can pledge to have Rawlemon’s Beta.ey XL device installed in their homes for USD 6,000. Those whose pockets aren’t quite as deep can still trial the concept through the Beta.ey Special Edition for USD 489, a miniaturized version of the device that can charge users’ phones — a product in its own right. If the price can be brought down further, could Rawlemon even replace the solar panel?

Rawlemon Spherical Solar Energy Generator video:

Another great Green article froGreen Halo
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There are many ways to brighten up dark spaces without mechanical assistance, but few are as efficient and simple as the groundbreaking LightCatcher from EcoNation. A mirror integrated within a polycarbonate light dome, the LightCatcher is equipped with patented sensor technology that enables the system to search for the optimum light spot. A 185.35 square ft opening in a roof brings in 646-1,202 square ft of natural light without using a lick of energy. Designed by Maarten Michielssens in collaboration with the University of Ghent, this energy-saving technology earned EcoNation a nomination as one of the top small to medium-sized enterprises (SME) eligible for a Zayed Future Energy Prize (ZFEP) award.

So, how does it work? The mirror integrated within the dome captures incoming daylight that is then reflected, filtered and amplified in a light shaft before it spreads through a building. Images demonstrate how this solar-powered system brightens a room more effectively without mechanical assistance than a standard light bulb. In fact, the LightCatcher is so efficient that it is possible to enjoy daylighting for an average of 10 hours a day, which reduces energy usage by up to 70 percent.

The Belgian company also has an interesting business model. EcoNation installs LightCatcher light domes on the roofs of commercial or government buildings, absorbing the entire investment, and then monitors energy savings. Whatever money is saved by the system is then shared between the client and the company. According to EcoNation, this LightCatcher Light Energy model provides businesses and governments an opportunity to reduce energy bills without an upfront cash outlay.

Green Halo LightCatcher EcoNation Dome Light Energy Saver

Another great Green article from Green Halo
Track your recycling at www.greenhalosystems.com
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