Category Archives: wind

Ghost Town Ecoaldeas

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91pBFyLWIx4&[/youtube]

It’s a utopian fantasy- discover a ghost town and rebuild it in line with your ideals-, but in Spain where there are nearly 3000 abandoned villages (most dating back to the Middle Ages), some big dreamers have spent the past 3 decades doing just that.

There are now a few dozen “ecoaldeas” – ecovillages – in Spain, most build from the ashes of former Medieval towns. One of the first towns to be rediscovered was a tiny hamlet in the mountains of northern Navarra.

It was rediscovered in 1980 by a group of people living nearby who had lost their goats and “when they found their goats, they found Lakabe”, explains Mauge Cañada, one of the early pioneers in the repopulation of the town.

The new inhabitants were all urbanites with no knowledge of country life so no one expected them to stay long. At first, the homes weren’t habitable so they lived 14 in a large room. Slowly they began to rebuild the homes and the gardens.

When they first began to rebuild, there was no road up to the town so horses were used to carry construction materials up the mountain. There was no electricity either so they lived with candles and oil lamps.

After a few years, they erected a windmill by hand, carrying the iron structure up the hill themselves. “Even though it seems tough and in some ways it was, but you realize you’re not as limited as you think,” says Mauge. “There are a lot of things people think they can’t do without a lot of money and there’s never been money here.”

In the early years, they generated income by selling some of their harvest and working odd jobs like using their newfound construction experience to rebuild roofs outside town. Later they rebuilt the village bakery and sold bread to the outside world.

Their organic sourdough breads now sell so well that today they can get by without looking for work outside town, but it helps that they keep their costs at a minimum as a way of life. “There’s an austerity that’s part of the desire of people who come here,” explains Mauge. “There’s not a desire for consumption to consume. We try to live with what there is.”

Today, the town generates all its own energy with the windmill, solar panels and a water turbine. It also has a wait list of people who’d like to move in, but Mauge says the answer is not for people to join what they have created, but to try to emulate them somewhere else.

“If you set your mind to it and there’s a group of people who want to do it, physically they can do it, economically they can do it. What right now is more difficult is being willing to suffer hardship or difficulties or… these days people have a lot of trouble living in situations of shortage or what is seen as shortage but it isn’t.” (Source)

A Texan With a Plan, Or Just Another $cam?

I heard about this dude T. Boone Pickens months ago, I forget where, and then heard about him again a couple months later on some news program, then yesterday, as i was waiting in the airport (on my way to Texas no less), I was reminded of him again by a ‘Pickens Plan’ commercial on some news channel (which was simultaneously flashing stock/energy numbers across the bottom of the screen).  Now, call me skeptical, but When rich old oil hounds miraculously turn into earth-loving crusaders overnight, and then voluntarily drop however many $$$ on a major advertising campaign for their earth-loving cause, one has to wonder…is this ninja for real?

Decide for yourselves, watch his tv spot:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2bOug1d20c[/youtube]

Then watch this PSA from Zaproot.com (be forewarned, this chick talks at the speed of light):
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=70HFEHB6dag[/youtube]

I say, never trust a Texan.  What do y’all think?

Behnisch Architekten – Pittsburgh RiverPark

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[Image: RiverPark Night Rendering]

Here is a little more information on the Pittsburgh RiverPark by Behnisch Architekten . Menace hit y’all with a post on work they exhibited at the GSD back in September of the year past. So here is the skinny on the RiverPark:

Is: A competition-winning design that incorporates green urban design initiative in the form of various height and size mixed-use buildings.

Now: Pittsburgh is a city with a lack of housing in their core downtown area [cities such as NYC, Toronto, & Boston have a good mix of housing throughout their concrete jungles].

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[Image: RiverPark Waterfront Rendering]

Aim: For people to re-examine the ‘American Dream’ – a house in the ‘burbs, 2.5 kids, etc. – for an all-in-one living experience within a pedestrian-friendly, developing area of downtown Pittsburgh.

Proposed: RiverPark – ‘an urban rejuvenation project’ that merges an ensemble of flexible, green mixed-use buildings on six acres. The design incorporates 700 residential units overall, varying the forms and styles of the proposed units. Mixed in with the residences will be retail shops, restaurants, lifestyle facilities [such as a gym], a hotel and convention hall facilities.

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[Image: City Rendering 01]

Anyone in design school who has had the pleasure [however excruciating it may have been at the time] to formulate their own ideas on how mixed-use buildings [or areas] should be formed know how difficult it is to a. come up with something that works, b. have it function in terms of space, flow, engagement to the existing city fabric, and c. look good, period. Add green-specific systems into the mix, and one is designing a whole other beast all together. But hakuna matata, my ninjas, cause Behnisch got it all locked in.

Green?: There are a number of systems included in the design of the RiverPark. In terms of energy, there will be a [noiseless!] wind turbine at the water front, photovoltaics integrated into the south facing facade, and an underground water heating/ cooling pump. The micro-climate within the RiverPark was also reimagined with the use of green roofs and landscaping and water features [probably to regulate the super-high humidity in the summer and strong cold fronts in the winter]. The staggered building heights allow for direct sunlight to pass through the buildings and shine uninhibited onto the water front.

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[Image: Energy Concept Diagram]

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[Image: Micro-Climate Concept Diagram]

The Behnisch RiverPark design can really be used as a stepping-stone for success in most American cities that have not already had major downtown renovations. I have walked around a city like Toronto [where it fronts The Harbor] and the pedestrian interaction and general activities that occur daily along the waterfront really engage a multitude of individuals and their varied interests [note: did anyone know Toronto has an art museum along the waterfront? Get up north and visit, my ninjas! Also get into the city and visit here and here too]. Also, as the time of day changes the activities also change with it. It’s kinda a mix of Providence’s Water-Fire and Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, except i don’t feel like I’m gonna get mugged walking around at night. Canada just produces more docile ninjas, i guess.

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[Image: City Rendering 02]

All images & information from the Behnisch website. Peace.

[[Post by DUBS]]

Jacques Ferrier : Hypergreen

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The Hypergreen tower, designed by Jacques Ferrier for a competition in Paris, is a 250 meter / 60 storey tall mixed-use ‘green’ building [hence 'hypergreen']. The building’s structure emerges as an intricate concrete lattice system, wrapping the facade in the woven pattern and allowing for the floorplates to be nearly column free. This structural system also creates an interesting intermediate space between the building’s glazing, where Ferrier has apparently planned for some exterior gardens / greenery.

ferrier-1.jpg

What makes the Hypergreen tower green, you ask [other than the name]? How about its:

  • geothermal heat pumps
  • photovoltaic panels
  • integrated wind turbines [seen at the top of the building]
  • earth cooling tubes
  • vegetated sky lobbies
  • a roof garden
  • rainwater recovery system

…and the aforementioned flexible / adaptable column-free floor plates.

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::images from Jacques Ferrier Architecte, project via Jetson Green::

::listen to the podcast::

Bush Compound Wind Turbine

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The former President George H. W. Bush has recently installed a 33-foot tall Skystream 3.7 wind turbine at the Bush’s Kennebunkport summer home. I would normally say something about how having a summer home is inherently NOT sustainable [you know they don't be rentin' that thing out, my ninjas], but the turbine is hooked up to the grid – supplying ‘green’ power to the local grid, and earning the Bush’s credits. Maybe some so-called ‘conservatives’ will take notice and decide to do something about the environment now, as the father of their president seems to think environmentalism makes sense [that being said, Dubya has sustainable technologies in use at his Crawford ranch, including geothermal – conservatives don’t seem to care].

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Dubya, by the way, knew immediately that the newcomer to the compound [the turbine] posed a threat – standing there, spinning around all menacingly and whatnot – and along with his faithful Sancho – er, I mean Dick – he declared that a coalition of the willing would be formed to chase the beast from the property, preferably with a tactical missile strike.

Also of interest is this ridiculous article about how global warming is going to drown the aforementioned Bush Compound. Enjoy.

::article at the Portland Press Herald via Jetson Green::

Gillette Stadium Goes Green

Fenway is not the only Boston sports pavilion to go green. Pats fans enjoy:

FOXBOROUGH – To the fans who brave frigid, blustery nights to cheer for the Patriots at Gillette Stadium, it might feel as if there is enough bone-chilling wind gusting overhead to power a small city.

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But today, the Kraft Group will announce that Midwestern wind will fuel the Gillette Stadium lighthouse, the 612 blazing light bulbs shining down on the field, the scoreboards, and more than 40 concession stands that are juiced with enough power during each game to run 2,269 households for a day.

The Patriots signed a four-year deal to buy renewable-energy credits from distant windmills to match all their game-day electricity needs, the latest example of the business community’s push to make environmentalism a staple of corporate responsibility.

The electricity flowing from the grid and into Gillette Stadium won’t literally come from a special green power plant; instead, the Kraft Group will purchase about 2,400 megawatt-hours of renewable-energy credits over four years, through a deal with electricity provider Constellation NewEnergy of Maryland.

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A few more noteworthy green trends in the sports world:

The Red Sox announced in September that they would partner with the Natural Resources Defense Council to spearhead green initiatives such as recycling soda bottles and plastic cups.

The Philadelphia Eagles have built a solar panel array and buy renewable-energy credits for their power needs.

For the past three years, the National Football League has been taking steps, such as planting trees in host cities, to help offset the carbon footprint of the Super Bowl. The NFL bought 300 megawatt-hours of solar and biomass renewable-energy credits for the most recent Super Bowl.

Thanks to sports ninja and all around gentle soul DTRock for the tip on this one.

[boston.com]

The Windspire

When I think of wind power I think of these huge blades spinning around and creating a couple of megawatts of power, not a in my backyard kind of device. Well Mariah Power has create an affordable $4,000 vertical wind turbine that produces 1kW of power and stand only 30 feet tall!

The Windspire is a vertical wind turbine that stands about 30 feet tall and 2 feet wide. The perfect wind turbine for DIYers. Many “wind bashers” find vertical wind turbines better then horizontal wind turbines due to the “possibility” of bird killing via migration. I find this HARD to believe and hear much of the SAME people bashing cell phone antennas and TALL BUILDINGS. Think about it, do you see birds flying into a huge building, NO so why would they fly into a spinning blade. (sorry for the rant, ugh I just hate those people who complain and do NOT understand the FACTS!)

Anyway, The Windspire is a rugged and simple constructed vertical wind turbine that has limited maintains. It produces about 25 decibels of noise at five feet, which is about the same as a noise neighborhood house. The Windspire only needs a 8 MPH gust of wind to produce power and can survive up to 100 MPH winds!

The most interesting part that would make me buy a Windspire is the fact the Windspire also includes an internal wireless modem that can continuously transmit power production information directly to your computer so you can check your power production at any time. Monitor your offset and see how fast you can pay it off. At 10 cents a kilowatt it takes about 20 years to pay it off, but at $4,000 a nice investment for the green person inside you.

VIA hippygreen