wind

EMPOWERED: No power plant required!

EMPOWERED: No power plant required!

Trailer for “Empowered: Power from the People” from Shira Golding Evergreen on Vimeo.

Sure, you’d love to power at least part of your home on renewable energy, but the local infrastructure isn’t there yet: no nearby wind farm, no solar or geothermal installers. And, besides, it really isn’t that windy where you live.

That’s the kind of mindset that fossil fuels have given us: we really can’t go out and drill our own oil and gas, or mine our own coal, so we’ve assumed largely that energy is something that others have to provide for us. But part of the beauty of renewables is their availability: we all get some sun, wind, or geothermal heat, and with a little elbow grease, we can harvest that energy – no power company or massive centralized plant needed.

New Chicago green building brings lighter footprint to food distribution

New Chicago green building brings lighter footprint to food distribution

While I don’t have numbers at my fingertips, I’d be willing to bet that most new LEED certified commercial buildings fall into the office space category: corporate headquarters or other buildings in which lots of people work behind desks. There’s nothing wrong with that; These structures certainly use plenty of energy and water, and elements of green building such as the focus on daylighting and air quality make for more pleasant and productive workplaces.

But what about those buildings where products are manufactured, processed and/or distributed? In many cases, these are the real resource hogs sorely in need of, at the very least, a good green retrofitting. And new structures built around resource efficiency can be real cost savers for their owners.

Renewable energy as art: the Bakken Museum's Green Energy Art Garden

Renewable energy as art: the Bakken Museum's Green Energy Art Garden

The Sonic Articulation of Sunbeams from Ben Moren on Vimeo.


A solar array, or a wind farm, can certainly have aesthetic appeal… but the visual interplay between the technology and its surroundings, or the beauty inherent in those panels and turbines themselves, usually isn’t high on the priority list of installers. The Bakken Museum in Minneapolis, which is dedicated to “exploring the mysteries of our electric world,” thought that beauty needed further exploration… and commissioned local artists to create works that “demonstrate a new, creative approach to using alternative energy sources.”

Green tech finds (10/7/10)

Green tech finds (10/7/10)


Off-grid battery packs for the developing world, a green tech playground, and more… this week’s green tech finds.

  • Making solar cells from wind: Welsh solar cell maker G24 Innovations is preparing for the installation of a wind turbine at its Wentloog Environmental Centre in Cardiff in order to produce its renewable power systems with renewable power (at least partially). (via Treehugger)

  • The off-grid battery pack: Start-up Fenix International rolled out its website and first product this week: the ReadySet, a “a 12-volt lead acid battery designed specifically for frequent charges from a variety of sources, including a solar panel, bicycle generator, the power grid, or eventually hydro and small-wind turbines.” The product is designed for use in areas of the developing world without access to power. See the video above for details. (via CNET Green Tech)

Brownfield and landfill sites: Perfect for renewable energy development?

Brownfield and landfill sites: Perfect for renewable energy development?

Yesterday’s Boston Globe took note of Canton, Massachusetts’ negotiation to use a capped landfill as an energy production site. While many localities have discovered landfill gas as an alternative energy source, Canton plans to use about half of the 41-acre site as a solar farm.

Green tech finds (5/20/10)

Green tech finds (5/20/10)

Poop, planes, and bikes… it’s green tech finds time.

  • Poop-powered data centers: Want to run a data center more sustainably? Start shoveling! Scientists from HP’s sustainable IT ecosystem lab presented the idea of powering these energy hogs by farm wastes at the ASME International Conference on Energy Sustainability. (via GreenTech Pastures… how appropriate!)

  • The low-emission airplane? A research team at MIT has presented an airplane concept to NASA that “…is likely to use 70 percent less fuel than existing ones while slashing noise and emission of nitrogen oxides.”
Green tech finds (4/1/10)

Green tech finds (4/1/10)

No foolin’… here are this week’s green tech finds.

No foolin’… here are this week’s green tech finds.

Climate Science Controversy Flares in EPA Budget Hearing

Climate Science Controversy Flares in EPA Budget Hearing

U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’s appearance today before a Senate Committee to justify the agency’s $10 billion FY 2011 budget became a showcase for the split in the Senate over climate change and clean energy that has to date prevented approval of a climate bill. The House of Representatives passed a climate bill in June 2009.

Green tech finds (2/11/10)

Green tech finds (2/11/10)

New skins for old buildings, hybrid race cars, and solar chargers that work inside… your green tech finds for the week.

  • Reskinning old buildings: New green buildings are great, but what about older, existing structures? Australia-based Laboratory for Visionary Architecture (LAVA) has conceived of a building “skin” that “which could create a microclimate, cooling the building inside,” and could contain all sorts of sustainable goodies like solar panels and rainwater collection systems. (via Fast Company)

  • Poop to carbon capture: West Virginia chicked farmer Josh Frye is trying to do his part to curb climate change — and make a little extra money — by turning chicken manure into biochar.

Green tech finds (9/24/09)

Green tech finds (9/24/09)

Yep, it’s that time again… here are this week’s green tech finds.

Fighting the downturn with rooftop windfarms: Co-op and condo building owners are exploring wind and solar energy options as a way to cut building costs during the down economy.
Deep water floating wind turbines go online: Norwegian company Statoil has flipped the switch on the world’s first floating wind turbine. (via EcoGeek)

Green tech finds (7/10/09)

Green tech finds (7/10/09)

Techies rejoice! Here’s your weekly run-down of some of the cooler green tech stories out there…

Free energy? There’s a ton of it out there — 7 quadrillion BTUs — in the form of wasted heat. The Department of Energy has announced funding opportunities for R&D on how to tap this massive source of energy. (via Cleantechnica)
NYC — the wind energy capital? It seems counterintuitive, but the Carnegie Institution and California State University have found that high-altitude winds, which are concentrated over the Big Apple (among other places), “contain enough energy to meet world demand 100 times over.” (via Green Living Ideas)

Houston Endowment Funds Study to Prepare for Next Hurricane

Houston Endowment Funds Study to Prepare for Next Hurricane

What would happen if a major hurricane made a direct hit on Houston and NASA’s Johnson Space Center? Researchers at the center for Severe Storm Prediction, Education and Evacuation from Disasters, SSPEED, at Rice University in Houston have received a grant of $1.25 million to find out.

Five critical questions to ask before installing that home wind turbine

Five critical questions to ask before installing that home wind turbine

Dreaming of a green home? Already got a picture in your head of your carbon neutral, low impact house? Even if it’s just an upgraded version of your current home, that picture almost certainly includes solar panels on the roof, and/or a wind turbine situated on your land.

It’s an inspiring image. In reality, it may also be one that’s going to produce more headaches (financial and otherwise) than clean energy… unless you do your homework.

Learn more on what you need to do if you want to use solar or wind energy on your property…

Time to transform Utah's energy-producing future

Time to transform Utah's energy-producing future

image credit: the russians are here
used under a creative commons license
Anyone who knows Utah knows the power of wind, water and sun. You can see that power in Utah’s sculpted arches of stone, in our majestic mountains capped with snow, and in the cracked earth of our deserts.

Nature’s power is so obvious that you have to wonder why we’ve mostly ignored it as a source of energy to run our homes and businesses, and to propel our cars and trucks.