Australian home builder to include a Tesla Powerwall in every new home

April 4, 2017 by  
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An Australian home builder has announced plans to include a Tesla Powerwall in all new homes. Arden Homes says they will outfit all their new homes with the energy storage technology through a partnership with solar energy company and certified Tesla Powerwall reseller Bradford Solar . The move is expected to slash electricity costs for homeowners. Tesla Powerwalls will now be standard in Arden homes as part of the Bradford Solar ChargePack. Solar panels on home rooftops will gather energy, which can then “be used to power your appliances, fed back into the grid , or stored for later use,” according to an Arden brochure . The pack also includes cloud-based monitoring so people can track energy consumption right from their smartphones. Related: Solar homes with Tesla’s Powerwall 2.0 are already cost-competitive with the grid in Australia The Tesla Powerwall, a rechargeable lithium-ion battery , allows homes to run on renewable energy whether the sun is shining or not, and can even power homes during an outage. Powerwalls can also help homeowners slash electric bills by up to 92 percent; according to Tesla , the battery charges when electricity demand is low, and therefore rates are low, and discharges when electricity demand is higher and rates are more expensive. According to Arden’s brochure, families could save around $2,500 every year on electric costs, and their five kilowatt (kW) Bradford Solar ChargePack allows a family of four to attain 90 percent self-sufficiency a day. Their six kW pack allows an Australian family to live with little dependency on the grid. Arden Homes are also designed to allow plenty of natural light to brighten up their dwellings through sun courts and large picture windows. 15 percent of Australian households – or around 1.5 million homes – are utilizing solar energy, and information released late last year showed the electricity generated in Australian solar homes with a Tesla Powerwall 2 is cost-competitive with the grid. + Arden Homes + Bradford Solar Via Futurism Images via Bradford Solar Facebook and Arden Homes Facebook

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Australian home builder to include a Tesla Powerwall in every new home

Wind energy supplied all of Denmark’s power needs one day last week

February 27, 2017 by  
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Renewable energy can generate enough power for entire countries–a fact Denmark can confirm. Last week on Wednesday, the nation met all of its power needs via wind energy , according to information from wind power trade organization WindEurope . The group said the energy Denmark produced from onshore and offshore wind was sufficient to power 10 million European Union (EU) households. Denmark produced 27 GWh via offshore wind and 70 gigawatt-hours (GWh) via onshore wind on February 23, according to WindEurope. This isn’t the first time wind power has achieved renewable energy feats in the country; 2015 saw several big days for wind energy. By the end of that year, 1,271 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind and 3,799 MW of onshore wind was installed in Denmark, amounting to a little over five gigawatts (GW) of wind energy. Related: Germany generated so much renewable energy last weekend electric prices went negative The industry did experience a slight slump in 2016, owing mainly to low winds. Before that year, Danish Wind Industry Association CEO Jan Hylleberg said since 2008 they’d “experienced continuous growth in the wind energy production and each year set a new world record.” Although the industry expected the trend wouldn’t continue in 2016, Hylleberg said the fact they didn’t maintain that upward movement was frustrating, but it appears 2017 is off to a soaring start. MHI Vestas Offshore Wind ‘s new nine MW wind turbine already smashed the record for energy generation in a 24 hour period during testing at a test field off Denmark’s coast. Hylleberg described Denmark as world champions at harnessing wind. But the Nordic country wasn’t the only nation to obtain a large amount of power via wind energy last week. WindEurope also reported Germany and Ireland respectively met 52 and 42 percent of their electricity needs with wind. According to the organization, “Wind power in the EU as a whole covered almost 19 percent of the bloc’s electricity needs.” Via CleanTechnica Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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Wind energy supplied all of Denmark’s power needs one day last week

Green-roofed house for a pilot looks like a temporarily grounded aircraft

February 27, 2017 by  
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This unique home for a young pilot and his family in South Korea looks like an aircraft that has been grounded. Appropriately called the Flying House, it was designed by IROJE KHM Architects , who drew inspiration from traditional Korean architecture to create a delicate balance between sky and land. The architects combined the elements of yard, garden and rumaru, a traditional courtyard with a canopy , to create a space which connects the ground to the roof surface. The resulting sloped roof garden allows the house to coexist with nature, with a flowing design that establishes a strong connection to the ground. Related: IROJE KHM’s green-roofed house in Seoul blooms like a flower A limited budget influenced the choice of materials. By leaving the concrete framework surfaces exposed, the architects managed to utilize the structural material as the finishing material and lower the total construction cost of the building. + IROJE KHM Architects Via Archdaily Photos by Sergio Pirrone

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Green-roofed house for a pilot looks like a temporarily grounded aircraft

New solar canopy provides both shade and clean energy

February 16, 2017 by  
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In a beautiful marriage of form and function, architect and designer, Carlo Ratti has created a light-reflecting canopy that both creates shade and directs sunlight to a photovoltaic panel where it generates electricity. Called Sun&Shade , the canopy is built with mirrors that rotate automatically with the movement of the sun and reflect its rays to a solar PV panel “located a safe distance away.” Ratti just unveiled the Sun&Shade prototype at Dubai’s Museum of the Future , as part of an exhibit called “Reimagining Climate Change.” Check out the great video overview below. Ratti is no stranger to the world of functional eco art , with past projects that include: a “ supermarket of the future,”  his Paris “coolhouse,” and the New Holland pavilion at the 2015 Milan Expo. Of his latest creation, Ratti says his inspiration came from the architectural traditions of the Middle East. “In developing Sun&Shade we were inspired by the Middle Eastern tradition of shadowing in architecture and public space,” Ratti explained in a press release. “Sun&Shade aims to bring this concept to the next level, allowing shadowing to be digitally controlled.” Related: MIT’s “supermarket of the future” reveals every product’s history https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gC7Z_3iye8 The position of each of Sun&Shade’s mirrors can be set independently, allowing them to be used to not only control shading and the generation of electricity , but also to create different patterns or even letters from the shadows they cast. + Carlo Ratti Associati Via Curbed Images via Carlo Ratti Associati

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New solar canopy provides both shade and clean energy

Costa Rica ran almost entirely on renewables in 2016

January 5, 2017 by  
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It’s a happy new year in Costa Rica, where the nation’s Electricity Institute has reported that 98.1 percent of the electricity used in 2016 came from renewable energy sources . This is the second consecutive year that Costa Rica has proven the power and reliability of renewables, after hitting 99 percent in 2015. While the achievement isn’t surprising, given that the country’s leaders have been ambitiously pursuing (and coming close to) this goal for several years, it is still important. What Costa Rica has accomplished shows the world that relying on renewable energy is not only possible, but that it can become a reality much earlier than many skeptics believe. The reasons behind Costa Rica ’s high renewable usage are numerous, and sort of complicated. For starters, the per capita electricity consumption in the nation of 4.9 million people is much less than, say, that of the typical American. In fact, the average Costa Rican uses just one-seventh the electricity that Americans do. With less electricity in demand, it’s much easier to supply those needs with renewable sources, but that’s not to say it wouldn’t be possible for the United States to reach the same astounding figures with the proper infrastructure. Related: Costa Rica celebrates 113 days of 100-percent renewable energy (and counting) Costa Rica’s climate has also made it a bit easier to become powered almost entirely by renewables . The area’s plentiful rainfall positions hydropower as the primary renewable energy source, supplying around 75 percent of the electricity used each year. Solar and wind power make up most of the remaining portion, again due to the perks of the geographic region. While 99 and 98 percent in 2015 and 2016 are insanely respectable figures, the Costa Rican government is aiming higher for 2017 and beyond, with four new wind farms to generate even more clean energy. Via Grist Images via Wikipedia ( 1 , 2 )

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Costa Rica ran almost entirely on renewables in 2016

Give the Gift of Light with Little Sun

December 23, 2016 by  
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When you don’t have any electricity, having light when it is dark is a big deal. Light provides security. It also provides a way to see to do homework, have dinner with your family and perform essential tasks. If you’re in a part of the world where…

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Give the Gift of Light with Little Sun

Off-grid solar could power all of Myanmar by 2030

December 6, 2016 by  
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Only 16 percent of rural houses in Myanmar have access to electricity , but that’s about to change. A government-led project aided by private companies could power up the entire country using off-grid solar energy . The electricity could irrigate rice farms, provide lighting in homes, and save lives. Off-grid solar could energize communities all across Myanmar. As traditional alternative power sources like diesel generators are far too expensive for many people who live in poverty in the country, government-funded off-grid solar could offer cost-effective, clean electricity for more people. Related: Off-grid healthcare housing is powered entirely by solar in Burundi Non-profit organizations are financing Myanmar solar projects too. With charity funds via Mitsui & Co. , electronics company Panasonic recently installed a Power Supply Container in the settlement of Yin Ma Chaung. The off-grid station generates 2.82 kilowatts of energy for the settlement and nearby villages. This power is critical for Yin Ma Chaung, an area populated with deadly snakes. Lifesaving antivenom must be refrigerated, but many people were losing their lives before obtaining solar power since the community previously only had coolers that frequently broke down. A portion of the newly installed solar power systems will provide energy for a community center refrigerator filled with the antivenom, allowing locals to breathe easier as they go about their daily lives. That’s just one project among thousands, according to The Guardian. Renewable energy company Sunlabob set up 11 solar mini-grids that will provide power for nearly 1,000 homes. Another renewable energy company, Myanmar Eco Solutions , installed a solar-fueled irrigation system for rice farmers in remote Myanmar. Out of 188 countries on the United Nation’s benchmark development index, Myanmar is 148. Although citizens there still wrestle with poverty, clean, renewable electricity could provide the boost the country needs to develop. Via The Guardian Images via Sunlabob Facebook and Panasonic

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Off-grid solar could power all of Myanmar by 2030

Amazon dam opposed by local tribes halted by Brazil environmental agency

August 8, 2016 by  
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Plans for an 8,000 megawatt hydroelectric dam in the heart of the Brazilian rainforest have been halted after backers failed to supply the necessary environmental impact study. The proposed São Luiz do Tapajós (SLT) dam, fiercely opposed by local tribes, would have flooded 145 square miles of land currently occupied by 12,000 Manduruku Indians. Brazil’s environmental protection agency, IBAMA , cancelled development plans on Thursday, citing the absence of required reports on the social and environmental impact of the massive hydroelectric project. The dam ’s backers are comprised of a number of Brazilian, European, and other companies, and locals have long been wary of the impact such a huge project would have. Human rights groups and environmental activists had previously spoken out against the project, claiming that backers had failed to take into account the full impact of the dam, including its effects on biodiversity, aquatic ecosystems, and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as the impact on communities that exist downstream from the planned site. Related: Peru plans to dam Amazon River’s main source and displace thousands For the natives who live in the area that the dam would have flooded , the environmental agency’s decision was a welcome one but it does not mean that tribal people are ensured safety. “We Munduruku people are very happy with the news. This is very important for us. Now we will continue to fight against other dams in our river,” said Arnaldo Kabá Munduruku, general chief Munduruku. Although the backers can submit another application for an environmental permit, it is more likely the project is dead in the water. A new environmental impact study would be costly, and the prevailing public opposition to the dam makes it less likely that the consortium will attempt to move forward. In an interview with Valor newspaper, Brazil’s environment minister José Sarney Filho said the SLT dam was “entirely dispensable,” adding that the same amount of energy could be derived from smaller power generators and other renewable sources. Had it been built, the SLT dam would have been the world’s sixth largest hydroelectric dam, spanning the river’s five-mile width. Via The Guardian Images via Bruno Kelly/Greenpeace Brazil and Nelson Pretto/Flickr

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Amazon dam opposed by local tribes halted by Brazil environmental agency

This mind-blowing pen conducts electricity on paper

July 14, 2016 by  
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This captivating pen made by Tokyo-based startup AgIC conducts electricity as a person draws lines. Using a silver conductive ink, the magic pen serves as an incredible tool for paper circuit projects. Watch with wonder as the electric marker brings a miniature 3D paper town to life. AgiC’s pen set can be bought on Amazon for about $26.00. + AgIC Via New York Post

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This mind-blowing pen conducts electricity on paper

Dubai to build the world’s biggest concentrated solar power plant

June 6, 2016 by  
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Once again, Dubai is seeking to lead the way in the clean energy sector. The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) recently announced their intention to build a massive concentrated solar power plant that would generate a staggering 1,000 megawatts (MW). That would nearly double the current record holder for the largest concentrated solar plant, the Noor-Ouarzazate complex in Morocco, which will generate 500 MW by 2018. DEWA CEO Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer announced the plant could be operational in 2030, the year the country hopes to obtain 25 percent of energy from clean sources. Private companies to be selected will build and operate the plant. The first stage, to be finished in 2021, will generate 200 MW. Related: Record-breaking solar prices in Dubai prove cheaper than coal According to Al Tayer, ” several thousand ” heliostats will reflect radiation to a tower. He said a huge advantage of concentrated solar power is the thermal heat generated can be easily stored, so the plant could continue to produce electricity at night. The project will employ thermal storage for ” eight to 12 hours daily .” Al Tayer said , “…we constantly work, led by the vision of our wise leadership who instructed us to prepare to bid farewell to the last drop of oil. This is based on a vision that recognizes the significance of renewable energy in achieving a balance between development and sustainability. DEWA continues building projects to achieve this vision and consolidate sustainability to ensure a brighter and happier future.” The plant could help the country achieve the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050. The strategy aims for energy from 75 percent renewable sources by 2050. As a step towards that goal, DEWA is working to provide energy from 61 percent natural gas, 25 percent solar power, 7 percent “clean coal,” and 7 percent nuclear power by 2030. Via Phys.org Images via Wikimedia Commons and Dubai Electricity and Water Authority Facebook

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