Looking past the horizon of renewable energy

December 4, 2017 by  
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For one, experts are coming to view energy storage as a “Swiss Army knife” for renewables.

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Looking past the horizon of renewable energy

Cities must repave the ‘last mile’ of public transit

December 4, 2017 by  
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We are all pedestrians. So why aren’t cities more walkable?

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Cities must repave the ‘last mile’ of public transit

New Zealand aims for grid completely powered by renewables by 2035

November 8, 2017 by  
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New Zealand’s new prime minister has ambitious goals to seriously slash carbon emissions . Jacinda Ardern, who became prime minister in late October, wants to transition the grid to 100 percent renewables in less than 20 years. Her ultimate goal for New Zealand is zero carbon emissions by 2050. New Zealand’s 4.7 million people already obtain over 80 percent of electricity via sustainable sources, according to Bloomberg . But Ardern – now the world’s youngest female leader – seems to think they can do even better. She wants the country to move over to obtaining electricity completely from renewable energy by 2035. Related: New Zealand river world’s first to obtain legal status as a person The move won’t be without its challenges. New Zealand generates around 60 percent of their power from hydropower , according to 2016 figures. But when dry conditions cause lake levels to drop, gas and coal have helped out. Without those fossil fuels , electricity consumers could experience price hikes. But the country still has made a lot of progress towards the ambitious goal; in the winter of 2016, renewable energy generation actually peaked at 93 percent, according to Bloomberg. Ardern hasn’t put out full details of her plan to get New Zealand to a carbon-free status. She has suggested an independent commission to help meet the 2050 goal. New Zealand’s independent advisory body Productivity Commission has an inquiry into transitioning to a low carbon economy. Greenpeace New Zealand climate and energy campaigner Amanda Larsson told Bloomberg Ardern “must prioritize closing down coal, putting a moratorium on new fossil fuel plants, building more wind infrastructure, and opening the playing field for household and community solar .” Contact Energy chief executive officer Dennis Barnes also pointed to solar – and batteries and electric vehicles – as technology that could help New Zealand move towards a greener future. Via Bloomberg and Futurism Images via Depositphotos and Good Free Photos

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New Zealand aims for grid completely powered by renewables by 2035

Frank Lloyd Wright’s mushroom-esque Usonia home hits the market for $1.5M

November 8, 2017 by  
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In the late 1940s, Frank Lloyd Wright was hired to design a planned community near Pleasantville, New York. Today, the Usonia Historic District is a picturesque neighborhood filled with houses that were designed by Wright – including a round stone home with two circular rooftops reminiscent of the fungi that cover the forest. It’s called the Sol Friedmen Home – and it just hit the market for a cool $1.5M . Located just 50 minutes outside of Manhattan, Usonia is a 100-acre cooperative founded by NYC couples. Frank Lloyd Wright designed the neighborhood layout in a circular fashion to preserve the natural forest setting, encouraging “the flow of the land”. The architect then designed three of the 47 homes himself and contracted the remaining work out to some of his most admired colleagues. Related: Frank Lloyd Wright beach house listed on Airbnb for under $150 per night The Sol Friedmen Home, which was built in 1949, is a round structure with overlapping concrete slab rooftops. The two intersecting mushroom-like rooftops are complimented with a fungi-inspired carport adjacent to the home. The circular building is supported by a wall of exposed stone ashlar masonry topped with metal-framed glass panels. The home’s materials were selected to blend into the surrounding forestscape. On the inside, nature is again the focus. The home’s curvature and abundance of windows allow views of the evergreen forest from virtually every angle. A large great room is lined with built-in oak shelving and furniture designed by Wright. A beautiful stone fireplace holds court at the center of the room. The new owners of the three-bedroom home will join the unique 100-acre Usonia community , which was named a national historic district in 2012. Along with the three Wright homes, the remaining 44 homes were designed by innovative architects including Paul Schweikher, Wright students Kaneji Domoto and Theodore Dixon Bower, Ulrich Franzen, Aaron Resnick and Wright apprentice David Henken. + Sol Friedman House Via Archinect Images via Houlihan Lawrence

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Frank Lloyd Wright’s mushroom-esque Usonia home hits the market for $1.5M

Florida residents prohibited from using solar energy after Hurricane Irma

September 20, 2017 by  
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Millions of Florida residents lost power after Hurricane Irma raged through the state. But homeowners with solar energy installations couldn’t use them during the outage – or they’d be breaking the law. State code requires people to connect their homes to the local electric grid – and when parts of it were damaged after the hurricane , even those homeowners with backup solar power were legally obliged to sit in the dark. Florida Power and Light (FPL), which is one of the state’s major suppliers of electricity, has lobbied against letting people power their own houses with solar panels, according to Miami New Times. On their website , FPL says, “Operating your renewable system without the bi-directional meter can result in an inaccurate meter reading causing your bill to increase.” Related: Garbage from Hurricane Irma will now help power Florida Up to 40 percent of Floridians lost power after the hurricane. Residents were angered because under FPL’s rules, if its system goes down, solar power systems must be shut down as well. According to Miami New Times, state rules say customers must install a switch so their solar systems can be disconnected from FPL’s systems. But residents can’t flip the switch to power panels during a disaster. FPL can even disconnect solar panels from the grid without warning homeowners. Under FPL’s net metering guidelines, “Renewable generator systems connected to the grid without batteries are not a standby power source during an FPL outage. The system must shut down when FPL’s grid shuts down in order to prevent dangerous back feed on FPL’s grid. This is required to protect FPL employees who may be working on the grid.” Miami New Times says people have criticized FPL for spending money on lobbying rather than on hurricane-proofing grids. The Energy and Policy Institute found a FPL lobbyist drafting anti-solar laws for Republican state representative Ray Rodrigues this April. FPL contributed $15,000 to Rodrigues’ campaign. According to the Miami New Times, the Sunshine State trails behind other states in solar adoption due to power company influence. Via International Business Times and Miami New Times Images via The National Guard on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

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Florida residents prohibited from using solar energy after Hurricane Irma

Morpholios new Augmented Reality feature lets you sketch any space with the accuracy of a pro

September 20, 2017 by  
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Move over expensive trace paper— Morpholio just launched a new augmented reality feature to its flagship Trace app that makes it easier than ever to turn your iPad into a digital drafting board. Released after the launch of Apple’s iOS 11, the updated Trace app now offers a “Perspective Finder” tool that superimposes scaled grids on any image to let anyone draw a perspective drawing like a pro. The “AR Perspective Finder” was revealed alongside “AR Color Capture”, an augmented reality real-life color sampler, for the Board app. Developed for architects and designers, Trace is a drawing app that merges analog and digital by making it easy to accurately sketch and notate on a tablet. The two recently released features were made possible with ARKit, iOS 11’s new framework that lets developers create augmented reality experiences for the iPhone and iPad. “Drawing is experiencing a renaissance with iPad Pro and Apple Pencil,” says Anna Kenoff, Morpholio Co Founder. “Our app puts scale drawing at the center of the experience, letting designers work intuitively with an iPad Pro and their hands while not losing any accuracy in the process.” Using AR Perspective Finder is easy: once the iPad’s camera is launched in Trace , the new feature automatically overlays a perspective grid that the user can rotate to his or her liking. The grid modules can be scaled to different sizes and then locked in location to a vanishing point so that the user can rotate or move the iPad without losing the grid’s placement. Once an image has been captured, AR Perspective Finder lets you fade the photograph to make sketches more legible. Paired with an Apple Pencil, the app lets user draw crisp, clean, and accurate lines of different lengths and colors. Related: Smart architecture app lets you turn almost anything into a digital stencil In addition to the Perspective Finder, Morpholio launched AR Color Capture that works like a real-world Photoshop color sampler aimed at interior designers. It comes with Color Seed, a color-themed search feature that pulls up a catalogue of furnishings that match the sampled color. + Morpholio

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Morpholios new Augmented Reality feature lets you sketch any space with the accuracy of a pro

An engineer’s perspective on the renewable energy shift

September 16, 2017 by  
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A journey through the energy system transition that must take place to shift the planet away from the worst impacts of climate change.

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An engineer’s perspective on the renewable energy shift

Will electric vehicles take a bite out of the oil market?

August 7, 2017 by  
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Also, a debate about when and if “peak oil demand” will occur.

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Will electric vehicles take a bite out of the oil market?

Airlines will consume a quarter of the world’s carbon budget by 2050

August 7, 2017 by  
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Manufacturers are engaged in a fast-paced fight to deliver efficiency gains that outstrip projected industry growth, says UTC.

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Airlines will consume a quarter of the world’s carbon budget by 2050

Utility coalition invests in EV charging firm Greenlots

July 25, 2017 by  
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It’s another indicator of how critical electric vehicles could become to grid demand management.

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Utility coalition invests in EV charging firm Greenlots

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