State-of-the-art power plant in Dsseldorf doubles as an observation tower

June 13, 2016 by  
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The structure is not a simple power plant, but a landmark that dominates the southwestern boundary of the city. Thanks to its modular construction, the power plant can adjust to various functions. Its largest frame element envelops the existing smokestack-the highest point of the building complex. Related: Dubai to build the world’s biggest concentrated solar power plant Situated approximately 45 meters (148 feet) above ground level, a viewing platform offers views of the rest of the plant and the city center through a glass facade . The rhythm of the facade and the modular construction are best observed at night. + kadawittfeldarchitektur Via Yanko Design

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State-of-the-art power plant in Dsseldorf doubles as an observation tower

This solar-powered self-driving boat is making a historic journey across the Atlantic Ocean

June 13, 2016 by  
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Somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean , a small autonomous boat is braving wind and waves to demonstrate the power of solar energy . Isaac Penny and Christopher Sam Soon’s Solar Voyager embarked from Boston on June 1, and they hope it will land in Portugal in October. Sam Soon and Penny, both engineers, began the project in 2013, with the goal of building a boat from scratch that could travel the world on its own. They aren’t the first to send an autonomous craft to sail the ocean – a 2012 Wave Glider that made the trip was powered by wave energy and financed by the company Liquid Robotics . The engineers aren’t funded by a major company, and they built the boat themselves. Penny and Sam Soon worked on their Solar Voyager in their spare time after work. According to Penny, anyone can build a craft like they did. Related: Unmanned solar-powered Mayflower research ship will cross the Atlantic in 2020 The photovoltaic panels that power the Solar Voyager can generate 7 kilowatt hours (kWh) every day in the summer and 3 kWh in the winter. The boat is made from aluminum , which the engineers decided would be more resilient than the ” glass reinforced plastic ” used by other autonomous boats. The aluminum makes the Solar Voyager heavier and slower, but will help it resist shocks. The engineers monitor the boat through the Iridium satellite network, and can receive updated data every 15 minutes. Penny said to TechCrunch , “We always think about solar as this alternative energy thing, but you just couldn’t do this with fossil fuels – you couldn’t build something that will run forever. Whether it’s long endurance drones, or data gathering for maritime security, or monitoring wildlife preserves – solar isn’t just an alternative form of energy, it’s the best solution. It brings something to the table that nothing else has.” You can keep up with the Solar Voyager and see where it is in the Atlantic here . The engineers are also looking for a boat owner in Portugal who can help them collect the Solar Voyager once it makes its journey. + Solar Voyager Via TreeHugger and TechCrunch Images via screenshot

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This solar-powered self-driving boat is making a historic journey across the Atlantic Ocean

North Americas first fully prefabricated passive houses could revolutionize the housing market

June 13, 2016 by  
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The Ecocor-RPA partnership launched today with the unveiling of eleven prefabricated passive house model home designs that range from a 323-square-foot one-bedroom cabin to a 2,685-square-foot three to four-bedroom house. Passive House , a term which refers to a set of rigorous standards for ultra low-energy homes that provide high levels of comfort, has been used by manufacturers in numerous European countries but has yet to be popularly adopted in North America. Ecocor is the first company in North America to begin manufacturing prefabricated Passive Houses, and is also the only company in the continent to have Passive House Institute (PHI)-certified opaque prefabricated building components. Ecocor’s foundation and wall designs can reduce energy consumption for heating and cooling buildings by an incredible 80 to 90 percent. “Richard Pedranti and I are looking to establish industry best practices for delivering beautiful certified Passive Homes in the United States,” said Chris Corson, Founder and Technical Director at Ecocor. “RPA’s designs combined with Ecocor’s state-of-the-art equipment and proven processes allows us to deliver the highest quality energy efficient homes available domestically.” The homes will be built in a controlled environment at the Ecocor factory before they are delivered and assembled on sites evaluated and optimized for Passive House construction. The prefabrication and assembly process minimizes construction time and site disturbance . Related: 12 brilliant prefab homes that can be assembled in three days or less In addition to the eleven house models, clients will have the chance to work with RPA to design a unique and custom Passive House build. Any changes in design will be plugged directly into Building Information Modeling (BIM) software, which reduces costs and shortens the pre-construction phase. That data is directly integrated into the manufacturing software used in the machines that build the home’s prefabricated components. Ecocor and RPA aim for PHI and Passive House Institute US (PHIUS) certification for all the Passive Houses produced. + Ecocor + Richard Pedranti Architect

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North Americas first fully prefabricated passive houses could revolutionize the housing market

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