NASA releases images of the world’s largest solar farm from space

February 24, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

China is home to the world’s largest solar farm , which is so immense, it is visible from space. With around four million solar panels , Longyangxia Dam Solar Park has a capacity of 850 megawatts (MW) – pushing the country closer to its ambitious renewable energy goals. NASA recently shared satellite images of the solar park as seen from space – and they are admittedly impressive. The award for world’s largest solar farm has switched hands rapidly in the last few years. In 2014, California’s 550 MW Topaz Solar Farm was the biggest, but a year later the state’s 579 MW Solar Star claimed victory. The next year, 2016, saw India’s 648 MW Kamuthi Solar Power Project topple the throne, only to be ousted by the Longyangxia Dam Solar Park this year. Related: India just fired up the world’s largest solar plant to power 150,000 homes NASA Earth Observatory’s satellite images of the Chinese solar park reveal immense growth over four years. By early January of this year, the Longyangxia Dam Solar Park, which is in the high desert of the Qinghai province, covered 10 square miles. China became the largest producer of solar power in the world after the country’s total installed capacity increased to around 77 gigawatts in 2016, even though other countries like the United States and Germany produce more solar energy per person. Rapid progress has marked China’s renewable energy industry in recent years. According to Climate Central, drawing on preliminary 2016 data released by Greenpeace’s Energydesk , the country “installed the equivalent of one and a half soccer fields of solar panels every hour.” Such advancement means China could hit their 2020 renewable energy targets as soon as 2018. NASA doesn’t expect the Longyangxia Dam Solar Park to retain the crown for long. The Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai is still growing – phase 3 will add 800 megawatts to the farm. And another solar farm planned for China’s Ningxia region in the northwest is slated to have a capacity of 2,000 MW. Via Climate Central Images via Jesse Allen/NASA Earth Observatory

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NASA releases images of the world’s largest solar farm from space

Portable solar unit fits into a steel drum for off-grid events

February 24, 2017 by  
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The Solar Charging Can fills the gap between large-scale residential photovoltaics and portable solar chargers for your smartphone. The unit unpacks quickly for camping, outdoor events, and other off-grid functions and is ready to use after just a half hour of assembly. In addition to recreational use, the unit can provide crucial power to mobile medical clinics, disaster relief areas, and refugee camps. Mobile Solar Chargers Ltd developed the Solar Charging Can to be an impressively versatile unit that is easy to put together in a pinch. The basic model includes a 180W/18v 5.5A solar panel , which is both flexible and waterproof, on a retractable telescoping pole, as well as two batteries, a voltage regulator, and all other necessary equipment for the unit to run smoothly. An included anchor secures the can to the ground, but the added sand bags provide an extra dose of security. Upgraded versions can be purchased to include a WiFi router, additional panels, a remote CCTV camera, and LED lighting . Related: Portable smartflower POP solar system produces 40% more energy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8yoDfVzWfU The entire unit can be assembled in a half hour by two people, according to the website. And they can be custom ordered to meet the needs of the event it will serve. This is especially helpful for organizations that provide disaster relief support or intend to power housing for refugees for an extended amount of time. One Solar Charging Can starts at about $2,235 (£1,795). + Mobile Solar Chargers Ltd Via Treehugger Images via Mobile Solar Chargers Ltd, YouTube (screenshot)

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Portable solar unit fits into a steel drum for off-grid events

Check out the vibrant outdoor art gallery coming to NYC’s High Line park

February 24, 2017 by  
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High Line Art , the arm of Friends of the High Line that manages its public art projects, reviewed more than 50 proposals before shortlisting 12 for the inaugural Plinth commissions. The artists, who hail from all corners of the globe, include veterans such as Haim Steinbach and Charles Gaines, mid-careerists like Matthew Day Jackson and Cosima von Bonin, and emerging talents such as Minerva Cuevas, Lena Henke, and Jonathan Berger. “The High Line Plinth will provide artists with an opportunity to work on a larger scale than ever before possible on the High Line, and to engage with the breathtaking vistas that open up around this new site,” said Cecilia Alemani, director and chief curator of High Line Art. “As a new landmark to this space, the High Line Plinth will create a new symbol of this incredible nexus of horticulture, art, and public space in the ever-evolving metropolis that is New York City.” For the 2.3 million visitors the High Line receives annually, the Plinth provides an opportunity unlike any other: “free, world-class artwork 365 days a year,” according to Robert Hammond, co-founder and executive director of Friends of the High Line. “The High Line Plinth will expand the program’s impact by creating a one-of-a-kind destination for public art on the Spur, a new section of the park with even more space for public programming and dynamic horticulture,” he said. The Fourth Plinth has served as a stage for subversive, politically charged, or otherwise controversial pieces that have fueled debate. The High Line Plinth is expected to be no different, Alemani said. Ascent of a Woman , an entry from New York’s Lena Henke, is a “singular, gigantic, upturned” breast that will slowly erode in the face of the elements. The breast’s outer layer of soil, sand, and clay will eventually give way to new forms cast into the inner mold. Unapologetically sensual, the work pits the city and the body in a “surreal entanglement … challenging New York City’s rational and modernist approach to public space.” Los Angeles–based Sam Durant proposes an abstract representation of an unmanned Predator drone, rotating like a wind vane atop a 20-foot column. In the shadow of the aircraft, visitors may imagine the specter of surveillance casting a creeping, growing influence across the world. Paola Pivi, who was born in Italy but lives and works in Anchorage, Alaska, suggests a 20-foot-high reproduction of the Statue of Liberty wearing an inflatable cartoon-style mask in the guise of someone who has gained his or her freedom in the United States, or seeks to do so. The stories of the individuals featured would be made available to visitors online. Less polarizing, perhaps, is Londoner Jeremy Deller’s slide, which takes the form of a giant chameleon. “There is something magical about chameleons; they can do things that we can only dream of,” he explained. To start with, High Line Art wants to whittle the proposals down to two—you can vote for your favorites , or, if you prefer, recommend something else altogether. “I am excited to work with artists who think critically about the meaning of public space and public life, and create artworks that not only respond to the site, but also spark conversations among a wide audience,” Alemani added. + The High Line Plinth + The High Line Via Curbed

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Check out the vibrant outdoor art gallery coming to NYC’s High Line park

Award-winning Boulder Cabin minimizes energy use and material waste

February 24, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Boulder’s reputation as an environmental leader is upheld in this eco-friendly home overlooking views of the metropolitan Denver valley. Jackson-based firm Dynia Architects completed Boulder Cabin, a contemporary home with an emphasis on sustainability. Clad in weathering steel and lined with timber, the modern cabin sits lightly on the land to minimize site impact. Winner of a 2011 AIA Wyoming Merit Award, the 2,500-square-foot Boulder Cabin is modern and minimalist to match the “disciplined lifestyle of the owners.” The site-specific design is optimized for solar and panoramic views. To the east, clerestory windows let in early morning light, while the west facade is punctuated with nearly full-height windows to frame the best views of the iconic Flatiron peaks. The roof extends over the west wall to protect against solar heat gain and glare. The home opens up on the south side to a shaded outdoor terrace. Related: Affordable Boulder is a tiny mobile home that’s big on contemporary style To minimize site impact , the Boulder cabin was built with a size well below the allowable area. Any landscape that was disturbed during excavation and construction was quickly revegetated. The limited materials palette of timber, concrete, and weathered steel cladding minimize material waste and help the home blend in with its surroundings. + Dynia Architects Via ArchDaily Images © Ron Johnson

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Award-winning Boulder Cabin minimizes energy use and material waste

Genius elevator bed slides vertically on rails to maximize space in Alaskan tiny home

February 24, 2017 by  
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Ana White , a self-taught carpenter in Alaska, has built a number of impressive tiny homes . But her latest project literally takes her craft to a new level. In keeping with her client’s request for an open and airy space, Ana built an ‘elevator bed’ that slides vertically on rails with just a touch of a button. White’s client for the tiny home design requested that interior of the compact 24-foot-long, 8-foot-wide space be as open as possible. This challenged her to find space for the bed when not in use. As a stroke of space-saving genius, for just $500, she installed the bed on vertical rails using hardware from a garage door system. At the touch of a button, the bed slides up and down on the rails and is held in place by pins drilled into the wall. When not in use, the bed is lifted to almost ceiling height, and the sofa underneath, which also opens up into a guest bed, becomes a comfortable lounge space. Related: Missouri community is building 50 tiny homes for homeless veterans https://youtu.be/lHjJd4tkvSU Additional space-saving techniques are installed throughout the home. Storage nooks were custom created in virtually every corner, leaving no space unused. Almost all of the furniture has been created to be multi-use, including wooden box footrests that can be used as coffee tables, guest seating, and storage bins. Even the lids pull double duty as lap desks for laptops or serving trays. Additional features include a lateral shelving unit that runs the length of the large window, which provides optimal natural light . The storage shelves underneath are covered custom-made sliding barn doors that can be propped up to use as work space or dining area. In the kitchen, more sliding features include a cereal cabinet, and a beautiful barn door that separates the kitchen from the bathroom, which has a composting toilet . The closet space is also built on rails, and slides into the shower stall when not in use. + Ana White Via Treehugger Images via Ana White

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Genius elevator bed slides vertically on rails to maximize space in Alaskan tiny home

Tesla just announced plans to build up to five Gigafactories

February 23, 2017 by  
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Tesla is embarking on a building spree – and Elon Musk just revealed plans for up to five Gigafactories. In Wednesday’s fourth quarter investor letter , Musk said that the second Gigafactory will be Tesla’s solar manufacturing plant currently under construction in Buffalo, N.Y. – and the company plans to announce the final locations for Gigafactories 3, 4 and 5 later this year. “Installation of Model 3 manufacturing equipment is underway in Fremont and at Gigafactory 1 , where in January, we began production of battery cells for energy storage products, which have the same form-factor as the cells that will be used in the Model 3,” the letter reads. “Later this year, we expect to finalize locations for Gigafactories 3, 4 and possibly 5 (Gigafactory 2 is the Tesla solar plant in New York).” Related: Tesla’s Gigafactory is getting a $350 million upgrade to build Model 3 parts Tesla said that the company’s first affordable electric vehicle, the Model 3 , is on track for initial production in July, with volume production starting in September — 5,000 vehicles per week at some point in the fourth quarter of 2017, ramping up to 10,000 vehicles per week in 2018. Tesla also expects solar roof production at the New York factory to launch in the second half of the year. Musk has previously stated that at least 200 gigafactories must be built in order to meet electric vehicle demand. With the announcement of more gigafactories in the works, Musk is making it clear that he is serious about accelerating the world’s transition to sustainable energy. + Tesla Via The Verge Images via Flickr and Tesla

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Tesla just announced plans to build up to five Gigafactories

New York City unveils massive green-roofed film and fashion hub in Brooklyn

February 23, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Two warehouses in Brooklyn ‘s Sunset Park will soon be transformed into state-of-the-art, affordable production spaces for film, television production and garment manufacturing. The green-roofed Made in NY Campus, designed by WXY architecture + urban design , will modernize the industrial waterfront site and create several pedestrian-friendly spaces and public plazas. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the City’s commitment to the $136 million overhaul expected to create 1,500 jobs. Conceived by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), the project will include a comprehensive planning and investment strategy aiming to renovate the site’s aging infrastructure and introduce quality manufacturing and public spaces . WXY architecture + urban design re-envisioned two existing warehouses and public spaces at Sunset Park as a new green-roofed film and fashion hub with 300,000 square feet of new production spaces. Related: New photos reveal Domino Sugar Refinery’s terraced form rising on the East River The Made in NY Campus will offset the city’s lack of filming spaces and provide high-ceiling sound spaces and various other production areas, along with new facilities for fashion and garment manufacturing industry. It will be one of three business campuses in the new Sunset Park District Plan, including the renovated Brooklyn Army Terminal to be completed this fall. + WXY architecture + urban design Renderings by nightnurse images

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New York City unveils massive green-roofed film and fashion hub in Brooklyn

Apple’s $5 billion spaceship campus to open in April as "Apple Park"

February 23, 2017 by  
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Apple’s new headquarters in Cupertino is all set for a planned move-in date of April 2017. Steve Jobs first presented his vision and building plans for the “spaceship” campus to city managers in 2011, and the company just announced that its new headquarters will officially be called “Apple Park.” The building will pump out 17 megawatts of solar power via panels on its massive roof – that’s enough energy to power most of the 175-acre site. More than 12,000 apple staff will inhabit the complex, which will include a 1000-seat auditorium dubbed the “Steve Jobs Theater.” According to Apple, the campus’ ring-shaped 2.8 million-square-foot main building is covered in the world’s largest curved glass panels. The entrance to Jobs’ namesake auditorium consists of a 20-foot-tall glass cylinder that’s 165 feet in diameter and supports a metallic carbon roof. Said theater sits on top of a hill, at one of the highest points of land in Apple park, where it looks out over surrounding meadows in the Santa Clara Valley and the campus’ main building. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VCvkYA5dR8 “Steve’s vision for Apple stretched far beyond his time with us. He intended Apple Park to be the home of innovation for generations to come,” says Apple CEO , Tim Cook. “The workspaces and parklands are designed to inspire our team as well as benefit the environment. We’ve achieved one of the most energy-efficient buildings in the world and the campus will run entirely on renewable energy.” It will take employees as long as six months to move in and get settled away in the massive building . After doing so, they’ll be able to take advantage of a café that’s open to the public, a 100,000-square-foot fitness center, secure R&D facilities, a theater, as well as two miles of paths for walking and running, an orchard, a meadow and a pond. Related: Jaw-dropping scale of Apple’s spaceship campus revealed in new drone footage Apple Park was designed in collaborating with Foster + Partners , and it takes the place of what was once 5 million square-feet of asphalt and concrete. The land is now planted with grassy fields, and native and drought-resistant trees. Via Digital Trends and Apple Images via Apple

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Apple’s $5 billion spaceship campus to open in April as "Apple Park"

California introduces its own 100% renewable energy bill

February 22, 2017 by  
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Massachusetts recently introduced a bill to derive 100 percent of the state’s energy from renewables , and now California is following suit. A new bill introduced by state Senate leader Kevin de León would require the state to obtain 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2045. Under de León’s bill, SB 584 , California would need to reach 50 percent renewable energy use by 2025, five years earlier than the state’s current target of 2030, and cease using fossil fuels completely by 2045. Related: Massachusetts lawmakers sponsor 100% renewable energy bill In 2016, the state obtained 27 percent of electricity via wind , solar, and other clean sources, and California’s deserts offer potential spaces for more renewable energy plants. The solar industry has created 100,000 jobs in California. Experts say the state could reach the 100 percent goal since costs for solar and wind power are falling – in many areas of the state solar is already the cheapest option, according to The Desert Sun. Some people wondered if de León’s bill as a reaction to Donald Trump’s energy policies. Large-scale Solar Association president Jim Woodruff, who worked with de León on the legislation, told The Desert Sun, “Whether it’s a direct response to what’s happening in Washington, I don’t know, but it’s certainly an indication that California will continue to lead in this area. It’s the sixth-largest economy in the world. I think by putting these goals out, it’s making a pretty powerful statement, not only in the U.S., but globally, that if we set out the goals and put the resources to it, those goals can be achieved.” The Desert Sun said it’s not yet clear if de León will move forward with the bill; as he filed it right before the state’s deadline to file bills on Friday, it could act as a placeholder until legislation more detailed can be written. Massachusetts recently introduced a similar bill , but it’s slightly more ambitious than California’s. Under the 100 Percent Renewable Energy Act , Massachusetts would transition to obtaining all their electricity from renewable energy by 2035, and would grant sectors like heating and transportation a 2050 deadline. The California bill gives its state’s electricity sector an extra ten years to reach that 100 percent target. Via The Desert Sun Images via Pixabay and Wikimedia Commons

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California introduces its own 100% renewable energy bill

How Sweden plans to heat homes with internet searches

February 21, 2017 by  
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Emails and Instagram photos don’t come without a carbon footprint : they’re stored in data centers which continually battle excess heat and suck up electricity to cool servers. But Stockholm, Sweden recently came up with a rather ingenious use for all that waste heat : what if it could warm homes instead? Most data centers aren’t very environmentally friendly. According to one estimate, they consume roughly the same amount of power as the airline industry, and the amount of electricity used in the centers could triple during the upcoming decade. But data center heat could help cities transition away from fossil fuels in a major way. Just one 10-megawatt data center can provide enough heat for 20,000 apartments. Related: Why Microsoft is dropping data centers on the ocean floor Stockholm started an initiative, Stockholm Data Parks , for their vision of “a data center industry where no heat is wasted.” Under the initiative, renewable energy will power data centers, and heat produced will be sold to district heating company Fortum Värme , which has been looking to biomass or waste heat to provide heating instead of fossil fuels. The presence of a district heating system sets Stockholm up to utilize data center heat on a large scale. Stockholm’s district heating system has already begun working with small data centers, and Stockholm Data Parks said on their website they will bring together, prepare, and offer “all necessary infrastructure elements at attractive greenfield and brownfield sites suited for data center activity.” Power grid operator Ellevio and dark fiber provider Stokab are participating in the initiative along with Fortum Värme. Some data centers do operate on renewable energy, but if their excess heat could go to a district heating system, Stockholm’s data centers could even become carbon positive. A 10-megawatt center could lower emissions by 8,000 metric tons. Since Stockholm’s goal is to go fossil fuel free by 2040, the Stockholm Data Parks vision could push the country closer to that target. + Stockholm Data Parks Via Fast Company’s Co.Exist Images via Pexels and Stockholm Data Parks

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How Sweden plans to heat homes with internet searches

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