3,000 new solar-powered homes in Arizona to be equipped with Sonnen batteries

October 19, 2017 by  
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Prescott, Arizona sees around 277 days of sunshine every year. Arizona-based house builder Mandalay Homes plans to take advantage of all that sunlight in 3,000 new homes to be built in the city, all equipped with rooftop solar panels and batteries from German company Sonnen GmbH . The price of the batteries will be included in the sale price of the homes. Mandalay Homes and Sonnen have partnered to allow homeowners to store extra solar power in Sonnen batteries that cost between $10,000 and $20,000 on their own. Sonnen and Mandalay Homes hope they can work out an arrangement so utilities will pay homeowners to use power stored in their batteries. According to Reuters, the 3,000 batteries, offering eight megawatt-hours of electricity , basically create a virtual power plant that could power around 5,000 homes for a day. Related: Wind and solar-powered Thunder Valley Regenerative Community rises in South Dakota Sonnen senior vice president Blake Richetta said even if utilities don’t purchase the energy, homeowners would save money since they won’t have to purchase as much power – if any – from the grid . There’s no firm agreement as of yet, although Mandalay and Sonnen have reportedly been in talks for a few months with Arizona Public Service and Salt River Project . A Salt River Project spokesperson told Reuters there aren’t any agreements in the works; Arizona Public Service declined to comment but did say batteries “can provide benefit to both our customers and the grid.” The Prescott community will be the first one like it in America, according to Sonnen and Mandalay. Reuters said in Germany, Sonnen has many such communities, but the idea is still fairly new in the United States. Mandalay Homes is a certified United States Department of Energy (DOE) ZERO Energy Ready Home builder, according to their website, and have earned multiple awards from the DOE for energy efficiency . There are around 1,000 Sonnen batteries in America right now, although the company hopes to increase that number to at least 20,000 by 2020, and deals such as the one with Mandalay Homes should help. + Mandalay Homes + Sonnen Via Reuters Images via Mandalay Homes Facebook and Sonnen GmbH

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3,000 new solar-powered homes in Arizona to be equipped with Sonnen batteries

Antony Gibbon’s Lucent House is a serene minimalist retreat made of glass and stone

October 19, 2017 by  
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UK-based designer Antony Gibbon never ceases to amaze with his spectacular designs inspired by nature . His latest work, the Lucent House, combines glazed walls and stonework to create a serene, minimalist structure that blends into its environs. Nature is a common theme in Gibbon’s work, which, in the past, has included plenty of unique treehouse designs . The designer explains that through his work, he strives to create a strong, seamless connection between living spaces and their environment. “Each structure is individually created to consider the surroundings using sustainable materials wherever possible. I aim to create organic forms that exist in nature using natural materials that unite the two,” he writes on his website. Related: Antony Gibbon unveils a new light-filled treehouse designed for the ground The Lucent House is comprised of four stone walls that are connected with large glazed panels. A series of geometric forms twist and turn to create an open layout, while large floor-to-ceiling windows flood the interior with natural light . A wooden terrace runs the along the entire outline of the home, creating a beautiful deck that is sheltered by the hanging roof. The Lucent House is designed to sit peacefully on any body of water. However, according to Gibbon, the size and volume of the home can be adapted to suit almost any landscape. + Antony Gibbon Designs Images via Antony Gibbon

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Antony Gibbon’s Lucent House is a serene minimalist retreat made of glass and stone

Google unveils giant green landscraper for London HQ

June 2, 2017 by  
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Google has finally unveiled plans for its new London headquarters—and it’s a beaut. Designed by the architecture studios of Thomas Heatherwick and Bjarke Ingels , the gargantuan one-million-square-foot office building is dubbed “landscraper” for its length that’s longer than the Shard is tall. Set parallel to the King’s Cross railway station, the Google building is punctuated with greenery and energy-efficient systems including rooftop solar panels and smart solar blinds. Recently submitted to the Camden Council for planning approval, Google’s “landscraper” is one of three buildings that will create a campus for up to 7,000 employees. Although BIG and Heatherwick are also designing Google’s Mountain View campus the two campuses are remarkably different. Whereas the California campus catches the eye with its tent-like design, the London “landscraper” is more demure with its 11-story tall blocky form. Related: New images reveal Google’s plans for a futuristic solar-powered California headquarters “The area is a fascinating collision of diverse building types and spaces and I can’t help but love this mix of massive railway stations, roads, canals and other infrastructure all layered up into the most connected point in London,” said Heatherwick in a press statement. “Influenced by these surroundings, we have treated this new building for Google like a piece of infrastructure too, made from a family of interchangeable elements which ensure that the building and its workspace will stay flexible for years to come.” Natural light and greenery fills the giant luxury office building, and employees will enjoy access to a “wellness center” with gyms, massage rooms, a swimming pool, multipurpose sports center, and a rooftop garden with varied landscapes, edible gardens, cafes, and lookout points. The building also includes bicycle parking for commuters, rooftop solar that amounts to nearly 20MWh of annual output, and motorized timber blinds to mitigate solar heat gain . Construction is expected to begin in 2018. Via The Guardian Images via Google

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Google unveils giant green landscraper for London HQ

Solar-powered Australian homes with Tesla Powerwall 2.0 already cost-competitive

November 14, 2016 by  
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As the world shifts towards obtaining energy from renewable sources , cost competitiveness is sometimes still a factor. Fossil fuel proponents have claimed one benefit of the polluting energy sources is that they’re cheaper, but that assertion is now harder to defend. Energy consultancy CME director Bruce Mountain just calculated a Tesla Powerwall 2.0 and rooftop solar panels powering an Australian home offer a cost-competitive source of electricity when compared against grid power supplies. Mountain looked at a hypothetical Adelaide home, which he estimated would use around 4,800 kilowatt-hours of electricity each year. He assumed such a home’s electricity bill would be the average of the 77 market offers in the area, and examined prices both before and after conditional discounts. He also considered the lifetimes of the clean technologies utilized, supposing a five kilowatt rooftop solar array would last for 20 years, and the Powerwall 2.0 would last for 10 years. Related: The world’s first “Tesla Town” with solar roofs and Powerwalls is coming to Australia Mountain’s calculations were thrilling: the clean technologies offer electricity at around an equal price to market offers after discounts, and are even cheaper than market offers before discounts. He said in his article, “This is astounding. A typical household in the suburbs of Adelaide can now meet its electrical needs with solar and battery storage for about the same amount they would pay on a competitive offer from the grid.” Homes receiving cost-competitive clean energy are able to do so in part because of the advanced Powerwall 2.0. While Mountain notes the battery costs nearly the same as the Powerwall 1.0, it offers 100 percent more storage capacity. Peak power and continuous power both increased with the Powerwall 2.0 by 40 percent and 50 percent respectively. Mountain said the implications of his findings about cost-competitive clean energy are either exciting or worrying, depending on a reader’s vested interest. Via CleanTechnica Images via Tesla and Pixabay

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Solar-powered Australian homes with Tesla Powerwall 2.0 already cost-competitive

Chicago may be getting solar-powered floating bike paths

November 14, 2016 by  
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According to reports, a large majority of citizens are hesitant to ride a bicycle on roads with cars. In 2014, there has been an increase in cyclist fatalities and auto-related cyclist injuries. The mayor, however, is determined to see his city become the most bike-friendly city in the United States. His plan is to place bicycle racks and hubs within a half-mile of every Chicagoan, construct more bikeways where more people live and commute, and build infrastructure to match need and stimulate growth. Related: Poland unveils glowing bright blue bike lane that’s charged by the sun The River Ride alongside the Chicago River will be composed of steel-reinforced concrete pontoon segments developed by Marinetek, a global leader in floating structures . The parts will be produced off-site, floated into place and secured with pilings driven in riverbed. Solar panels above each segment will power lighting, precipitation-activated awnings and heating conduit embedded in the segment surface to prevent icing and snow build-up. Guardrails will be also installed in order to minimize injury during a fall and snow plowing into river. + Second Shore + Marinetek Via FastCoExist

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Chicago may be getting solar-powered floating bike paths

Episode 51: Walmart ups its CSR game; Live from BSR

November 4, 2016 by  
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Broadcasting the GreenBiz 350 podcast from BSR’s conference in New York City: GGPs solar strategy, Telsa’s new solar roof tiles and what it means to “Be Bold.”

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Episode 51: Walmart ups its CSR game; Live from BSR

Why General Growth ranks among the top 10 solar buyers

October 31, 2016 by  
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This mall operator owns more than 30.2 MW of capacity, and it’s installing more.

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Why General Growth ranks among the top 10 solar buyers

Why it’s a brilliant time for companies to invest in solar power

October 21, 2016 by  
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Here’s what your company should know before the solar opportunity window closes.

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Why it’s a brilliant time for companies to invest in solar power

CSRHub’s CEO: Dark data in sustainability reporting

October 21, 2016 by  
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Bahar Gidwani dives into recent reporting trends and barriers to accurate data collection.

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CSRHub’s CEO: Dark data in sustainability reporting

Installing solar power and paying it forward

September 20, 2016 by  
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GRID Alternatives brings solar energy to low-income households by using volunteers to cut labor costs. I joined the volunteer crew at VERGE 16.

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Installing solar power and paying it forward

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