Historic Zhuhai sugar factory to be reborn as a low-carbon cultural hub

June 4, 2018 by  
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A new adaptive reuse project is looking to save a sweet piece of history in China. International design firm Woods Bagot  unveiled plans to revitalize the disused Hongqi Zhen Sugar Factory in Zhuhai’s Jinwan District, turning it into a spectacular new cultural park. Designed to include a sugar industry museum and a chocolate factory (among other facilities), the mixed-use development will aim to offset its carbon footprint with solar panels, rainwater harvesting, and geothermal heating and cooling systems. Located in the Pearl River Delta in south China’s Guangdong province, Zhuhai is one of China’s premier tourist destinations and has even been nicknamed the Chinese Riviera. The revitalization project will tap into the existing tourist infrastructure and offer a wide suite of attractions on a 78,877-square-meter plot. A large park will occupy the heart of the project and will be ringed by landscape features including a floral garden walk, a sculpture garden, a farming experience, and scenic waterscapes and wetlands transformed from former industrial waterbodies. The development is divided into different thematic zones that range from the bustling retail street to the tranquil wedding lake and wetland boardwalk. “It is a privilege to create a place where a whole community can capture and celebrate their proud industrial history,” said Charlie Chen, Studio Leader at Woods Bagot. “At the heart of our strategy is a desire to inspire and engage the diverse people that will enjoy the site – from locals and former factory workers to tourists, families and children alike. The result will be a showcase of old and new, and provide Zhuhai with a rich cultural landmark for generations to come.” In addition to diverse retail and restaurant offerings, the firm plans to add a boutique hotel , wedding venue, and start-up offices. Related: MVRDV will transform the Tirana Pyramid, a former communist monument, into an education center One of the firm’s major design goals is to repurpose as many of the existing sugar factory buildings as possible. New buildings will be designed to match the industrial aesthetic and will only rise two to three stories in height in order to differentiate themselves from taller historic architecture. Murals and other artistic installations will commemorate the site’s history. + Woods Bagot Images via Woods Bagot

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Historic Zhuhai sugar factory to be reborn as a low-carbon cultural hub

Australia’s solar energy capacity could almost double in one year

February 13, 2018 by  
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Australia seems to be in the midst of a solar power boom. According to The Guardian, industry analysts said the country’s solar energy capacity could nearly double in a single year thanks to large-scale solar farms and a month of rooftop installations that broke records. Solar power is flourishing in Australia. January 2018 was the best January ever in the country for rooftop installations, according to a RenewEconomy article drawing on data from industry analysts SunWiz – boasting 111 megawatts of new solar panel installations. Australia saw a 69 percent rise compared against the same time a year before. Related: South Australia to host world’s largest thermal solar plant And almost 30 new solar farms are slated to go online, according to The Guardian. The Queensland and New South Wales governments approved what The Guardian described as an unprecedented amount of industrial solar farms in 2017. There are 18 large-scale projects being built in Queensland. And New South Wales approved 10 solar farms in 2017, which is twice as many as 2016, and have already approved one this year. Smart Energy Council chief executive John Grimes told The Guardian the new solar farms could be operational in 2018, as they can be built in weeks. Grimes said, “Rooftop installations and utilities are both booming and could turbo-boost the solar numbers overall.” Rooftop solar installations could add 1.3 gigawatts (GW) while large-scale solar projects add between 2.5 GW to 3.5 GW. As Australia’s current solar capacity is 7GW, all together the projects could almost double the nation’s solar power capacity, according to The Guardian. Residential solar panels are the biggest source of power in Queensland already – a bit under a third of homes there have solar installed. And in New South Wales, planning minister Anthony Roberts said the 10 solar farms would cut carbon emissions by over 2.5 million metric tons – which would be like taking around 800,000 cars off the streets. Via The Guardian Images via Jeremy Buckingham on Flickr and Michael Coghlan on Flickr

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Australia’s solar energy capacity could almost double in one year

Foster + Partners unveils LEED Gold-targeted PGA TOUR HQ in Florida

January 23, 2018 by  
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Foster + Partners has unveiled designs for the new PGA TOUR headquarters in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. The sleek, light-filled building will be equipped with sustainable biophilic design features that will help the project obtain its targeted LEED Gold certification. Surrounded by greenery, the building will be placed within a large freshwater lake in a nod to the iconic ‘Island Green’ 17th hole at THE PLAYERS Stadium Course. Located to the south of the Clubhouse at TPC Sawgrass, the 187,000-square-foot PGA TOUR headquarters will serve as the new Global Home for the professional golf platform. The new headquarters will also consolidate all the offices —currently spread out across multiple buildings—under one roof. The new building will stress a sense of openness, transparency, and flexibility for a greater collaborative environment. “Inspired by the lush greenery of TPC Sawgrass and the beautiful Floridian light, the new PGA TOUR headquarters is designed as an extension of its surrounding landscape,” said Nigel Dancey, Head of Studio, Foster + Partners. “As the Global Home of the PGA TOUR, it brings the organization under one roof for the first time, and signifies the progressive spirit of the TOUR.” Twenty-foot-wide bridges connect the two building bays and allow for informal meetings, while flexible workspaces cater to the increasingly mobile workforce. Related: Foster + Partners’ Apple Park Visitor Center opens to the public Natural light and air pours into the headquarters through glazed facades and five large skylights. Axial landscape views are welcomed into the building, and employees will have access to a 1.3-kilometer running track in the middle of the woods. Rooftop solar panels will power a portion of the building’s energy needs, while deep roof overhangs mitigate solar heat gain. + Foster + Partners Images via Foster + Partners

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Foster + Partners unveils LEED Gold-targeted PGA TOUR HQ in Florida

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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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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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

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