Can’t Add Solar Panels to Your Roof? Join a Community Solar Farm

April 10, 2018 by  
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Solar energy development has skyrocketed in recent years, but many … The post Can’t Add Solar Panels to Your Roof? Join a Community Solar Farm appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Can’t Add Solar Panels to Your Roof? Join a Community Solar Farm

Can’t Add Solar Panels to Your Roof? Join a Community Solar Farm

April 10, 2018 by  
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Solar energy development has skyrocketed in recent years, but many … The post Can’t Add Solar Panels to Your Roof? Join a Community Solar Farm appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Can’t Add Solar Panels to Your Roof? Join a Community Solar Farm

Off-grid Fossil Discovery Exhibit camouflages into the Texan desert

March 28, 2018 by  
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Big Bend National Park isn’t just a place of stunning landscape beauty—the Texan park is also paleontological paradise. To tell the story of the area’s rich fossil history, Texan architecture studio Lake | Flato designed the Fossil Discovery Exhibit, a series of interpretive pavilions that draws inspiration from the surrounding topography. The unstaffed, low-maintenance building operates off grid and draws energy and water from solar panels and a rainwater catchment system. Created as a series of open-air pavilions , the Fossil Discovery Exhibit takes visitors on the Big Bend Fossil Discovery Trail: a sequential walkway that covers four paleontological eras from the Early Cretaceous period to the Cenozoic Era. “The complex story of Big Bend’s remarkable landscape can be brought to life through its fossil history and the artifacts found within the park,” wrote the architects. “These characteristics create a unique opportunity for interpretation and education; the trail will describe the world-class diversity and length of Big Bend’s fossil history while directly referencing the breathtaking surrounding landscape.” Related: Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum is sustainably built from CNC-milled beetle-kill timber Elevated on concrete piers, the building is clad in perforated weathering steel for low maintenance and camouflage so as to avoid disrupting views from the road and trails. Interior partitions guide visitors through the spaces, the highlight of which is the Gallery of the Giants where massive bones and recreated skeletons are on display. Solar panels power the buildings, while the angled roof, which evokes a winged dinosaur, is optimized for rainwater collection. + Lake | Flato Via Dezeen Images by Casey Dunn

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Off-grid Fossil Discovery Exhibit camouflages into the Texan desert

LifeEditeds newest home brings off-grid luxury to Maui

March 19, 2018 by  
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If you loved LifeEdited’s shape-shifting Manhattan apartment from a few years ago, prepare to be stunned by the design consultancy’s latest project—an off-grid luxury Maui home that produces more energy than it needs. While LifeEdited:Maui is more than double the size of the transforming Manhattan project, the Hawaii home was likewise built to push the envelope in sustainable luxury design. The home, built for LifeEdited founder Graham Hill, boasts the top of the line in eco-friendly and space-saving amenities, materials, and technologies from Sunflare solar panels to Resource Furniture murphy beds. Located on 2.2 acres of rural land in Haiku, LifeEdited:Maui is a two-story home with 1,000 square feet of indoor living space and an additional 330-square-foot lanai, or sheltered veranda. In keeping with LifeEdited’s philosophy of ‘small space, big design,’ the off-grid home fits an impressive array of amenities thanks to transforming furniture and space-saving techniques, and can comfortably entertain over twenty people at once. “LifeEdited:Maui is a model for how we can innovate to live in the future,” writes LifeEdited COO Ross Porter . “It allows a family to live a big, happy, modern, convenient off-grid life in a 1,000 square foot home that functions like one twice its size.” The home, completed early this year, sleeps up to eight in four bedrooms and two and a half baths. When not in use, certain bedrooms can be easily adapted for other uses, like office spaces , thanks to Resource Furniture’s transforming furnishings that combine functionality with aesthetics. Related: Graham Hill’s Transformable Cube-Within-A-Cube Cleverly Makes the Most of a Small Footprint The home’s sleek contemporary design isn’t visually weighed down by its impressive off-grid capabilities either. Sunflare’s custom-sized thin-film solar panels are nearly invisible on the standing-seam metal roof and provide power that’s stored in a Blue Ion 2.0 Energy System. Natural lighting and ventilation is maximized throughout the home thanks to ample operable glazing like the Andersen MultiGlide sliding glass doors. A 15,000-gallon rainwater tank collects rainwater for irrigation. Automated technology is integrated in many areas of the home. A Sense energy monitor keeps energy levels in check. The luxurious eco-home was completed for just under $1 million. + LifeEdited Via NY Times Images via LifeEdited

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LifeEditeds newest home brings off-grid luxury to Maui

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

New family of antibiotics discovered in soil offers hope

February 13, 2018 by  
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Antibiotic resistance threatens humanity even as superbugs are discovered in places like pig farms . But a recent discovery offers new hope. A Rockefeller University -led team of scientists found a new family of antibiotics in dirt, the BBC reported . The researchers hope the natural compounds could be used to fight infections that are difficult to treat. 12 scientists discovered malacidins, compounds which, based on tests, kill multiple bacterial diseases now resistant to most of our existing antibiotics. That includes the superbug MRSA . They utilized a gene sequencing technique to scrutinize over 1,000 soil samples that came from around America to find the new antibiotic family. The BBC said soil teems with millions of microorganisms that produce compounds that could be potentially therapeutic or serve as new antibiotics. Related: Antibiotic resistant bugs could kill 10 million people each year by 2050 Malacidins were present in many of the samples, suggesting it could be an important find. According to the BBC, the scientists gave rats MRSA and then tested malacidins; the compound eradicated the infection in skin wounds. They’re now working to boost the drug’s effectiveness so that perhaps it could be developed into a treatment for humans – but that could take a while. Rockefeller University scientist Sean Brady told the BBC, “It is impossible to say when, or even if, an early stage antibiotic discovery like the malacidins will proceed to the clinic. It is a long, arduous road from the initial discovery of an antibiotic to a clinically used entity.” Antibiotic Research UK professor Colin Garner, who was not part of the research team, said the find is good news but we really need antibiotics for gram-negative bacteria . These new compounds might tackle gram-positive infections like MRSA, but “our concern are the so called gram-negative bacteria which are difficult to treat and where resistance is on the increase.” The journal Nature Microbiology published the research online yesterday. Scientists from Rutgers New Jersey Medical School contributed. Via the BBC Images via Pixabay and Gabriel Jimenez on Unsplash

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Scientists dash to explore Antarctic ecosystem hidden by ice for 120,000 years

February 13, 2018 by  
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Scientists are seeking to explore an underwater area previously covered by an Antarctic ice shelf for 120,000 years. Climate change is affecting every corner of the globe and while its challenges are well known, the dramatic changes also open up new opportunities for exploration. The recent breaking away of a trillion-ton iceberg the size of Delaware from Antarctica’s Larsen C Ice Shelf offers scientists a chance to gain a greater understanding of the polar aquatic ecosystem that dwells beneath the ice. Researchers are now in a race against time to study the 2,246 square-mile area before it begins to change. “The calving of [iceberg] A-68 [from the Larsen C Ice Shelf] provides us with a unique opportunity to study marine life as it responds to a dramatic environmental change,” said Kkatrin Linse of the British Antarctica Survey (BAS) in a statement. “It’s important we get there quickly before the undersea environment changes as sunlight enters the water and new species begin to colonize.” Two previous efforts to explore newly exposed Antarctic ecosystems in 1995 and 2002 yielded little in terms of studied life. However, both efforts took five to 12 years after an iceberg’s break before studying the area up close. By then, organisms had begun to occupy space in the newly open habitat. Related: Meteorologist warns collapse of two Antarctic glaciers could flood every coastal city on Earth Scientists are set to depart from the Falkland Islands on February 21, then spend three weeks aboard the BAS research vessel RRS James Clark Ross on which the team will gather and study biological samples from organisms, sediments, and water . During their study, the team may encounter such wild Antarctic creatures as the icefish, which creates natural antifreeze within its body to survive in frigid waters, or the bristled marine worm, described by Live Science as “ a Christmas ornament from hell. “ Via Live Science Images via NASA   (1)

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Scientists dash to explore Antarctic ecosystem hidden by ice for 120,000 years

DFA’s flood-proof towers could survive six feet of sea level rise in New York City

February 13, 2018 by  
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New York-based architecture firm DFA just unveiled plans for 19 cylindrical apartment towers that can survive six feet of sea level rise at Manhattan’s Pier 40. The towers are wrapped in lattice facades with lots of vegetation, and they’re designed to address the city’s lack of affordable housing and flood-resistant buildings . The towers would offer apartments as well as recreational and commercial spaces, and they’re designed for a site currently occupied by car parking facilities and a football field. The entire development is expected to function as a floating island in the event of flooding. The living units in the high-rises are set 60 inches above expected storm surge levels. An elevated path flows along the base of the clusters and connects a series of public pavilions . Related: Waterstudio’s Koen Olthuis on FLOAT! “Beyond 2050, as regular flooding begins to engulf the coastline as we know it, the landscape deck transforms into a floating island with new pathways built to connect the evolved wetland ecosystem to Manhattan,” said DFA. The architects designed the complex as a response to construction trends in New York. They describe it as a long-term solution that will “safeguard the city from rapid changes in the environment or protect future generations of people”. + DFA Via Dezeen

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DFA’s flood-proof towers could survive six feet of sea level rise in New York City

Snhetta unveils designs for worlds first energy-positive hotel in the Arctic Circle

February 13, 2018 by  
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Snøhetta has revealed designs for the world’s first energy-positive hotel in the Arctic Circle —an incredible proposal given the region’s below-freezing temperatures. Located at the foot of Svartisen, Norway’s second largest glacier, the circular Svart hotel will offer panoramic 360-degree views of the fjord and use solar panels to produce more energy than it needs. The sustainable building is being developed in collaboration with Arctic Adventures of Norway, Asplan Viak and Skanska. Set partly on shore at the foot of the Almlifjellet mountain, Svart also extends into Holandsfjorden fjord’s crystal-clear waters where kayakers can paddle beneath the circular building . Elevated off the ground for low-impact, the hotel’s V-shaped timber structure is a nod to the local vernacular architecture, more specifically the form of the A-shaped fiskehjell, a wooden device used for drying fish and the local fisherman “rorbue” house. A boardwalk built into the timber structure serves as a walkway for guests in summer or as boat storage in winter. “Building in such a precious environment comes with some clear obligations in terms of preserving the natural beauty and the fauna and flora of the site,” said Founding Partner at Snøhetta, Kjetil Trædal Thorsen. “It was primordial for us to design a sustainable building that will leave a minimal environmental footprint on this beautiful Northern nature. Building an energy positive and low-impact hotel is an essential factor to create a sustainable tourist destination respecting the unique features of the plot; the rare plant species, the clean waters and the blue ice of the Svartisen glacier.” Related: Jaw-dropping hotel made of ice and snow opens in Sweden The new hotel aims to reduce its yearly energy consumption by approximately 85% as compared to an equivalent hotel built to modern building standards in Norway. Snøhetta hopes to reduce the hotel’s carbon footprint by topping the rooftop with solar panels produced with clean hydro-energy and by using materials with low-embodied energy like timber over energy-intensive materials such as structural steel and concrete. Extensive site mapping informed the placement and design of the hotel to best exploit solar energy during the day and minimize unwanted solar gain. + Snøhetta Images via Snøhetta

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Snhetta unveils designs for worlds first energy-positive hotel in the Arctic Circle

New quantum tunneling application captures electricity from Earth’s heat

February 8, 2018 by  
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Researchers at  King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia have learned how to produce electricity from Earth’s excess heat through quantum tunneling. Quantum tunneling is a phenomenon in which particles are able to tunnel through a barrier that, under the rules of classical mechanics, they are usually unable to pass through. First predicted in the early 20th century and generally accepted by mid-century, quantum tunneling plays an important applied role in devices such as the tunnel diode, quantum computing, and the scanning tunneling microscope. Its more recent application, the harvest of electricity from Earth’s radiant heat, involves a specifically designed antenna that can identify this excess heat as high-frequency electromagnetic waves, then transforms the signals into a direct electrical charge. The heat produced by sunlight hitting the Earth results in a constant flow of infrared radiation that, if untapped, is essentially free energy gone to waste. It is estimated that the global output of infrared radiation may be as much as millions of gigawatts per second. Since the infrared wavelengths are so short, scientists at KAUST needed to design micro-antennas suited to catch this heat. “There is no commercial diode in the world that can operate at such high frequency,” said lead researcher Atif Shamim . “That’s why we turned to quantum tunneling.” Related: New double-pane quantum dot solar windows generate power with better efficiency Via a tunneling device known as a metal-insulator-metal (MIM) diode, electrons are able to pass through a small barrier, despite lacking the energy classically required to do so. As the electrons pass through this barrier, they are converted into an electrical direct current. The technology could be applied to solar panels , which currently only harvest a small percentage of the potential heat and light energy available for electrical power. While there is work to be done, the potential for how we gather and use energy is huge. “This is just the beginning – a proof of concept,” said Shamim . “We could have millions of such devices connected to boost overall electricity generation,” Via ScienceAlert Images via Depositphotos and  KAUST (1)

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