Tesla just announced plans to build up to five Gigafactories

February 23, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

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

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

February 23, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

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  
Filed under Eco, Green

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

Baltimore’s floating trash-eaters have intercepted 1 million tons of debris

February 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Mr. Trash Wheel and Professor Trash Wheel sound like characters on a children’s program, but they are actually solar- and hydro-powered trash interceptors cleaning up Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. As cute as they are effective, Mr. Trash Wheel and Professor Trash Wheel have wide googly eyes, a snail-like shape, and the ability to suck up plastic bags , Styrofoam containers, cigarette butts, and other debris. The initial trash wheel prototype was created by local sailor and engineer John Kellett, who approached the city about trying to find a water pollution solution after watching debris floating in the Inner Harbor on a regular basis. After a little trial and error and a promising but inadequate first trash wheel, Kellett gained the support of the Water Partnership of Baltimore , a non-profit that supports environmental legislation and aims to make the area a green, safe, and friendly destination for both humans and animals. Mr. Trash Wheel, who has his own Twitter account, is the result of their union: he uses solar panels and the river’s current to turn a waterwheel, which then activates a conveyor belt. The  trash , which gets pulled in by floating containment booms, gets tangled and lifted by rotating forks before going up the conveyor belt and being deposited into the dumpster. Once the dumpster is full, it gets towed to a transit station, and Mr. Trash Wheel continues on his trash munching ways. But Mr. Trash Wheel doesn’t have to clean up the Inner Harbor’s water all by himself. Image © John Kellet, Clearwater Mills and Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore  Related: Baltimore’s solar-powered water wheel devours up to 50,000 pounds of harbor trash each day After Mr. Trash Wheel’s success, Kellett and the Water Partnership raised funds for a female garbage gobbling counterpart: Professor Trash Wheel. Professor does her work in another part of the Inner Harbor, but both trash wheels are in high demand, especially after rain or thunderstorms. Most of the debris they pick up actually comes from illegal dumping, trash chucked from cars, and cigarette butts stubbed out on the ground as opposed to from people directly littering into the river itself, but the flow of the area’s watershed eventually brings the trash into Professor and Mr. Trash Wheel’s territory. Mr. Trash Wheel has picked up more than a million pounds of trash from the Jones Fall River since it was rolled out in 2014, with the trash wheels filling an average of 70-100 dumpsters worth every year. 300,000 plastic bags , six thousand glass bottles, and nine million cigarette butts as well as more exotic offenders including a live ball python make up the waste that is removed from the waterway. The trash gets burned to generate electricity with plans to increase recycling capabilities in the future. In order to continue their progress and to stay in line with the Water Partnership’s goal of making the harbor swimmable and fishable by 2020, the city is hoping to add an additional trash wheel or two in the future and to serve as a model for other cities and areas with water pollution issues. Kellett is also looking into other potential trash wheel sites, including Rio de Janeiro, Honolulu, and Denver. While the ultimate goal is for trash wheels (even charming, googly-eyed ones with Twitter accounts) to become obsolete due to better environmental regulations and practices, expect to see more of these effective and playful floating trash devices in harbors and waterways near you. Via National Geographic Lead image © The Waterfront Partnership

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Baltimore’s floating trash-eaters have intercepted 1 million tons of debris

Dubai’s crazy rotating wind-powered skyscraper is actually being built

February 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

The modern world is full of unique, eye-catching buildings – but an upcoming Dubai skyscraper is about to put a new spin on the field of architecture. We’ve reported before on Israeli-Italian architect David Fisher ‘s crazy rotating Dynamic Tower – and now it looks like the 1,375-foot-tall high-rise is finally becoming a reality. Solar panels will be installed on the roof, and 48 individual wind turbines will be hidden in between the floors to provide power. According to the architect, the building will generate up to 10 times more energy than it will use. Proposed by Fisher almost a full decade ago, the project was supposed to break ground in 2010, but was put on hold due to planning obstructions and design changes. Now, seven year later, it looks like the project has finally been given the green light. https://youtu.be/jEYZ-ylelbg The Dynamic Tower will have 80 floors that are capable of rotating a full 360 degrees, letting tenants and hotel guests select their own personal views via voice command. However, even more impressive than the unique twisting feature is the project’s sustainability profile – the entire building will be powered by sun and wind energy. The apartments will offer the ultimate in luxury living – at a staggering price tag of 30 million dollars. The “beyond star rating” building will offer swimming pools, garden space, a fitness center, and even a car lift that transports cars outside individual residences. + David Fisher Via Mirror Images via David Fisher/Dynamic Architecture

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Dubai’s crazy rotating wind-powered skyscraper is actually being built

California city on its way to becoming the first Zero Net Energy city in the U.S.

February 19, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

The city of Lancaster, California is one step closer to becoming a Zero Net Energy city – the very first in the U.S. The proposed ordinance, recently moved forward by the city council, will require all new homes to be equipped with solar panels or to take other steps toward energy mitigation. The end goal is to create a city with a truly sustainable future. “This is a great stride in Lancaster’s journey to become a Zero Net City,” said Mayor R. Rex Parris in a statement. “The Zero Net Energy Home Ordinance expands upon Lancaster’s residential solar ordinance so that new homes built in Lancaster now will not only be environmentally friendly, but have a zero net impact on our environment, while reducing energy costs for the homeowners.” Related: Lancaster, California to require all new homes to have solar panels The ZNE ordinance requires all new homes built in the year 2017 and beyond to choose one of three options for energy use: install photovoltaic panels to support two watts of energy for each square foot, pay mitigation fees that will result in a discount on the energy generation rate section of their bill, or select a combination of both options. The required feasibility study for the ordinance is already taking place, which is needed before receiving approval from the California Energy Commission . These processes are expected to be complete by the end of the year. Images via  Wikimedia

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California city on its way to becoming the first Zero Net Energy city in the U.S.

New solar canopy provides both shade and clean energy

February 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

In a beautiful marriage of form and function, architect and designer, Carlo Ratti has created a light-reflecting canopy that both creates shade and directs sunlight to a photovoltaic panel where it generates electricity. Called Sun&Shade , the canopy is built with mirrors that rotate automatically with the movement of the sun and reflect its rays to a solar PV panel “located a safe distance away.” Ratti just unveiled the Sun&Shade prototype at Dubai’s Museum of the Future , as part of an exhibit called “Reimagining Climate Change.” Check out the great video overview below. Ratti is no stranger to the world of functional eco art , with past projects that include: a “ supermarket of the future,”  his Paris “coolhouse,” and the New Holland pavilion at the 2015 Milan Expo. Of his latest creation, Ratti says his inspiration came from the architectural traditions of the Middle East. “In developing Sun&Shade we were inspired by the Middle Eastern tradition of shadowing in architecture and public space,” Ratti explained in a press release. “Sun&Shade aims to bring this concept to the next level, allowing shadowing to be digitally controlled.” Related: MIT’s “supermarket of the future” reveals every product’s history https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gC7Z_3iye8 The position of each of Sun&Shade’s mirrors can be set independently, allowing them to be used to not only control shading and the generation of electricity , but also to create different patterns or even letters from the shadows they cast. + Carlo Ratti Associati Via Curbed Images via Carlo Ratti Associati

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New solar canopy provides both shade and clean energy

The US solar market grew by a record-breaking 95% last year

February 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

The United States solar market grew an astounding 95 percent in 2016, installing an extraordinary 14.5 gigawatts of new solar capacity, according to the annual Solar Market Insight Report (SMI) from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). For the first time in history, solar ranked as the number one source of new electric generating capacity in the US, accounting for 39 percent of new capacity additions across all fuel types in 2016. “What these numbers tell you is that the solar industry is a force to be reckoned with,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA’s president and CEO. “Solar’s economically winning hand is generating strong growth across all market segments nationwide, leading to more than 260,000 Americans now employed in solar.” Related: Solar power now provides twice as many jobs as coal in U.S. A record 22 states each added more than 100 megawatts of solar, with California topping the list for cumulative solar capacity at 18,304 MW. There are now more than 1.3 million solar PV installations in the US, with a cumulative capacity of 42.3 GW. Wind energy also enjoyed a great year, accounting for 26 percent of all new electric generating capacity. Most of the new solar capacity was in utility-scale solar, which grew 145 percent from 2015. For the first time since 2011, the non-residential market outpaced residential solar installations — community solar added a record of more than 200 MW, led by Minnesota and Massachusetts; and rate design and net energy metering resulted in the development of new non-residential solar projects, particularly in California. + US Solar Market Insight Via CleanTechnica Images via Wikimedia and SEIA

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The US solar market grew by a record-breaking 95% last year

North Korea’s ‘Hotel of Doom’ is the world’s largest abandoned building

February 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Green, Recycle

This pyramid-shaped building in North Korea was once a contender for the tallest hotel in the world – but construction was interrupted in 1989 and it became the world’s largest abandoned building instead. The notorious 105-story Ryugyong Hotel – frequently referred to as the “Hotel of Doom” – could come to life after all, as Egyptian company Orascom fired the project back up again in 2008. The structure, designed by Baikdoosan Architects & Engineers, first broke ground in 1987 in Pyongyang, North Korea. It was supposed to open in 1989, two years later after the frame was finished. Work stopped in 1992 after the collapse of the Soviet Union (an ally and backer), and the hotel remained unfinished , looming over the North Korean capital. Related: Abandoned Floating McDonalds to Be Given New Life As a Marina in Canada In 2008, an Egyptian company took over the hotel and began adding exterior glass in the hope of finishing the project. Reports say that the interior has no plumbing or electricity, and it could require another $2 billion to finish. As of late construction on the hotel has stopped again, leaving the fate of the hotel unresolved. Photos via Wikimedia Commons

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North Korea’s ‘Hotel of Doom’ is the world’s largest abandoned building

India doubles down on solar power with huge park capacity increase

February 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

India just made a huge commitment to solar power . They’re doubling the planned capacity in their solar parks program from 20 gigawatts (GW) up to 40 GW. The government has also given a green light to the program’s second phase. India Minister of Finance Arun Jaitley said the government will move forward with the solar parks program’s second phase in a union budget speech. According to CleanTechnica the government’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has identified multiple solar energy projects that possess a cumulative capacity of 20 GW, and will add an extra 20 GW of capacity under the second phase. Related: India just fired up the world’s largest solar plant to power 150,000 homes Solar parks could be a huge win for India. CleanTechnica reports it seems many consumers aren’t aware of the benefits of rooftop solar , but also utilities aren’t well equipped to handle rooftop systems. But the government seems to recognize solar energy could be a perfect fit for the growing country that needs a renewable source of energy and also enjoys around 300 days of sunshine yearly. According to a 2014 MNRE document titled Scheme for Development of Solar Parks and Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects , “Solar power projects can be set up anywhere in the country, however the scattering of solar power projects leads to higher project cost per MW and higher transmission losses…The solar park is a concentrated zone of development of solar power generation projects, by providing to developers an area that is well characterized, properly infra-structured, and where the risk of the projects can be minimized as well as the facilitation of the permitting process.” According to The Indian Express , the government has approved 33 solar parks in 21 states. CleanTechnica notes while the government has expanded the current solar parks program, the target for overall installed capacity by March 2022 in India is still the same at 100 GW. Via CleanTechnica Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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