World’s first typhoon turbine could power all of Japan for 50 years

September 28, 2016 by  
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An engineer in Japan is looking for a silver lining in the destructive typhoons that regularly drench the island nation. Atsushi Shimizu has invented the world’s first typhoon wind turbine , an egg beater-like contraption designed to harness the immense energy of storms as a unique renewable energy source . Shimizu believes that the energy from just one typhoon could power Japan for half a century. The amount of kinetic energy generated by a typhoon is enormous. The Atlantic Oceanographic & Meteorological Laboratory estimates that a mature typhoon produces a level of energy “equivalent to about half the world-wide electrical generating capacity.” The challenging task, for Shimizu and other storm chasers interested in boosting Japan’s green energy, is harnessing that energy efficiently. Related: Typhoon Lionrock drenches Japan, leaving at least 10 dead https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e630zg3QEAw To that end, Shimizu devised Challenergy , a vertical-axis Magnus wind power generator robust enough to withstand the high winds of a typhoon and wrangle the energy from a massive storm in order to generate electricity. The technology has already received a fair amount of press coverage in Japan, where many people are eager to find ways to produce sustainable energy and find a way to benefit from the storms that cause immense damage with high winds and tidal waves. Via CNN Images via Challenergy

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World’s first typhoon turbine could power all of Japan for 50 years

Beautiful prefab houseboats let you live on the water with a minimal energy footprint

September 28, 2016 by  
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Though Bluefield Houseboats is based in Ireland, the design/build firm delivers worldwide and handles all aspects of the design process, from initial consultation to the final handover. All houseboats are manufactured in a factory before they’re shipped out for on-site assembly. Since the modular houseboats are custom-built with a free spanning structural system, homebuyers can design their own open-plan layout with a variety of spaces from 500 square feet up to 2,000 square feet across one or two stories. The firm promises a high-quality material palette, each certified to BBA, British Standard, Eurocode, or equivalent standards for a minimum 50-year design life. Related: Floating solar-powered Waternest eco-home is nearly 100% recyclable “We aim to offer the same standard of living on the water as on land,” say the designers. “At Bluefield Houseboats our mission is to create high quality, useable space on the water which is accessible to all and maximizes the use of modern technology to explore sites which have previously been inaccessible.” The bespoke houseboats abide by the classifications for both a land-based building and a water-based vessel. To minimize energy usage, the homes incorporate passive design principles to take advantage of natural heating, cooling, and ventilation . A SMART home automation system gives the owner control over energy usage, from appliances to light switches, using a smartphone or tablet. + Bluefield Houseboats Images via Bluefield Houseboats

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Beautiful prefab houseboats let you live on the water with a minimal energy footprint

9 of the most impressive Living Building Challenge certified projects

September 28, 2016 by  
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Image: Ethan Drinker Photography 1. Smith College Bechtel Environmental Classroom The Bechtel Environmental Classroom, designed by Coldham and Hartman Architects , is a former pastoral observatory transformed into a green learning space in Whatley, Massachusetts. The 2,500-square-foot, single-story building serves as a part of Smith College and sits on 223 acres of pasture and forest , overlooking an old stone dump site. One of the two enclosed areas provides space for biological and environmental science classes and the other, larger area gives plenty of room for humanities seminars and other classes, such as poetry and dance. A drilled well ensures a sustainable water supply and composting toilets give back to the Earth. LED lighting and two solar panels combined ensure a gentle footprint on this peaceful site. Image: Matthew Millman Photography 2. Hawaii Preparatory Academy Energy Lab If you are going to teach the next generation how to move forward with alternative energy, the facilities had better reflect the mission. That is just what the Hawaii Preparatory Academy Energy Lab ensured with its completely sustainable, net-zero-energy design. Flansburgh Architects are behind the structure, which achieved

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9 of the most impressive Living Building Challenge certified projects

Aerovelo bike shatters human-powered speed record by hitting 89.59 mph

September 28, 2016 by  
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Last year Aerovelo broke a world record at the World Human Powered Speed Challenge with a bike that hit 85.71 miles per hour (mph). This year they one upped themselves, smashing that record again – twice. Their Eta bike, powered by Todd Reichert, ultimately hit 89.59 mph this year, topping the time-traveling Delorean in the science fiction film Back to the Future . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUcyURXe5yU&feature=youtu.be The World Human Powered Speed Challenge took place in Battle Mountain, Nevada earlier this month from September 12 through September 17. Each day was filled with drama and excitement as the team battled challenges or achieved victories. During the first day, Monday, Eta began to speed wobble around fifty to sixty mph, and the team had to fix the issue with a rubber steering damper. Unfortunately the damper means it’s harder to get the bike going, but did fix the speed wobble. Related: AeroVelo’s bullet-shaped bike smashes through world speed record The next day, Tuesday, heavy rains prevented the vehicles from running. On Wednesday conditions were better and Eta set a new record at 88.26 mph, more than the 88 mph required by the Delorean. Thursday’s run was uneventful but Eta only hit 87.6 mph, which although still better than last year’s record, didn’t draw the same excitement as the previous day. On Friday a bug splattered on the bike’s shield, ruining that run. The team had to add an ” anti-bug coating .” The team ended the challenge Saturday on a high note. The Eta set another record at the astounding speed of 89.59 mph. According to Aerovelo , “This was another massive leap in an event that had been fighting for 0.1 mph gains over the last decade. Breaking into this new range of speeds, Eta has truly earned its name and its title as the world’s most efficient vehicle.” The Aerovelo team intends to continue work on the Eta with the goal of breaking even more records at the challenge next year. + Aerovelo Via New Atlas Images via Aerovelo

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Aerovelo bike shatters human-powered speed record by hitting 89.59 mph

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