General Motors wins cost savings with wind power

December 15, 2017 by  
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Car manufacturer General Motors (GM) is gone with the wind for all of its cost-saving benefits. “It provides economic certainty to electricity forecasts,” said Rob Threlkeld, GM’s manager of global renewable energy strategy, as well as savings over the years. Threlkeld discusses the path to fulfilling GM’s RE100 commitment to become 100 percent powered by renewable energy, including two deals to source wind power from Ohio and Illinois, respectively. 

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General Motors wins cost savings with wind power

Massive turbines and blades for America’s first offshore wind farm land in Rhode Island

July 14, 2016 by  
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Although the United States is not new territory for wind farms , Deepwater Winds’ Block Island Wind Farm will be the first in the nation to be located offshore. The project calls for construction to take place through late summer, with the wind farm generating renewable energy  for the local community by the end of the year. The Block Island Wind Farm is expected to generate 125,000 megawatt-hours of electricity, providing 90 percent of power utilized on the island with a potential to supply electricity to the mainland. Related: Deepwater Wind breaks ground on the U.S.’s first offshore wind farm Five Haliade nacelles were built at GE Renewable Energy’s new plant in Saint-Nazaire, France to be shipped to the U.S. for the wind farm. Each massive machine weighs 400 tons and is the size of a bus. It holds all the power-generating components of the wind turbine, including a massive permanent magnet generator. Each of the five nacelles will support three 240-foot-long blades weighing 27 tons apiece. All 15 blades and five nacelles docked in Rhode Island last week after their long journey via cargo ship across the Atlantic. Eric Crucerey is the GE Renewable Energy project director in charge of delivering turbines to the site of the Block Island Wind Farm. Given the size and price tag of the wind energy farm , he takes his work very seriously. “My job is to be ready for everything, understand any weaknesses in Plan A and always have a Plan B,” he said. “’Never give up’ is my motto.” Luckily, he has numerous partners to help coordinate the project, including the folks who transported the wind turbine parts via truck, which sometimes meant building their own roads to maneuver the massive blades. The bases for each of the five wind turbines have already been built, completed last fall. Once the turbines are mounted this August, each one will stand 330 feet (100 meters) above the water’s surface, with a total height twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty, their French cousin. + GE Reports Images via GE Renewables , LM Wind Power , and Deepwater Wind

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Massive turbines and blades for America’s first offshore wind farm land in Rhode Island

Discreet new SolarSkin panels completely blend in with their environment

July 14, 2016 by  
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Sistine Solar is out to change the way people view rooftop solar . Started by MIT graduate students, the company is developing SolarSkin solar panels that can match rooftops or the surrounding environment. This means the solar panels on your roof could look like clay tiles, slate shingles, or even grass. Inspired by companies like Apple and Tesla, Sistine Solar co-founders Senthil Balasubramanian and Ido Salama aim to combine elegant design with revolutionary technologies . They dream of a world that runs entirely on renewable energy , and felt that more people would get on board with solar energy if the panels were more beautiful. To transform that dream into reality, they teamed up with an artist trained in Italy and an MIT PhD candidate in photovoltaics to come up with a more aesthetically-pleasing design. Related: Santa Monica to require rooftop solar panels on all new buildings Sistine Solar won the 2013 MIT Clean Energy Prize in Renewable Energy and can already count Starwood Hotels and Resorts and Microsoft as future clients. Last fall they received $1 million through the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative to further develop their promising technology. Homeowners have responded positively as well; according to Salama, when they showed homeowners the SolarSkin panels, 98 percent of people said they liked it better than traditional solar panels, and many of those people had ” refused solar in the past .” Sistine Solar’s camouflaging panels have an efficiency of 15 to 17 percent, which is an excellent start. The team said on their website , “We at Sistine Solar are on a mission to showcase the innate beauty of solar energy through stunning design, captivating the world’s imagination and ushering in the era of clean energy. We passionately believe that by designing beautiful products that generate electricity more elegantly, we can capture the hearts and minds of the world, driving the mass adoption of clean energy.” You can pre-order the panels here ; Sistine Solar anticipates SolarSkin will be ready in 2017. + Sistine Solar Images via Sistine Solar

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Discreet new SolarSkin panels completely blend in with their environment

New indestructible bridge design was directly inspired by nature

July 14, 2016 by  
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The job of structural engineers around the world is arguably getting more difficult. Many urban centers are experiencing booming populations and increased vehicle traffic, and environmental changes create new challenges for buildings, bridges, and roadways. New breakthroughs in engineering design from the University of Warwick could lead to indestructible bridges that rely on compression for their strength, and lack the weak points that make traditional bridges so vulnerable. And the design process is inspired by nature. Wanda Lewis of University of Warwick’s School of Engineering employs the process of ‘form-finding’ to create bridge designs that need little or no maintenance or repairs. For a quarter century, Lewis has been studying forms in nature to learn how simple stress patterns make it possible for delicate objects, such as a leaf on a tree, to withstand the intense force of wind, rain, or impact against a tree branch. Although she says “nature’s design principles cannot be matched by conventional engineering design,” she has developed a mathematical model that could lead to super durable manmade bridges . Related: Washington just built the world’s longest floating bridge The optimal arch—a fully self-supporting bridge structure—has been the target of engineers for centuries, and Lewis’ research could be the key that unlocks the next wave of structural engineering . Her mathematical models respond to the failings of the inverted parabola and the catenary form, classical theory’s only two existing concepts for an optimal arch which both have weak points. The new models could help engineers build bridges that can withstand not only heavy regular traffic, but also earthquakes, floods, and high winds. Her findings were recently published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Science . Via Phys.org Images via University of Warwick and Wikipedia

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New indestructible bridge design was directly inspired by nature

Incredible net-zero energy Brock Environmental Center turns rainwater into drinking water

July 14, 2016 by  
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? Located on the banks of the Lynnhaven River in Virginia Beach, the 10,500-square-foot Brock Environmental Center was created to engage and educate the public about the environment and ways they can help save the Chesapeake Bay from further environmental degradation. Per the requirements of the Living Building Challenge, the building produces more energy than it uses over the course of 12 consecutive months using clean energy technologies, such as solar panels , residential wind turbines, and geothermal wells. The Brock Center also meets a myriad of other stringent criteria for water use, location, health, materials, equity, and beauty. ? Elevated 14 feet above sea level to cope with flooding and reinforced to withstand 120-mile-per-hour hurricane winds, the energy-efficient Brock Center produces around 83 percent more energy than it uses, as well as 80 percent less energy and 90 percent less water than a typical building of its size. Its 168 rooftop solar panels generate 60 percent of the building’s energy needs, while two 10-kilowatt wind turbines produce the remaining 40 percent. The building’s utility bill is only $17.19 per month—the minimum fee to keep the building tied to the grid—and the remaining energy is returned to the Dominion Virginia Power grid, which will issue a refund check back to the center. Related: One of the world’s greenest buildings 14 feet above sea level prepares for climate change ? “The Brock Center’s performance pushed the boundaries on what is possible. Regenerative, net-positive design is more than an aspiration, it has been achieved,” said SmithGroupJJR project manager and design architect Greg Mella, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C. Thanks to an advanced drinking water system, the Brock Center turns its harvested rainwater into potable water used for drinking and hand-washing. Gray water is reused as irrigation, while waterless, composting toilets are used in the bathrooms. A Living Building Challenge Dashboard offers a real-time gauge of the building’s energy and water use, as well as energy generation. ? Related: CBF’s Brock Environmental Center Will Soon Be the Most Sustainable Building in Virginia ? The above-mentioned elements are only a handful of the Brock Environmental Center’s best eco-friendly features. The education center, which opened in January 2015, is open to the public for tours and also serves as the hub for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Hampton Road office, with space for an 80-seat conference room, meeting rooms, and exhibit display areas. + SmithGroupJJR + Chesapeake Bay Foundation Images via SmithGroupJJR

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Incredible net-zero energy Brock Environmental Center turns rainwater into drinking water

Researchers develop a battery clean enough to eat

August 26, 2015 by  
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In our wildest dreams, enviro-geeks imagine a future in which solar hover cars zip silently by while our homes and factories chug along completely pollutant-free, powered only by the wind and the sun. But, what happens when the wind stops blowing and the sun is on the other side of the planet? The toxic batteries we use to store all that clean energy do not fit nicely into our futuristic imaginings. That’s why Jay Whitacre and his team at Aquion Energy decided to develop a saltwater battery – a battery clean enough that Whitacre has even eaten a piece of the battery’s electrodes. Read the rest of Researchers develop a battery clean enough to eat

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Researchers develop a battery clean enough to eat

The South is building its first major wind farm

July 14, 2015 by  
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The land of tobacco and peach farms is set to sprout something it’s never seen before — a major wind farm. Crews are currently building a new commercial-scale wind turbine farm on an old tract of North Carolina farmland – and the farm could generate enough electricity to power about 60,000 homes . The project marks the first large onshore wind farm in the region’s history. Read the rest of The South is building its first major wind farm Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: better wind technology , higher wind turbines , north carolina , north carolina wind , southern wind farms , wind energy , wind farm

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The South is building its first major wind farm

Jiavu Liu’s Hypnotic LED Installation is Powered by the Wind of 40 Chinese Cities

July 3, 2014 by  
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Royal College of Art (RCA) student Jiavu Liu designed an LED installation that reacts to wind pattern data collected from 40 Chinese cities. The real-time data visualization installation, entitled Within Invisibility, explores the connection of the invisible force of wind and a city’s climate, landscape and infrastructure. Read the rest of Jiavu Liu’s Hypnotic LED Installation is Powered by the Wind of 40 Chinese Cities Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “wind power” , data visualization art , Jiavu Liu wind installation , led installation , real-time data visualization , Royal College of Art , student art , wind art , wind-powered installation , Within Invisibility installation

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Jiavu Liu’s Hypnotic LED Installation is Powered by the Wind of 40 Chinese Cities

How sustainable investors impact industries and corporate policies

November 26, 2012 by  
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A new report on sustainable, responsible, and impact investing shows some shifts in the wind.

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How sustainable investors impact industries and corporate policies

The future of integrated sustainability reporting

November 26, 2012 by  
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A Harvard Business School professor reflects on the next step for corporate reporting.

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The future of integrated sustainability reporting

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