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Thursday, January 22, 2015

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Off the Grid Solar: Sustainable Energy Meets Sensible Design


lumi solar (original at night)

One of the obstacles hindering the growth of solar power is that it is still connected to the grid. Because solar in some cases is connected to and supplemented by the grid; it is not self-efficient. The people against solar make this argument, arguing that solar is not a viable option because it cannot work on its own. Lumi Solair, a New York based company, addresses this concern and specializes in off-grid self-efficient products. Lumi Solair has three different lights designed to light streets, parking lots and both private and public space. The three models are the Original, Swan and Classic; all of which are stylish.

lumi solar

1. Original is an off the grid solar and wind powered lighting unit that provides reliable lighting in the most demanding of environments.

  • The structure stands 25 feet tall, is composed of aluminum and can stand winds up to 110 mph.
  • The solar panels are a 200 W polycrystalline panel.
  • Has its own energy management system, a lithium Iron phosphate battery, a 10 year lifetime and is 100% recyclable.
  • The light is an LED and dark sky rated.
  • Its additional turbine is 250 W at 10 m/s and has power generation below 5 mph.

swan solar light

2.  Swan is strictly an off-the-grid solar lighting unit. Installing the Lumi Solair swan can save you more than 45% when compared to conventional lights.

  • The structure stands 25 feet tall, is composed of aluminum and rated for winds up to 150 MPH.
  • The solar panels are a 320 W polycrystalline.
  • Has its own energy management system, a lithium Iron phosphate battery, a 10 year lifetime and is 100% recyclable.
  • The light is an LED and is dark sky rated.   (more…)
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Saturday, December 6, 2014

Carbon Neutral Homes: The Future is Flat-Packed


zed factory homes

In February 2008, the first 100% carbon neutral flat-pack home was revealed by ZEDFactory – Zero (fossil) Energy Development. It was affordable, quick to put up and revolutionary in the way properties are designed.

flat packed home

The house was designed to be erected within a few weeks, and the cost of £150,000 for a three-bedroom property was seen as a huge step in making such eco-friendly homes affordable for more people.

ZEDFactory said that its flat-pack home has a Code 6 status, which is the highest level in the sustainable building code. The innovative idea has since developed and it could well lead the way to many more such eco-homes appearing over the coming years.

Key Features of the Eco-Homes
Wooden frames are used to build the houses, which is a carbon-neutral material. On top of this, they use eco-concrete that provides excellent energy efficiency and allows the building to absorb and release heat more slowly. As a result, the insulation is up to three times higher than in standard homes.

The buildings also make use of plants on the roof to attract birds and insects. On the south facing side of the room, solar panels are installed to generate energy for up to four people. A small wind turbine can also be added, and the energy can be used to sell back to the grid or to power an electric car.

A biomass boiler is used to heat the water in winter using wood chips, and a grey-water system and low-flow showers are used to reduce water usage.

How Can You Go Greener at Home?
You may not be able to take advantage of all of the features of these eco-homes, but you can still make a difference by making simple changes around your home. For example, you could invest in solar panels or a wind turbine, which can help meet your electricity needs in a greener way. Or you could do something even simpler and add more insulation to your home, such as cavity wall insulation or loft insulation. This can help you to reduce your heating requirements and cut your bills.

Saving energy means saving money, and another way to save money is to choose a more suitable tariff. npower has a Tariff Information Label tool so you can search for a suitable one in your area with ease. Or you can find a tariff that promotes other ways to save energy, such as npower’s Intelligent Fix tariff, which comes with the Nest Learning Thermostat at a reduced cost, which could provide you with a way to reduce your energy usage.

Then there are simple things you can do around the house to lead a greener lifestyle, such as:

  • using more low-energy light bulbs
  • turning off all computers, televisions and gadgets when they are not in use
  • collecting rain water to use in the garden
  • recycling as much of your waste as possible
  • buying reused goods rather than new ones

Cut Your Own Carbon Footprint
These are all ways to cut your energy use and live a low-carbon lifestyle, even if you cannot move into a new eco-home. Greener homes are likely to become more popular over the coming years, and that is good news for everyone, and by following simple tips you can have a big impact on your own energy use and reduce your environmental impact.

Contributor Evie Noble became interested in green technology over 8 years ago while building her own home. She now enjoys researching the latest tech and trends on today’s consumer market and writes about them on a variety of eco and tech blogs.

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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Martifer PV Projects: Integrated Solutions for Fulfilling Solar Power Needs


martifer portugal solar field

Martifer Solar is more than merely a company that focuses on solar energy.  This Portugal based company employs teams of engineers and people who fabricate and design required engineering solutions for various types of solar energy related projects. As per Greentech Media Research’s statistics, Martifer Solar ranks third amongst similar companies in Europe. IHS lists the company in 5th position within Europe and 16th in the world.

martifer solar install rooftop

EPC Services from Martifer Solar
One of the drawbacks that have prevented PV solar technologies from taking off has been the cost versus returns in comparison to the fossil fuels. Martifer can offer PV solutions on 360° turnkey basis, which would include all engineering, purchases and procurement, project management, construction and commissioning related to the PV solar system installation and operations.

Photovoltaic Projects or PV projects from Martifer include EPC or engineering, procurement, and construction services. This means the company can offer customized solutions based on the needs of the people so that each such project becomes viable and offers optimal energy cost savings. It is because of its high standards of reliability today it boasts of having implemented more than 500 projects. The company is also maintaining and operating solar power generators with a capacity of 560 MW across the world.

integrated solar window panels

Variety of PV Projects offered by Martifer Solar
Martifer Solar offers all types of solar power generation solutions under one roof. Therefore, its portfolio of PV projects includes:

  • Ground mounted solar power generating systems
  • Rooftop solar power generating systems
  • Building integrated Photovoltaic projects (BIPV). Martifer’s Torre De Cristal in Madrid still qualifies as the tallest BIPV project, even though the project was completed in 2008.
  • Off-Grid solar power generating systems for people and businesses in remote locations
  • Small solar power generating systems for residential accommodations

Effectively, Martifer undertakes projects suiting the needs of small as well big customers.  This adaptability is one of the reasons for Martifer Solar’s larger market share.

One of the reasons many well-known companies opt for Martifer Solar is because it does more than supply the instrumentation and materials. Its personnel ensure that the project is commissioned and functioning to the satisfaction of the client.

Global Presence
Though Martifer is originally from Portugal, it has spread its activities across the globe. There are collaborations and joint ventures with various companies in different nations. For example, Martifer Solar entered into a joint venture with Hirschfeld Industries in the US. Likewise, it became Maisis’ partner, for technology.

The company has implemented PV projects for well-known businesses such as Hertz. Westfield Group is another famous business that has availed the services of Martifer Solar. In Latin America, the company recently installed a 30 MW project for Gauss Energia.

Martifer Solar has recently received a new contract from Italy. It is a 90 MW project. The company is implementing a project for well known private Equity Fund Company, i.e., Eland, and Dutch Infrastructure Fund.

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

eco bark engineered siding for your home


smartclad home

We’re all familiar with engineered wood flooring, but siding for your home?

I love the rustic look of a home whose exterior features wood. My first home in the Catskills was constructed of Cedar siding. It looked gorgeous but the maintenance could be a bear. So when I heard about eco-friendly engineered bark siding, I had to take a peek.

backstory: BarkClad is an FSC-certified company and member of the Western North Carolina Green Building Council. Rather than cut down trees for wood siding, BarkClad works with loggers to re-purpose the bark from trees that are already cut for use in the furniture and plywood industries.

bark clad install

today: BarkClad also offers a line of engineered bark siding called SmartBark. Earlier this year they released their eco version of Poplar and today they’re introducing Sourwood and Walnut finishes. Here’s why we like these engineered bark siding options:

  • weather-resistant: won’t fade, darken, rot, mold, crack or curl
  • don’t require cutting down Poplar, Sourwood and American Chestnut
  • easy to install
  • estimated installed savings of $2/square foot compared to natural bark siding
  • don’t require bug treatment or a special moisture barrier
  • washable, paintable and flame resistant
  • R-value of 4.7 per inch, so you save on energy costs year after year
  • 30-year limited warranty

Let’s face it, there will always be new home construction, but we don’t have to use up all our natural resources in their design. From roofs, foundations and floors to siding, plumbing and windows – every day there are better, more sustainable ways to get the job done without sacrificing style.

related: more green building on alternativeconsumer.com

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Check Out this Sustainably-Built Mega Oasis in Cairo


Gate Residence overhead

This incredible green-complex designed by Vincent Callebaut Architectures in Paris is just that: absolutely incredible. Lead “archibiotect” Vincent Callebaut from Belgium is behind many of the most environmentally friendly designs recently commissioned around the world, integrating sustainable building techniques in diverse locales from South Korea to Morocco. He was recently commissioned by Abraj Misr Real Estate in Egypt to build this “iconic sustainable building that would express the future of the city” of Cairo. Creating a signifying, monumental building that represents the role of green architecture in the fight against climate change is a top priority of both the designer and the client. Seems like a rare motivation to us Yankees, right? Well, soak it in.

Gate Residence front

To term this structure a “building” is a vast understatement. The design commands 450,000 square meters, or slightly over 100 American football fields –  imagine 50 average city blocks. It is quite an ambitious design. From Vincent.Callebaut.org: The building, dubbed “The Gate Residence,” is more of an eco-complex, merging the residential and the commercial under a cutting-edge green-roof.

Gate Residence Cairo

One thousand apartments sprawl across the top nine housing levels in The Gate Residence, sitting atop three commercial levels, a supermarket level, and four underground levels for parking. Also integrated into the complex are 3 levels of offices to line the main street that traverses the entire structure. Sky footpaths, green walls and suspended garden balconies are eloquently arranged between (more…)

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