Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Delhi schools to try out solar power!

In order to utilize solar power, several public schools are considering setting up roof-top solar power plants in New Delhi. According to a report published in Times of India, the environment department of Delhi government has already installed roof-top solar power plants in four government schools - Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalayas in Mayur Vihar Phase I, Mangolpuri, Jwalapuri and RK Puram, Sector 12. These solar plants will produce 10 kilowatt each.

Vasant Valley School had set its plant up about a year-and-a-half ago and it takes care of about a third of our power requirement, informs Rekha Krishan, Principal of the school. Laxman Public School, too had tried to set up solar power plants for the hostel a couple of years ago, but it didn't work for them at that time. Usha Ram, principal,is considering to take it up again with the help of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI). "We need it for our own requirement. We just need proper assistance," she says. 

According to a senior official in the environment department, the projects at government schools will be funded by a mix of government agencies—30% by Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and 70% by Delhi government. The Delhi State Industrial And Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd will provide technical support. "The equipment has been installed but will be commissioned in a month or so," said the official.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Architects Can Now Test Energy Efficiency Before Construction!

A California lab has designed a rotating, customizable lab that allows commercial real estate developers to create mock-ups of planned buildings to test out their energy use. According to a story published in GreenWire, the architects can test the energy efficiency of the interior of a building before the building is constructed. This Energy Department-funded 'Flexlab', is aimed at bridging the gulf between expected savings from buildings’ efficiency and actual results.

Buildings which consume up to 40 percent of the country’s (USA) energy use often don’t deliver on their promises of efficiency. According to a study, it was found that a quarter of efficiently designed buildings underestimated their energy intensity by at least 25 percent.

“If we don’t really bend the curve on efficiency, we’re just not going to make the targets,” he said. “You’re going to have to pull together every muscle and sinew, and that’s what this facility does,” said Daniel Poneman, DOE Deputy Secretary. 

The lab facility, which was funded with $15.7 million from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, allows building planners to create mock-ups of their interiors to see how they perform in the real world with an eye toward collecting data on energy efficiency as well as comfort and ease of use. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Could This Mushroom Building Be The Future Of Green Architecture?

The Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1’s Young Architects Program, since last 15 years, challenges young architects to design innovative projects that bring new possibilities to our understanding of sustainable architecture. This year's winning project is a cylindrical tower which isn't quite manufactured but grown! The tower is 'grown' using entirely organic material made from cornstalks and the root-like structures of mushrooms, called mycelium. Designed by David Benjamin of New York architects The Living, is, simply put, a mushroom tower. And this mushroom tower could change the future of environmental design.

"In this project, we're using a living organism as a factory. So the living organism of mycelium, or hyphae, which is basically a mushroom root, basically makes our bricks for us," explained designer Benjamin. These mushroom roots, created by Ecovative in 2007, up till now have mostly been used as a packaging material. 

To create the brick substitute, the mixture of cornstalk and mushroom root is left to harden for several days into a sturdy solid through an entirely natural cycle requiring nearly no waste, nearly no energy and nearly no carbon emissions. Essentially, the architects channel the "biological algorithm" of mushroom roots to grow a building from the ground up. The entire growing process takes around five days.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Campus, Seattle, Washington is the largest non-profit LEED-NC Platinum project in the world


Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation campus in Seattle, Washington is the largest non-profit LEED-NC Platinum project in the world. The sustainable design of the campus reduces the potable water use by 80 percent, and energy consumption by 40 percent - an upfront investment in this 100-year, energy-efficient building that will pay for itself in fewer than 30 years. The 640,000 square feet campus restores a wildlife habitat while hosting a major philanthropic organization. 

The campus which hosts largest LEED-NC Platinum building in the world today, once hosted railway trestles, homesteads, farming, a street-car barn and a bus barn. The campus now helps restore 40% of the campus back to being a wild bird habitat and this being done with two acres of vegetated roofs on parking structures, which feature edible plants like blueberries, huckleberries and red flowering currant. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Campus also have an intricate rainwater filtering system and 46 solar hot water collectors, saving energy along with birds - and if the foundation's will is done, the world.

This LEED Platinum campus enables its workforce to focus on their mission: giving all people a chance to live healthy and productive lives. A post-occupancy research findings claims a 90% staff satisfaction rating for the new workplace and higher degrees of cross-team collaboration.