From void into vision, from vision to mind, from mind into speech, from speech to the tribe, from the tribe into din.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Zero Net Energy - July 13, 2018

Carbon Positive Towers for Stockholm

Carbon Neutral Headquarters for Solvay in Brussels

Sendero Verde - Passive House development of 650 affordable housing units in East Harlem, NYC

New Block Sustainable Design concept earns a patent - “live green roof" included

“Ask This Old House” visits a net zero community

Futurology:  the New Home in 2050 from UK’s National House Building Council Foundation

Net positive energy kindergarten in Switzerland

Net positive energy classroom in UK

Net Zero Sawmill House in CA's high desert
Editorial Comment:  there are net zero or near net zero buildings for the Arctic and Antarctic but net zero for deserts may be just as important

American Geophysical Union is rebuilding its headquarters as a net zero energy building

The Spark - net energy positive data center for Bergen, Norway designed by Snøhetta, one of the most advanced designers of advanced buildings today

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Zero Net Energy - May 10, 2018

Design for World’s First Energy Positive Hotel in the Arctic Circle
Editorial Comment:  Snøhetta is doing more and more and more of these ground-breaking projects.  Good for them.

Net Zero Energy retrofit for Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum in San Jose, CA

Disappear Retreat:  zero energy, zero waste, zero water microhouse

Charenton-Bercy net zero skyscraper by Skidmore Owings and Merrill in Paris

Architecture at zero competition

Oslo Airport smart city will be the world’s first energy-positive airport city with the capacity to sell surplus energy to surrounding buildings and communities

CORE 9 carbon positive house

Canada’s first net positive carbon multi-tenant building

USA’s first passive house plus, retrofit of a brownstone built in 1900’s

Self-sustaining modular floating city design

Tidal powered net positive energy hotel for Hainan

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Everyday Solar

There's a lot of solar street furniture that's appeared around town in the last few years.

Like this solar garbage can.

Or this bench with solar phone charger.

And this solar powered pay station for the local bike share.

There are even solar signs.

Increasingly, solar electric installations, big and small, are becoming everyday objects.

The renewables transition is well underway and gaining speed.  Solar is weaving itself into the fabric of this 21st century world.  Soon it will be almost invisible, ubiquitous, and available 24/7/365.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Zero Net Energy - January 19, 2018

Clovis, CA net zero energy development

The Zero House - Zero net energy, Zero carbon footprint, Zero toxins, Zero construction waste

Transforming the Real Estate Market: Scaling Net-Zero Energy Homes at No Additional Up-front Cost

REACT home produces its own energy and food

Net zero residence built out of recycled materials

Innenco says they can reduce existing buildings' energy use by 58-90% using the buildings’ own thermal mass, heat pumps, and chillers

Oxford, UK plans zero emissions zone for vehicles

Passivhaus for 6,500 people
from the Eco Architect blog about all things Passivhaus

Reversible tent design for homeless

Net zero building over-view 2018

More Than Housing in Zurich, Switzerland, with 13 buildings, nearly 400 housing units, 35 retail units and large shared community spaces built to 2000 Watt per person standard where 1,200 residents and 150 employees live and work

Maersk Tower in Copenhagen with "Denmark’s most energy-efficient laboratories"
Editorial Comment:  Living in Cambridge, MA, the energy-efficiency of laboratories is of increasing importance as we work towards becoming a zero emissions city

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

DIY Solar Systems for Puerto Rico and Other Emergencies or Disasters

Jehu Garcia is designing and explaining how to build DIY simple solar systems for Puerto Rico and other emergencies on Youtube: 

$400 solar system 

$500 solar system 

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Checking in with the World's Winds

I like to see the maps of the Arctic Jet Stream every day or so (
They look like dragons and other creatures
chasing each other around the North Pole.

Then I look at the Global Map of Wind, Weather, and Ocean conditions (
which animates the winds and ocean currents in what seems like real-time
in full color
coded according to the speed.
I look for where the rare red winds are.

Usually, last, I pull up the World Cloud Cover map (
to see how it relates to the other two images
and make sure the equatorial rainforests are
still making rain.

Sometimes, late at night 
I look at the Northern Lights 
from the Churchill, Manitoba Northern Studies Centre live camera (
Even when the Northern Lights aren’t shining,
I’ll often just
listen to the sounds
of that distant wind.

It reminds me where I live.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

The Cost of Personal Solar Power

 I bought a solar hand crank radio flashlight with USB mini plug DC output about 5 years ago.  It cost around $30.  It provided in one package what we are supposed to have on hand in case of emergency or disaster - light,  cell phone or radio, extra batteries - in one package.  This is also entry level electricity for the over 1 billion people around the world who don't have access now.

A month or two ago, I bought a second solar hand crank flashlight.  No radio, no DC output.  It cost around $4.

Before the invasion of Afghanistan, NATO forces distributed solar/dynamo AM/FM/SW radios to the civilian population. After the invasion, they gave away more.  The NATO radios charge only the internal hardwired battery. A single additional circuit would allow them to charge external batteries. If the solar/dynamo could charge batteries, then you could use batteries in rotation, charging one set while using another. The solar/dynamo would be a source of electricity day or night, by sunlight or muscle power, at least for the lifetime of the batteries, crank, and PV panel. 

Combine this with bicycle generators that charge batteries in the course of daily riding and you have the possibility of providing survival level power to everyone in the world now.

In 2016, the world reportedly spent $4.61 billion per day on the military or $1686 billion, equivalent to 2.2% of the global gross domestic product (GDP) and $227 per person. 


Solar electricity now costs from $4 to $30 AA survival or emergency and disaster power.

The image I have is of a

solar swadeshi, hand-made electricity.
Instead of turning the handle
of the charkha spinning wheel
making thread 
for khadi cloth
an hour a day as Gandhi did,
turning the crank of a dynamo 
or riding a bicycle a half hour a day,
the direct production of survival power
for yourself, your family, and your community,
swadeshi, local production.