solarray

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

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Zero Net Energy - April 20, 2016

Shanghai Tower:  World’s Foremost Eco-Friendly Skyscraper?
http://cleantechnica.com/2016/03/14/filming-worlds-foremost-eco-friendly-skyscraper/

Greening the Empire State Building - report from 2011
http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2011/9/10/1015400/-

Net Zero Habitat for Humanity homes
http://www.pgecurrents.com/2016/03/01/stockton-pge-habitat-for-humanity-dedicate-new-zero-net-energy-home-to-deserving-families/

ZNE Action Bulletin, Winter 2016
http://newbuildings.org/resource/zne-action-bulletin-winter-2016/

Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC)  called for legally binding targets for near-zero building energy standards
http://www.edie.net/news/6/Investors-call-for-legally-binding--zero-energy-building-standard/

Energiesprong - Dutch near net zero building retrofit kit
http://www.fastcoexist.com/3046525/in-just-a-week-this-kit-turns-old-houses-into-zero-energy-homes-for-free
http://energiesprong.nl

EU ZNE renovarion case studies:  zero-energy for zero-upfront-costs (The Netherlands); a revolving loan fund (Estonia); a large-scale national programme (Germany); a scheme tackling fuel poverty (France) and dedicated energy services for the public sector (United Kingdom). 
http://bpie.eu/publication/renovation-in-practice/

Toward Zero Net Energy (ZNE) Super High-Rise Commercial Buildings - 2014 White Paper 
http://www.screamingenergyapp.com/images/easyblog_articles/120/CABA-ZNE-white-paper-june-2014.pdf

Seoul to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Buildings 26.9% by 2020
http://world.kbs.co.kr/english/news/news_Po_detail.htm?No=118154

UK’s Costa coffee shops opening 4 new ZNE Eco-Pods
http://www.edie.net/news/6/Costa-to-roll-out-four--zero-energy--eco-pods-in-the-next-12-months/


NYC’s first Passive apartment building, Perch Harlem
http://perchliving.com
http://inhabitat.com/nyc/nycs-first-passive-apartment-building-set-to-open-next-month/

Sunday, January 17, 2016

World Game Notes: MOOCs, Global Displays, and Existing Technological Opportunities

"Quite clearly, our task is predominantly metaphysical, for it is how to get all of humanity to educate itself swiftly enough to generate spontaneous behaviors that will avoid extinction."  R Buckminster Fuller
 
MOOC [Massive Open Online Course]: Power Agriculture: Sustainable Energy for Food
Feb 1st - March 27, 2016
poweringag.org/...“Details: Around one third of the energy used worldwide goes into the production and processing of food from field to table. Given the current energy system mix, the agrifood industry sector is however heavily dependent on fossil fuel inputs for production, transport, processing and distribution, and contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions. With a continuously growing world population the need for food and for energy to produce it is increasing. At the same time millions of farmers and processors in developing countries and emerging economies lack access to clean energy technologies for irrigation, drying, cooling, storage and other processes. Powering Agriculture: An Energy Grand Challenge for Development (PAEGC) seeks to identify and support new and sustainable approaches to accelerate the development and deployment of clean energy solutions for increasing agriculture productivity and/or value in developing countries.”

There is now technology to show this and other MOOCs’ proceedings on, among other things, a dynamic spherical screen like the iGlobe (www.iglobeinc.com/...).  Currently, MIT’s Program in Atmospheres, Oceans and Climate and the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences is hosting a two foot diameter iGlobe. 
 
“If you have data or interactive models you'd like to see visualized on the sphere... learn how it can be done and to figure out better ways and how to present information using the iGlobe.  Or try to make a compelling environmental movie using the sphere, an auxiliary screen, and sound.  Or come if you'd just like to experiment with the way things look projected on a spherical surface.”

There are open sessions with the IGlobe display every Thursday in January 2016 from 11am to 12pm at MIT, Building 54-1827, 21 Ames Street, Cambridge, the Green Building, the tallest building on campus.  Glenn Flierl, Professor of Oceanography, is the host.
 
NOAA [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] also has a program called Science on a Sphere sos.noaa.gov/..., 
 
“a room sized, global display system that uses computers and video projectors to display planetary data onto a six foot diameter sphere, analogous to a giant animated globe. Researchers at NOAA developed Science On a Sphere® as an educational tool to help illustrate Earth System science to people of all ages.”

These ongoing activities approach R Buckminster Fuller’s idea of a World Game:  
 
The goal of the World Game is to "make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological damage or disadvantage to anyone." 

Today, we have the technology to play the World Game online in real time with interactive maps and satellite images updated frequently.  Imagine World of Peacecraft or the Final Fantasy of a sustainable, restorative economy and ecology for everybody, all 100% of the human population with a significant number of that 100% participating as co-designers, for the benefit of all who will allow the benefit of all.
 
An online, ad hoc “Dashboard for Spaceship Earth” can also be cobbled together from existing resources with some of theseWorld Game Dashboards and Visualizations:
 
 
clock of various Earthly vital statistics
 
Breathing Earth - carbon output, births and deaths
 
AP's interactive map of countries, emissions, and climate goals (2009)
 
NASA's Aqua/AIRS animation on carbon, watching the Earth breathe
 
http://www.modelearth.org - associated with Solutions Journal
 
 
 
Environmental Performance Index 
 
Arctic Jet Stream
 
Yale's Environmental Performance Index (http://epi.yale.edu) is global in scope. 
And the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (http://www.ipcc.ch) tracks everything from temperature change to carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere. 

Terralingua is tracking something unique they call Vitality Index(http://terralingua.org/our-work/vitality-index-of-tek/). 
What are other groups tracking? 
What global measures are there for biodiversity, ocean health, arable land, rainforest, ice coverage, number of species, etc? 
 
realtime wind/temperature Earth:  http://earth.nullschool.net
 
The Skeptical Environmentalist (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0521010683/) has a lot of interesting statistics and comes from another perspective. 
UNESCO (http://en.unesco.org) has good statistics about education and science from a global perspective.
NASA's Earth Observatory (http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov) has some cool maps and interesting analysis of what is happening on earth as seen by satellites. 
For example, while biodiversity is going down, the total amount of life on earth as measured by Net Primary Productivity has actually increased on average by 6% from 1982 to 1999.
 
Crisis Commons (http://crisiscommons.org) and CrisisCamps like this 2010 one for Haiti in Boston are already a kind of narrow World Game:
Saturday, February 13, 2010 CrisisCamp will bring again together volunteers in Boston, MA to collaborate on technology projects which aim to assist in Haiti's relief efforts by providing data, information, maps and technical assistance to NGOs, relief agencies and the public.
 
The Buckminster Fuller Institute (http://www.bfi.org) is preserving and continuing Fuller's work and OS Earth (http://www.osearth.com) runs corporate and student simulations based upon the World Game.
 
There are disaster preparedness (http://www.stopdisastersgame.org) and humanitarian assistance training (http://www.virtualpeace.org) simulations online. Bright Neighbor (http://www.brightneighbor.com) is a community resilience software package marketed to city and town governments.  [There is also http://Recovers.org which has worked with Occupy Sandy in NYC and helps cities and towns prepare for recovery before the disaster happens.]
 
One game designer, Jane McGonigal has built a number of real world problem solving games, including SuperStruct for the Institute for the Future (http://www.iftf.org) in 2009 and Evoke http://blog.urgentevoke.net, in 2010. The first challenge in that game is a famine in Tokyo ten years from now. There are ten challenges to be completed in ten weeks. McGonigal's writings are at www.avantgame.com/... 
 
John Robb of Global Guerrillas (http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/globalguerrillas/2010/02/journal-alternative-ways-to-incentivize-work-and-innovation.htm) theorizes about "a real world company that operates like a massively multiplayer online (MMO) game. One reason I believe that this type of venture would work (and that my dream wasn't purely a fantasy) is this simple insight: MMOs with persistent environments (aka 'worlds') have proven an ability to incentivize tens of millions of players to do billions of hours of work...."
Those incentives are
"Improvement in status (level).
Gain new capabilities (new tools) and skills.
Earn in-game faux money (to purchase new tools and status enhancing items)."
 
In-game faux money becomes real money all the time these days.
 
Additional Links:
http://ayiti.newzcrew.org/..."  The Cost of Life is a pre-earthquake game of rural life in Haiti (Ayiti) from UNICEF. The object of this game is to follow one family for four years. It is not an MMO.
 
http://permaculturehaiti.org  and http://transitionhaiti.ning.com are both sites trying to compile permaculture and transition town information as it applies to Haiti
Enersa (http://enersahaiti.com)  is a Haitian group doing solar as a cottage industry.
For more information contact Richard Komp, PhD, Director of Skyheat Associates <www.skyheat.org>.  His report on a 2007 visit is at [pdf alert]
Ozone Hole Watch
 
International Institute for Sustainable Development on climate policy
 
Gamification of Systems Thinking
 
urban world app from McKinsey "offers previously unavailable data from a proprietary MGI database of more than 2,600 cities around the world”
 
10 science games doing real research, including a game to find cropland at www.geo-wiki.org
 
 
There is a board game version that approaches the World Game called the World Peace Game (http://worldpeacegame.org) developed by John Hunter for Fourth Graders and other elementary school students.  I've talked with him and he knows about Buckminster Fuller's World Game but has his hands full with his won World Peace Game.  He has been working with a gaming group at MIT to make a digital version of the tabletop version of the game.
 
These are all resources I’ve collected over the years and are not intended to be examined all at once, only to give you an idea of what is already out there and available now.

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Zero Net Energy - January 2016 edition

Greenbuild Unity Home - prefab, affordable net-zero home can be built in less than three days to LEED v4 Platinum and net zero-energy standards and with the largest collection of Cradle to Cradle (C2C) certified building products ever used in a residential project.
http://inhabitat.com/net-zero-unity-home-is-a-solar-powered-prefab-that-pops-up-in-just-3-days/
http://greenbuildexpo.com/greenbuildunityhome

zHome:  the first net zero energy townhome complex in the United States (built in 2011 in Issaquah, WA) with benchmarks of net zero energy use, a 70% reduction in water use, a 90% construction recycling rate and the use of only low- and non-toxic materials among other specifications
http://cleantechnica.com/2015/11/23/washington-based-zhome-sets-national-net-zero-precedent/
http://www.builtgreen.net/library/zhomewhitepaper.pdf

Net Zero Energy Buildings Technical Reports
http://logdd.co/pdf/net-zero-energy-buildings-technical-report.html

DOE's A Common Definition for Zero Energy Buildings
http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2015/09/f26/bto_common_definition_zero_energy_buildings_093015.pdf

Presentations from Building Carbon Zero California 2015
http://www.co2zeroca.org

Net zero 1910 school to lofts conversion in Amsterdam
http://www.opumo.com/magazine/ons-dorp-amsterdam-loft-conversion/

Architecture at Zero 2015 winners
http://www.gabreport.com/2015/11/architecture-at-zero-2015-winners

Zero Net Energy Roadmap for local governments (California)
https://energycenter.org/zne

Zero net energy building controls report
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1crmcXoJe0MI4J8E4KLp1lLURr2Ms9F4odN0KJn_-rzU/viewform?c=0&w=1

Market Data:  Zero Net Energy Homes (paid access only it seems)
http://www.navigantresearch.com/research/market-data-zero-net-energy-homes

Zero net energy laboratories
http://www.labconco.com/news/zero-net-energy-labs-sustainability-for-laborato

Seattle region near net zero community (including one HERS -1 rated, net positive house)
http://www.gizmag.com/dwell-development-new-rainier-vista/40916/?utm_source=Gizmag+Subscribers&utm_campaign=bae36ce106-UA-2235360-4&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_65b67362bd-bae36ce106-91990261

From energy efficiency lighting expert Fred Davis:
http://www.zerohomes.org/positive-energy-homes/
http://www.netpositiveconference.org/ - February 18-19, 2016 in San Diego, CA

Sidmore Owings and Merrill build a net zero energy school in Staten Island, NYC's first
http://www.som.com/projects/ps_62_the_kathleen_grimm_school_for_leadership_and_sustainability

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Zero Net Energy

Zero net energy is a growing body of practice in which buildings produce all the energy they consume.  It is the application of high efficiency construction in combination with renewable energy, usually solar or geothermal.  Sometimes it is also called net zero energy building.

I began to collect links to various zero net energy building projects around the world back in 2013 soon after, in the story I heard, Cambridge City Councillor Minka Van Beuzekom  proposed it as a building standard for a large development MIT is planning in East Cambridge.  That idea didn't fly (the development is part of an ecodistrict instead, as I understand it) but did lead to a task force which has prepared a path to zero net energy standards in the city.
http://www.cambridgema.gov/CDD/Projects/Climate/NetZeroTaskForce

The EU has adopted the building energy target of nearly zero and all new public buildings must be nearly zero-energy by 2018 with all new buildings, public or private, constructed to nearly zero-energy standards by the end of 2020.
https://ec.europa.eu/energy/en/topics/energy-efficiency/buildings/nearly-zero-energy-buildings

CA has a 2020 zero net energy goal "focused on new residential construction, including single-family and low-rise multifamily (3 stories or less) buildings, as well as low and moderate income housing within these categories."
http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/PUC/energy/Energy+Efficiency/Zero+Net+Energy+Buildings.htm

The knowledge and materials to build buildings that are comfortable without outside energy inputs through advances in energy efficiency and energy production on site have made zero net energy buildings practical and affordable.  They will only become more so as time goes on, examples accumulate, and experience grows.

Since we build about a million new residential units a year, nearly 1% of the units available, these changes in the way we shelter ourselves will have increasingly significant effects on our energy usage in the years and decades after 2020 in, at least, Cambridge, CA, and the EU.

July 12, 2013

http://www.skyscrapercenter.com/building.php?building_id=454
Pearl River Tower, Guangzhou, China 71 floor zero net energy skyscraper

Maybe some of the ideas will work in Kendall Square and other areas of Cambridge.

And then there's also these:
http://www.news.ucdavis.edu/search/news_detail.lasso?id=10022
UC Davis West Village 130-acre development for about 3,000 people in 662 apartments and 343 single-family houses

http://www.springleafboulder.com/
Zero net energy neighborhood in the US, being built near Boulder, CO - hat tip inhabitant

http://www.dkahn.com/geos.html
Zero net energy neighborhood in Arvada, CO

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/05/realestate/commercial/walgreen-builds-a-zero-net-energy-store.html
Walgreens zero net energy store

http://www.greencarcongress.com/2010/05/nzn-20100505.html
The Net-Zero Neighborhood: Advanced Energy Storage and Highly Efficient Photovoltaics Take Transportation Off the Gasoline Grid and Residential Off the Electric Grid

July 18, 2013

article on status of US zero net energy building
http://autodesk.typepad.com/bpa/2013/07/early-energy-simulation-dont-design-your-zero-energy-building-building-energy-analysis.html

"Getting To Zero 2012 Status Update: A First Look at the Costs and Features of Zero Energy Commercial Buildings"
http://newbuildings.org/getting-zero-2012-update

The largest of the buildings mentioned is the NREL Research Support Facility with 360,000 ft2 and five or six stories.

August 4, 2013

20 story PassivHaus building in Vienna
http://www.treehugger.com/green-architecture/passivhaus-aint-no-house-its-20-storey-building.html
https://www.oegnb.net/upload/file/FORUM_Raiffeisen_0413_025-026-1.pdf - article in German
http://www.viennareview.net/news/ideas-and-trends/raiffeisens-upward-sustainability

November 12, 2013

Architecture Zero
http://architectureatzero.com/2013/11/08/prime-cut/

March 19, 2014

Ecocity Frameworks and Standards
http://www.ecocitystandards.org


May 12, 2014
Two Positive Net Energy Buildings
Zero Net/Positive Net Energy Retrofit in Norway
http://snohetta.com/project/40-powerhouse-kjorbo

Elithis Tower, 10 story zero net/positive net energy office and retail building in Dijon, France
http://www.innovapedia.org/home/innova-green/elithis-tower-remarkable-energy-efficient-structure/

June 13, 2014
Aktivhaus
http://planetsave.com/2014/06/10/tallest-german-residential-high-rise-solar-aktivhaus/

July 7, 2014
Not a large building but an instrumented test house which actually produced more energy than it consumed even after an unusually bad winter:
http://cleantechnica.com/2014/07/07/nist-net-zero-energy-test-house-blows-past-goals-one-year-trial/

July 11, 2014
Swiss Company Renovating to Net Zero and Net Positive Energy
http://www.viriden-partner.ch/en/index.cgi?pk=apartment_buildings

Saw Karl Viriden present some of his work today at the Watt d’Or event at Northeastern.

January 12, 2015

First Passivhaus-certified laboratory building in USA, University of Chicago's Warren Woods Ecological Field Station
http://www.gologic.us/passivhaus/

March 11, 2015

Philippe Starck’s prefab positive net energy house - up to 150% of the energy the house needs
http://www.dezeen.com/2014/10/17/philippe-starck-path-prefabricated-low-energy-home-prototype/

Brooklyn’s BrightnGreen zero net energy 8 unit residence
http://brightngreen.com/solar/

Low carbon nine-story building in Tianjin, China
http://www.atkinsglobal.com/en-GB/projects/h2-low-carbon-project-for-teda-modern-service-district-tianjin

General Services Administration's Net-Zero Energy Task Group
http://www.federalnewsradio.com/445/3660266/GSA-task-force-plans-for-future-net-zero-energy-buildings
http://www.gsa.gov/portal/getMediaData?mediaId=196947

Zero Energy Building in Norway, designed to "achieve a balanced carbon footprint throughout the course of their whole existence, including construction, operations, and demolition" and providing "more energy than it takes to build it, operate it, and charge the car in the garage"
http://snohetta.com/project/188-zeb-pilot-house

Cropthorne House  exceeds German Passivhaus standard by a factor of three (heat demand 5kWh/m²/yr). Completely 'water-neutral' by use of harvested rainwater and composting toilets – ...Uses neither mains water or drainage, nor the energy required to deliver them.Intelligent use of renewable energy makes the house carbon negative.
http://www.cropthornehouse.co.uk
[thermal mass for seasonal storage?]

99 Story Net Zero Skyscraper In Jakarta
Designed by US architectural firm Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, the 1740′ tall, 99-story net zero skyscraper will generate as much energy as it uses, have zero waste discharge, and feature reduced water demand. The architects say this is “the world’s first supertall tower for which energy is the primary design driver.”
http://cleantechnica.com/2015/01/04/pertamina-builds-net-zero-skyscraper-jakarta-hq/

First Passivhaus-certified laboratory building in USA, University of Chicago's Warren Woods Ecological Field Station
http://www.gologic.us/passivhaus/

General Services Administration task group recommended that at least 50 percent of the GSA’s and the entire federal government’s building area achieve net-zero energy status by 2030
http://cleantechnica.com/2015/02/06/gsa-lead-net-zero-energy-building-revolution/

R-951 Residence is the first Passive House certified and Net-Zero capable buildings to be completed in New York City, three 1,500 square foot apartment condominiums
http://www.r-951.com
http://inhabitat.com/nyc/tour-brooklyns-first-solar-powered-passive-house-condo-building-in-prospect-heights-photos/

Net zero home infographic
http://assets.inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2015/02/net-zero-home-of-the-future-infographic.jpg

Zero waste textile factory
http://www.exploration-architecture.com/projects/zero-waste-textile-factory
http://inhabitat.com/explorations-zero-waste-textile-factory-design-is-inspired-by-nature-designed-by-science/nagpur-zero-waste-textile-garden/

Net zero retrofit office rental building
http://rmw.com/projects/435-indio-way/

Australian carbon positive pre-fab house
http://www.archiblox.com.au/projects/carbon-positive-house/

Swedish EcoDataCenter - Three buildings, 23,250 square meters, 18 megawatts from Sun, wind, water and secular biofuels, 24/7/365
http://ecodatacenter.se/en/

Modular School Buildings Move to Net Zero Energy - these schools are being erected now in CA
http://www.gundemhaberleri.org/modular-school-buildings-move-to-net-zero-energy.html

April 23, 2015

Tucson/Pima County Net Zero Energy Standard
http://www.pima.gov/netzero/

Zero Energy Performance Index
http://newbuildings.org/zero-energy-performance-index-zepi

Zero energy lab at University of North Texas
http://eastfieldnews.com/2015/03/24/zero-energy-lab-recycles-sun-water-power/

Net zero DC microgrid for CA Honda distribution plant
http://planetsave.com/2015/03/25/bosch-building-dc-microgrid-honda-california/

Passive house in NYC
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/29/realestate/the-passive-house-in-new-york-city.html

2015 List of zero energy buildings in USA and Canada
http://newbuildings.org/sites/default/files/2015ZNEbuildingsList.pdf

Zero net laboratory at Bristol Community College, Fall River, MA
http://www.sasaki.com/blog/view/558/

Prototype 4x positive energy portable classroom for Hawaii
http://andersonanderson.com/2013/02/01/energy-positive-portable-classroom/

Sustainable Education Every Day (SEED) Living Building classroom in Pittsburgh
http://theseedcollaborative.org/seedclassroom/

Richmond, VA single-story seven units “net-zero energy” multifamily apartment building for lower-income seniors
http://www.multihousingnews.com/features/getting-to-zero/1004118318.html

San Leandro, CA Zero Net Energy Center -  the very first large-scale commercial building retrofit to meet the standards of the U.S. Department of Energy as “zero net energy”. It is also the new home of the IBEW Local 595 and the Northern California Chapter of NECA’s Joint Apprenticeship and Training Program.  The building celebrated the completion of its first year of occupancy in September, 2014 and proved its zero net energy status.
http://www.znecenter.org

UC Merced has taken a Triple Zero Commitment to consume zero net energy and produce zero waste and zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2020
http://www.ucmerced.edu/triple-zero-commitment

Analysis of load match and grid interaction indicators in net zero energy buildings with simulated and monitored data
http://www.scopus.com/record/display.url?eid=2-s2.0-84907707782&origin=inward&txGid=02644C134DF17E1B39B736A671D4F331.N5T5nM1aaTEF8rE6yKCR3A%3a2

ASHEAE Net Zero Energy video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQFJr5E7_R0

Germany's power flow animation of electricity production, consumption and transport at 100% renewable energy
http://www.kombikraftwerk.de/100-prozent-szenario/power-flow-animation.html

June 12, 2015
Net positive townhouses in Roxbury neighborhood of Boston
http://www.is-architects.com/roxbury-e

Federal and state mandates are influencing how buildings and construction projects are being designed, constructed, and operated, as well. California’s recently passed building code revisions that require all new residential and commercial construction to achieve zero net energy by 2020 and 2030, respectively. Similarly, new requirements by the federal and state governments call for all new federal buildings to achieve zero net energy by 2030 and all new state buildings to be built as zero net energy facilities after 2025.
https://ucsandiegoextension.wordpress.com/tag/zero-net-energy/

AC/DC Microgrid
http://www.engineering.com/ElectronicsDesign/ElectronicsDesignArticles/ArticleID/10092/Tesla-and-Edison-Reconciled-An-ACDC-Microgrid.aspx

2015 Race to Zero Student Design Competition on cost-effective, zero energy homes for mainstream builders - 33 entries from 27 universities
http://energy.gov/eere/buildings/2015-results
Description of winning entry
http://www.pressreleaserocket.net/students-design-efficient-home-with-central-air-cost-of-only-38-annually/178452/

Hybrid electric buildings - storage to microgrid to a fleet of such buildings to act as a peaker plant - not zero net energy but the implications are applicable
http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/advanced-microgrid-solutions-raises-6.9m-for-hybrid-electric-buildings

Barcelona building with responsive bioclimatic skin
http://inhabitat.com/responsive-bioclimatic-skin-wraps-around-leed-gold-icta-icp-building-in-barcelona/icta-icp-by-h-arquitectes-2/?extend=1

Zero energy prefab homes (CA)
http://www.wisatagrafi.com/zero/zero-energy-prefab-homes.html

Zero net energy development in Davis, CA, two thousand occupants
http://cityminded.org/two-thousand-live-net-zero-and-love-it-13361

Sekisui Heim Japanese construction company builds "zero-utility cost" houses and has  constructed over 160,000 units with "solar generation systems"
http://www.sekisuichemical.com/about/division/housing/


October 8, 2015
World's first high rise Passivhaus (?) for Cornell Tech in NYC
http://www.handelarchitects.com/projects/project-main/cornell-res-main.html

Belgian study on retrofit systems for zero energy buildings
http://biblioteca.universia.net/html_bura/ficha/params/title/screening-and-analyzing-retrofit-systems-for-zero-energy-renovation-and/id/61497291.html

Washington DC study on cost and value of net zero and living buildings
http://living-future.org/news/dc-studies-cost-and-value-net-zero-living-buildings-new-report#.VZnIAWzsu_s.twitter

Belgium's largest PassivHaus breaks ground in Brussels
http://www.neutelings-riedijk.com/index.php?id=10,659,0,0,1,0
http://inhabitat.com/belgiums-largest-passive-office-building-breaks-ground-in-brussels/

Zero Carbon House from Cardiff University
http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-33544831
http://inhabitat.com/energy-positive-solcer-house-in-the-uk-can-nearly-put-out-nearly-twice-as-much-energy-as-it-uses/

USA's first Zero Net affordable apartments in Woodland, CA
http://www.capradio.org/articles/2015/06/29/first-zero-net-affordable-apartments-open-in-woodland/

New Construction Guide and the Architecture 2030 Challenge
http://newbuildings.org/blog/new-construction-guide-and-architecture-2030-challenge

Best practices for zero net energy buildings from Marc Rosenbaum
http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blogs/dept/guest-blogs/best-practices-zero-net-energy-buildings

First net zero energy retail store in New York State
http://www.longislandweekly.com/long-islands-first-net-zero-energy-retail-store/

Axiom House - flatpack prefab net-zero concept home at half the cost of a standard home
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/acre-zero-energy-prototype-home
http://www.acredesigns.com/axiom/

DOE Common Definition of Zero Energy Buildings
http://energy.gov/eere/buildings/downloads/common-definition-zero-energy-buildings

Japanese Zero-Energy Buildings:  "Japan's 10 major homebuilders sold between 10,000 and 20,000 zero-energy houses in fiscal 2014. That number is expected to rise to more than 50,000 by fiscal 2020."
http://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Companies/For-Japan-homebuilders-zero-is-magic-number

NESEA’s High Performance Buildings Database, a joint project with the Net Zero Energy Coalition, will be unveiled at the Building Energy NY conference on October 15. The database showcases projects that qualify via participation in an eligible building performance program or by providing energy use data or an energy model as evidence of achieving zero net energy on an annual basis, plus or minus 10 percent. Each case study in the filterable database covers over 150 data points, and has been peer-reviewed by a net zero expert. Submissions are encouraged.
http://nesea.org/conference/buildingenergy-nyc-2015

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Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Current Cost of Carbon

In April of 2015 at a forum on the British Columbia carbon tax at MIT, I heard Merran Smith of Clean Energy Canada (http://cleanenergycanada.org) say if you add up the GDP of all the individual countries which have some kind of price on carbon, either an emission trading scheme (ETS) or a direct tax, it adds up to 42% of global GDP now and, by the end of 2016 when another five provinces in China come on board, it will be over 50%. (You can hear and see Merran Smith say this at 28:20 into this video of the MIT event at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWQRi8bmbrw ).

Having heard expert after expert say, "We need a price on carbon" in order to address climate change, this struck me.  Was Merran Smith correct?  Have we already begun to put a price on carbon?  Looking a little further, I found a variety of carbon pricing structures - carbon taxes, emissions trading schemes, and even internal prices on carbon from individual businesses.

The World Bank 2015 carbon report advance brief (http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/2015/05/24528977/carbon-pricing-watch-2015-advance-brief-state-trends-carbon-pricing-2015-report-released-late-2015) puts it a little differently than Clean Energy Canada:
"In 2015, about 40 national and over 20 subnational jurisdictions, representing almost a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), are putting a price on carbon...

"The total value of the emissions trading schemes (ETSs) reported in the State and Trends of Carbon Pricing 2014 report was about US$30 billion (US$32 billion to be precise). Despite the repeal of Australia’s Carbon Pricing Mechanism in July 2014, and mainly due to the launch of the Korean ETS and the expansion of GHG emissions coverage in the California and Quebec ETSs, the value of global ETSs as of April 1, 2015 increased slightly to about US$34 billion. In addition, carbon taxes around the world, valued for the first time in this report, are about US$14 billion. Combined, the value of the carbon pricing mechanisms globally in 2015 is estimated to be just under US$50 billion...

"In addition, the adoption of an internal carbon price in business strategies is spreading, even in regions where carbon pricing has not been legislated. Currently, at least 150 companies are using an internal price on carbon. These companies represent diverse sectors, including consumer goods, energy, finance, industry, manufacturing, and utilities."

However, the International Energy Agency's 2015 Special Report on Energy and Climate Change (http://www.iea.org/publications/freepublications/publication/WEO2015SpecialReportonEnergyandClimateChange.pdf) concludes that

"Carbon markets covered 11% of global energy-related emissions in 2014 and the average price was $7 per tonne of CO2. In contrast, 13% of CO2 emissions were linked to fossil-fuel use supported by consumption subsidies, equivalent to an implicit subsidy of $115 per tonne of CO2."

If I understand that correctly, it means we have a global average price of $7 per tonne on CO2 with an implicit subsidy of $115 per tonne for fossil fuels at the present moment.  Not that we can't change those figures over time.

The social cost of carbon the EPA now uses is about $40.  The cost of carbon project of EDF (http://costofcarbon.org) reports that

"The current social cost of carbon pollution estimates for a unit of emissions in 2015 are $57, $37, and $11 using discount rates of 2.5 percent, 3 percent, and 5 percent, respectively. The fourth social cost of carbon pollution estimate of $109 uses a 3 percent discount rate and describes the 95th-percentile value for the social cost figure, in an attempt to capture the damages associated with extreme climatic outcomes. The estimate of $37, which uses a 3 percent discount rate, is considered the “central” estimate for a unit of emissions in 2015.  That $37 value is denoted in 2007 USD and equals around $40 in today’s dollars."

Here are the current prices on some of the various ETS around the world:
EU ETS
Averaging around €7.30
http://uk.reuters.com/article/2015/05/26/us-europe-carbon-survey-idUKKBN0OB0YI20150526
"Respondents anticipate an average EU carbon price of 10.79 euros ($11.76) per metric ton (1.1023 tons) in the third phase of the Emissions Trading System (ETS), which runs from 2013 to 2020."
EU ETS data for 2014 1,584 million tCO2 in 2014, down 4.4% from previous year, with list of 15 largest CO2 emitters

RGGI (Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative) - http://www.rggi.org
June 5, 2015, Auction 28, Clearing Price $5.50
Quantity Sold: 15,507,571

California -  http://calcarbondash.org
$12.65 as of June 11

China - Carbon Pulse: http://carbon-pulse.com/category/china-pilot-markets/
as of 8/15:  41.88 - 14.90 RMB (or $6.55 - $2.33)


The British Columbia revenue neutral carbon tax started in 2008 with individually set taxes on gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, natural gas, propane, and coal (low heat value and high heat value).  By January 2013, the carbon tax contributed about $1 billion each year which was used to lower other income and other taxes in British Columbia.  BC now has Canada's lowest income tax rate.

Finland was the first country to enact a carbon tax in 1990.  Originally based only on carbon content, it has become a combination carbon/energy tax, currently €18.05 per tonne of CO2 (€66.2 per tonne of carbon) or $24.39 per tonne of CO2 ($89.39 per tonne of carbon) in U.S. dollars (using the August 17, 2007 exchange rate of USD 1.00= Euro 0.7405). 

Sweden began their carbon emissions tax in 1991. The tax is now $150/T CO2, with fuels used for electricity generation exempted, and industries are required to pay only 50% of the tax.

In October 2014, Chile enacted the first climate pollution tax in South America at $5 per metric ton of CO2 which begins in 2018 and applies to only 55% of emissions. 

Nearly 500 companies globally report that they are already regulated through global carbon markets.  96 (nearly 20%) of these are U.S. companies. Of these, 69 are participating in the EU ETS.

In addition, more and more private companies are adopting an internal carbon price, even in countries and regions where carbon pricing has not yet been legislated. Today, at least 150 companies are using an internal price on carbon ranging from $6 to $80 per ton with one outlier at $324. These companies represent diverse sectors, including consumer goods, energy, finance, industry, manufacturing, and utilities according to the Global Price on Carbon Report 2014
https://www.cdp.net/CDPResults/global-price-on-carbon-report-2014.pdf [pdf alert]
from CDP, "an international not-for- profit organization providing the only global system for companies and cities to measure, disclose, manage and share vital environmental information."

If you want more, try Putting a Price on Carbon (World Resources Institute)
http://www.wri.org/publication/putting-price-carbon

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Recycled Solar: Double-Glazed Hot Cap Cloche

I was cleaning out my storeroom the other day and came across another recycled solar device that I was fooling with a few years ago.  A one liter clear plastic bottle makes a good hot cap or cloche when you cut the bottom off it.  Plant a seedling, pop the bottomless clear cap over it, and you protect  the seedling from the cold.  It probably adds between 5 and 10 degrees F over the outside temperature by protecting the seedling from the wind and by capturing sunlight in a small, closed space.  My twist on this idea was to find different sizes of clear plastic bottles which could nest one inside the other making a double-glazed hot cap cloche.  A double-glazed hot cap cloche might be able to protect the seedlings even better, keeping that small, closed space even warmer than the outside air.

This afternoon, I planted two tomato seedlings in my garden using this device.  We'll see whether it works.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Energiewende: Germany's Energy Transition

Tuesday, March 31 I saw Andreas Kraemer, International Institute for Advanced Sustainability in Pottsdam, founder of the Ecological Institute of Berlin, and currently associated with Duke University, speak at both Harvard and MIT.  His subject was the German Energiewende, energy turnaround, energy tack (as in sailing), or energy transition, and also the title of a book published in 1980 (Energiewende by Von F. Krause, H. Bossel and K. F. Müller-Reissmann) 1980 which described how to power Germany without fossil fuels or nuclear, partially a response to the oil shocks of the 1970s, and probably the beginning of the nuclear phase-out.  Chernobyl in 1986 gave another shove in that direction and continues to do so as Chernobyl is still happening in Germany with radioactive contamination of soils, plants, animals, and Baltic Sea fish.
In 1990 the feedin tariff began but it was not started for solar.  It was originally intended to give displaced hydroelectric capacity in conservative Bavaria a market and a bill was passed in Parliament very quickly, supported by the Conservatives (Blacks) in consensus with the Greens and Reds as they all agreed on incentizing renewable, local energy production through a feedin tariff on utility bills.  Cross party consensus on this issue remains today.  This is not a subsidy but an incentive with the costs paid by the customers. The feedin tariff has a period of 20 years and some have been retired.
Solar began with the 1000 roofs project in 1991-1994.   There are 1.7 million solar roofs now although, currently, Spain and Portugal have faster solar growth rates than Germany. Renewables provide 27% of electricity, have created  80,000-100,000 new jobs directly in the industry, up to 300,000 if indirect jobs are added, and is contributing 40 billion euros per year to the German economy.  By producing energy domestically Germany has built a local industry, increased tax revenue and Social Security payments, and maintained a better balance of trade through import substitution.  During the recession that began in 2008, Germany had more economic stability and was even able to expand the renewable sector because steel for wind turbine towers was available at lower prices and financing was forthcoming.
Electricity prices have risen but slower than gas and oil and coal.  Households pay 28-29 euro cents per kWh.  Industrial cost is 3.3-3.7 per kWh plus transmissions costs, about 6-8 euro cents per kWh.  
Germany plans to have 1 million electric vehicles by 2020.  Electric cars and trucks will have batteries that can act as electricity storage but there will also be a large proportion of electric bikes.  25% of energy from gas by 2020, some of which will be renewable biogas and increased use of combined heat and power and district heating.  The chemical industry is anxious to see over-capacity of renewables so that they can use some of the cheap electricity to make hydrogen, methane, and other hydrocarbon fuels.  The aluminum recycling industry is running their plants during low demand hours when electricity prices are low and driving their foreign competitors out of the market.  The grid even survived the recent solar eclipse quite well and is preparing for the next one in 2026.
Nuclear is down to 12% from 27% of electricity at its peak.  There were 19 nuclear power plants and are now only 11 operating.  The last will be closed by 2022 and there is enough nuclear fuel for that already in the country. Germany is not alone in phasing out nuclear as Switzerland and Belgium are doing the same.  Greece, constitutionally, and Austria, by policy, have outlawed nuclear power in their countries.  The continuing dangers from Chernobyl's releases and the example of Fukushima have reminded people that since 1952, a nuclear power plant core melts every 5-7 years or so.  France is discovering that it costs as much to take down a nuke as to build it, at least 25% more than they set aside for decommissioning.  Germany is estimating a billion per nuclear power plant to decommission but there is already more money set aside by the operators, just in case. The costs of decommissioning are expected to be so high that some operators may be allowed to go bankrupt.  
Germany has actually been a net exporter of electricity for the past 15 years.  Coal electricity in Germany is exported to France and the Netherlands when needed but the coal industry is not amortizing the costs of their plants.  If this continues, coal operators may go broke.  
Russian gas is 4% of electricity and 9% of the economy.  German industry says that Russian firms are more reliable partners than the USA in relation to gas supply, pipeline maintenance, and construction.  However, Germany and the EU are taking steps toward energy independence as they look at the situation in the Ukraine.
The Energiewende is built around security, reliability, affordability, and environmental safety. It started as energy policy but is now also climate policy and the 100% renewable, systems efficient, carbon-free future Germany is builidng for itself.
See http://kombikraftwerk.de for simulations of Germany powered by 100% renewables, using existing technologies and without demand response and advanced energy efficiency (exergy, exergy, exergy).
Kraemer thanked the US for inventing photovoltaics and starting the wind industry, both of which have been developed by, respectively, the Japanese and Chinese and the Danes from the 1980s on.  The US is ahead of Germany in smart grids and, even though Germany can now build house that produce more energy than they consume, they could learn from some of our energy efficiency techniques.

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