LEGO Micro-Scales Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater House

I love Lego’s Frank Lloyd Wright Collection has a mini model of the Guggenheim Museum in NYC, but I’m more in love with the model of the Fallingwater house built over a waterfall.

Wind farm ‘kills Taiwanese goats’

A Taiwanese farmer says more than half of his herd of goats may have died of exhaustion because of noise from a wind farm.

Philips offers Lumiblades in first OLED lighting ‘experience kit’

Philips offers Lumiblades in first OLED lighting 'experience kit' A new way of lighting your world is coming. Organic LEDs (OLED) are getting more practical every day, and now Philips is offering its Lumiblade OLED panels for sale online. These uncommonly thin panels might find their way into a lamp someday soon, but they’re not quite ready yet — it would take about ten of these $229 fixtures for a lamp, so the price still needs to come down before they’re anywhere near being practical.

You can live the future (sorry, couldn’t resist) by ordering the panels now, but they’re marketed as an “experience kit,” so those without a modicum of patience need not apply. Beyond this experimentation phase, Philips says starting next year, there will be useful lighting products using these 10,000-hour, highly efficient OLEDs. Exciting stuff, because soon there will be entire walls made of these dimmable panels.

Philips, via OLED Info

Downsizing WTC

Will the #2 and #3 World Trade Center towers be downsized to 6 storey retail podiums? Maybe so, if the Port Authority has it’s way. Head on over to the NY Post for more info [click the title of this post].

UNStudio/ Ben van Berkel’s Design Selected for New Hotel Tower in Frankfurt

Yesterday, UNStudio was selected in the competition for a 110 meter tall hotel tower in Frankfurt, Germany.

From the six projects presented, the jury, chaired by Prof. Johann Eisele, chose the designs by UNStudio – Ben van Berkel (Amsterdam), and Kohn, Pedersen, Fox (New York) and recommended proceeding with the UNStudio design for further development.


Melbourne’s Roof Top Garden Competition Awards Botanical Traditions

The ‘Growing Up Competition’ was recently held and run by the Committee for Melbourne ‘Future Focus Group’.

The competition called for a design for a roof top garden for one of 3 buildings in the Melbourne CBD. The competition was open to all registered Architects, Members of AILA (Australian Institute of Landscape Architects) and AILDM (Australian Institute of Landscape Designers and Managers) members.

In our current climate, green roofs are proven to provide significant reductions to the urban heat island effect, aid storm water management, provide important habitat links, reduce the energy demands of buildings as well as providing social and amenity value to buildings. However, there are very few roof top gardens in Australia.

The ‘Growing Up Competition’ encouraged designers to demonstrate innovative and cost effective ways to retrofit roof gardens in Melbourne.


Energized about our first Google PowerMeter partners

Earlier this year I blogged about energy information and a tool our engineers developed called Google PowerMeter, a Google gadget that can show consumers their personal electricity consumption right on a home computer. Our software relies on “smart meters” (or other metering devices) as a data source. Over the past several months we’ve been looking to partner with utilities that are installing (or have already installed) this equipment in their customers’ homes. We’re energized by our very first Google PowerMeter partners:

Our initial partners include utilities with millions of customers as well as smaller ones. They are rural and urban, privately held and municipally run. Some are in the United States, others in Canada and India. They all have one thing in common — a desire to serve their customers by providing access to detailed information that helps save energy and money. For now, Google PowerMeter is only available to a limited group of customers, but we plan to expand our roll out later this year. Our utility partners are leading the charge to make the electricity grid smarter and we look forward to working with them and others.

In addition to utilities, we’re also seeking partnerships with companies that can enable the implementation of our software. Our first such partner is Itron, a leading meter and data management company that serves over 8,000 utilities and is helping some of their customers, including San Diego Gas & Electric, integrate with Google PowerMeter. If you’re a utility or company with a smart meter project that might be interested in plugging in to our efforts, visit our website for more information.

Posted by Ed Lu, Engineering team

St. Louis Pulls Plug on Pilot Recycling Program

The City of St. Louis has pulled the dozens of 300-gallon recycling dumpsters it had placed in alleyways last March out of commission. Jill Hamilton, the city’s recycling program manager, said the program was never intended to be permanent.

Rather, it was considered a pilot program, serving about 3,200 of the city’s 147,000 households, to see if the economics could make a full, permanent effort viable. The answer is: apparently not. Or, at least, not right now.

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Metropolis Next Generation Prize for French Wind Turbine Design

Metropolis Magazine today officially unveiled the winning proposal of its 2009 Metropolis Next Generation Design Competition. French-designed project “Wind-it” by Nicola Delon, Julien Choppin, and Raphael Menard seeks to install wind turbines in existing electrical transmission towers.


Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects’ Malmö Courthouse Completes

Construction has finished on schmidt hammer lassen architects’ striking design for a new District Court inMalmö, Sweden. The completed scheme includes a new 10,000 sq m courthouse adjacent to the existing 3,000 sq m listed court building.


Energy Efficiency Is Good For Business

Why bother improving energy efficiency? We know we should, but how do you articulate why? Of course, if there is an ROI case to be made then the analysis is easy. But really, it seems to beg a larger issue. Is there a reason beyond ROI?

Whatever the industry, managing costs is good for business, and increasing energy efficiency and reducing energy costs does just that. Given rising energy prices and a growing awareness of the importance of energy conservation, a carefully conceived energy management strategy may well be one of the most important steps a business can take to sustain and grow business.

Furthermore, research by Innovest Strategic Value Advisors suggests that companies with a clear energy management strategy have a competitive advantage. Companies that lead in energy management achieved superior stock and financial performance over “laggards.” They even achieved significant financial premiums in stock prices over competitors. This from the National Environmental Education Foundation:

Companies have been engaging in energy-efficiency strategies for years as a means to control costs. Increasingly, a body of evidence suggests that companies that take a systematic and strategic approach to energy management can enjoy a broad array of tangible and intangible benefits of interest to investors. As financial analysts and institutional investors come to understand this energy-value connection, energy management is becoming another measure by which they assess companies.

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Household Energy Use to Triple by 2030, Due to Power-Hungry Electronics

myuibe, via flickr.Experts call energy efficiency the low-hanging fruit, because it’s cheaper to cut power use than create new energy from fossil fuels like coal.

But our creature comforts — like iPods, cell phones, PCs and plasma TVs — are sucking the life out of advances in energy efficiency around the world, the International Energy Agency says.

In other words, too much fruit is rotting on the vine.

The IEA says in a new “Gigawatts and Gadgets” report that electricity consumption from power-hungry electronics could cause household energy use to triple by 2030. That means increased greenhouse gases from electric generation, and increased electric bills for creating that power.

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0-14 tower progress

Arch Daily features photos of the construction progress of the 0-14 Tower in Dubai by Reiser + Umemoto [click the title of this post to follow the link].

‘Dragonfly’ vertical farm towers over NYC with plants, livestock and labs

'Dragonfly' vertical farm towers over NYC with plants, livestock and labsLast week’s Canadian resort-style vertical farm has nothing on the insane, Belgium-designed “Dragonfly” for New York City. The architects at Vincent Callebaut envision a structure that resembles the wing of the insect it’s named after, and it’s designed to contain residential, office, farming and research spaces — and everything in-between. Really, it’s more like an arcology than a vertical farm, though most of it will be dedicated to growing and studying produce and livestock, with solar and wind power supplying the structure.

Will something like the Dragonfly ever be built? Probably not, though if it was it’d dramatically change the New York skyline from its seat on Roosevelt Island. With 132 floors it’d be a monster, standing almost 2,000 feet tall. Check out the gallery below for more of the Dragonfly.

David Attenborough: Our planet is overcrowded

The veteran TV naturalist tells New Scientist he loves humans as much as other wildlife – but not when global populations are out of control

3 Steps To Recycling Buy-In

question on a LinkedIn hotel group was asked the other day: How does your housekeeping team encourage guests to recycle? Do you place separate bins in the guest rooms for paper, glass etc.? How can you do this while maintaining a 4 and 5 diamond look? And it made me think about what advice to give about getting buy-in for recycling programs. In this case, from both staff and consumers.

It seems to me that the topic of how to effectively implement recycling programs is essentially the same regardless of business size. At its most basic, there are three components to implementing a successful recycling program:

  1. Make it easy.
  2. Communicate the expectation of recycling.
  3. Communicate the how and why of the program to employees.

Starting with making it easy, it may seem self-evident, making recycling easy for patrons and staff is the number one action you can take to facilitate a recycling program.You can do this by providing clearly marked containers throughout the room and locating them in places where people need them, such as near sinks, kitchens and minibars. As to the issue of matching the aesthetics of the facility, as long as the recycling bins are just as aesthetically pleasing as your existing trash cans (or hidden in cabinets) I do not see how they detract from the ambiance. That brings me to the second point.

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Top five new green technologies – Building Sustainable Design

Top five new green technologies
Building Sustainable Design, UK
As well as saving raw materials, thin-film is easier to mass-produce and contains less embodied energybecause it is made at lower temperatures. The drawback is that it is less efficient at converting sunlight into electricity. 

Zero-carbon eco home is light years ahead –

Zerocarbon eco home is light years ahead, UK
The dream of zerocarbon living is being realised on an estate in Denmark. Andrew Purcell takes a tour of the world’s first Active House Active House: an ultra efficient house in Denmark that captures more energy than an average family needs to heat 

The FIM supports World’s 1st Zero Carbon, Clean Emission GP –

The FIM supports World’s 1st Zero Carbon, Clean Emission GP
It aims to drive low-carbon technological innovation forward, proving that clean-emission transport technologies have matured and can be fun, fast and exciting. A number of independent teams from all over the world have already confirmed their entries