Suppot Navajo Adults with Developmental Disabilities


August 19, 2009 @ 1:37 pm
Dueling 6 Star Green Buildings in Melbourne

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The Council House 2 building (CH2) in Melbourne was anointed the greenest building in Australia when it became the first to receive 6 stars (in 2005) from Green Building Council Australia’s (GBCA) Green Star rating system. By my count, there are now 18 6 Star buildings in Australia. Impressively, 11% of Australia’s central business district commercial office buildings are Green Star certified which I would imagine compares very favorably to other countries – I’ll have to research it to find out for sure.

The scale has three rating levels; 4 Star, 5 Star and 6 Star, and points are obtained from 9 categories: Management, Indoor Environment Quality, Energy, Transport, Water, Materials, Land Use & Ecology, Emissions and Innovation. According to GBCA the 6 Star rating signifies “world leadership in environmental sustainability.” In meeting this standard, CH2 and Melbourne’s latest 6 Star entrant, the Melbourne Convention Centre (MCC) have some very impressive features.

ch2A 10-story city government office building opened in 2006, CH2 features photovoltaic cells, chilled ceilings, a co-generation plant and blackwater sewage recycling systems amongst other things. The whole project cost a shade over A$51 million, A$11.3 million of which went to sustainability features that are expected to have a 6 year payback from energy and resource cost savings.

  • Solar cells provide 60% of the building’s hot water supply
  • The chilled ceilings are part of an innovative cooling system that is much more efficient and more comfortable for building occupants than traditional airflow systems
  • The gas-fired co-gen plant will provide 40% of building’s electricity with much lower relative carbon emissions

Maybe the two most interesting features from my perspective are the “shower towers” that mimic ant-holes for cooling purposes while sprinkling water on passersby and the beautiful recycled timber shades pictured above that provide passive cooling to the sunny westside of the building while still letting in light if need be. Significantly more details about all of CH2’s innovations can be found here. Click “read more” and continue reading about the Melbourne Convention Centre.

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August 13, 2009 @ 9:07 am
Small-Scale Sustainable Infrastructure Development Fund (S3IDF)

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With visitors from 41 countries/territories I realized I better add another internationally-focused post to my ongoing series. I have covered 8 countries (in addition to the USA) so far and for number 9 I’ll discuss this innovative development organization doing work in India. S3IDF was registereddelucia1 in Massachusetts in 2001 and staffed in India in 2002. Having traveled throughout India in 2005 (Delhi, Bombay and Agra), I can tell you that it is simultaneously one of the craziest, most chaotic, yet amazing places in the world. The people are very friendly and very smart and while the country has its challenges related to poverty, infrastructure and resource management, strong economic growth has created many opportunities for the ambitious, industrious population. Yet, large segments of the population have been left behind.

To provide the poorer, rural and urban dwellers with a lift, S3IDF has stepped in to provide an environmentally-friendly economic push. According to the website, the organization, considers itself “a ‘social merchant bank’ that helps small enterprises to provide modern energy and other infrastructural services to poor people in developing countries in ways that are financially sustainable and environmentally responsible. It covers the provision of services in electricity, water, sanitation, transport and telecommunications that are necessary for poverty alleviation.” In 2007, Russell de Lucia (CEO & Chairman) and the organization won the Clean Energy Award in the “NGOs and Initiatives” category for their provision of efficient lighting services to poor households, communities and small/medium enterprises (SMEs) in southern India. Over 30 projects were implemented and powered with clean energy. About 6,000 beneficiaries now have improved health and safety as well as increased income earning opportunities through extended work hours. The electricity is provided by photovoltaics that charge batteries, biogas or other renewable generation methods. Keep reading for information about there other projects.

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August 7, 2009 @ 10:37 am
Malaysia Focus Part 2: GTower – First Internationally Recognized Green Building

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Now leasing, GTower on Jalan Tun Razak in Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) is the first Malaysian building to receive an international green certification. Singapore’s Building & Construction Authority has given it provisional status as a Green Mark Gold rated building. The building is a 30-story twin tower owned by Goldis Berhad (Goldis) and was built at an estimated cost of RM470 million ($134 million). It is a mixed-use development containing a 180-room 5-star hotel, 100,000 ft2 of general office space, another ~400,000 ft2 spread amongst 112 CEO duplex suites and numerous meeting rooms. Additionally, there is a private club, lobby bar/café, rooftop bar, other food & beverage outlets and a wellness floor with gym, yoga, spa and pool facilities.

The building is designed to maximize energy and water efficiency. According to Colin Ng, Head of Corporate Investment at Goldis, energy efficient building systems will cut carbon dioxide emissions by at least 60% (Source: The Green Channel). The IT infrastructure alone is expected to produce 30% energy savings. They installed 3Com’s Intelligent Building Solutions (3CiBS) products which combine state of the art hardware and software that optimize network capacity while reducing power consumption and carbon emissions.

After construction began, Goldis brought on a consultant to implement green features. This Architecture Malaysia article provides more details. Five areas were addressed with a multitude of technologies and installations: Read More…

July 29, 2009 @ 9:49 am
First 100% Renewable Energy Powered Billboard in NYC

If you read my post on the history of lighting (Part 1 and Part 2) then you know about the energy efficiency benefits of LEDs as a light source. Ricoh, the office solutions company, created the first fully renewable energy powered billboard in New York’s Times Square to commemorate their 4th consecutive year being listed as one of the 100 most sustainable corporations in the world. The sign is currently being powered by solar panels and will eventually be flanked by small wind turbines, making the sign a mini generator. The LED flood lights use 50% less electricity than standard high intensity discharge lamps, while lasting over 25 times as long (50,000 hours vs. 1000-2000 hours)! By using renewable energy, the sign emits 18 fewer tons of CO2 annually compared to traditional billboards. For more information on the project and Ricoh’s other initiatives, click here. Also, special thanks go to my friend and reader Billy, for alerting me to the billboard.

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July 26, 2009 @ 6:16 pm
From BC to T.A.E. to LEDs, Part 2

After the magic lantern in Part 1, history’s lighting developers refocused their collective effort on lamps. In fact, I could go on and on about incremental lamp technologies but that would be boring so here’s a quick timeline with major developments:

  • Argand Lamp – First major new lamp technology in millennia, this 1780’s oil lamp used a hollow circular wick surrounded by a glass chimney (better combustion, brighter light, less smoke)
  • Betty Lamp – 1790, a metal variation of Greek/Roman pottery lamps with a wick support that directed the oil drip back into the reservoir, thus it was a “better lamp” and the Betty Lamp colloquialism was born
  • Electric Arc Light – 1800’s, electric candles whereby two parallel sticks of carbon were separated by an insulator whose slowly melting arch self fed the two carbons
  • Gas Lighting – 1800’s, lamps fueled by gas lines with valves to control the lighting circuits
  • Kerosene Lamp – 1853, this new fuel source was introduced in Germany and you have a cabin the woods somewhere you might even own a kerosene lamp or two today

After hundreds of theaters and who knows what else were burned down by gas lighting and other inferior technologies, Edison finally came along. He demonstrated his carbonized cotton filament based incandescent light bulb to the public on New Year’s Eve 1879. His bulbs were revolutionary, offering 16 candlepower, rated at 100 watts (only about 2 lumens per watt) and lasted for 100 hours. The stock price of Edison Electric Company quickly climbed, peaking at $3,500 per share! The simple lightbulb spawned a new industry; electric utilities, and there were 300 of these power stations by 1883.

During the 19th and 20th Century lots of incremental design improvements and updates to existing technologies with a particular emphasis on reduced wattage and energy savings came along. These designs utilized all manner of gases, filaments, etc. and are too numerous to mention – a helpful list is available from GE here. I promised to take us up to LEDs and the current marketplace so keep reading and enjoy the LED video!

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July 25, 2009 @ 1:01 pm
From BC to T.A.E. to LEDs, Part 1

pharos_lighthouseHuh? I’m referring to Before Christ/Before Common Era, Thomas Alva Edison and Light Emitting Diodes. Edison of course was the primary inventor and commercializer of incandescent light bulbs and LEDs are the new high tech in lighting. I thought it would be interesting to survey the history of lighting, compare the different products and highlight some interesting statistics along the way. Be sure to click the article title or “read more” link below to read the entire post and check back tomorrow for Part 2.

Artificial lighting has been with us since around 400,000 BC when fire was harnessed by Homo erectus (probably by accident at first, like many great discoveries…). Torches quickly became the first portable lamps, but holding a burning stick isn’t particularly safe or efficient. By 13,000 BC, prehistoric cave dwellers had begun fabricating lamps by carving rocks, shells and horns to insert fiber wicks fueled by animal and vegetable fats. Apparently, couch potato genes started expressing themselves after agriculture took the world by storm in 8,000 BC, because by 5,000 BC people said forget carving lamps – let’s use entire animals! So, oily birds and fish were threaded with wicks – the smell must have been wonderful and I’m not sure if they ate the resulting BBQ. Wealthy people of the Mediterranean and elsewhere quickly switched to less pungent fuels such as olive oil and sesame oil.

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