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Energy Saving Parking Solution July 5, 2009

Posted by OldGuy in Alternatives, building green.
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Energy savings is not just about better fuel choices or smaller cars. Companies are also introducing innovation in building design and development. Robotic Parking is one way to reduce auto fuel usage and reduce emissions by building parking structures with fewer materials and less stress on the environment.

With a robotic garage, the operator can park twice the number of cars in the same space as a conventional garage – or use half the space to park the same number of cars. It does this by removing the ramps and aisles needed to self-park.

According to William A. Berry & Son, Inc, a Boston-based building construction firm that does installations,

“patrons pull into an entry/exit portal that resembles a garage door and stop on a pallet system. Patrons then turn off their car, take their keys and exit their vehicle. Inside the portal is a computer system where patrons scan their card (either a credit card or parking card) and watch as their vehicle is transferred from the pallet onto a lift. Orchestrated by a master computer system, this lift moves the vehicle and parks it in an assigned space. To exit, the patron enters a well-lit lobby, where they scan their card and wait safely as their vehicle is retrieved and delivered to them facing out and ready to go. With its patented pallet system, robotic parking retrieves the vehicle in approximately two minutes.”

Imaging trading fuel of three hundred cars rolling up or down the ramps for an efficient electric motor.  Imaging the fuel and materials savings erecting a structure that is half the size and one quarter the weight.  Fewer construction vehicles working fewer days.

We’re not getting rid of autos for many of our cities – they just aren’t designed for public transportation to the suburbs.  But having a more efficient place to put all those autos during the daytime when their owners are working can produce aggregate energy savings.

For more information on Robotic Parking, visit their website.


Windows as Solar Electricity Collectors April 10, 2008

Posted by OldGuy in Alternatives, building green, solar.
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One of the most energy inefficient parts of commercial buildings- those massive walls of glass – could soon become the means of powering that same building.

Researchers at the Institute of Sustainable Resources (ISR)  at Queensland (Australia) University of Technology (QUT) have been working with Dyesol (an Australian company) to develop transparent solar cells that act as both windows and energy generators in houses or commercial buildings.

Officials at Dyesol explain that “the solar the panels are constructed in a laminated structure, with the tiles connected and sandwiched between two panes of glass and fully encapsulated in the UV resistant transparent laminating polymer (Solar Wall Panels). … Electrical interface can be typically via a short DC bus to a local area network for distribution or inversion to AC.”

Professor John Bell explained that the solar cells contain titanium dioxide coated in a dye that increases light absorption.

“The transparent solar cells have a faint reddish hue but are completely see-through,” Professor Bell said.  “The glass captures solar energy which can be used to power the house but can also reduce overheating of the house, reducing the need for cooling.”

“As long as a house is designed throughout for energy efficiency, with low-energy appliances it is conceivable it could be self-sustaining in its power requirements using the solar-cell glass,” he said.

sources:  expertguide.com.au and Dyesol web site

“Building Green” doesn’t have to cost February 29, 2008

Posted by OldGuy in building green, energy conservation, LEED.
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Robin Suttell wrote a great article at Buildings.com that cites hard numbers of building environmentally friendly buildings.

The article quotes the 2003 study by the The Costs and Financial Benefits of Green Buildings which shows that the average premium for all 33 studied green buildings is slightly less than 2 percent ($3 to $5 per square foot).”

While it’s hard to generalize from such a small sample, most of the research believes you can build a building with many of the LEED standards without any additional cost. Most of the cost incurred involves taking time up front to think through the project with an eye to efficiencies, and the architectural time to put the ideas into the plans. “Green isn’t going to be cost effective or work to the highest levels of efficiency if it is tacked on somewhere in the middle or the end of the project,” says Turner Construction’s green guru Rod Wille.

Other studies suggest many of the improvements actually improve productivity, paying for themselves. Robin Suttell concluded that “Four attributes of green building design – increased ventilation control, increased temperature control, increased lighting control, and increased daylighting – have been positively and significantly correlated with increased productivity. Indoor air quality also has been linked to potential productivity and health gains in workplaces and educational facilities.”

Rod Willie adds, “If you can increase productivity by more than 1.5-percent over the 20-year term of a building, that translates into $40 per square foot you can put into a building based on the ultimate term of high productivity. … You can spend $40 per square foot more because you’re going to get that back.”