Showing posts with label eco. Show all posts
Showing posts with label eco. Show all posts

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Pearl Homes is Building Eco-Homes Powered by Solar Plus Sonnen EcoLinx Energy Storage

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                             Image credit: hunterspointfl.com

Pearl Homes is a Florida-based company that focuses on building ultra-modern eco-luxury homes. Pearl Homes has just broken ground on Hunters Point, to build the luxury home community in Cortez, Florida. The project includes 86 eco-friendly, single-family homes powered by approximately 6-kW solar plus sonnen ecoLinx energy storage systems. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Hunters Point debuted online and 70% of the homes have already been sold.

The Pearl Homes ECOsystem has a network of sustainable suppliers and contributors that enable Pearl Homes to construct environmentally friendly and self-sustaining homes that are highly competitive on the market today. Pearl Homes fully recognize the need and importance of climate action, so in cooperation with Sonnen and various eco-friendly suppliers, they offer buyers a high-tech eco-home that both reduces the total cost of ownership and minimizes each home's carbon footprint.

Sonnen is a German energy storage provider and a global leader in innovative, intelligent, and safe battery technology for the residential market. The sonnen ecoLinx is one of the most advanced home battery solutions. The storage system manages power distribution throughout the home and works with rooftop solar panels to provide Pearl Homes residents with direct access to configurable emergency backup power and sophisticated energy management. The lithium-iron-phosphate cobalt-free battery technology in ecoLinx is safe and sustainable, easy-to-install, long-lasting, competitively-priced, and offers Pearl Homes buyers and residents an industry-leading 15,000 cycles/15-year warranty.

Hunters Point is designed to be power company-ready and includes the sonnen Virtual Power Plant (VPP) platform that will allow Florida Power and Light (FPL) to manage the reserve power generated by the community as needed. In addition to integrating with utility control software to provide grid services, such as demand response and load management excess, stored solar energy can also be used to power the lighting in community common areas.

"Our adoption of the sonnen ecoLinx makes the Hunters Point homes more energy-efficient," said Pearl Homes founder Marshall Gobuty. "With it, our buyers will be able to automate their home energy management in the most modern way that compliments the unique style and design of the Pearl Home."

The sonnen ecoLinx can be optimized and managed by a mobile app for backup, peak period, and solar usage and to monitor energy on demand. "Between the sonnen mobile application and the Google Nest in-home automation for temperature controls, Hunters Point buyers will be able to enjoy a healthier, cleaner, and unparalleled quality of life well lived in the world's first LEED NetZero community," added Gobuty.

Pearl Homes company aims to achieve NetZero Plus by reaching the highest USGBC's LEED ranking in their housing developments in Florida and California. To accomplish the goal, the company uses energy-efficient design, works with sustainably focused suppliers, and builds entirely solar-powered homes.

"Hunters Point is the first non-utility based residential Virtual Power Plant (VPP) ever established in Florida through the aggregation of individual solar systems being paired with sonnen ecoLinx energy storage systems," said Jim Spano, Executive Chairman of My-Resi, the leaders in energy resilience and virtual power plant development. "The inclusion of grid-tied sonnen ecoLinx systems delivers Hunters Point residents with resilient backup power and greater energy management, while also providing a dispatch-able energy services platform to support grid stability when needed."

Besides the installation of the sonnen ecoLinx energy storage system, all Pearl Home projects are also designed and built to be self-sustaining and eco-friendly. The homes incorporate WaterSense plumbing and fixtures to minimize waste and reduce environmental impact. The specified GE's EnergyStar appliances require a minimal amount of power. And the Google Nest thermostats help homeowners manage and monitor the temperature to control their homes' air conditioning and heating for maximum comfort.

"Marshall and his team at Pearl Homes are at the forefront of NetZero, LEED-based home building," said Blake Richetta, Chairman and CEO, sonnen, Inc. "From our first discussions about Hunters Point to today, sonnen has been amazed at the forward-thinking ideas behind the Pearl Homes and their dedication to providing the most high-quality, energy-efficient, and environmentally advanced homes on the market today. Our ecoLinx intelligent energy storage system is the ideal solution for a project like Hunters Point. It offers unique, industry-leading software capabilities to empower homeowners to take control of their energy consumption and manage backup power while also providing critical energy services to the larger community and local utility grid."



Monday, May 31, 2021

“City of the Future” Powered by Solar Panels and Hydrogen Fuel Cells in Japan

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An artist's view of Toyota's smart city. Toyota

The construction of a sustainable “city of the future” called the Woven City, is a piece of interesting news that comes from Japan. The prototype city, announced last year at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, will be powered by solar panels and hydrogen fuel cells.

In 2020, the world’s largest automaker Toyota has revealed plans to build a prototype “city of the future”, covering 75- acres on the site of a factory that is due for closure, at the base of Mount Fuji in Japan. On February 23, 2021, a groundbreaking ceremony took place to mark the start of the project’s construction. “The Woven city project officially starts today,” said Toyota Motor Corporation president Akio Toyoda.

The former Higashi-Fuji car factory of Toyota Motor East Japan is being transformed into a new smart city. The city (about 60 miles from Tokyo) will become a living laboratory for self-driving vehicles, robotics, personal mobility, smart homes, and artificial intelligence. Woven City would be home to about 2,000 full-time residents, mainly Toyota employees and their families, retired couples, retailers, and researchers who will be able to test and develop technologies. Scientists, engineers, and researchers from around the world are also invited to come work on their projects in a real-world environment.

"We welcome all those inspired to improve the way we live in the future, to take advantage of this unique research ecosystem and join us in our quest to create an ever-better way of life and mobility for all," said Akio Toyoda.

The name Woven City comes from the three different types of streets in the city: one for self-driving vehicles, one will be shared by pedestrians and slower personal mobility devices like e-scooters, bikes, Toyota's i-Walk, and one for pedestrians only. These three types of streets, will “weave together into a woven grid of 3 x 3 city blocks... each framing a local park or courtyard”. There will also be one underground road used to transport goods. In a city with no private cars, the transportation, deliveries, and retail will be sustained via e-Palettes – Toyota self-driving vehicles.

Toyota has a plan to integrate nature throughout the city with native vegetation and hydroponics - a method of growing plants without soil. A large central park for recreation, neighborhood parks, and a central plaza are designed to bring the community together. Toyota believes that encouraging human interaction in natural meeting places will be an equally important part of this project.

The grandson of the carmaker’s founder Akio Toyoda described the utopian vision as his “personal field of dreams”. “With people, buildings and vehicles all connected and communicating with each other through data and sensors, we will be able to test connected AI technology... in both the virtual and the physical realms... maximizing its potential," said Akio Toyoda.

According to the company’s plans, residents of Woven City will live in “smart homes”, with in-home robotics to assist with daily life and sensor-based artificial intelligence to monitor their health. These “smart homes” will take advantage of full connectivity using sensor-based AI to automatically restock your fridge or take out your trash.

The community of the futuristic city will reduce carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles and buildings and use internet technology in practically every aspect of daily life. Toyota said the city will be “fully sustainable”, with buildings made mostly of wood to minimize the carbon footprint. “The rooftops will be covered in photovoltaic panels to generate solar power in addition to power generated by hydrogen fuel cells.” Below ground will be hydrogen power storage and water filtration systems.

In this smart city project, Toyota is partnering with ENEOS, a leading hydrogen energy company, with 45 commercial hydrogen refueling stations in major cities in Japan.

Japan has ambitious plans to be entirely carbon-neutral by 2050 and the government hopes hydrogen can help to achieve their goals. Toyota unveiled the world’s first mass-produced hydrogen fuel cell car in 2014 and launched its second-generation Mirai (Japanese for “future”) last year.

The smart cities concept is not something new to Japan. Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town was built on the site of an old Panasonic factory and was opened in 2014. The town is home to about 2000 people. Every house has installed solar panels and it is also equipped with smart monitoring systems. Thus, residents can monitor their energy consumption both at home and on a community-wide level. Fujisawa was certified as a “Business for Promoting Town Development in Harmony with the Environment” by Kanagawa Prefecture.

Another example of a Japanese eco-city is Kashiwa-no-ha. The town’s smart grid facility includes one of Japan’s biggest lithium-ion storage cell systems, as well as solar and emergency gas-powered generators. The city, besides environmentally friendly, is also proclaimed as a city ”where people of all ages can enjoy a healthy and secure life”.

The Woven City is one of a few innovative projects for a smart city of the future currently underway in Japan. The Woven City was designed by Bjarke Ingels, the Danish architect whose architecture studio BIG designed the 2 World Trade Centre building in New York and Google’s offices in Silicon Valley and London.



Saturday, March 28, 2020

Mini Solar Tree Charger - a Unique Eco Gift

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SunTree Solar Charger

A mini solar tree charger can be a useful and unique eco gift. We may see it as a mini model of the solar-powered tree charging station about which I wrote in my previous post. 

A mini solar tree charger consists of several small solar panels that resemble leaves on a tree, rechargeable battery, and USB ports. Solar tree charger is an eco-friendly way to charge your mobile phone and tablet in your office or home, using solar energy. It absorbs the sun’s rays and uses solar energy to charge your mobile devices. Even when your phone is not plugged in it will continue to charge the built-in battery ready to transfer the power to your device. 

Here are three models of mini solar tree chargers. You can find on the market only the first and the second one. The third model is looking for investors. 

SunTree - this solar tree charger gives you an awesome way to charge your devices. It is made to look like an actual tree - has a wooden bamboo trunk and branches, and each branch has a small solar panel on the top of it. SunTree has 9 solar panels to charge your mobile devices using PV technology. You can place the SunTree next to a window and it'll charge its internal battery, and in turn, that battery will charge your phone, tablet, and other electronic devices. SunTree is designed by XDDesign, Netherlands. 

Ginkgo Solar Tree - It is made of aluminum, recycled plastic, and bamboo. Ginkgo Solar Tree is a mini solar charging station inspired by the Japanese Ginkgo tree. Gingko solar charger is an environment-friendly source of power. It gets its power from the sun, so it’s green and very easy to use, you just need sunlight. Ginkgo Solar Tree charger aims to make solar energy more approachable and user friendly. Bringing solar energy down to smaller gadgets can help reduce harmful emissions to the atmosphere caused by the growing need to power mobile phones and tablets. Ginkgo Solar Tree can charge your iPhone or iPad up to two times after charging. It has a powerful 4000mAh battery and two USB ports. This product is also designed by XDDesign, Netherlands.

Electree Mini - inspired by bonsai trees, this little solar charger tree collects sunlight to charge your gadgets attractively. Electree Mini is a product of the designer Vivien Muller, who worked together with an electrical engineer to turn his idea for the tree into a reality. This small solar charger has 27 flexible silicon solar panels that can be easily adjusted to harness the maximum amount of sunlight. The device can be used to directly power your gadgets when sunlight is available or use the internal batteries that store solar energy during daylight time. The Electree Mini turns into a miniature light show when the darkness falls. You can also change the color of the LED lantern just by rotating the Electree Mini. The mini solar charger isn’t yet strong enough to charge a tablet, but it can charge your phone or smartwatch once per day.


Saturday, May 2, 2009

Racing Car Made of Vegetables and Powered by Chocolate

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This news is not related to solar energy but it is an interesting piece of green news and I think it deserves to write a post about it.

The WorldFirst team, a team of UK designers from the Innovative Manufacturing Research Centre at the University of Warwick, Britain, have created aninnovative racing car made entirely of vegetables and powered by chocolate. The car, named the WorldFirst F3, uses plant-oil based lubricants and a bio-diesel engine that can run on a mixture of chocolate and vegetable oil.


The futuristic eco car, with a top speed of 145 mph, has a body made of potatoes, a steering wheel made of carrots, and a seat made of soybeans. Car parts are produced by mixing vegetable fibres with resins and the oils in the chocolate are refined to produce fuel. It has also an emission destroying catalyst that purifies the air as you drive on.

At the moment, the engine fails to meet current regulations because of its unusual fuel. However, the WorldFirst team, hope that official racing rules will be changed so that the car can compete in championship races next season.

The WorldFirst F3 is the first Formula 3 racing car designed and made entirely from sustainable and renewable materials.The team, from World First Racing, hope that environmentally-friendly technology used in their car will be adopted by Formula 1 teams such as McLaren and world champions Ferrari.

A team spokesman said: "We hope the Formula 1 teams will see that an environmentally friendly car is not necessarily a slow car. We expect our new materials to be used by the Formula 1 cars of the future."

Sources: InhabitatGreener Design


Friday, March 27, 2009

Solar-Powered Movie Premiere in London

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The world’s first entirely eco-friendly film premiere was screened in March 15, 2009 in London, England. "The Age of Stupid" is a new film warning about the negative effects of climate change. It was shown in a solar-powered cinema tent in the middle of Leicester Square and broadcast live in more than 60 cinemas all over the UK by satellite.

Every part of the event – from power sources, to transport, food, and clothing was green. Firefly Solar provided renewable power at the screening of movie.

An independent audit was carried out to monitor all CO2 emissions caused by the flagship premier and it resulted in just 1% of the usual carbon emissions seen at an average Hollywood premier.

"Obviously solar power was the main feature," said Firefly's MD Andy Mead. "We also used other methods to ensure the event had the lowest carbon footprint possible. The outside broadcast unit used for the satellite link-up was powered by bio-diesel, and all lighting on-site was the very latest in LED technology."

The 15000 lumin HD projector, all the house lighting and PA in the cinema were run entirely on solar power.

The stars arrived by solar car, bike, or rickshaw. Oscar-nominated British actor Pete Postlethwaite arrived at the premiere in a solar-powered car before posing for the paparazzi on the green carpet. In the film, Postlethwaite plays the last man alive on Earth in a devastated 2055. He looks back on archive footage of 2008 and asks why no-one acted to stop climate change.

American actor Gillian Anderson and designer Vivienne Westwood both turned up on bicycles. Britain's Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband also attended the event.

"The Age Of Stupid" took three-and-a-half years to make and had a budget of just $957,000 provided by 228 investors.

All profits from the premiere ticket sales go to the Not Stupid climate campaign, which is an initiative by environmental groups to recruit new activists to make their views felt at the UN Climate Change Conference in December 2009 this year.