Solar Buildings

February 27, 2012

Apple Data Center LEED Platinum Certified


Apple's iCloud and Siri data center in Maiden, North Carolina has become LEED Platinum certified. The company included a huge solar array on a white cool-roof, LED lighting with motion sensors, chilled water storage system, "free" outside cooling and real-time power monitoring. About 14% of the edifice was made of recycled materials and 41% of the those purchased were done so locally.

Via Apple

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August 15, 2011

Beam Me Up, King Abdullah


A $1.5 billion Star Trek theme park is to be constructed in Aqaba, Jordan under the backing of King Abdullah (the fan was once an extra on "Star Trek: Voyager") that promises to run mostly on clean energy. While that may be an even farther trek than most want to journey, the park will contain a pavilion so that attendees, businesses and students can learn about alternate energy sources like solar power and wind energy.


The project will include 4 hotels, multi-sensory 23rd century experiences and a space flight adventure. The Amman company Rubicon Group has teamed with Paramount and architectural firm Callison to begin building the TRSA (The Red Sea Astrarium) next year.

Via Hotelier Middle East

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August 1, 2011

Sonnenschiff Gives Back


It may resemble a cheap US motel from the 60's, but this is actually a solar city in Freiburg, Germany. Sonnenschiff (Solar Ship) and Solarsiedlung (Solar Village) not only supports itself, it produces 4 times the energy it consumes. Fifty two homes with passive solar heating and lighting were built with rooftop solar arrays that double as sun shades. In addition, the rooftops feature gardens with rainwater recycling systems. The use of phase-change materials and vacuum insulation in the Sonnenschiff help in keeping the project green.

Via Sonnenschiff (translated)

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May 23, 2011

Solar Kitchen Restaurant Tours Europe


The Finnish beer company Lapin Kulta came up with a great way to spread the word about indulging in their product this summer and keeping it green. They will be tooling around Europe with their Solar Kitchen Restaurant. The team of designer Marti Guixe and foodster Antto Melasniemi will be setting up shop at different locations and cook on pots and pans on solar dishes. Because the weather can vary, the menu will change each day. They are expecting barbecues on sunny days and salads on gloomy ones. We suspect that as long as the beer is flowing, the entrees will not matter.

Via Lapin Kulta

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March 28, 2011

Willis Tower Houses Solar Farm


What used to be the Sears Tower has gone solar, at least the southern side of the 56th floor. The Willis Tower has photovoltaic glass units and has become a 2-MW solar farm, the result being a cooler lit environment and more effective power system. Pythagoras Solar is in charge of the project and hopes that this building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) solution will be an example to other buildings to get with the green plan.

Via Pythagoras

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July 19, 2010

LifeVillage Brings Comfort With Solar Power


Envision Solar has created the LifeVillage, a steel framed building run by solar power. Each is 3,500 sq. ft. and can be used for a residence, clinic, schoolhouse or other building and can provide power for surrounding families with solar lanterns, cell phones, etc.

With up to 50kW of generation capacity, a LifeVillage can be installed by unskilled workers in a couple of days. The "solar city" can be used in places like Haiti or Sub-Saharan Africa, where residents continue to live in sometimes deplorable conditions. Contact Envision Solar if you would like more information.

(Thanks, Annie)

Via Envision Solar

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May 24, 2010

Envision Solar Creates LifePorts


Envision Solar International has been working on LifePorts, carports with solar panels on the roof that will provide enough energy for both your home and car. Non-drivers can benefit from LifeTrees, a shade-providing pole that holds up to 8 solar panels. Both should be available later this year.

Via Envision

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April 12, 2010

Pearl River Tower Erected in China


Skidmore, Owings and Merrill are building the almost zero-energy Pearl River Tower in Guangzhou, China. Both wind turbines and solar panels provide heat, ventilation and air conditioning. It also has a double skin curtain wall, chilled ceiling and under floor ventilation. The 2.3 million square foot structure has 71 floors and recently received its top one. The tower should be completed by the end of this year.


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April 6, 2010

SF Restaurants Switch to Solar


Two restaurants in San Francisco have gone solar. Dosa uses it for heating its hot water and Café Organic utilizes it for power. While it would seem that Fog City would not be the best place for the technology, we have often noticed that hard core sunshine is not needed to produce energy. Both buildings worked in conjunction with California Sun Light & Power.

(Thanks, John)

Via Sun Light & Power

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March 31, 2010

Maryland Students Build Portable Solar Classroom


Pre-engineering students from Washington County Technical High School in Maryland designed a portable classroom with solar panels, grass walls, a green roof and other eco-friendly features. The display was so innovative that State Farm Insurance and SkillsUSA gave them a grant of $10,000 to make their design become reality. The group plans to use it to buy panels, an inverter and other materials.

Via Herald-Mail

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March 29, 2010

Solar Yurts Gain Popularity


Yurts were originally used in central Asia as more protection than your basic tent with wood foundations and felt covering. Eco-minded companies have turned them into even more efficient buildings. The dome still exists and solar skylights, rain diverters, insulated windows and wind power have been added.

Via Green Diary

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March 25, 2010

SilverTree Tower Ready by 2010 Olympics


A new residential tower may be built in the Borough of Newham, UK in time for the 2010 Olympics. The SilverTree will be 24 stories high with 2 colored panels that will supply energy from its solar panels as well as shading. Another side will house a vertical garden with terraces and balconies. Designed by Studio RHE, additional energy will be generated by a ground source heat pump. When completed, it will house 161 residents, an open deck, and has space for retail and business offices below.

Via World Architecture News

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March 18, 2010

Skyscraper To Purify Jakarta Water System


The city of Jakarta was conceived as a water city but the 13 rivers that cross it are now polluted and have flooded the city. The Ciliwung Recovery Program will purify it again with a new skyscraper. When water runs through the building from the river, garbage is separated and contaminants are removed while good minerals are added. Finally, household waste gets reprocessed and the water is sent back to the river. The building also doubles as an energy generator that produces wind power and solar energy with a large reactor on the roof.

Via designboom

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March 16, 2010

American School First LEED Platinum Certified


The Michael J. Homer Science and Student Life Center in Atherton, CA is the first American school to be LEED Platinum certified and has a living roof with native foliage to insulate and reduce storm water that will be tended by faculty and staff. Part of the Sacred Heart School, there are also 73 skylights for natural lighting in classrooms and a 40k solar photovoltaic system. The building uses 69% less energy than most schools and has the benefit of a 10,000 square-foot organic garden that will be tended by faculty and staff.

Via Sacred Heart Schools

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