July 29, 2016
This week's sustainable design 'Fri'd Green' discoveries by Epstein's principal designer Darren Hoppa, NCARB, LEED AP include links to articles on 'living' & 'growing' buildings, preparing for global warming and the extreme thinning of solar photovoltaic panels. Enjoy¦
In its first year, the center produced 83 percent more energy than it used. Sixty percent of the comes from the center's 168 rooftop solar panels, at an estimated cost of .20 per kilowatt-hour, with the balance supplied by two 70-foot-tall, 10-kilowatt wind turbines, at an estimated cost of .38 per kilowatt-hour (both rates distribute the systems' first costs over a 25-year service life). The abundance of generated energy can also be attributed to the Brock Center's low energy use intensity of 14.12 Btu per square foot per year, 80 percent less than a comparable building of conventional performance.
And this doesn't have to stop with lifeforms as tiny as bacteria. All around the natural world, we witness life forms which, driven by the programming of their DNA, produce massive, complex things from tiny beginnings. As George Church suggested, "A minuscule fertilized whale egg produces an object as big as a house. So maybe one day we can program an organism, or a batch of them, to produce not the whale but the actual house."
The agriculture in urban agriculture is not in the same league as production agriculture, which usually requires heavy machinery and ample fields with no other function than food production. By contrast, the agriculture in urban agriculture is inherently multifunctional and produces more than food. It's as likely to grow personal skills, community capacity, neighborhood cohesion and resilience as food.
One of the reasons I think solar photovoltaic power is going to take over the world is that it is scalable in a way no other power source can be. It can be used to build multi-hundred-megawatt power plants, or it can be scaled down. Way down. How far down? Try less than the width of a human hair