Bike path in pieces: Skeptics dismiss Dutch solar bike path SolaRoad as inefficient “cash grab”

(Courtesy SolaRoad)

(Courtesy SolaRoad)

Naysayers have rained criticism on Dutch Solaroad solar bike path system. In the first six months of operation, it reportedly overshot energy production expectations to the collective glee of engineers. However, self-described “scientists” are taking it down with numerical rhetoric, namely the cost and inferior production capacity relative to rooftop solar panels. Last year’s pilot test ate up $3.2 million in investor funding for a 230-foot stretch of concrete, and SolaRoad remains tightlipped on the cost per square foot.

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Called out by Greenpeace for lack of transparency, Amazon commits to building solar farm in Virginia to power its data centers

East, Sustainability
Wednesday, July 8, 2015
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(Courtesy Flickr/Creative Commons)

(Courtesy Flickr/Creative Commons)

E-commerce giant Amazon is under fire from groups to catch up to its tree-hugging counterparts. To boost its “green” credentials, the company has announced the building of a new solar farm in coal-reliant Virginia to power its numerous data centers in the region.

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French law mandates green roofs or solar panels on all new buildings in commercial zones

Montmartre Funicular Railway (Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Montmartre Funicular Railway (Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

It’s serious crunch time in France for environmental policymaking as regulations tighten in deference to the 2020 goal of reducing carbon emissions by 25 percent. Paris is also scrambling for brownie points as it prepares to host the UN Conference on Climate Change this November.

Lawmakers in France recently decreed that all rooftops of new commercial buildings must be covered in either plants or solar panels. Other major cities have gone to similarly stringent lengths, with the city of Toronto, Canada, mandating green roofs on all new buildings in 2009—whether residential, industrial or commercial.

Continue reading after the jump.

This solar-power generating bike lane in the Netherlands wows engineers by producing more juice than expected

(Courtesy SolaRoad)

(Courtesy SolaRoad)

Performance-wise, the Dutch power-generating bike path, SolaRoad, has overshot expectations, generating upwards of 3,000 kilowatts of power in the six months since its launch. The 230-foot concrete strip is located in Krommenie, a village northwest of Amsterdam, and is undergoing a three-year pilot test for material feasibility.

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Forever 21 flips the switch on Los Angeles’ largest solar project yet

Forever 21's 5MW PermaCity Solar System

Forever 21’s 5MW PermaCity Solar System

On January 21 solar supplier PermaCity and retailer Forever 21 turned on the switch to their 5.1 MegaWatt DC SunPower solar system in Los Angeles’ Lincoln Heights neighborhood. The renovation of the former Macy’s distribution center—now Forever 21’s headquarters— was designed by Forever 21 staff with Culver City architect Brian Reiff.

Continue reading after the jump.

Buffalo breaks ground on largest solar panel facility in the Western Hemisphere

A model of SolarCity's plant.  (New York Governor's Office)

A model of SolarCity’s plant. (New York Governor’s Office)

Manufacturing is returning to Buffalo, New York in a big way. In late September, SolarCity broke ground on a 1.2-million-square-foot solar panel manufacturing plant that will be the biggest facility of its kind in the Western Hemisphere. The company, which Elon Musk chairs, is investing $5 billion into the project that will rise on the site of a former Republic Steel factory. When fully operational, the panels produced at the factory are expected to generate one gigawatt of energy, that’s roughly enough power to power 145,000 homes.

Continue reading after the jump.

Mayor de Blasio announces $28 million plan to install solar panels on New York City schools

East, Sustainability, Technology
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
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Mayor de Blasio looking at solar panels in the Bronx. (Twitter/billdeblasio)

Mayor de Blasio looking at solar panels in the Bronx. (Twitter/billdeblasio)

Last week, Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled his plan to reduce New York City’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent over 2005 levels by 2050. Needless to say, that’s a pretty ambitious target, but this mayor seems to like ambitious targets—his plan to build or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing over the next decade comes to mind. But back to his latest plan, the climate plan.

Continue reading after the jump.

Two-Sided Railway Station by Team CS

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The south facade of the new Rotterdam Centraal Station is a soaring construction of stainless steel and glass. (Jannes Linders for Team CS)

The south facade of the new Rotterdam Centraal Station is a soaring construction of stainless steel and glass. (Jannes Linders for Team CS)

Rotterdam Centraal Station’s relationship to the existing urban fabric called for different treatments of its north and south facades.

To call the commission for a new central railway station in Rotterdam complicated would be an understatement. The project had multiple clients, including the city council and the railway company ProRail. The program was complex, encompassing the north and south station halls, train platforms, concourse, commercial space, offices, outdoor public space, and more. Finally, there was the station’s relationship to Rotterdam itself: while city leaders envisioned the south entrance as a monumental gateway to the city, the proximity of an historic neighborhood to the north necessitated a more temperate approach. Team CS, a collaboration among Benthem Crouwel Architekten, MVSA Meyer en Van Schooten Architecten, and West 8, achieved a balancing act with a multipart facade conceived over the project’s decade-long gestation. On the south, Rotterdam Centraal Station trumpets its presence with a swooping triangular stainless steel and glass entryway, while to the north a delicate glass-house exterior defers to the surrounding urban fabric. Read More

Synthesis Design + Architecture’s Pure Tension Pavilion Hits the Road for Volvo

Newsletter, West
Monday, December 16, 2013
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SYNTHESIS DESIGN + ARCHITECTURE'S PURE TENSION PAVILION DISPLAYS, SHADES, AND CHARGE'S THE NEW VOLVO V60 HYBRID CAR (SYNTHESIS DESIGN + ARCHITECTURE)

SYNTHESIS DESIGN + ARCHITECTURE’S PURE TENSION PAVILION DISPLAYS, SHADES, AND CHARGE’S THE NEW VOLVO V60 HYBRID CAR (SYNTHESIS DESIGN + ARCHITECTURE)

When Alvin Huang and his colleagues at Synthesis Design + Architecture (SDA) saw the brief for Volvo’s “Switch to Pure Volvo” competition, they decided to give the auto manufacturer more than it had asked for. The competition, which was organized by The Plan magazine, asked architects to design an iconic, yet portable, pavilion for the new Volvo V60 plug-in hybrid electric car. SDA came up with the Pure Tension pavilion, a steel-frame structure that not only assembles in an hour, but is small enough to fit in the trunk of the car. And the pavilion doesn’t just showcase the car: it also charges it, thanks to 252 lightweight flexible photovoltaic panels incorporated into the structure’s mesh fabric surface.

Continue reading after the jump.

Kickstarter Campaign Could SOAK San Francisco.  Kickstarter Campaign Could SOAK San Francisco Last July, AN covered the story of SOAK, a portable pop-up spa designed by engineering group ARUP and art and design studio Rebar. Inspired by a healthy hedonist ideology, this urban rain-water and solar-powered ecological bathhouse seeks to reclaim everyday wellness and develop a model that works without heavy consumption of resources. The project has been under development for years now, but has now finally launched a Kickstarter campaign. It will only be funded if at least $240,000 is pledged by January 1, 2014. (Rendering: Courtesy REBAR)

 

SOAK Seeks Site for “Healthy Hedonist” Spa

National, West
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
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(Courtesy Rebar)

(Courtesy Rebar)

Engineering group ARUP and art and design studio Rebar have announced a design for a rainwater-harvesting, solar-powered, portable pop-up spa that receives every watt of energy it requires from the sun. The energy comes from heat exchangers and efficient equipment to heat and power the “healthy hedonist” experience called SOAK. The shipping container-spa conserves resources with thoughtful engineering and provides the core experience of the conventional bathhouse in a microcosm. The project, a prime example of tactical urbanism, joins personal wellness with social vitality while combining the most intelligent form of energy and alternative resources.

Continue reading after the jump.

Architecture Students To Build A Wind & Solar-Powered Radio Station in Kenya

Dean's List, East, International
Thursday, April 18, 2013
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africa_arch_01

Jonathan Dessi-Olive with the first arch of his timbrel vault prototype. (Courtesy PennDesign Team)

University of Pennsylvania architecture student Jonathan Dessi-Olive, this year’s winner of the Robert A.M. Stern Architects (RAMSA) Travel Fellowship, and three of his colleagues are taking an ancient building technology to Kenya this summer to demonstrate a sustainable alternative to wood construction, which contributes to the devastating deforestation problem in the region. The project, a hybrid wind- and solar-powered radio station on Mfangano Island in Lake Victoria, will introduce local craftspeople to the 600-year-old technique of timbrel vaulting, a system that uses thin clay tiles to create a geometrically-complex and structurally strong building.

Continue reading after the jump.

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