Solar & Renewable Power

UC Davis West Village Neighborhood

Live/Work Lifestyle

UC Davis West Village, the nation’s largest planned zero net energy community, continues to work toward its goal of producing 100 percent of the energy it uses.A 2015 report released by UC Davis and the West Village Community Partnership LLC said the community is 82 percent of its way toward reaching zero net energy, or ZNE. The analysis covers the time period between September 2013 and August 2014. “The neighborhood is close to where we want it to be, but we still are not at the finish line,” said Sid England, assistant vice chancellor of the UC Davis Office of Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability. “I think we’re on track to get to 100 percent in t

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Solar Appeal

The Snap-Clad 24-gauge panels in Weathered Zinc added to the farmhouse-styled design on this Chicago residence by Evanston, Ill.-based Kipnis Architecture + Planning. Standing-seam metal roofing provided an easy attachment option for rooftop solar panels. The seams allowed for solar panels to be clamped into place without need for roofing penetration.

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Green Gas

While gas stations aren’t typically the first thing to come to mind when someone says “green building,” a St. Louis area gas station challenges that perception. The ZOOM station’s unconventional-looking canopy over its gas pumps supports a two-way solar panel system capable of producing 109,000 kWh of electricity annually—enough to power most of the station and its convenience store and car wash. Manufactured by Prism Solar Technologies, the glass-on-glass solar panels can generate 35% more energy per watt than traditional modules via advanced bifacial N-type silicon cell technology that can generate electricity on both its front and back surfaces. The panels al

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Unisphere

United Therapeutics’ (Unither) Unisphere is the largest net zero commercial building in the U.S. A biotechnology company focused on the development of products to address the needs of patients with chronic and life-threatening conditions, Unither, in planning the 210,000-sq.-ft. addition to its six-building campus in Silver Spring, approached the project, in the same manner as the development of one of its products. They identified a primary objective: build a facility to keep up the design and development flow of the company’s new products; second, create a building that would exemplify a new environmental theory to the structures of this genre; and third, create a contempo

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Geothermal Contributes to Net-Zero Success

All builders in Whisper Valley are required to hook up to EcoSmart’s GeoGrid, a 5-mile loop of underground distribution piping that links each home to a geo-exchange network, engineered and manufactured by REHAU, a global provider of hydronic technologies and a strategic partner in the Whisper Valley project. “It took a bit of time to figure out who was doing what,” says Dennis Ciani, head of marketing for Pacesetter Homes, an Austin-area builder that constructs about 500 homes per year, including most of the new homes in Whisper Valley. “But the geothermal loop was already in the ground and all homeowners had to do was tie into it, which turned out to be fairly easy

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ATAS’ Mesa, Ariz. Facility

Perfect Pairing

Standing-seam roof manufacturers have long touted their products’ suitability for rooftop solar installations, and now one of them is proving the point at its own manufacturing plant. ATAS’ Mesa, Ariz. facility now features 576 solar panels atop its existing metal trapezoidal seam roof, which is expected to pay for itself in energy savings in four years. A larger system is planned for its Allentown, Pa. plant.

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Going Organic

A metal warehouse in Duisburg, Germany, is now home to the largest installation of façade-mounted organic HeliaSol photovoltaic film. Produced with a self-adhesive backing in a roll-to-roll process, the film can be directly attached to walls and other surfaces. Ventilation below the film is not required, as this material doesn’t lose efficiency at high temperature in the same way as traditional solar panels. 

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Century-Old Bank Enters 21st

Custom solar panels helped retrofit a former bank into a Platinum LEED structure—without altering its historic appearance. San Francisco-based NicholsBooth Architects had quite a task before them: retrofit a former bank into a modern, LEED-certified headquarters of an eco-conscious entrepreneur—all without altering the appearance or architecture of the historic building.

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