Solar Energy in the Midwest

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Sonnenschiff: Solar City Produces 4X the Energy it Consumes | Inhabitat – Green Design Will Save the World – StumbleUpon

Sonnenschiff: Solar City Produces 4X the Energy it Consumes | Inhabitat – Green Design Will Save the World – StumbleUpon.

Although net-zero projects have been creating a lot of buzz lately in the field of green building, the Sonnenschiff solar city in Freiburg, Germany is very much net positive. The self-sustaining city accomplishes this feat through smart solar design and lots and lots of photovoltaic panels pointed in the right direction. It seems like a simple strategy — but designers often incorporate solar installations as an afterthought, or worse, as a label. Designed by Rolf Disch, the Sonnenschiff (Solar Ship) and Solarsiedlung (Solar Village) emphasize power production from the start by smartly incorporating a series of large rooftop solar arrays that double as sun shades. The buildings are also built to Passivhaus standards, which allows the project to produce four times the amount of energy it consumes!

The roofs of Berlin are full of energy (via Redaktionsbüro Helmuth Ziegler)

I love the German’s approach to energy. They feel the crunch more than we do in North America because natural resources have to be managed frugally or imported at great expense. When I lived in Germany in 1999 they were moving toward renewable energy with an emphasis on wind first and solar second. At the time they were already installing a lot of green roofs to reduce heat sinks. The Germans were impressive energy conservers. No escalator works until someone approaches it and turns off as soon as the rider exited. Subway car doors only open on manual command. Walking down the hallways of my apartment I felt like Maxwell Smart, with hall lights switching on and off as I walked down the hallway, lighting my way and no more. I’m surprised only 8,000 roofs have solar installations from 40 million households. We know from our own installations that 10% solar installations on our 4 million household would prevent billions of dollars from leaving our state for coal and gas purchases. – Val

At present, about 8,000 roofs in Berlin carry photovoltaic or solar thermal systems. If all suitable roof space of the German capital were consistently fitted with solar arrays, they could provide approximately 3.2 million megawatt-hours of electricity a year. In other words: 500,000 roofs could theoretically generate enough electricity to meet about 77 percent of the private power consumption in Berlin. This data has been provided by the Berlin … Read More

via Redaktionsbüro Helmuth Ziegler

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