Big Green challenge a Scottish Island transition

« Scottish Island Transitions From No Grid to 85-Percent Renewable Energy in 6 Years

Source: Brandon Baker | February 17, 2014 ECOWATCH

The island with just 85 residents has transitioned from having no grid in 2008 to now making energy—mostly clean—available to everybody. In 1997, Eigg became the first island in Scottish history to be bought by its inhabitants, and now it dreams of being the first island in the world powered by renewable energy.

“It varies from year to year depending on weather conditions, but we are getting between 85 and 90 percent of our energy from renewables,” Maggie Fyffe, secretary of the Eigg Heritage Trust, told Al Jazeera.

“There are miles and miles of underground cable connecting every house to the grid.”

The island’s renewable portfolio includes a 100 kilowatt (kW) hydro electric generator supported by two smaller generators; four 6-kW wind generators; and 30kW of solar cells. According to the island trust, the overall control of the power generation of the system relies on a bank of batteries connected to the distribution grid through a series of linked inverters. The inverters allow energy to flow from the batteries and the grid. They adjust depending upon the balance of demand and supply to maintain the charge of the batteries. »

On the Island website, Islanders explains: Together we decided, in 2008, to reduce our use of fossil fuels, and to make the most of our island’s natural assets.  We are adapting our way of life to depend less on oil and coal. Less fossil fuels, more efficient use of what we use, insulation, transport alternatives, reducing all waste and growing as much as we can are all parts of our approach.  We are ambitious to ensure what we do locally not only helps to secure our own future, but also for our wider world.

Our project is a world leader in the integration of multiple renewable energy sources into a grid system to supply an isolated and scattered small community.

 This project has been conceived and driven by the enthusiasm of the whole community of the Isle of Eigg, and is the culmination of 10 years of achievement since the purchase of the island in 1997.When it was recognised that conventional mains power was not a practicable proposition, the islanders decided to create and run their own all island electricity system; a system that was to  depend as much as possible upon renewable resources. 

The system that has been created through the vision of the islanders, generates power at a number of locations around the island, from the renewable resources of Hydro Electric, Wind and Solar energy, and makes this available to all households and businesses via an  island wide high voltage distribution grid. The renewable resources will contribute over 95% of the island’s electricity demand and it is believed to be the first time that these three resources have been successfully integrated into a community grid system. 

Energy efficiency, easier than you think

*Energy efficiency is the goal to reduce the amount of energy required to provide products and services.

*A deep energy retrofit is a whole-building analysis and construction process that uses to achieve much larger energy savings than conventional energy retrofits. Deep energy retrofits can be applied to both residential and non-residential (“commercial”) buildings. A deep energy retrofit typically results in energy savings of 30 percent or more, perhaps spread over several years, and may significantly improve the building value.

If we take a closer look to what energy efficiency is all about, you will find that it is easier to achieve than you think.

Before hiring a Building commissioning agent, there is a list of things you should check in your building, let’s find out which one:

  • Have you implemented a business policy to turn off the lights when the building is comfortable with daylight or when nobody is occupying the space?
  • Or a company policy to turn off the computers, printers, fax machine, AC or heaters when not needed?
  • Have you changed all the lightning bulbs for more efficient ones?  ( Led or fluocompact) Look for energy Star logo or Eco Logo products and lighting fixtures.  Solar tubes can add extra lightning during the day and are zero energy-consuming. Installation can be done through walls and ceilings.
  • Are the appliances, plumbing fixtures and machineries in your building  high-efficient ? water-heating appliances, WC with low water consumption rates, etc.
  • Have you had the HVAC system inspected and cleaned lately? Are the filters clean and efficient?
  • Are the windows and doors sealant seems old and cracked?
  • Can windows or doors be manually opened to bring some fresh air into the building/work area instead of starting the central ventilation system?
  • During winter, is the heating system running too much getting the occupants too hot? Not enough hot? Implementing a survey can help you find out just how much degrees you can tune down the heating system or during summer the AC. (online survey forms from GOOGLE will do the job just fine)

Lire la suite

Schöck prevents thermal bridging in major new Irish distillery

Architecture, Design & Innovation


Marketing and distribution across Ireland of the major Pernod Ricard premium wine and spirit brands, such as Malibu; Jacob’s Creek; Brancott Estate and Mumm; is big business for Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard.  However, the company’s real heritage is in its whiskey brands, particularly Jameson Irish Whiskey, which is produced at the main distillery in Midleton, County Cork.  The site has a production capacity of 33 million litres of alcohol a year, but even this is still insufficient to meet increasing international demand. As a result, €100 million is being invested in new plant to double the capacity.    When complete, Midleton will be one of the most modern distilleries in the world, boasting three 75,000 litre potstills, and three column stills, which are used in combinations of three to produce the different types of whiskey.

Sustainability has always played a significant part in Irish Distillers…

Voir l’article original 705 mots de plus

Open source automation is the secret to smarter buildings

Valuable for building owners

Open source software is extremely successful for these very reasons. It’s good for businesses because it enables more innovation and customization at lower cost. It allows for higher robustness, security and auditability because more people can test it in their own ways. It provides greater interoperability because it doesn’t require a particular company to write code for a particular piece of hardware or situation. It lets companies try it before committing financially because the software itself is free. It usually allows companies to use cheaper hardware because open source systems typically are lighter and less code-bloated. It also saves everyone from replicating tedious and time-consuming infrastructure.

Imagine if every power company had to deploy its own power lines to the home of every user it wished to serve. (That used to be true, making it the big barrier to customer choice you’d expect.) Open source is such a good idea that the open data taxonomy Project Haystack received the Best Intelligent Building Technology Innovation award in 2013 at Realcomm, the commercial real estate conference.

Building owners can improve the energy efficiency of more buildings faster, while making more money, with open infrastructure for automation. Open source splits up the cost of developing automation systems to all companies involved. This includes not just automation companies such as Johnson Controls or Siemens and monitoring companies such as Lucid Design, but also manufacturers of hardware that need to interface with these systems, such as solar panels and HVAC systems. Large commercial building owners also have custom requirements for their systems, such as governments, hotel chains, factories and franchises. Not everything in the industry will (or even should) be open-sourced, but having open interoperable infrastructure widely used would make the entire industry perform better.

Valuable for automation providers

Besides open source’s obvious advantages to building owners and operators, it can be valuable for companies providing building automation systems. Such companies generally make most of their money from support and installation, not from hardware and software sales; this business model lines up perfectly with open source. (Don’t be fooled into thinking that open source systems will be free; they simply will have lower costs, less up-front cost, and likely more long-term benefits.)

One of the biggest companies in the building automation industry, Honeywell, acquired Tridium in 2005 but has let it continue open-sourcing software. Like IBM, it makes money by selling closed-source apps and services built on the open source platform. These services are valuable to building operators, too, because a brilliant invention that no one supports doesn’t last beyond the first system hiccup.

An open source approach would allow building owners to avoid duplicating automation infrastructure. Photo credit: Jeremy Faludi.

Some open source platforms have been acquired by other companies and then closed. Closed systems make building owners more dependent on vendors because it’s hard to switch to a new vendor when systems aren’t compatible. However, the quickening pace of technological change may push building owners away from closed systems, just for the sake of keeping up.

« Unfortunately, with the pace of technology, your physical controls equipment is likely to outlast the associated software support. … Companies all over the world are having to upgrade their machines to match the new software, » Zach Denning wrote in the Automated Buildings blog.

When you’re facing hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of replacing perfectly good hardware because of software updates, it becomes much more tempting to avoid the problem by switching to an open standards-based system that keeps everything compatible. « The best way to ensure a long-term solution is to create an open source platform that is owned by the community and cannot be acquired, » Anno Scholten, founder of OpenLynx, said in an interview with Automated Buildings.

In the long-term, open source — or at least plug-and-play compatibility with open standards— will be necessary for companies in the building automation sector, simply for survival. That’s because open source home automation is a popular and growing niche for hobbyist hackers, and Moore’s Law will drive their systems toward lower cost and higher complexity until they eventually can handle commercial buildings. Granted, this is many years off, as current home automation hacks are no threat to serious commercial systems, but it undoubtedly will happen. Companies whose business models work with low-cost components in open standard configurations will be much better prepared when it does.

Building automation innards

Open interoperable infrastructure is an open version of the different layers of building automation systems. All the parts work together naturally, so you don’t have to build your own bridges between them. The whole system doesn’t need to be one unified product — it probably never will be — it just needs all parts to work together. All this infrastructure is a means to the end of running buildings more efficiently while keeping people more comfortable. Infrastructure isn’t what you want to spend your time on.

A building automation system has different layers, structured like this:

• interface and apps
• communication from user to server
• server and controller software
• server and controller hardware
• communication from server to sensors and actuators
• sensors and actuators

At the lowest level, your sensors are taking data, such as temperature, occupancy or brightness, and sending that information somewhere. A simple thermostat takes that data and actuates your heater with the simplest form of communication — either a wire that’s connected or an open circuit. But more intelligent systems are more complicated. Say you want to log temperature readings from the thermostat over time. Then the thermostat has to send its temperature data to a server, which can record it, and then you need to connect to that server through a user interface in order to see it. This might be within the building, all hard-wired, or over the web. You might have an app on your smart phone to check the status of all thermostats in the building so you don’t have to go to physically check that everything’s OK.

Cheap or free options exist at every level of this architecture, such as a sensor made from a $1 thermistor you wire yourself or a complex sensor and actuator made with Arduino, as was our radiant thermostat mentioned earlier. Free open protocols exist for both wired and wireless communication, such as BACnet, Modbus, Zigbee, X10 and others. (In fact, there are a few too many standards here; more agreement is needed.)

Open source hardware for a server can be a Raspberry Pi running Linux for as little as $35, as opposed to the thousands of dollars charged for most proprietary devices in the industry, and it can run open source software such as OpenLynx, Tridium’s Sedona framework or Freedomotic from Italy. Freedomotic also has a user interface of its own, while another open source user interface and controller system is Open BMCS, based in Australia. There are also scores of open source tools for generic data visualization on the web. Connecting these pieces together can build an entirely open source operating system for buildings. You could use such a system to monitor and control directly, or you could develop custom apps for your own needs, such as a hobbyist’s voice-controlled home on Lifehacker. Some industry players want to create an entire marketplace of apps for buildings, similar to the Apple app store or Google Play, for sophisticated or custom monitoring and automation needs.

While open elements exist at all of these levels, they need to be solidified and better-integrated in order to scale. System integration is the tar pit that swallows building monitoring and control projects. It is not an inherently technical problem, but a political problem between vendors that becomes a technical problem for operators. Open source standards of interoperability would push them to compete more on features and services than on the platform. A fully unified plug-and-play system radically would reduce the barriers for building owners to automate buildings, spreading energy efficiency in buildings like low-carbon wildfire.

Original post Green

Cradle to Cradle Innovation Institute

cradletocradle Logo

Cradle to Cradle design (also referred to as Cradle to Cradle, C2C, cradle 2 cradle, or regenerative design) is a biomimetic approach to the design of products and systems. It models human industry on nature’s processes viewing materials as nutrients circulating in healthy, safe metabolisms. It suggests that industry must protect and enrich ecosystems and nature’s biological metabolism while also maintaining a safe, productive technical metabolism for the high-quality use and circulation of organic and technical nutrients.

The Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, a non-profit organization, administers the Cradle to Cradle Certified Product Standard. It was created to bring about  a new industrial revolution that turns the making of things into a positive force for society, economy, and the planet.

Heating and sustainable solutions : time to innovate

Most of you already heard about biogas.  Multiple solutions and new technologies have emerged through these last years over the world and I can say without a doubt that innovations are not over in this category.  For example, ¹Gaziantep, the south-eastern region of Turkey where a new Eco city is planned, produces a majority of the nation’s nuts, exporting 4,000 tons last year.

« When designing the city, planners looked at potential renewable energy resources, and the pistachio waste stream couldn’t be overlooked.

Both private and public buildings in the city would be heated by burning the shells. The city will cover 3,200 hectares and house 200,000 people.French environmental engineering company Burgeap that reported last year that the local variety known as Antep was the most feasible source of energy in the region first uncovered the potential of pistachio shells. »

The project is still pending approval from the local authorities.

In Canada, where wood/paper industries and construction waste is producing it’s share of wood waste, biomass energy is already an alternative to propane and natural gas.  Industries are pairing up to recycle and reuse the waste for heating purpose.  With the constant raise of energy cost, big Greenhouses complex and one school campus has made the transit to biomass energy; the costs of implementation are almost already covered by cost savings.

image source: AQERP

image source: AQERP

Instead of burning a non-renewable energy source, industries and institutions should turn to green energy.  It’s not just a question of money anymore but more of a « what do we have to do to lower our carbon print on our environment?

To learn more about biogas and biomass energy in Quebec province, visit the AQPER website

¹Source: Treehugger

New Web Tool Compares Energy Performance

TPEx, is a portal designed to help manufacturers and others who test products to share performance data with their consumers.

Commercial building engineers and designers are often approached with novel or underutilized energy efficiency technologies and products. In many cases they cannot verify the supplied performance claims, so they take no action.

Manufacturers that are interested in participating in the TPEx system are asked to submit performance information via standardized documents called data entry forms that make an apples-to-apples comparison between similar products possible, NREL said. Commercial building engineers and designers appear to be the chief target for the information, but NREL says TPEx is designed for a range of users, including consumers as well as industrial and utility users.

There are 17 categories of products, ranging from solid-state replacement lamps to ductless heat pumps to photovoltaic modules. Some of the categories are currently empty. There’s nothing under « heat pump water heaters, » for example, but hundreds of listings under « inverters. »

NREL will presumably be filling in the blanks as times goes on, and in addition promises to add eight new categories, including wind turbines, roofing membranes, fans, and evaporative coolers.

You can’t use the site unless you register, but registration is free. Once you’re signed on, choose a category and start browsing.

In categories where products are currently listed, there’s a great deal of technical information, and you can narrow your search by fine-tuning the parameters. For instance, for photovoltaic panels, you can search by the rated power, the efficiency of the module, the type of cell, and even the nominal operating cell temperature.

Users also can isolate as many as four products for a detailed side-to-side comparison.


These shoes are completely made out of recycled trash

3 awesome guy’s cleans a beach in Uk and made shoes with the plastic trash: brilliant and astonishing!


Consumerism constantly promises that THIS ONE THINGIE will make you happy or hot or successful. In that moment of swiping your debit card, it’s hard to imagine ever trashing your new panacea. And yet most things end up in the garbage (even stuff that makes a pit stop at Goodwill).

That’s the message behind Everything Is Rubbish, a recycling art project by a trio of British guys. Charles Duffy, William Gubbins, and Billy Turvey wanted to make a statement about the millions of pieces of plastic that end up in the ocean every day. They gathered plastic trash on U.K. beaches, disinfected the crap out of it, heated it up, smashed it into sheets, and created shoes out of it. It’s oddly mesmerizing; watch:

So why shoes?

Voir l’article original 138 mots de plus

What’s leed homes all about anyway?

Houzz Contributor, designer, and LEED AP based in Northern Italy.
« The thing that’s great about LEED is that it’s a much more integrated approach to the environmental sustainability of the entire site. Passivhaus is a much higher goal than the minimum required for the energy section in LEED, but it’s limited to just that – the energy consumption as a result of the building envelope. »