World’s First Sun and Wind-Powered Ferry

A San Francisco-based company, Hornblower Yachts, is working with Solar Sailor of Sydney, Australia, to construct two 600-passenger trimarans for Alcatraz (at a cost of between $6 million and $8 million apiece) that will run on as much on sun and wind power as they do diesel fuel—and will emit half the pollutants of a similar sized conventional ferry. Service …

Optimal Green: Daylighting

Most modern buildings don’t take full advantage of daylight. Here, in the Plaza at PPL Center, a dramatic eight-story central glass atrium brings natural light deep into the core of the building, while extensive perimeter glazing provides abundant daylight.

Modern Rainwater Tank: The LUMI

Unfortunately, most rainwater tanks and cisterns are unsightly blocks of concrete or plastic. The LUMI Rainwater Tank, however, was designed by Katrina Logan to be visually appealing. It’s made of sculptural satin acrylic and can be made in a range of colors and sizes (250 liters – 1100 liters). The tank glows in the sunlight, making the rainwater reserves visible, …

Daylighting and Shading: Green Building In Hong Kong

Here’s an example of daylighting at the Hong Kong Science Park. Notice that the light is filtered through translucent skylights and clerestories in a central atrium, thus reducing glare and overheating. The top of the building has shades, see them after the jump:

Solar Water Heating: Book Review

Solar Water Heating is the first book I’ve seen that focuses solely on solar water heating. It’s a technique that’s been practiced since ancient times, but until now there’s been strangely few resources on the topic for a North American audience. The author, Bob Ramlow, examines state-of-the-art solar heating systems. He covers not only solar water heaters, but also solar …

Good Green Kitchens

This new book by Jennifer Roberts is a detailed and well-photographed guide to remodeling your kitchen using green techniques. Roberts examines green kitchen building materials in depth, and brief surveys water and energy efficiency in the kitchen. The book has over 150 color photographs, and includes case studies of some great looking green kitchens. The strength of this book is …

Electric Tankless Water Heaters

Note: This post has been expanded and updated for 2009! Tankless water heaters only heat water when it is needed. About 8% to 30% of the energy consumed by a standard water heater goes to keeping the water hot while it’s not being used. New tankless systems heat the water instantly when you turn on the faucet, rather than keeping …

Olive Oil Lamps

Lehman’s is now offering these newly upgraded olive oil lamps with stands. Olive oil is a renewable, non-petroleum fuel which burns without fumes or odor. You can also burn any vegetable oil, or liquid fat or grease in these lamps. The makers of the lamps also publish a booklet entitled “I Didn’t Know that Olive Oil Would Burn!”. It’s quite …

Non-Toxic Stainless Steel Sippy Cups

Klean Kanteen has just introduced this non-toxic Sippy Cup for toddlers. It is made with stainless steel, and it does not have epoxy coating in the inside. It’s coupled with a non-leaching #5 polypropylene adaptor and #5 polypropylene sippy spout. This cup does not contain the Bishphenol-A chemical, a potent hormone disruptor found to leach from hard, plastic (particularly #7 …