BIG’s Waste To Energy Ski Slope In Copenhagen Breaks Ground. Hooray For Hedonistic Sustainability!

Amager Bakke Waste-to-Energy Plant
Artificial ski runThe Bjarke Ingels Group [BIG] just broke ground on their waste-to-energy / ski-slope in Copenhagen. It’s called the Amager Bakke Waste-to-Energy Plant and in addition to sporting a ski run, it’s also an efficient waste conversion plant that will generate electricity and shoot a smoke ring out of its smokestack each time a ton of carbon has been released. It’s all part of designer Bjarke Ingels’ desire to incorporate Hedonistic Sustainability into his projects – building sustainable, useful structures that can also be used for pleasure.

From A/N Blog:

“Against all odds, BIG-founder Bjarke Ingels is actually building a mountain-slash-ski-slope-slash-waste-to-energy-power-plant in his hometown of Copenhagen. Announced in 2011, the project nearly stalled during the approval process, but officials in the Danish capital broke ground on the facility on Monday. Called the Amager Bakke Waste-to-Energy Plant, the structure represents Ingels’ concept of Hedonistic Sustainability, the notion that a sustainable building shouldn’t only be green, but should also be fun.”

Watch Bjarke Ingels TED speech below for more info on this project. I have to admit, I wanted to not like this project but it’s pretty amazing. Thank you BIG.dk for introducing us to hedonistic sustainability. [A/N Blog]


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Republican Mayor Of Lancaster CA Wants To Require Solar Panels On Every New Home.

Solar Lancaster
Mayor of Lancaster California R. Rex ParrisWhat the what – Republican Mayor wants solar panels on every new home? It’s true. R. Rex Parris, the Mayor of Lancaster California, wants to institute a new requirement that all new homes built after January 1, 2014 must include solar panels. From Greentech:

“The purpose of the solar energy system standards is to encourage investment in solar energy on all parcels in the city, while providing guidelines for the installation of those systems that are consistent with the architectural and building standards of the City. It is further intended to provide standards and procedures for builders of new homes to install solar energy systems in an effort to achieve greater usage of alternative energy.”

Those damn treehugging Republicans! Why can’t they stay out of renewable energy and stick to advocating fossil fuels so it’s easier to paint them as the enemy? I think this quote from Mayor Parris answers that question:

“[Mayor Parris noted that Lancaster is] one of the most conservative Republican districts in the country. But Republicans are smart,” he said. “When you show them a solution, they will take it.”

So it’s smart to move to solar; it doesn’t have to be green. [Greentech]

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The Sunset House Cabin Is Built Out Of Reuse, Reclaim, Recycle, Repurpose, Re-Everything!

The Sunset House - Reclaim, Reuse, Repurposed Cabin In West Virginia.The Sunset House is Jubbling at its most awesome. From Cabin Porn:

“The Sunset House in southern West Virginia was built by Lilah and Nick using lumber reclaimed from a barn on their property which was cut and milled from the land by the previous owner many years ago. All the windows are reclaimed from junkyards over their history of thrifting together.”

To view more images of the Sunset House, check out Old World Grange. [Cabin Porn]

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Lessons Learned From Eco-Cities In China.

Tianjin Eco-City Tianjin Eco-City - Solar panels in front of building.Wouldn’t it be great if we could have a do-over? China has been looking to redo by re-thinking their future cities and developing eco-cities like Tianjin Eco-city. When it’s complete some time after 2020, Tianjin Eco-city will be home to 350,000 residents where 90% of in-city travel can be accomplished by foot, bike or public transportation. Green buildings will be the norm and renewable power will supply 15% of the eco-city’s electricity needs. What’s the motivation? From the NY Times:

“Today, facing challenges like runaway urbanization, soaring energy consumption and environmental degradation, China is hoping to establish a different set of paragons. With its cities expected to swell by another 350 million residents in the next 25 years, according to World Bank estimates, the government is scurrying to find sustainable urban solutions. To that end, it hopes to have 100 model cities, 200 model counties, 1,000 model districts and 10,000 model towns by 2015.”

One interesting fact about the Tianjin Eco-city project is that when construction started in 2008, EV charging stations where never included in the plans. Maybe a good lesson that can be learned from China’s experience is to build future eco-cities that are simple and flexible. They didn’t plan for electric vehicles and now, just like every non eco-city, they have to update their infrastructure to account for them.

Check out the NYT article for more information on the goals and challenges of building an eco-city. [NY Times]

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Global Solar Capacity Now Exceeds 100 Gigawatts. Wind Farms Break Records And Want Some Lovin Too.

Record breaking solar and wind power capacity.Not too shabby. Since 2011, over 60 gigawatts (GW) of solar capacity has been installed worldwide. The last 30 GW installed in 2012 push the total solar capacity to 102 GW total. From Smart Planet:

“The preliminary results of the EPIA report shows that growth isn’t just concentrated in well-known solar regions, such as Germany. This year, there was a shift towards a more global PV market, with 13 GW of PV installations occurring outside of Europe, compared to just under 8 GW in 2011. The top three non-European markets were China with at least 3.5 GW and possibly as much as 4.5 GW, the United States with 3.2 GW and Japan with 2.5 GW.”

And not to be forgotten, wind farms added 44.7 GW of capacity in 2012 – beating the industry’s single year record, set in 2011, by 10%. Great to know 2012 was win win for renewable energy and not the end of the world. [Smart Planet and Smart Planet]

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Everything You Need To Know About Tar Sand Oil And Keystone XL In One Video.

The Keystone XL Tar Sands Climate Threat video perfectly explains the environmental costs of the tar sand oil and the importance of President Obama’s decision to build, or not build, the Keystone XL pipeline.

US politicians supporting the Keystone XL pipeline point to energy independence as one of the main reasons why it needs to be built. Unfortunately, they never considered how important energy independence is going to be in our warming future. Sounds like the “Cut off your nose to spite your face” doctrine is in full effect . [CDCW]

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