Is This Jubbling? 12,000 Square Foot Home With 3,000 Square Feet Of Solar Panels

Rizzone Family HouseI knew the day would come that I would kick my own crotch over Jubbling. The whole mindset behind Jubbling is to spread the word and idea that you don’t have to be extreme to reduce your footprint on the planet and that every act and informed choice to reduce your consumption can help. But the Rizzone family’s new home in Newport Beach CA is a true Jubbling enigma.

They were recently profiled on ElectronicHouse.com for adding 3,000 square ft of solar panels to help power the 12,000 square ft home they built. The home includes:

Two kitchens, nine baths, a four-car garage, a gym, a 14-seat home theater, 16 TVs, an infinity-edge pool, outdoor cooking area, motorized and movable glass walls, nine zones of heating and cooling, 17 zones of audio and video, and an indoor waterfall.

According to the Rizzone’s, it’s been a “labor of love” and allowed them to the send a message to their two children about the importance of energy efficiency.

In addition to the solar panels and to aid the efficiency of their home, the Rizzones insisted on all LED lighting and to reduce cooling costs, their Somfy shades are timed to automatically drop down in order to block the sun. Their home was also built using recycled steel studs, concrete walls that help warm and cool the home, blown-in cellulose insulation, Energy Star-rated appliances and a rainwater harvesting system for landscape irrigation.

But is this Jubbling? They built a 12,000 square foot behemoth that only the consumption gods would appreciate. I’ve struggled with this but I have to conclude that, yes, it is Jubbling.

The Rizzone’s could’ve easily stayed off the radar and built 12,000 square foot home less energy efficient and without solar panels. They could’ve gone even larger with their house by avoiding solar and LED lighting and we would’ve never heard about them. It would’ve been just one more big ass house we all pointed at and said “look at that big ass house.”

And the Rizzone’s are taking their Jubbling to the tree lined streets of Newport Beach. Neighbors are not too happy about the glare from their solar panels and have protested their addition. But Steve Rizzone has used this as an opportunity to preach the solar gospel: “As we’ve talked to more neighbors and educated them on the benefits [of solar power], we’ve been able to turn some of the naysayers into believers,”

Now the part about the Rizzone kids learning about energy efficiency thanks to the building decisions they’ve made – I’m not buying it. Now if they did want to impart some knowledge on their children, they should start by adopting me. I’ll buy into everything they’re selling and I’ll even help install a clothesline in their backyard.

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Jubwinked? New Energy Technologies Inc.’s SolarWindow Uses Spray-On Solar Cells

New Energy Technologies SolarWindowOnce again, I hope New Energy Technologies is legit but I can’t help feeling Jubwinked again by a company with a technology that promises too much. New Energy Technologies just issued a press release about their spray-on-window solar cells that can outperform rooftop solar panels by 300%. When applied, the see-through SolarWindow technology will absorb sunlight entering the building as well as internal office lighting. According to New Energy Technologies, the SolarWindow “is made possible by spraying an electricity-generating coating on to glass at room temperature.” Conventional solar panel manufacturing requires high-heat in order to apply the the solar cells onto a opaque substrate and can not be transparent.

New Energy Technologies other product is MotionPower. MotionPower is basically a “speed bump” that generates electricity from the excess energy produced by moving cars and trucks passing over them. Here is a video that describes how the idea works:

[youtube width=”425″ height=”270″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DEv4g6PbSHg&feature=related[/youtube]

In related news, Pat Mehiney is taking his wool socks public after demonstrating to 3 or 4 people his amazing ability to generate electricity*.

*The static variety

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Aurora Biofuels Changes Name To Aurora Algae And Focus To Food Production

Aurora Biofuel - Aurora Algae - Algae TubesIt’s rare and extremely gutsy in the “green” movement to see a company with an awarded idea and a lot of dollars at stake turnaround and say, “hey, this ain’t going to work” but that is kind of what Aurora Biofuels did. From 2006 – 2009, their primary focus was creating renewable biofuels using micro-algae. Micro-algae generates four to five times the energy biomass per hectares than that of conventional crops so their goal was to produce a micro-algae derived oil that would reduce our need for petroleum and compete with less efficient plant based biofuels.

Then in early 2010, a University of Virginia study put a huge hurdle in front of Aurora Biofuels. Their algae-based fuel production’s need for water and fertilizer would generate more greenhouse gas emissions than would be saved. The problem lies in how the Aurora Biofuel’s micro-algae grows in suspended tubes and without the aid of soil. According to one of the studies authors, Andres Clarens, this problem does not occur with normal crops:

“If you grow corn, you rotate the field with soybeans so you get nitrogen fixation,” Clarens said. “You still have to fertilize a lot, but if you’re growing algae … all that fertilizer has to come from you, and the fertilizing demands are much higher.”

One of the solutions offered by the U. of Virginia study was to take the algae out of the tubes and use urine-removed wastewater as the primary fertilizer. But this solution would be limited by logistics and the need to place algae ponds close to wastewater treatment facilities.

What to do? Aurora Biofuels could pay for a study that counters UVA’s results and continue on the same renewable biofuels path or they could pursue a more meaningful application of their algae derived product. Aurora Biofuels chose the latter and decided to find a better use of their product and even went one step further by changing their name to Aurora Algae. Yes, they will continue to research and produce renewable biofuels but they will also focus on algae based products for food, pharmaceuticals and aquaculture. Their CEO, Greg Bafalis, introduced Aurora Algae’s new strategy in a press release on September 13, 2010:

“What we’ve created over that time is a photosynthetic algae-based platform for growth—growth in terms of the number of high-value, low-cost products we will provide our customers; growth in the number of addressable markets for our company; and growth in the impact we will have on some of the world’s most pressing challenges including carbon emission reduction, fresh water conservation, and global demand for protein and sustainable Omega-3 production.”

For Jubbling, it’s refreshing and rare to see a clean technology company turn on their original idea and try to find a more practical application of their product and that is what Aurora Algae did. We commend them for choosing the path of responsibility. Other companies would do well to abandon grand and often impractical ideas that will drain funding and stifle true progress.

Here is a video profiling Aurora Biofuels, the 2006 runner-up in the Transportation category of the Cleantech Open:

[youtube width=”425″ height=”270″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nnEdgB9M3Ok[/youtube]

Related Articles:
U.S. Navy buys 20,000 gallons of algae fuel – That’s 40 M1 tank fill-ups. Strategic move or just wasted money?

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Greenpeace Calls Out Facebook To Power New Data Center Via Renewable Energy Source

Success sucks and Facebook is the latest company to be thrown under the bus. Greenpeace once again is jumping into the technology fray by campaigning against Facebook to re-think and consider renewable energy sources to power their new Portland OR based data center. Under the current plan, the bulk of the electricity used to power Facebook’s new data center will be derived from coal.

The Anti-Whaling Greenpeace We KnowDon’t get me wrong, Jubbling is not dancing for Facebook. We just liked Greenpeace a lot more when they were chasing whaling ships and protecting harp seals instead of pursuing technology companies. Even their anti-nuke position was legitimate but going after Facebook seems a little opportunistic. It’s like they’re chasing dollars and and looking to get the most play because Facebook is currently the most successful non-search website. Five years ago, MySpace.com would’ve been their target but we know where they are now.

And the irony here is that one of the methods Greenpeace is using to drive this campaign is Facebook. They have 500,000+ Facebookers signing on to support their efforts generating more unnecessary traffic through the site. Also, Greenpeace is not above reproach. Some of their servers, according to The Guardian, are powered by non-renewable sources and nuclear power. (Note: Greenpeace is using offsets to counter their use of non-renewable energy sources for their web servers. Kind of like 5,000 Hake for 1 Minke Whale.)

What Facebook probably should do is offer to advertise on one of Greenpeace’s vessels. Like the Facebook Rainbow Warrior. Or Facebook, utilizing their marketing prowess and subscriber base, should start a competing organization called Greener Peacier and return the focus on protecting critters and stopping nukes. Only then might Greenpeace’s techno-dabbling end and we can all move on and dislike Facebook for other reasons.

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Let’s Go Fly A Tidal Kite

This article originally appeared at BusinessGreen.com, and is reprinted with permission.

May 4, 2010 – Jessica Shankleman, BusinessGreen.com – Swedish start up Minesto secures fresh funding and announces plan to install first prototype tidal kite device off North Ireland coast next year.

Minesto Tidal KitesThe world’s first tidal kite could soon be “flying” off the coast of Northern Ireland, after renewable energy start up Minesto today secured over €2m in new capital investment to help test its prototype device. The Sweden-based firm, which was spun out of auto manufacturer Saab in 2007, is pioneering the development of a tidal kite, which will operates underwater in a manner similar to wind kites.

Dubbed “Deep Green”, the system consists of a light weight turbine, generator and rudder attached to a fixed point on the seabed with a tether. The system can then move in the ocean to catch the best currents and maximize power output from the tides. According to Minesto, the technology has the potential to increase the potential tidal energy market by up to 80 per cent as tidal kites can theoretically operate in deep water sites with low tidal velocities that are unsuitable for other forms of tidal energy generators.

The company announced today that it will install its first prototype at undisclosed location off the coast of Northern Ireland in 2011 after securing 20m SEK (€2.08m) from a group of investors including Saab, Midroc New Technology and BGA Invest, as well as a number of unnamed private investors. Chief executive Anders Jansson told BusinessGreen.com that although the initial prototype will not be connected to the grid, the firm plans to roll out a 200 to 500kW pilot project by 2013 and already has an agreement in place to connect to the grid in Northern Ireland from 2012.

Jansson said he then hopes to deploy projects across the Irish Sea, connecting to the main grid in Wales and Ireland, as well as Northern Ireland. “One of the major advantages of this kind of technology is that it operates in low velocity depths of 60 metres,” he said. “We’re alone in those areas so there’s no competition.” He added that the relatively high tides and large areas of available sea bed made the Irish Sea an ideal location for the technology. However, Jansson admits that the road to commercializing this lightweight technology still faces a number of barriers. The company has yet to be granted consents by the Department of the Environment in Northern Ireland, and Jansson said that the company still faced a number of technical challenges if it is to make the system sufficiently robust and reliable.

“There’s also the psychological challenge,” he admitted. “When people see a new concept they tend to dismiss them as they haven’t been done before.”

[youtube width=”480″ height=”270″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qCDRj8TE9Y[/youtube]

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Finally, Off-Shore Wind Farms Are Coming To US Waters

From the New York Times

Off-Shore Wind Turbines

The Cape Wind off-shore wind power project has finally received its permit and will be the first of its kind in US waters. The project has been “in progress” since 2001 and has faced strong opposition from residents of Cape Cod, environmentalists and other groups based on aesthetics and costs. With federal approval, the Cape Wind project should make it easier for other wind power projects along the eastern seaboard to move forward. [New York Times]

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