Archive for April, 2010

Declaration of the Solar Bill of Rights

Monday, April 26th, 2010

Serenity in city life.

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

Where?

Hotel Indigo San Diego Gaslamp Quarter

Hotel Indigo Gaslamp Quarter is the first LEED certified hotel in San Diego (only 19 in the U.S).  It boasts 12-stories of sustainable green building design.  Head straight up to the ninth floor to find a serene meditation deck, which, in addition to the hotel’s Phi Terrace Bar, is the world’s first installation of MoistureShield composite decking made from recycled polyethylene plastic and recycled wood fibers (i.e., grocery bags, milk jugs, byproduct from furniture/cabinetry making, etc.).

You’ll also find locally-inspired artwork decorating the hotel, including a 40-foot glass sculpture called “Indigo Waters” affixed to the western facade of the hotel between the ninth and twelfth floors.  Large-scale photographic murals of native plants and water-driven images, such as agaves and the Pacific Ocean, embody the guest rooms and public areas adding to Hotel Indigo advanced aesthetics.

What else makes me want to go here and stay forever?  Hotel Indigo takes recycling to a new level.

Equipped with a green roof, which is covered with drought-tolerant plants, reduces energy consumption by cutting the need for heating and air conditioning and will contribute to lowering the urban heat island effect.

Other ways Hotel Indigo has incorporated green initiatives to their precocious design:

  • Herb garden on ninth floor terrace with basil, spearmint, rosemary, and tarragon; herbs will be used in gourmet menu items at the hotel’s Phi Bar and Bistro;
  • Operable floor-to-ceiling windows in Phi Bar and Bistro and ninth floor Phi Terrace Bar, providing natural daylighting and ventilation;
  • On-site recycling program with recycling containers in guest rooms and operations areas;
  • Pantry and kitchen composting of organic matter from Phi Bar and Bistro; and
  • Reserved parking spaces and parking discounts for guests who drive low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles.

And last but not least, my favorite part of the hotel’s thoughtful attention to detail~

Hotel Indigo’s stylish, inviting design is inspired by the Fibonacci sequence, a universal design constant found throughout nature, art and architecture.  Adopting this mathematical ratio as a design principle creates a perfectly-balanced urban oasis of effortless beauty in the heart of downtown San Diego.

I’m ready.  Let’s go.

Haewoojae. A place where one can solve one’s worries

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

Sim Jae-duck founded the World Toilet Organization in 2001 to call attention to the fact that 2.6 billion people around the world lack access to basic sanitation services. His house is designed to look like a toilet.

Recycle contaminated land.  New Jersey Brownfields have a purpose.

Recently, converting brownfields or landfills into renewable energy projects has gained acceptance and attention much due to the state Assembly’s passage of a bill.  On January 17, 2010, A4341 was enacted, which authorizes matching grants of up to $5M per year under the Hazardous Discharge Site Remediation Fund to local municipalities, counties or certain redevelopment agencies for up to 75% of the cost of remediating contaminated property for renewable energy production.  This expands the current law authorizing such grants for projects involving the redevelopment of property for recreation, conservation, or affordable housing to include the redevelopment of contaminated property for renewable energy sources. http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2008/Bills/A4500/4341_I1.HTM

Challenges pertaining to developing landfills deal with settlement issues that persist for years even after the landfill has been closed.  Another concern relates to penetrating the earth to anchor pillars for ground mount arrays which can disrupt the caps that cover many closed landfills.  However, despite these obstacles, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has determined that approximately 4,100 brownfield sites have potential for renewable energy development.  The RE-Powering America’s Land Initiative found that in New Jersey, there are about 243 contaminated sites that have renewable energy development opportunities.

In August 2009, a 23-acre solar farm on a former landfill was approved by the city of Hopatcong; it is estimated to generate 8-10 MW of electricity.  One idea they have discussed but has not been formalized, is to have the Hopatcong school district become the major customer for the electricity generated by the solar farm.

Contact us if you would like an evaluation of your contaminated land.

Photo:  http://to55er.wordpress.com/

Electric cars are for dorks.

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

So glad I’m a dork.

Tesla S

ATTN Farmers: Solar Farming Farmland Preserved

Monday, April 5th, 2010

There has been much discussion and question as to whether farmers with property in Farmland Preservation can use that land for solar farming.  The answer is Yes.

Photo credit: www.treehugger.com

Signed into law on January 16, 2010, Public Law P.L.2009, c.213 affords the right of farm protection to farmers who want to install wind, biomass or solar energy systems on their farms.  Protection under this new law limits the size of system to 2 MW (approx. 8-10 acres).

Highlights:

  • All farms must file a conservation plan with the soil conservation district and where applicable account for aesthetic, impervious coverage, and environmental impacts of the construction, installation, and the operation of wind, biomass, and solar systems.
  • The power or heat generated by the systems should be used to provide directly or indirectly but not exclusively, energy for the farm and ensure farm viability.
For Solar systems on a preserved farm:
  • The system can be installed on existing structures, with no overproduction limitation.
  • If ground mounting a system no more than 1% of the farm including preserved and non preserved portions, or
  • The system can be designed to meet the farms energy needs plus 10%.

Farmland Assessment:

  • Income generated from the sale energy created from these systems shall not count toward income to qualify for farmland assessment.
  • The land under and around solar panels to the greatest extent practical is used for farming of shade crops, or other plants, or pasture for grazing.
  • That the land where the systems are to be installed qualified for Farmland assessment the previous tax year.
  • Farms in the pinelands wishing to install these systems can do so if they are consistent with the comprehensive management plan for the pinelands.

If you own farmland in New Jersey and are interested in using part or all of it for a solar farm, feel free to contact us.  We have several ways to structure the venture depending on your needs.  For example, if you just want to sell or lease your land with no money out of pocket to you, we are happy to do a preliminary evaluation to see if a solar farm is viable.  Another possibility is to join forces and we will solar farm together.

contact us

Click here to read Public Law P.L.2009, c.213.