This is one of the coolest green initiatives I’ve seen so far. And I do a lot of looking. Anyways, this is an affordable housing project in Oakland, California located at Central Station. It is called Ironhorse and it provides 99 apartments for families earning up to 50 percent of area median income. This means low income families or people who are just earning less because of this economic mess we’re living with. This project is an exciting reintegration of about 29 acres of unused industrial land into the surrounding residential neighborhood. So here it is not only good for the economy, it is also conserving wasted land! Already it has 2 stars.

But there are other “green” elements in this project as well. The construction of the units incorporated many “green” or sustainable materials and techniques, such as photoelectric energy generation and a vegetated green roof. This means practically no electric expense and a carbon footprint close to the smallest possible today. I love the vegetated green roof concept and wish I could do it where I am but I rent and the landlord wouldn’t let me. This lovely complex at Ironhorse has been given a GreenPoint Showcase Award for Achievement in Multi-Family Housing by Build it GREEN. All of this great stuff brings it up to 3 stars in my book.

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News item from Tech World News:

MIT researchers have announced that they have created “organic solar concentrators” that could make windows become powerful solar panels in as little as three years.

The concentrator is mixture of two or more dyes painted onto a pane of glass or plastic. The dyes absorb light across a range of wavelengths, re-emit it at a different wavelength and transport it across the pane to the solar cells at the edges. Focusing the light like this increases the electrical power generated by each solar cell by a factor of 40.

The advantages are twofold: the dyes greatly increase the power of solar cells, and homeowner are much more likely to incorporate solar glass into their homes.
The work was funded by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

Scientists had tried using similar solar concentrators in the 1970s, but abandoned the idea when not enough of the collected light reached the edges of the concentrator. The MIT engineers revamped the idea by using a mixture of dyes in specific ratios, which allows some level of control over how the light is transmitted.

More details can be found here: Tech News World

Resources:
Build your own solar-electric panel (Electrical Independence Booklets)

Make Your Own Solar Wall Panel: The Thermosiphoning Air Panel, The Fan Assisted Air Panel, The Retrotrombe

Live Off the Grid in 12 Easy Steps

Learn the Pool Heaters & Solar Panels Online Business Networking Secrets

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