Building-Integrated Photovoltaics: Putting Power Production Where It Belongs
With energy so much in the news, photovoltaic (PV) systems are currently getting some of the attention they deserve. In its fifty years of existence, PV technology has dropped over 300-fold in price and has grown in diversity to encompass at least a half-dozen distinct methods of manufacture and a multitude of applications. With their lack of emissions, modularity, and absence of moving parts, PV systems are ideally suited for sustainable distributed power generation. This in-depth article briefly covers the scientific principles behind PV and then delves into the history and current state of the technology, a detailed discussion and analysis of the pros and cons of integrating PV arrays into buildings, and a description of the PV market. Profiles and photos of three building-integrated PV systems, an extensive sidebar on environmental impacts of PV manufacturing, and a selected list of BIPV products comprise the balance of the article.
On Ecosystems and Hospice Ecology
Praise for last month's feature and editorial. The most important elements of sustainable design are the hardest to quantify.
California’s New Energy Standards
The State of California recently passed emergency standards for energy efficiency in new construction. The broadly supported regulations all but require a specified array of conservation measures and are projected to save 200 megawatts.
Protecting Wetlands Just Got Harder
A January 9 Supreme Court ruling placed 30-60% of the nation's wetlands in jeopardy. The ruling transfers the responsibility and costs associated with wetland protection to state agencies, many of which are unprepared to take up the burden.