Gym Built from Bamboo, Solar+Storage for Hawaii Schools, & Solar Flowers

 In Cleantech, Cleantech in Action Series, Technica News

(Originally posted on Cleantechnica, as a part of the series Cleantech in Action)

Zero-Carbon Sports Hall in Thailand Entirely from Bamboo

Who: Panyaden International School

What: 100% Bamboo Sports Hall

Where: Hang Dong, Thailand

Products Included: Cree Multipurpose LED Lights, EPDM/SBR Indoor Sports Floor,

Vendors Utilized: Chiangmai Life Architects, Yang Ma Sports Tech, PSC Commercial Co


Cool Factors: This sports hall is built entirely from bamboo! The bamboo used absorbed carbon to a much higher extent than the carbon emitted during treatment, transport, and construction, of the project resulting in a zero carbon footprint. The total area of the building spans 782 square meters (8,417 sqft) utilizing prefabricated bamboo trusses to span more than 17 meters without steel reinforcements or connections. Student activities like basketball, futsal, volleyball and badminton can be held in the gymnasium that can accommodate up to 300 students. The building’s budget was $300,000 and is expected to last 50 years.

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SimpliPhi Power Makes School ‘Cool’ Again with Safe, Non-Toxic Solar+Storage Solution in Hawaii

Who: Waialua High and Intermediate

Where: O’ahu, Hawaii

Products and Vendors Utilized: SimpliPhi Power PHI 3.4kWh batteries (represented by Technica Communications), Ameresco Solar and Haleakala Solar


Cool Factors: Lithium iron phosphate chemistry made the energy storage systems safe enough to install next to student’s classrooms, as they do not pose the risk of fire associated with lithium-ion batteries that contain toxic cobalt. The O’hau public school district determined that it was too expensive to power air conditioning using electricity generated from the grid. But, solar PV and energy storage-powered air conditioning made both economic and academic sense, as some students can endure sweltering educational environments that can reach up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Solar Flower Blooming in Connecticut

Who: Lavender Pond Farm

What: Solar tracker installation

Where: Killingworth, Connecticut

Products Utilized: Solar SmartFlower


Cool Factors: Highly evolved flowers open and close with the sun, and the Solar SmartFlower is no different. SmartFlower wakes up at sunrise, fans out its twelve solar “petals” to 194 square feet and automatically cleans itself in preparation for capturing the sun’s rays. SmartFlower then turns to face the sun at a 90° angle, and follows the sun throughout the day using dual axis tracking to maximize solar energy yield. At night, the system automatically folds itself up for compact storage, then starts the cycle over the next morning. One SmartFlower produces the equivalent of a 4 kW rooftop system, which is enough to power nearly all the energy needs of New England’s largest lavender farm. See the SmartFlower in action with this video.


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Toyota Completes Texas’ Largest Commercial Rooftop PV Array

Who: Toyota

What: Texas’ largest commercial solar array, 8.79-megawatts of power generation from 20,000 panels

Where: Plano, TX USA

Products Utilized: SunPower 20 percent efficient E-Series solar panels which are Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Silver


Cool Factors: The headquarters took an investment of $1 billion to develop. Beyond the solar energy generation which covers the area equal to 10 football fields, this project includes a 400,000 gallon rainwater harvesting system. Additionally, since the solar array will only generate roughly 33 percent of the electricity the complex needs, Toyota has committed to purchasing the additional electricity required and not generated by the system, will be purchased from Texas wind farms.

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Engineered Water Solutions Manufacturer Covers Majority of Plant’s Power Needs with Solar

Who: Zurn Industries

What: 550-kw rooftop solar array

Where: Paso Robles, California

Products and Vendors Utilized: REC Solar


Cool Factors: The solar array generates up to 88 percent of the facility’s energy needs with 940,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually. That’s enough to power 70 homes for a year, and is expected to save Zurn Industries an average of about $110,000 annually for the life of the system.

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Houston Data Center First to Achieve Coveted Green Certification

Who: Skybox Datacenters

What: Skybox One 96,129-square-foot LEED gold Data Center

Where: Houston, Texas, USA

Cool Factors: Achieving LEED Gold status is very rare for data centers, and Skybox managed it with multiple solar arrays, power purchase options for clients that can provide them with 100 percent renewable energy, and three times the rainwater detention required by code. The building achieved an industry leading PUE rating based on its designed efficiency, which includes columnless data halls and overhead power options improving airflow, and an Evaporcool system.

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Projects We’re Watching:

Caltrain electrification project kicks off with groundbreaking ceremony

Ocean current generator produces electricity

JuiceboxType-C Bus 3:4 view