AEC Tech News #18126 Oct, 2006 By: Kenneth Wong
Sustainable Solar Dynamics
Energy consultant uses SketchUp to analyze solar panel installations
John Humphrey, who cofounded the San Francisco-based consulting firm Sustainable Energy Partners, is devoted to clean energy pursuits in more ways than one. First and foremost, he's married to a scientist studying solar hydrogen production at Stanford University. He usually pedals his bike from his house near Golden Gate Park to the Mission District across town. From his office in a cafe-lined Bohemian neighborhood, he scrutinizes his clients' building plans and figures out cost-efficient methods to incorporate sustainable energy.
"I rarely receive 3D models from the architects I've worked with," observes Humphrey. "I'm often surprised at how much stuff gets done in 2D in the construction world, even today. ... What we usually do is take a floor plan and extrude up, or an elevation and extrude sideways, then fill in the gaps."
Suppose an architect wants to add photovoltaic panels on the roof of a project. Sustainable Energy Partners might be hired to design the panel layout that goes on top of the structure, then oversee the installation process. "Ideally we will get digital drawings," says Humphrey, "but if all we get is a printout, we'll take measurements, then recreate the basic roof dimensions pretty quickly."
So what can undermine a solar panel installation? "Crazy rooflines always kill me," says Humphrey. "What you really want is a big, flat, south-facing roof at an angle that will provide good solar exposure. There are some more specific, preferred angles for different types of solar technologies, but as long as the roof is south-facing and there's no shading issues, we're in the money." Read more>>
By Tricia Vita
What do CAN You Spare a Pear, La Cantina and Tour de Cans have in common? They're super-size sculptures created out of canned goods by architecture and engineering firms for recent Canstruction competitions in Dallas and Washington, D.C. After a one-night build-out, awards ceremonies and public exhibitions, the sculptures were de-canstructed and 50 tons of canned food was donated to local food banks.
"Canstruction combines the competitive spirit of a design/build competition with a unique way to help feed hungry people," says Cheri Melillo, executive director of Canstruction. The Society for Design Administration developed Canstruction with the 1993 New York City Canstruction competition and now it encompasses 80 chartered events in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
From Arlington to Wichita, dozens of cities are hosting Canstruction events throughout the year. Upcoming competitions include Boston (Boston Public Library, October 23-November 10), Atlanta (Colony Square Mall, November 10-16) and New York ( New York Design Center, November 9-22). The complete list of participating Canstruction cities and dates is posted online. Read more>>
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