The Whole HOG: April 2012

Water-centric Green Design News

Our April edition is focused on cleantech – inspired by our adventures at Eco City in San Francisco. For show and tell, we’re featuring our neighboring exhibitors, a company called BISEM Inc, producing building-integrated photovoltaic (BiPV) curtain walls. Find out more in the B.U.G. Design section.

As a follow-up to last month’s feature on financing sustainable water infrastructure in the U.S., we have a report from the American Water Works Association that offers a clear warning about the state of our nation’s pipes, and the associated costs.

The architecturally designed, modular Rainwater HOG tanks offers a cleantech take on rainwater harvesting. Capturing rainwater reduces reliance on aging infrastructure and offers a piece of the solution for alleviating pressure on the national water system and the environment.

Finally, don’t miss Sally’s heart-pounding article on her 8-day race through the deserts of Morocco!

April 2012: Eco City in the Cleantech Capital

                    Eco City at the Cleantech Forum
San Francisco

“Through bold policy leadership and aggressive economic development efforts, San Francisco has become a leading center for the cleantech industry,” said Mayor Ed Lee on the rainy Tuesday of March 27th, 2012.

As a kick-off to the two-day Cleantech Forum, the Cleantech Group named San Francisco as the ‘Cleantech Capital of North America’.  Mayor Lee accepted the award on behalf of the city in an outdoor ceremony held in Eco City – a public showcase for the latest clean technology available on the market. San Francisco is home to one of the largest and most concentrated cleantech clusters across the globe – 208 cleantech companies and cleantech investors.

Rainwater HOG in the elements at Eco City

Hold on! What is clean technology, you might ask? Clean Edge, a clean technology research firm, defines it as “a diverse range of products, services, and processes that harness renewable materials and energy sources, dramatically reduce the use of natural resources, and cut or eliminate emissions and wastes.”

Braving exposure to the elements in Eco City – set up in the Embarcadero Plaza just across from the Ferry Building – was Rainwater HOG CEO Simon Dominguez. Our multi-award winning Rainwater HOG tank has pioneered sophisticated, modular rainwater collection and storage in the USA and around the world. He was exhibiting among other cleantech innovators, including one who caught our eye.  Read more about BISEM Inc’s BiPV curtain wall – energy-generating glass walls for high rise buildings – in the BUG Design section.

Exposure to, and clever re-use of, the elements (such as wind, rain, and sun) is what cleantech is all about.  Exposure to the estimated 20,000 pedestrians who walk through the plaza daily was just an added benefit of Eco City.

April 2012: B.U.G. (Beautiful.Useful.Green) Design

BISEM Inc.’s BiPV Curtain Wall

BISEM Inc., our neighboring exhibitor at Eco City, is an example of a cleantech company whose growth parallels that of the industry itself. For Eco City show-and-tell, they brought along a high-rise-sized photovoltaic ‘curtain wall’ – a structurally sound glass window that generates electricity from the sun.

CEO Nick Bagatelos explains his solar-powered electricity-generating modular windows in terms of peaches.  He says, “If you have a peach tree in your backyard, when the peaches are ripe, you go out and grab a few peaches. After a week or so of this, the low hanging fruit is gone. So, you go to the garage and grab a ladder to get the fruit at the top of the tree, right? The rooftop PV (photovoltaic solar panels) are the low hanging fruit, my BIPV (building-integrated photovoltaics) Curtain Wall is the stuff on the top of the tree.”

Why is it beautiful?  The BiPV curtain wall is an elegant package – a glass wall that takes solar power from the roof and into the windows. As CEO Nick Bagatelas says, “Most glass walls let light in and keep water out. This wall also generates power.”

Why is it useful? The American-made BiPV Curtain Wall is a Net Zero Energy solution. A building must generate power on site in order to achieve Net Zero, but large multi-story buildings have limited rooftop area to add PV panels.  BISEM’s BIPV Curtain Wall provides an alternative location to harvest electricity at a cost effective price.

Why is it green?
The Curtain Wall, a structurally engineered glass wall that captures sunlight and turns it into electricity, can generate 20% of the energy required for a building to achieve Net Zero Energy.  It can also add as many as 7 LEED point to a building project, and it reduces carbon footprint.

Check out BISEM’s blog to keep up with this innovative cleantech company. See the real thing – a building clad in the curtain walls – at their headquarters in Sacramento. And in the future, find a curtain wall installation, scheduled for a 2013 install, in the San Francisco Airport, among other places.

Check out Sally’s blog for more B.U.G. Designs.