For a long time, solar power has been very much hated from a cost-benefit standpoint but things are starting to turn around for the technology. Around the world, progress is being made to make solar power a viable alternative.
The Stanford professor’s Solutions Project famously lays out roadmaps for 139 countries, including the world’s major greenhouse gas emitters, to switch to 100 percent clean, renewable energy generated from wind, water and sunlight for all purposes by 2050. He made an appearance on the Late Show With David Letterman in 2013 and said we already have enough wind to power the entire world “seven times over.”
It’s no surprise then that his new house is incredibly eco-friendly. The 3,200-square-foot, three-bedroom, three-bathroom home was designed and built by Canadian prefab homes company BONE Structure. The building is zero-net energy (ZNE), which means that the total amount of energy used by the home equals the amount of energy created on site.
A rendering of the master bedroom. Photo credit: BONE Structure
The house runs on 100 percent electricity with the help of rooftop solar, a TeslaPowerwall for energy storage, a Tesla charger for his electric car and Nest appliances. The property doesn’t even have gas lines.
“The net energy efficiency, once the envelope is leak-proof, is due not only to the structure but also to energy sources and appliances,” Jacobson said. “I have no gas going onto the property; instead, all energy comes from electricity. I will use electric cars, heat pumps for air and water heating, and an electric induction stove. The house will be powered by solar panels on the rooftop and energy will be stored using Tesla batteries in the garage.”
Jacobson, who is the head of the Atmosphere and Energy Program at Stanford University, commissioned the company to build his new abode in order to meet his green buildingstandards.
“I study climate and air pollution problems and try to solve them through large scale, clean, renewable energy and I try to practice what I preach,” he said.
Jacobson also pointed out that because BONE Structure’s homes are prefabricated, it reduces waste, decreases dust and minimizes disruption to neighbors because they are faster to build.
A rendering of the kitchen. Photo credit: BONE Structure
The home’s shell is made of 89 percent recycled steel that is 100 recyclable, seismically resilient (ideal for earthquake-prone California) and safe from damage by termites and mold.
BONE Structure’s homes are built from columns and beams that are laser cut in a manufacturing plant, making it endlessly customizable.
“The steel frame system allows for exciting design features that would not be possible using traditional building methods,” Jacobson, who lives on an odd-shaped lot, explained. “Interior spaces and window lines can run up to 25 feet between columns.”
Additionally, as Curbed reported, thanks to a “clip-together design,” the frame took less than a week to put together. According to the publication, “another week was spent spraying it with a soy-based foam that, once dry, should provide an airtight envelope that insulates and keeps the steel from shrinking or contracting with the weather.”
The garage under construction. Photo credit: BONE Structure
The house is designed to meet California’s ZNE goal that calls for all new houses in the state to be ZNE by 2020. Jacobson’s new residence is the first BONE Structure home in California.
“This is a great first project for BONE Structure in California and a perfect example of the benefits of our system,” Charles Bovet, vice president of BONE Structure, U.S., said. “Stanford is an academically and environmentally focused community and a perfect location for our first net zero home. Our shells are net zero ready, meaning they are extremely energy efficient and with the addition of a small solar system they can produce more energy than they consume.”
The company, which has an office in San Francisco, expects to build 50 more new homes in California this year and is also is scaling up to produce 1,000 residences per year “to address growing demand for this disruptive home construction technology making it the only net zero-ready energy builder that can produce homes on a large scale.”
Solar Impulse 2, a sun-powered aircraft, took off from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City at 2:30 a.m. on June 20. The flight to Seville, Spain, took approximately 90 hours to complete—traveling at 140 km/h (about 87 mph). Bertrand Piccard, a Swiss adventurer, piloted the airplane.
“The Atlantic is the symbolic part of the flight,” Piccard told The Guardian. “It is symbolic because all the means of transportation have always tried to cross the Atlantic, the first steamboats, the first aeroplane, the first balloons, the first airships and, today, it is the first solar-powered aeroplane.”
Here are 10 best photos from Piccard’s journey on the Solar Impulse 2:
The Solar Impulse 2 makes an historic flight over the Statue of Liberty before landing at New York’s JFK airport on June 11. Photo credit: Jean Revillard, Solar Impulse
The Solar Impulse 2 lands in Muscat, Oman. Photo credit: Stefatou, Solar Impulse
The Solar Impulse 2 landing in Mandalay, Myanmar, after the flight from Varanasi in India on March 19, 2015. Photo credit: Stefatou, Solar Impulse
The Solar Impulse 2 team completed a record-breaking longest solar flight across the pacific from Nagoya, Japan to Hawaii—117 hours and 52 minutes. Photo credit: Solar Impulse
After a pit stop in Oman, Solar Impulse 2 sets off for Ahmedabad, India, on March 10, 2015. Photo credit: Jean Revillard, Solar Impulse
The Solar Impulse 2’s light ends gloriously with a colorful flight formation from the Spanish Patrulla Águila. Photo credit: Solar Impulse
The Solar Impulse 2 flies over the ocean. Photo credit: Solar Impulse
The Solar Impulse 2 gets a photo op with the historic strawberry moon. Photo credit: Solar Impulse
Piccard and Borschberg celebrate after completing the first ever crossing of the Atlantic by a solar-powered aeroplane. Photo credit: Jose Manuel Vidal, EPA via The Guardian
Thought to be the fastest chip designed in a university lab
By splitting programs across a large number of processor cores, the KiloCore chip designed at UC Davis can run at high clock speeds with high energy efficiency. Credit: Andy Fell/UC Davis
A microchip containing 1,000 independent programmable processors has been designed by a team at the University of California, Davis, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The energy-efficient “KiloCore” chip has a maximum computation rate of 1.78 trillion instructions per second and contains 621 million transistors. The KiloCore was presented at the 2016 Symposium on VLSI Technology and Circuits in Honolulu on June 16.
“To the best of our knowledge, it is the world’s first 1,000-processor chip and it is the highest clock-rate processor ever designed in a university,” said Bevan Baas, professor of electrical and computer engineering, who led the team that designed the chip architecture. While other multiple-processor chips have been created, none exceed about 300 processors, according to an analysis by Baas’ team. Most were created for research purposes and few are sold commercially. The KiloCore chip was fabricated by IBM using their 32 nm CMOS technology.
Each processor core can run its own small program independently of the others, which is a fundamentally more flexible approach than so-called Single-Instruction-Multiple-Data approaches utilized by processors such as GPUs; the idea is to break an application up into many small pieces, each of which can run in parallel on different processors, enabling high throughput with lower energy use, Baas said.
Because each processor is independently clocked, it can shut itself down to further save energy when not needed, said graduate student Brent Bohnenstiehl, who developed the principal architecture. Cores operate at an average maximum clock frequency of 1.78 GHz, and they transfer data directly to each other rather than using a pooled memory area that can become a bottleneck for data.
The chip is the most energy-efficient “many-core” processor ever reported, Baas said. For example, the 1,000 processors can execute 115 billion instructions per second while dissipating only 0.7 Watts, low enough to be powered by a single AA battery. The KiloCore chip executes instructions more than 100 times more efficiently than a modern laptop processor.
Applications already developed for the chip include wireless coding/decoding, video processing, encryption, and others involving large amounts of parallel data such as scientific data applications and datacenter record processing.
The team has completed a compiler and automatic program mapping tools for use in programming the chip.