Will Tesla solar roof tiles be an industry game changer?

Elon Musk in a quest to make solar as attractive as electric vehicles may have leap-frogged many solar building innovations and prototypes in revealing a range of solar tiles (to be in mass production soon) at a show case event at Universal Studios yesterday.

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It is not often, or at all, that building products are launched with the degree of secrecy and flair that is the domain of new cars or smart phones. But that’s what Tesla did yesterday, revealing new solar tiles and power packs on a completed detached home, to invited guests. The event was reportedly powered by the energy from the display home, and then as the sun sank, powered by the battery Powerpack energy stored from the roof tiles.

Being able to generate more energy than required, and store that energy within the building for when it is not being generated, is key to sustainable buildings.  Such breakthroughs will enable both new build and refurbished buildings to move closer to the Living Building Challenge Energy petal imperative. Generating 105% of a building’s energy from the sun. And with roof tiles rather than panels, start to address the challenges Beauty petal, removing the all-too-often unsightly post construction solar panels

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The tiles price point is still be announced, yet whilst reported to be more expensive than standard tiles, they will be cheaper than the cost of tiles and equivalent cost of energy  over the life of the tiles or building. And far cheaper than the cost of post-roof or post-construction solar panels.  The tiles will also have a longer life time than more traditional US roof tiles. (US domestic buildings have a roof replacement cycle of 20 years or so)

References:

BBC: Tesla shows off solar roof tiles

Tesla: Sustainably Power your Home or Business

Mashable: Elon Musk tied together some of the disparate threads of his company’s various grand ambitions in a product launch event here at Universal Studios Friday night.

iSite Related: at last … low cost solar power that works in the (Welsh) rain…

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Read Later Connections: from green deal to stargazing and sustainability

A collection of articles saved to Instapaper this last week (mostly from Flipboard)

There is creative reading as well as creative writing.— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Inspiring landlords to take part in the Green Deal 

The UK Government are in the final planning stages of the Green Deal launch, their biggest home improvement scheme since the Second World War. The problems they face, however, are trying to get people involved and inspired enough to invest in the Green Deal.

‘Green’ solar cell made from plants news.cnet.com

A paper published in Scientific Reports today describes an improved method for making electricity-producing “biophotovoltaics” without the sophisticated laboratory equipment previously needed. Researchers said custom-designed chemicals could be mixed with green plants, even grass clippings, to create a photovoltaic material by harnessing photosynthesis.

Four hidden tricks for taking stellar iPhone photos by 

I hate to admit it, but my iPhone is always the first thing I reach for when I spot a photo-worthy scene. Sure, I own a digital camera, but my iPhone is always with me, packs an excellent camera, plus I have the option to edit and share photos instantly.

Why I’ve Stopped Pitching the Business Case for Sustainability By Jennifer Woofter

One of the most frequent questions that I get when I talk to people about my job as a sustainability consultant is this: How can I convince [my boss, my company, my crazy aunt, etc.] that sustainability makes good business sense?

Britain’s best stargazing locations telegraph.co.uk

One of the most ravishing sights on Earth should be the night sky – the brightest stars from the billions in our Milky Way, the streak of meteors, planetary neighbours such as Venus and Jupiter, the glow of other galaxies such as Andromeda.

Light pollution, however, means few experience this free glory.

AASHE Interview Series: John Robinson, Executive Director, UBC Sustainability Initiative

a detailed look into the making of a regenerative building, and what makes CIRS a new kind of “green” building.

John Robinson, the Executive Director of the University of British Columbia’s Sustainability Initiative sat down with AASHE to discuss the recently opened Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS) building.

Stunning Timelapse Video Shows the True Beauty of Yosemite treehugger.com

There’s nothing like a good timelapse video to showcase the beauty of a place or an event. When that place is Yosemite National Park, it’s a recipe for an especially jaw-dropping few minutes. This video, called “Yosemite HD,” is the product of Project Yosemite, a collaborative project by Sheldon Neill and Colin Delehanty to capture the true beauty of the national park.

Building the Sustainability Brand Within

When we think about sustainability strategy we typically think about a series of initiatives around energy efficiency, waste reduction, and product redesign. But our traditional focus on carbon audits and generating Corporate Sustainability Reports (CSR), while important, emphasizes data collection and does not necessarily engage people in ways that generate synergy and build scale. Few companies capitalize on the opportunities sustainability provides for widespread employee engagement and improving the company culture – in effect, “building the brand within.”

‘Microplastic’ threat to shores bbc.co.uk

Microscopic plastic debris from washing clothes is accumulating in the marine environment and could be entering the food chain, a study has warned. Researchers traced the “microplastic” back to synthetic clothes, which released up to 1,900 tiny fibres per garment every time they were washed. Earlier research showed plastic smaller than 1mm were being eaten by animals and getting into the food chain.

isite radar and roundup monday 23rd june

Last week was a busy one so not too much posting here, but below are a few of the items that caught my eye

Bristol is to become the first cycle city with 11 others – York, Stoke, Blackpool, Cambridge, Chester, Colchester, Leighton Buzzard, Southend, Shrewsbury, Southport and Woking – named as demonstration areas for the scheme. They will be added to the current six demonstration areas – Aylesbury, Brighton, Darlington, Derby, Exeter and Lancaster.

Last Saturday I led a benchmarkwalks walk in the English Lake District for a group of Facilities Management people. Great discussions over usability, eco towns, fm sustainability, fm in Cape Town shanty towns and the future of fm.  An emerging topic from the conference earlier in the week, and continued on the walk – the need for Aggressive Facilities Management

On blogs, Mel’s excellent article over at Elemental on Global air conditioning while Phil at ZeroChampion has an interesting post on Should we carbonize interest rates? and Pam over at Public Works talks from the trenches on investing in infrastruture in the face of credit crunch.

The Guardians articles that ‘revealed‘ the UK Governments blue print plans for a tougher approach to climate change. Many of which involved housing or buildings. Now why was this not included within the UK Government Strategy for Sustainable Construction. Joined up thinking, just in time thinking?

On a similar line a German town forces homes to fix solar tiles

Eco towns seem to be never out of the news with google alerts working overtime – has the opposition changed, from ‘we cant build zero carbon’, to ‘nimbyism’ to what now seems to be the ‘tescopolising’ of eco-towns. Next weeks headline? Eco towns ate my cat.  But today the Guardian reports on the forthcoming report that criticizes eco town proposals:

The choice of sites put on a shortlist to be England’s first ecotowns has been strongly criticised for their lack of adequate public transport links and other shortcomings by a government advisory panel.

George Monbiot on coalWe must leave the fossil century behind to reach the golden age of renewable energy, Mr Brown – making the important comment that its not what we do but what we stop doing

And finally, for now, much blogging and twittering of the planned be2camp event in London in October. here here and here