There are endless ways in which you can decrease the energy outputs from your house, from installing radiant heat flooring to reducing the number of harmful materials used in your home. As homeowners search for more ways to be energy efficient in their building construction and renovation initiatives, structures around the country have led the way in installing environmentally friendly additions.
World's largest solar plant opens
Southern California recently began delivering power to more than 140,000 homes through the use of the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, a massive plant that has the capacity to produce 392 megawatts of power, according to NRG Energy, which co-owns the plant alongside Google and BrightSource Energy. The 300,000 reflective mirrors span over five square miles and work by converting water into steam using the sun's rays. Not only does energy created reduce the amount of carbon output by 400,000 tons per year, but it also provides almost 30 percent of U.S.-produced thermal energy.
In a news release, the president of NRG Solar, Tom Doyle, said the company will continue to provide clean energy solutions for people living across the nation.
"We see Ivanpah changing the energy landscape by proving that utility-scale solar is not only possible, but incredibly beneficial to both the economy and in how we produce and consumer energy," Doyle said. "Whether it's partnering, developing or investing, NRG will continue to provide a diverse set of solutions and technologies to get the U.S. to the ultimate goal of providing affordable, reliable clean energy for everyone."
Boston townhomes revolutionize government housing
Former Boston mayor Thomas Menino introduced a revolutionary net-energy-positive housing project in 2011 that would provide eco-friendly housing opportunities for individuals living in Jamaica Plain. According to GreenSource, homes built by the E+ Green Building Program produce 11 percent more energy than they expend, partially due to the sustainable building resources found within. Houses in the community boast superior insulation and rooftop systems that provide solar-powered hot water.
In addition to a reduction in the amount of energy expended by the community, home builders value the structures for their aesthetic beauty. Michael LeBlanc, Utile principal, told GreenSource that sky-lit bedrooms and upscale kitchens were featured as well. Due to the success of the neighborhood, the Department of Neighborhood Development, the Boston Redevelopment Authority, the Enterprise Foundation and the Office of Environment & Energy Services plan to develop an additional 50 apartments in a different Boston location.