I saw this light standard on interactive architecture a while back that integrates a helical wind turbine with a solar panel and thought while it is not the most beautiful light, that the idea of integrating alternative energy into urban landscape projects was intriguing. It could be a great design element.


Another interesting product is the QR5, but it is very expensive.


Has anyone seen other projects that have incorporated wind and/or solar energy?

Integrating pedestrian scaled wind turbines does seem like it would pose some safety issues that would need to be addressed. I am also curious how quiet the helical turbines are compared to the more convention horizontal axis turbines. The horizontal ones can be loud.

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Brian, thanks for posting those links. In my office we currently have one project where our client is planning on placing a traditional wind turbine on his estate as the primary source of power. Unfortunately it is not my project, so i do not know too much about it, but I am excited and surprised sometimes at how eager our clients are about trying alternative ideas. These helical turbines look very effective and not altogether unattractive. I can not imagine that they would be too dangerous at the human scale, but might be prone to vandalism in urban situations. All I can picture is kids trying to grab onto them and spin around.
There is something similar at the Moscone Center is SF. See the tall, silver, pointy things on the left? Those are street lights that rotate when it gets dark and I believe they are solar powered... but no turbines to speak of.

It is exciting to hear that clients are continuing to embrace alternative energy technologies. The faster the adoption likely depends on a region's cost of energy and regional incentives. On a recent project, I have tried to include wind turbines on a green roof, but it was quickly "value engineered early on in the design process. Besides the obvious environmental and economic benefits, wind and solar are those design elements that send a clear environmental message. After posting this topic, I realized I had just uploaded a good example of solar energy in the landscape. The large solar array at the Forum in Barcelona. It is massive. As for the Moscone Center, I look forward to getting photos of them when I get to SF.

In regard to safety and wind turbines, I keep seeing some child getting their kite stuck in one or someone throwing rocks a them. They need to be kept out of reach to reduce the possibility of vandalism. I love the sculptural qualities of them (particularly the QR5), so I hope to some day incorporate them into a project's design.

A cheaper alternative is the horizontal turbine like the Skystream. But as I mentioned before these seem to be much louder.


One of the largest problems associated with wind power in an urban environment is wind currents themselves. They are more chaotic due to the buildings changing the flow patterns of the wind. On that note the turbines that are shaped like a strand of DNA are more effective in an urban environment. They work so well because they capture wind from any direction it blows. I believe I saw them on the TV series Eco-Tech on the discovery network. I have never seen them actually in the built environment unfortunately.

As far as other alternative energies, this is an option that uses solar. I don't know if the form meets your expectations, but this may give you some ideas and the inspiration to work with some photovoltaic producers.


I hope this helps you out a little bit :)
Thanks for the link. I would like to see more viable solar lighting scenarios. At the moment, solar lighting seems to be more for decoration/accent lighting rather than serious street lighting for safety.

As for the wind turbines, it is interesting how wind turbulence effects energy output. When I visited the ER Systems roof near Minneapolis, they said they had experimented with where they positioned the turbines and found that they work best on the edge of the building instead of near the center of the roof for the reasons you mentioned. They were using the Southwest Wind Power turbines.

I thought this TriplePundit article from yesterday was interesting. It reported on the Mayor of San Francisco has set up a task force to address the issue of setting up wind turbines in the City.


"Although solar panels may be installed on buildings in San Francisco, wind turbines are not currently allowed under local building codes. In the past, with the noise and space required by most wind turbines, there has been little demand for installing them in an urban setting. But wind power technology is changing, and it is now feasible to use small wind turbines to power your home or business...

The task force will be comprised of 15 people including representatives from the SF Public Utilities Commission, SF Environment, and other renewable energy experts. The Mayor is hoping that with 3 – 4 months, they will have a recommendation for new building codes that permit the installation of wind turbines."

They mentioned another wind turbine system in the article.

Here is a video:
Found this article on treehugger.com regarding a projects in Chicago planning to use wind turbines: http://www.treehugger.com/files/2006/01/windy_city_colo.php

Makes sense in Chicago, right?
I came across this new Solid State Lighting technology last week. It looks like it holds a lot of promise for LED lighting powerful enough for street lighting. It won't be long. It doesn't seem like this one is in production yet. But if it can match the photometrics of the street light with half the power then solar and other alternative energy technologies become even more promising.


Image of their light (basically replacing a typical HPS cobra fixture)
These are in a car park in Woking, Surrey, UK. Woking has been very forward in promoting alternative energy, with CHP operating on a private wire network in the town centre, and a hydrogen fuel cell powering the local pool and sport facility.

This lighting is great because it can be installed anywhere with no trenching required for connection to mains electricity.
I just came across this website today. http://www.alternative-energy-news.info/ I thought it was a decent site for the latest news in sustainable energy...especially since they sort it by type.

Here was one article i found interesting...not so much for the article itself, but for some of the comments:

I think the comments are worth taking a look at because they give some good feedback on design from a more scientific perspective.
I stumbled across these lights and thought I would share them. Though they are likely custom, I would love to know who manufactures them. Perfect location.





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