My Wind Turbine’s Bigger Than Yours

| 6/3/2009 3:18:29 PM

Tags: Environment, energy, wind power, solar power, green building, green design, sustainability,

Bahrain World Trade CenterWind turbines don’t just collect energy. They collect attention. Environmental Building News writes in its May issue about the ways that many big green structures nowadays are incorporating “building integrated” wind power into their designs—and not always to generate much power but rather to make a loud and public statement about their greenness. EBN’s headline calls it “The Folly of Building Integrated Wind,” and for this rather staid publication that’s a pretty damning indictment.

Editor Alex Wilson, who reported the piece, doesn’t arrive at his conclusion lightly, however. In typical EBN style he come at the issue from an objective, information-driven approach that parses the pros and cons of wind turbines on buildings before concluding that “it’s usually a bad idea.”

“A green building is not green because it has [solar panels] on the roof—or a ground-source heat pump or a vegetated roof or integrated wind,” writes Wilson in his editor’s column in the same issue. “It’s green because it has an energy-conserving envelope, because it relies on natural daylighting, because it effectively controls unwanted heat gain, because it reduces dependence on automobiles, because it’s compact and resource-efficient, because it’s healthy, and because it’s stingy on water use. The heavy lifting in green design has to come from these measures, not from the window dressing. … Construction budgets are tight these days. Let’s not squander these limited budgets on high-profile visual statements.”


Image of Bahrain World Trade Center by Ahmed Rabea, licensed under Creative Commons.

10/3/2013 3:53:16 AM

Thanks lyn, wind turbines are one of the renewable energy sources in the world right now...although many fear that the most popular will become not effective ? any thoughts on this?

10/3/2013 3:53:13 AM

Thanks lyn, wind turbines are one of the renewable energy sources in the world right now...although many fear that the most popular will become not effective ? any thoughts on this?

tom hendricks
6/13/2009 9:44:29 PM

Thank you Lyn. I am not an architect, though I have designed many imaginary buildings in my publication, Musea. Most people know me as a musician (Hunkasaurus and His Pet Dog Guitar), an artist (conceptual art that challenges conceptual art, video), editor of the zine Musea, and one who is leading the art revolution.

lyn crenshaw
6/9/2009 8:56:26 PM

1. Tom Hendricks - I think your concept rocks. Are you an architect? do you have friends who are? 2. I agree absolutely with Wilson's thoughts that the whole picture, including the green envelope, is fundamental. 3. My horse ran into one of my wind generator's guy wires two weeks ago and the Reader's Digest version of the story is, my generator is out of commission at the moment. I could never in a million years have predicted how much I would miss the sound of that generator in the middle of a windy night. If you live where the wind blows consistently, a wind generator is a big happy component of your big picture. BTW, My house is off the grid; sun and wind are more than adequate power sources where I live (high altitude Southern Colorado).

tom hendricks
6/4/2009 11:52:29 AM

Someone explain to me this - everyone is talking about wind power , and even water power. In both examples power pushes a wheel to make energy. But when I suggest that you can do the same thing with turnstiles and revolving doors, nobody understands it. Adding a low cost generator to revolving doors in skyscrapers or turnstiles at stadiums and concert halls and you get FREE, RENEWABLE, energy. (You could actually do this with any door anywhere) But somehow no one understands this. Or will give it a fair chance to be considered. Check the reason why: The idea is free and you don't have to pay for it. Makes too much sense Is too cheap to install and run Cost's too little to run endlessly. Is actually healthy for the people supplying the power. Does not hurt the environment in any way Not enough corporate involvement to consider Not enough media has ok'd the idea for anyone to consider I am a walking zombie. I am not too bright. All of the above.