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Published on August 31st, 2017 | by Lisa Ann Pinkerton

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Gym Built from Bamboo, Solar+Storage for Hawaii Schools, & Solar Flowers (New Cleantech in Action Series)

August 31st, 2017 by  

We’ve partnered with Technica Communications* for a monthly roundup of some of the coolest cleantech press releases in a series we are calling Cleantech in Action. Some of the highlights this month include a gym built entirely from bamboo, solar and storage for cooler schools in Hawaii, and solar flowers.


Zero-Carbon Sports Hall in Thailand Built Entirely from Bamboo

Who: Panyaden International School

What: 100% Bamboo Sports Hall

Where: Hang Dong, Thailand

Products Included: Cree Multipurpose LED Lights, EPDM/SBR Indoor Sports Floor,

Vendors Utilized: Chiangmai Life Architects, Yang Ma Sports Tech, PSC Commercial Co

Cool Factors: This sports hall is built entirely from bamboo! The bamboo used absorbed carbon to a much higher extent than the carbon emitted during treatment, transport, and construction of the project, resulting in a zero carbon footprint. The total area of the building spans 782 square meters (8,417 sqft), utilizing prefabricated bamboo trusses to span more than 17 meters without steel reinforcements or connections. Student activities like basketball, futsal, volleyball, and badminton can be held in the gymnasium, which can accommodate up to 300 students. The building’s budget was $300,000 and is expected to last 50 years. Read more here.

SimpliPhi Power Makes School ‘Cool’ Again with Safe, Non-Toxic Solar+Storage Solution in Hawaii

Who: Waialua High and Intermediate

Where: O’ahu, Hawaii

Products and Vendors Utilized: SimpliPhi Power PHI 3.4kWh batteries (represented by Technica Communications), Ameresco Solar, and Haleakala Solar

Cool Factors: Lithium iron phosphate chemistry made the energy storage systems safe enough to install next to student’s classrooms, as they do not pose the risk of fire associated with lithium-ion batteries that contain toxic cobalt. The Oahu public school district determined that it was too expensive to power air conditioning using electricity generated from the grid. But, solar PV and energy storage-powered air conditioning made both economic and academic sense, as some students can endure sweltering educational environments that can reach up to 100º Fahrenheit. Read more here on Technica Communications and on CleanTechnica.

Solar Flower Blooming in Connecticut

Who: Lavender Pond Farm

What: Solar tracker installation

Where: Killingworth, Connecticut

Products Utilized: Solar SmartFlower

Cool Factors: Highly evolved flowers open and close with the sun, and the Solar SmartFlower is no different. SmartFlower wakes up at sunrise, fans out its 12 solar “petals” to 194 square feet and automatically cleans itself in preparation for capturing the sun’s rays. SmartFlower then turns to face the sun at a 90° angle, and follows the sun throughout the day using dual-axis tracking to maximize solar energy yield.

At night, the system automatically folds itself up for compact storage, then starts the cycle over the next morning. One SmartFlower produces the equivalent of a 4 kW rooftop system, which is enough to power nearly all the energy needs of New England’s largest lavender farm. See the SmartFlower in action with the video below. Read more here.

Toyota Completes Texas’ Largest Commercial Rooftop PV Array

Who: Toyota

What: Texas’ largest commercial solar array, 8.79-megawatts of power generation from 20,000 panels

Where: Plano, TX USA

Products Utilized: SunPower 20 percent efficient E-Series solar panels which are Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Silver

Cool Factors: The headquarters took an investment of $1 billion to develop. Beyond the solar energy panels, which covers an area equal to 10 football fields, this project includes a 400,000 gallon rainwater harvesting system. Additionally, since the solar array will only generate roughly 33% of the electricity the complex needs, Toyota has committed to purchasing the additional electricity required and not generated by the system, will be purchased from Texas wind farms. Read more here.

Engineered Water Solutions Manufacturer Covers Majority of Plant’s Power Needs with Solar

Who: Zurn Industries

What: 550-kW rooftop solar array

Where: Paso Robles, California

Products and Vendors Utilized: REC Solar

Cool Factors: The solar array generates up to 88% of the facility’s energy needs with 940,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity produced annually. That’s enough to power 70 homes for a year, and is expected to save Zurn Industries an average of about $110,000 annually for the life of the system. Read more here.

Houston Data Denter First to Achieve Coveted Green Certification

Who: Skybox Datacenters

What: Skybox One 96,129-square-foot LEED gold Data Center

Where: Houston, Texas, USA

Cool Factors: Achieving LEED Gold status is very rare for data centers, and Skybox managed it with multiple solar arrays, power purchase options for clients that can provide them with 100% renewable energy, and three times the rainwater detention required by code. The building achieved an industry-leading PUE rating based on its designed efficiency, which includes columnless data halls and overhead power options improving airflow, and an Evaporcool system. Read more here.

*This series is sponsored by Technica Communications.

More about Technica Communications: Founded in 2009, Technica is a boutique, full-service public relations, social media, content marketing firm, based in the Silicon Valley of California.

With over 80% of its client base focused on the cleantech and sustainability markets, Technica possesses the deep expertise and contacts required to deliver top quality results in these challenging sectors. Since the majority of Technica staff have previous journalism and newsroom experience, we specialize in highly-effective reporter outreach. Technica’s domain experience includes renewable energy, energy storage, electric vehicles, green building, LED lighting, smart home products, and more.





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About the Author

is founder of San Francisco’s Women In Cleantech & Sustainability, as well as Founder and President of Technica Communications. Lisa Ann is a former award-winning broadcast journalist who reported for National Public Radio, PBS Television, American Public Media, Free Speech TV and a variety local stations.



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