By mc solar (February 1, 2010)

Straight out of Portland, Oregon, comes a bold, can-do entrepreneurial, science and engineering based attitude straight out of the 1950s, recently almost completely lost to the American bipartisan (albeit, mostly Republican anti-science) innovation squashers:

via NYT: There are questions about whether the efficiency efforts will work as designed. “Most of what we put in our buildings is tried and true,” said Mr. Peck, of the G.S.A. “On some part of it, we’re prepared to be a beta tester. My dream,” Mr. Peck added, “is we will find a technology that needs a test and we will make the market for it.”

Yes, the GSA is going to take a risk and attempt a vertical farming solution, mostly for the heating and cooling benefits:

As part of a $133 million renovation, the General Services Administration is planning to cultivate “vegetated fins” that will grow more than 200 feet high on the western facade of the main federal building here, a vertical garden that changes with the seasons and nurtures plants that yield energy savings. The G.S.A. says the building will use 60 percent to 65 percent less energy than comparable buildings and estimates a savings of $280,000 annually in energy costs. Solar panels could provide up to 15 percent of the building’s power needs. The use of rainwater and low-flow plumbing fixtures will reduce potable water consumption by 68 percent. And energy for lighting will be halved.

“It will be one of the more energy-efficient high-rises in America, possibly in the world,” said James Cutler, whose architecture firm, Cutler Anderson, led the design work. [link]

This is nothing more than the kind of attitude in short supply. Just observe these statistics, just out, on the international race too energy independence:

China vaulted past competitors in Denmark, Germany, Spain and the United States last year to become the world’s largest maker of wind turbines, and is poised to expand even further this year. China has also leapfrogged the West in the last two years to emerge as the world’s largest manufacturer of solar panels. [...] So while Americans are used to thinking of themselves as having the world’s largest market in many industries, China’s market for power equipment dwarfs that of the United States, even though the American market is more mature. That means Chinese producers enjoy enormous efficiencies from large-scale production.[link]

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