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Electrical Engineers


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  • 20 Dec 2015 3:05 PM | Deleted user


    (from Interesting Engineering dated December 6, 2015)

    Ever dreamed of living in a Hobbit house? Yes, you most definitely have. Well, you don’t need to teleport yourself to the Middle-Earth in order to make that happen. American company Green Magic Homes has the power to fulfill the utter dream of any Lord of the Rings fan with their prefabricated houses that look just like hobbit holes and are built in only 3 days.


    Developed to be covered by grass, resembling the ones from the movie, they offer the possibility of cultivating even a vegetable garden on your terrace. And they even have a pool, enough said.


    Adaptable to any topography, the mini houses can also be covered by snow or sand instead of grass. Design variations may also be requested to suit the customer. Built from eco-friendly materials, the 400-square-foot house includes everything a conventional house does: electricity, water piping and ventilation ducts. All this for less than US$15,000.


    You can check more about these tiny magical houses in their website and in the video below.



  • 20 Dec 2015 2:55 PM | Deleted user

    (from Interesting Engineering dated December 16, 2015)

    The ever growing demand for housing in the world is undoubtedly one of the greatest challenges of sustainable architecture of the new century. To design and build houses and buildings that are not only aesthetically pleasing, but that also promote comfort and sustainability is what Colombian architects Miguel Niño and Johanna Navarro from Sumart Diseño y Arquitectura SAS aimed to do when creating the BT – Bloque Termodisipador (HB – Heatsink Brick) – a clay brick designed with an irregular cross section and a large angled face that helps protect the brick from solar radiation. This allows ventilation to pass through the bricks, quickly dissipating the heat and reducing the temperature inside the building.


    According to the architects,

    BT – Bloque Termodisipador is a ceramic brick for the construction of architectural enclosures and facades, which adopts the same manufacturing process of the traditional fired clay brick, with an innovation in the design of the cross section used in the extrusion process. Its unusual shape, made up of a rectangle and an irregular scalene triangle, partially protects the brick from solar radiation and the transfer of heat.”

    Furthermore, their porous cellular structure allows wind to pass through the bricks and dissipate stored heat, while also reducing noise by breaking up and reflecting sound waves.


  • 28 Oct 2015 12:25 PM | Deleted user



    A recent report from Navigant Research assesses the global market for building energy management systems (BEMSs), including global market forecasts for revenue, segmented by region, offering type, and customer type, through 2024.

    During the past decade, as technologies have matured and the economic benefits have become apparent, the market for BEMS has continued to evolve. Along with strategic benefits, such as greenhouse gas reductions and sustainability improvements, these drivers are expected to fuel rapid growth in the coming years. According to a recent report from Navigant Research, BEMS revenue is expected to total nearly $55 billion from 2015 to 2024.

    “A well-designed and implemented BEMS provides energy, cost, and maintenance savings while supporting corporate objectives, including sustainability or climate-related initiatives,” says Casey Talon, senior research analyst with Navigant Research. “In other words, BEMSs can change the energy management paradigm to deliver strategic and holistic management of facilities and equipment through focused improvements in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), lighting, plug loads, and fire and security systems.”

    While the global BEMS market is growing, variations in market characteristics are shaping regional growth forecasts, according to the report. In some regions, such as Asia Pacific and Western Europe, climate change policies are spurring more rapid adoption, while in other areas, like the United States, threats to the utility industry’s traditional business model from increasing generation on the customer side of the meter are starting to generate more interest.

  • 27 Oct 2015 9:17 PM | Deleted user


    Nadine M. Post 


    Conservationists are celebrating a new law in California that expands the state's building energy-use benchmarking program to include multifamily housing and facilitates the implementation of the state's log-jammed commercial-building benchmarking program. The law, which will give owners of buildings larger than 50,000 sq ft easier access to whole-building electric utility data, makes California the first U.S. state to have such a comprehensive benchmarking program.

    "We are celebrating," says Maria Stamas, a lawyer with the Natural Resources Defense Council. NRDC, with the California Energy Commission (CEC), led a coalition that supported Assembly Bill No. 802 (AB 802), sponsored by Assembly Member Das Williams and signed into law on Oct. 8 by Gov. Jerry Brown (D).

    AB 802 requires each utility, upon request of an authorized owner or its agents, to deliver or provide aggregated energy-use data. AB 802, which also requires owners to report aggregated energy use to the state, is important because "we are enabling the marketplace for building upgrades," says Andrew McAllister, a CEC commissioner.

    Access to whole-building data will enable owners to make "smart" energy-retrofit investments and reduce owners' and tenants' energy bills, adds Stamas.

    According to the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT), 14 U.S. cities, one county and Washington state and California have rules for reporting energy use.

    The long-term goal of laws for benchmarking, which is the process of measuring energy use over time, is to encourage a decrease in energy consumption. Last year, 41% of total U.S. energy consumption-or about 40 quadrillion Btu-was consumed in residential and commercial buildings, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency. Owners that track energy use save an average of 2.4% annually on energy bills, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

    Compare Energy Use

    Energy benchmarking laws allow owners to compare building energy performance relative to similar buildings. Governments can use the data to allocate funds more effectively or create incentives to cut consumption, says IMT.

    California has had a commercial-building benchmarking program since 2007, but the program was not implemented in large part because of the inability of owners with multiple tenants to receive whole-building energy use information from their utilities.

    The requirement to share a benchmarking rating only for buildings changing hands, in the form of an EPA Energy Star score, also was viewed as less than optimal, says Stamas.

    CEC is tasked with implementing AB 802, which goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2017. Next month, CEC will start the process of defining AB 802's program. Reporting will be standardized around EPA's online, interactive building owners' energy-use tracking tool, the Energy Star Portfolio Manager, says McAllister. CEC will ensure that state and city benchmarking programs in California align, he adds.

    McAllister expects to have CEC's benchmarking rules set by the spring. "Our goal is to make benchmarking and compliance as simple and low cost as possible for building owners," he says.

  • 27 Oct 2015 8:04 PM | Deleted user


    Olivia Goldhill

    October 25, 2015

    Have you ever wondered why we don’t use light to transmit messages? Nothing can travel faster than the speed of light, but while we use light to carry signals along fiber optic cables, we use electrons to process sound and information in our phones and computers. The reason has always been because light particles–photons—are extremely difficult to manipulate, whereas electrons can be manipulated relatively easily.

    But now a group of Harvard physicists has taken a major step toward solving that puzzle, and have brought us one step closer to ultra-fast, light-based computers.

    The physicists, led by Professor Eric Mazur, have created a material where the phase velocity of light is infinite. Their results werepublished in Nature Photonics on Oct. 19th.

    “The phase speed is infinite—much larger, infinitely larger than the speed of light,” Mazur tells Quartz.

    This doesn’t mean light itself is traveling faster than the speed of light, which would violate the laws of relativity. “Phase velocity” refers to the speed of the crest of waves that ripple out when light strikes a material. The Harvard scientists created a material that allows these wave crests to move infinitely fast. This is a strange thought to wrap your head around, and means the crests of the waves are oscillating through time, but not space. Under these peculiar conditions, the Harvard scientists found that it’s easy to manipulate the photons, squeezing them down to the microscopic scale and turning them around. In other words, we can treat photons in the same way we currently manipulate electrons.

    And it’s electromagnetic waves that count when it comes to telecommunications. “These waves are everywhere,” says Mazur. “We can talk on mobile phones because, in our phones, there are electrons that move up and down to create a wave. This wave travels to the antennae of the phone company and makes electrons there move up and down, which can be detected and turned into electrical signals that can be turned into an audio signal.”

    That means the potential commercial uses for this discovery are massive. We won’t see light-based computers yet, as there are still several obstacles to address, but Mazur and his team have overcome a key challenge. “Usually, light needs to be handled very carefully and squeezed very slowly,” says Mazur. “With our material, you relax those constraints completely. You can bend the light, squeeze it, twist it.”

    Light-powered telecommunications would allow phones and computers to process information millions of times faster. And because light conserves energy far better than electrons (which tend to waste energy by creating heat), battery lives would be far longer.

    It may seem that we already transmit communications pretty fast. But if we could use light to process messages, everything would get a whole lot faster.


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