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Not Full of Hot Air: 7 Sustainable Buildings Fuelled by Wind Turbines
By Conor Skelding,
Architizer, 28 May 2014.

Environmentally conscious developers in New York City are getting with the program by placing wind turbines atop their buildings, according to The Real Deal. In just the past few weeks, urban wind farms have sprung up atop a luxury apartment building in Long Island City and 388 Bridge Street, Brooklyn’s tallest building. And more are in the works.

But, even with the best intentions, green energy in the city takes a little extra work. Normal wind turbines perform best with a constant, one-directional wind of about 10 mph and winds in New York City can fluctuate between 3 and 30 mph, changing direction often. But designers were up for the challenge, and responded with innovative, helical turbines that can produce power from any direction and perform better at wind speeds under 10 mph.

These types of green developments manage to both serve the greater good and compete in the marketplace. Here are a few gorgeous projects from the Architizer database that do just that, with wind power.

1. Three Glens by Mark Waghorn Architects - Moniaive, Scotland

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Set on a working farm in southwest Scotland, Three Glens by Mark Waghorn Architects is a self-sufficient farmhouse. It’s meant to function not only as a home, but as a place of education to increase sustainability in business and life. Its 110-foot wind turbine generates enough power for 25 homes; the excess is exported to the National Grid at a profit to the farm.

2. Sustainable Ranch by Studio NYL Structural Engineers - Sedalia, Colorado, USA

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Located on a land conservancy in rural Colorado, this house by Studio NYL Structural Engineers features views of the local, protected species of golden eagles, elk, coyotes, and mountain bears. The architects accomplished the feat of building a large house on a wide expanse and making it looks as though it belongs there. One of the greenest projects in the state, its sustainable systems include a 1.8 kW wind turbine.

3. 3716 Springfield by Studio 804, Inc. - Kansas City, Kansas, USA

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This house by Studio 804, Inc. is completely off-the-grid. The first LEED Platinum home in the Kansas City metro area, its wind power, solar panels, and rainwater reclamation systems, combined with sustainable materials and construction, were meant to serve as an example in an area in need of creative revitalization.

4. Cafe-Bar by Niall McLaughlin Architects - Kent, England

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Set on a pier, the Cafe-Bar by Niall McLaughlin Architects is meant to be a bare-bones place to have supper or a cup of tea. Exposed to the elements - and meant to withstand them - patrons of the cafe have a full, panoramic view of the water. A wind turbine powers the building and dumps extra energy into the benches, keeping the fishermen warm at night.

5. Cove House by Stanev Potts Architects - Massachusetts, USA

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Nestled on a slope among pine and oak, the Cove House by Stanev Potts Architects reimagines traditional New England forms and materials in a responsible, comfortable home. Shade, natural ventilation, geothermal hydro-AC, and local materials, plus a turbine, solar panels, and rainwater capture system make for a home in the hills that no one could feel bad about.

6. Straw Bale Cafe by Hewitt Studios LLP -  Herefordshire, United Kingdom

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Comprising a 100-person cafe, this project by Hewitt Studios LLP is meant as a proof-of-concept for low-impact construction. Local, recycled (and recyclable) materials that were prefabricated are meant to be demounted after 15 years. The cafe's solar cells and turbines produce 6 kW of electricity on-site.

7. Casa KM by Serrano Monjaraz Arquitectos - Mexico City, Mexico

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This house by Serrano Monjaraz Arquitectos is green, inside and out. Surrounded by gardens (which can be seen from all rooms), it is constructed to allow natural light and air to circulate freely through the interior. Sustainable sewage treatment, solar water heating, photovoltaic cells, and a turbine generator ensure a responsible living environment.

Top image: Casa KM. Credit: Serrano Monjaraz Arquitectos.

[Source: Architizer. Edited. Top image added.]

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