Even though the transition into a solar-powered world is very subtle, there are definite signs that we are moving in the right direction. On the site we've already covered several things that work with solar power, including airplanes, boats and cars, but this article will focus on something more fundamental so-to-speak. More specifically, how many significant buildings run on solar power?
How's this for a green lawn? It's more than 700 years old and one of the last castles where people still live in, but in 2009 the residents took a step towards decreasing their carbon footprint. Just by adding a thermal heating system for hot water during the summer months, this castle in Wales has reduced its carbon footprint with about 4000kg per year. Yes, it took some doing, but even an old structure like this can start to make a difference.
You've probably seen several movies that feature this isolated prison, but none of them has told you about the solar panels they use. As part of the movement to help America switch to renewable energy, the most famous prison in the country became one of the targets. Now it hosts 1 300 solar panels that deliver around 400 000kW of electricity on a yearly basis. This has brought the carbon footprint of the building down with 337 000kg, which can be compared to planting 7000 trees. If you look closely at the picture above, you can see the solar panels on the roof.
Even the Catholic church got on the solar power train when Pope Benedict had 2 700 panels installed onto the Paul IV auditorium. What's also impressive is the implementation that followed in the rest of Vatican City. About 40 000 homes received solar panels and now the city has a reputation for being the first solar nation state.
Okay, so we're bending the rules a little bit on this one, because it's not a singular building. Instead, it's something more impressive. The whole city is geared towards showing the world what a complete makeover can do in terms of renewable energy. There are currently 88 000 panels being used and more are on the way. But it's not just solar power that is being showcased here. All sources of renewable energy are utilized and the people behind the project are proving a very good point.
Poh Ern Shih Buddhist Temple
If you weren't surprised by the Vatican, then how about Buddhist monks going green? Even though monks don't really care about electricity, this building is a little different. You can find the temple in Singapore, and just like Masdar City, it utilizes several renewable energy sources. The temple was constructed in 1954, but what used to be a single story building later became a six story building. Given the natural wind the flows through it, wind generators were installed to boost the 3 different types of solar cells being used on the roof.