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The new 'Architecture Wind' system is highly efficient, features a bird shield, and looks stylish atop urban roofs.  (Source: Aerovironment)

A series of the devices sits perched atop a city roof. Aerovironment is look to generate interest in preparation to mass produce the product and bring it to market in cities worldwide.  (Source: Aerovironment)
While some wind power may just blow, Aerovironment looks to be sleek and stylish

Wind power is an oft maligned source of alternative energy.  One common complaint aired is that it’s not cost/resource effective.  On a similar track, people often accuse it of producing too little power to be helpful.  Finally, some accuse it of being too obtrusive.  Even some environmentalists knock wind power for allegedly killing birds that fly into the slowly spinning metal turbine blade.

While it can't change such opinions overnight, Aerovironment is looking to slowly warm people to wind power by providing direct solutions to the frequent criticisms. And in the process, it hopes to transform the face of modern cities around the world.

Aerovironment produces building-mounted turbines, smaller than those typically seen on wind farms.  By mounting the turbine structure to the tops of buildings, the benefits are twofold.  First, the cost in resources of building a pole to support the turbine is eliminated.  Secondly, the turbines can be elevated much higher, exposing them to stronger winds.

The nearly silent turbines snap onto the parapet of urban structures, forming a design that Aerovironment calls ‘Architectural Wind’.  The rows of turbines not only catch cross currents, but also the frequent currents that develop up the side of buildings.  The result is a 30 percent increase in energy production and even better, a great savings in hassle, in that the turbines are quick to snap in.

While the system is extremely well designed and efficient, many will be drawn to its style.  The system's curvy design looks more like a modern art sculpture than a cutting edge alternative energy design.  This in turn adds to the urban appeal.  Part of the structure even serves another utilitarian use -- the large metal plate over the turbine acts as a bird shield, in an effort to minimize avian casualties.

Aerovironment describes their product stating, "Architectural Wind is designed to install easily onto the building parapet, operating in plain sight as an attractive complement to the building’s architecture. Additionally, based on its proprietary system design, Architectural Wind turbines rotate at low wind speeds, resulting in a form of ‘kinetic architecture’ that communicates clearly the generation of clean energy. Working alone or in tandem with other renewable energy technologies, Architectural Wind is designed to offer an attractive ROI and cost per kW of installed capacity."

A module weighs 200 lbs, allowing relatively easy installation, but also ensuring that it won't blow away.  They measure 4 feet tall by 4 feet wide.  Installations start at 6 kW of power production and can be scaled up to produce much more.  Almost any rooftop is suitable to the nonintrusive installation.  The product is in development, but the company hopes to mass produce the new turbines on a large scale, making them relatively affordable, and ensuring the systems turn a profit in energy costs.

While wind farms leave some with little to be excited about, Aerovironment's new approach seems an intriguing fit to bring wind power to an urban atmosphere and start cutting costs.  

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RE: I like it
By Einy0 on 6/12/2008 11:23:23 AM , Rating: 3
I say lets diversify our power production sources. The more energy sources the less likely we are to become dependent on one source ever again(ie. Oil!!!). Why not harness the power the earth gives us for free like wind and wave... And of course the power of the sun. I'd like to see a future where every roof top has wind and solar power collection. At least solar what better place to put solar panels than on wasted roof top space. Cost is the only factor holding me back. I hope that changes sooner rather than later...

RE: I like it
By aeroxander on 6/12/2008 11:50:35 AM , Rating: 2
There was a great show I saw, can't remember the name of it. Essentially they were talking about research going on to recreate photosynthesis. Basically we would turn our roof's into giant leaves. You'd go to your local home depot or whatever, and buy giant rolls of this stuff to lay on your roof.

It was a fantastic idea, I really do think we will reach this goal just a matter of time.

RE: I like it
By spluurfg on 6/12/2008 12:05:18 PM , Rating: 3
Doesn't sound like a fantastic idea to me... photosynthesis is the conversion of light energy to chemical energy. You'd need lots of water, and in the end you'd end up with sugars, which would then have to be converted into electricity, which wastes more energy.

Why not skip the unecessary step and use solar, or just grow stuff on our roofs and eat it?

RE: I like it
By heeros1 on 6/15/2008 2:55:07 PM , Rating: 2
I like the idea of photosynthesis, if they can make it work without loosing too much energy through the conversions, but the problem with solar panels is that they're at a little over 20% efficiency at the moment. there are companies though that build structures of mirrors and lenses to put on top of solar panels to increase the efficiency to about 40% (

RE: I like it
By FITCamaro on 6/12/2008 12:01:58 PM , Rating: 5
Had environmental groups not paralyzed the country in fear on nuclear power, we might be a lot less dependent on oil for our power generation than we are today.

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