SkyscraperPage Forum

SkyscraperPage Forum (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum//index.php)
-   Southwest (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum//forumdisplay.php?f=643)
-   -   Southwest Coffee Talk (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum//showthread.php?t=173766)

mwadswor Oct 22, 2009 4:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by HooverDam (Post 4517356)
On another topic...

There was an article in this months "Arizona Highways" about the installation of solar panels on top of a visitor center at the Grand Canyon. It also mentioned lots of desert land being sold for future use as solar farms. Im all for solar and hope theres a major breakthrough in it soon as that would be huge for the city and state, but is anyone concerned about losing desert to the development of these farms? I suppose its better than typical sprawl, but its certainly not w/ out its downside.

It got me to thinking of course about the need for a wider proliferation of rooftop units. Of course those photovoltaics cant match the output of the heat using arrays built out in the boonies.

My thought was, would it be possible/a good thought to build solar farms above our freeways? If you look at the top of ASUs parking garages theyve installed panels that follow the sun, as well as shade cars. Id love for this to become more widespread in parking garages (perhaps even made mandatory in some sort of phased implementation) but I figure you could also do it above the freeways. I was on the I-10 west of downtown today which is basically sunken between two large berms. Couldnt you build a huge system thats miles and miles long about the same height as the bridges to create energy? That way you get the energy, aren't using up any of the new land, and are having solar in a more visible place which gets people thinking about it.

I dunno, maybe its dumb. But I like the idea of a 'solar highway'.

EDIT: Ive also been at Sky Harbor today and I wish theyd take a more aggressive approach with solar. Every garage, lot, building, etc should have panels. Sky Harbor is the first thing a lot of people see when they come to Phoenix and it would be a great image for the city to project.

Creating "solar farms" with photovoltaic panels will always be a stupid idea I think. Photovoltaics make a lot of sense on rooftops, on parking garages, etc. I live in an apartment, so I'm biased, but something I would very much like to see done is more marketing/city codes encouraging solar at apartment complexes. Most apartment complexes have tons of covered parking, not to mention all the rooftops, I'd like it if some of the organizations that put in the panels and then charge for usage would spend some time marketing their product to apartment complexes and probably managed office parks too rather than just property owners such as home owners or large public entities.

While I agree to a degree that interstates could be utilized as photovoltaic corridors, you eventually run into a problem with the technology. I don't know where the limit is, but at a point you reach a percentage above which photovoltaic is no longer a useful technology. It doesn't provide power in the evenings when the usage is the highest, or through the night. Solar panels look space age and they sell well to the self-supporting crowd, but it does little good to provide power during the day when you still have to fire up the coal/oil/nuclear plants to provide power in the evening and at night. Coal/oil/nuclear plants take relatively little fuel to run, they use the most fuel by far when they are being started up. Sure photovoltaic is useful to a point especially during the summer and in replacing inefficient peak plants such as natural gas plants, but it is simply not a replacement technology for base load plants.

More importantly, it is still relatively very expensive, especially if you don't count the subsidies (which I'm still in favor of btw, it's still a good idea to promote greener technologies even if they need subsidies). I haven't done the research and I don't know the numbers, but once you get private home owners and other property owners to put up solar panels, I don't know that it makes sense to cover the interstates in solar panels too. Or maybe someone will do the research and prove me wrong, I'm ok with that, but I don't think it will happen.

The heat type of solar plants that they put out in the boonies are a much more practical replacement for base load plants because they can produce power late into the evening and through the night. It's not just about the amount they produce, it's about when they produce it. While it's a distasteful option, we may have to surrender a large amount of desert to these types of plants because it's still a better option than fossil fuel and nuclear. Better to cover the desert in mirrors than soot and smog. And better financially to rely on a type of power that's not guaranteed to get perpetually more expensive until it runs out.

Finally, (sorry for the long post), I whole heartedly agree with the idea of covering every feasible inch of sky harbor in the coolest yet most conspicuous looking solar panels that can be found. I love the idea of turning this major gateway into the valley into a solar icon to help cement the image of Arizona as the sort of Saudi Arabia of solar power. I won't go so far as to suggest that they cover the runways in solar too :D

mwadswor Oct 22, 2009 4:13 AM

On the power issue, I had the thought a while back, as politically incorrect as it is, why don't we use Mexico more for this type of infrastructure? I'm all for reducing our foreign energy consumption, but not all foreigns are created equal and I'd much rather give money to Mexico than OPEC. It's good to increase domestic power production, and with government subsidies it may make more economic sense to do it in the US, I don't know, but if NIMBYs and expensive labor are going to be a pain here, why don't we cover northern Mexico in the heat-type solar plants and wind farms? There's plenty of sun and wind in Mexico, and it's not that far to run power lines. Obviously we can't just barge in there and start building stuff, but I really don't think the Mexicans are going to object to the US pumping loads of money into their economy on an ongoing basis and as red, white, and blue as some people can be, I really don't think they'll object that much to loads of cheap, green power just because it comes from across the border. If we're going to whine so much about illegal immigration it might behoove us to help build some infrastructure in Mexico to better their economy so fewer people are so desperate to get here.

The main downside I can see to facilitating international power transmission is that it might backfire on the environmentalists. I would hate to do this to facilitate cheap, green power coming from Mexico and end up having it happen in the same bill as a carbon tax and have power companies start just building fossil fuel plants in Mexico to bypass the carbon tax.

End rambling for the night :notacrook:

HooverDam Oct 22, 2009 4:17 AM

Well I guess I wasnt specifically saying over the interstates would be photovoltaic. Is there something about the heat catching type of solar arrays that would make it impossible for them to be suspended above highways? Perhaps theyre currently too large, I really dont know enough about it.

mwadswor Oct 22, 2009 4:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by HooverDam (Post 4517542)
Well I guess I wasnt specifically saying over the interstates would be photovoltaic. Is there something about the heat catching type of solar arrays that would make it impossible for them to be suspended above highways? Perhaps theyre currently too large, I really dont know enough about it.

They require mirrors to focus the sunlight and heat the oil/salt to the required temperature. Molten salt's out because you need to focus the heat on a tower.

As I think about it, perhaps you could use the heated oil type. Basically it's a thin pipe of oil at the focal point of a curved mirror. The mirror focuses sun light on the pipe, super heats the oil, and it flows to a generator where it heats water into steam which turns a turbine (just like any other power plant once you've made the steam). I'm not sure, but perhaps you could line the sides of the freeway with mirrors and have occasional turbines next to the freeway. That would be sort of a nice double use of public land, but it wouldn't provide the shade you're talking about.

As I think a bit more, the other reason it wouldn't work is because why would you pay to suspend something over the freeway when you could do it at ground level right next to the freeway for so much cheaper? From a social/environmental perspective, sure, but from a financial perspective it seems like it would be sort of like building HSR from Phoenix to LA by building an L above the freeway instead of running it mostly at grade in the median/next to the interstate. It would be ludicrously more expensive to elevate it when land in the desert is so cheap.

PHX31 Oct 22, 2009 9:50 PM

Which one of you belongs to this post in the downtown Phoenix Insider??


The Saguaro Tower

Quote:

Downtown Phoenix has been under a major renaissance and has at long last begun to live up to its name of mythical origin. The city is rising from the ashes and becoming something beautiful and powerful. I like the symbolism and am captivated with my romanticized version of what the City of Phoenix can become. We face overwhelming obstacles for many reasons (zoning, bureaucracy, negative perceptions, etc.) any change for the better will take time and patience.

The city needs to understand what it is, what it is not, and accept those facts. The city needs to embrace its identity, and most importantly, the city needs the freedom and creativity of many different people and ideas. The old model of growth and development has failed. The costs of our sprawl are too great, and many of these costs are not easy to see, nevertheless, they exist. I’m speaking in terms of the cost of tearing up more of the desert and paving over it with blacktop to create parking lots and roads, the costs of fuel, the costs of time spent commuting, the costs of traffic and the damage to air quality and physical health, the cost of not having walkable neighborhoods, the loss of community and a sense of our history.

Despite these things, I love Arizona and I know I’ll live and die here. I’m o.k. with that because it is an exciting time to be a Phoenician. Arizona is charming and has a lot to offer. We are known for warm and sunny weather, the natural and awe inspiring beauty of the Sonoran Desert, Sedona, the Grand Canyon, we have prestigious universities, a rich influence of Native American and Hispanic cultures, and the best Mexican food on the planet. But Phoenix certainly isn’t known for inspiring architecture.

Honestly, the person who designed the Wells Fargo building must really hate humanity. It’s clunky and boxy and as inspiring to look at as that stuff my beagle threw up the other day. I can feel the seething disgust of the architect towards architecture and the city, as if he drew that building maliciously and created it to sneer at the world.

Architecture is art, although it serves multiple purposes as art and as a structure for shelter. Like any art, it expresses the artist’s value judgments and sense of life. Art should say something. Architecture, as art, can and should be beautiful. Phoenix deserves a beautiful skyscraper. I was excited about the CityScape project being built at Washington and Central because it had the potential to bring us a step close to good architecture. The original renderings and plans were, for the most part, pretty great. Then the project got scaled back, then the buildings were redesigned, then the height of the towers were cut, then the project was divided up into phases. (And as history has taught us, Phase II of any project in Downtown Phoenix has never been completed.) I’m happy that something is being built on that spot in downtown and I’m thrilled that the hideous Patriots Square Park (and I use the term “park” loosely) is gone, never to be an eye sore again. But the new tower is just average, it’s not inspiring, it’s not innovative (ok, the blue glass is different) but it looks like all the other towers downtown: safe. Aesthetically it’s just, well, boring.

If I was an architect (and I’m not) or if I had a lot of money to finance a new tower (and I don’t) I’d design and build, what I would call, the Saguaro Tower, which would really be three towers in one. It would be built on a dusty lot downtown because there are certainly a lot of them and no reason to raze another piece of history. My tower would be built up to the sidewalk to encourage pedestrians; no plazas that push the streetscape away will be allowed. Extreme care would be taken to eliminate any dead zone on the street. The middle part of the tower would cut upwards toward the sky, then about halfway up, the building would extend out and up, like the arm of a cactus. The arm would be solely for condos, the main tower for offices. On the other side of the main tower, another arm would rise up and extend to the max height allowance. This would be the hotel. An observation deck would be built on top, along with a restaurant. On top of the other “arm” would be a pool. Back down on the pedestrian friendly street level, I would surround the building with old bungalow houses; the little gems still scattered around town. I’d move them from their locations and use them at the base of the tower as a coffee shop, art studio, writers studio, bookstore, etc. Anything that encourages people to walk and be outside and interactive.

I know I’m a dreamer, but like a wise man once said, “I’m not the only one.” I wonder if anyone ever thought a rural farming community in the middle of the desert would grow to become the 5th largest city in the United States. I imagine some people said that could never happen. But it did. And even if my Saguaro Tower remains forever a vision in my head, I can hope that something, some beautiful skyscraper will someday grace the Phoenix skyline and be a point of pride, something unique that expresses the beauty of the desert, and a tower that declares, “We are proud of our city and our heritage. This is Phoenix!”

Why not?


HooverDam Oct 23, 2009 3:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mwadswor (Post 4517555)
As I think a bit more, the other reason it wouldn't work is because why would you pay to suspend something over the freeway when you could do it at ground level right next to the freeway for so much cheaper? .

Well I dont think you can, thats my point, plus theres less room. Imagine the SR 51 in your mind, especially the parts where youre in a concrete crevasse. My thought is youd just extend panels to span that gap from the walls on both sides.

Or like on the I-10 West of Downtown to Buckeye you have those big berms, I suppose you could put panels on them, but what happens when a Hummer flys off the road and destroys them all? It seems like the dirt and plants being there help slow down accidents.

oliveurban Oct 23, 2009 9:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PHX31 (Post 4518699)
Which one of you belongs to this post in the downtown Phoenix Insider??

The Saguaro Tower

I was wondering the same thing when I read it yesterday.

Leo the Dog Oct 23, 2009 3:44 PM

The Saguaro Tower...really? That sounds extremely tacky. The last thing this city needs is a hideous tower shaped like a cactus. What we need is dense, urban row houses to fill up those dusty lots, quality inner-city residential districts that residents take pride in. More people, more money being spent locally, creates more entertainment/shopping in downtown.

NorthScottsdale Oct 23, 2009 4:33 PM

/\ I think a Saguaro tower would be awesome.. What better idea for an iconic tower for our desert city? Or why not a big tower designed to look like a barrell cactus? Use green glass, you could have steel protruding to look like the cactus thorns.. it could be really cool if you design it right..

mwadswor Oct 23, 2009 5:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NorthScottsdale (Post 4519941)
/\ I think a Saguaro tower would be awesome.. What better idea for an iconic tower for our desert city? Or why not a big tower designed to look like a barrell cactus? Use green glass, you could have steel protruding to look like the cactus thorns.. it could be really cool if you design it right..

Wasn't a barrel cactus supposed to be the inspiration for the new Cardinals' stadium?

Vicelord John Oct 23, 2009 5:54 PM

I think it sounds gay, like something at disneyland.

Tempe_Duck Oct 23, 2009 6:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mwadswor (Post 4520000)
Wasn't a barrel cactus supposed to be the inspiration for the new Cardinals' stadium?

Yes and a coiled up snake.

combusean Oct 24, 2009 4:50 AM

The thorns could be covered in solar panels, making them not just decorative. You could probably design some shading around it as well.

I think the effect would be lost on some people. I can't help but think it'd just turn out like a big green glass dildo from hell, unless you somehow defy engineering and make realistic arms.

I've always thought Phoenix could use a big pyramid in its skyline. or maybe two--a 440' and 415' spike instead of the hideous mercado, reopening 6th St. If they were full city blocks with ground floor retail at their base they could seriously create some mass on the skyline while looking completely imposing and awesome.

CraftTeutonic Oct 24, 2009 5:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by combusean (Post 4521284)

I've always thought Phoenix could use a big pyramid in its skyline.

that sounds tacky, as does the saguaro tower

mwadswor Oct 24, 2009 6:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by combusean (Post 4521284)
I think the effect would be lost on some people. I can't help but think it'd just turn out like a big green glass dildo from hell, unless you somehow defy engineering and make realistic arms.

What's wrong with just building the giant glass dildo from hell as an iconic building? That would certainly get some attention.

This building certainly gets plenty of love.

http://lh5.ggpht.com/_c4WshzEPoNs/Sq...A/s576/205.JPG

Leo the Dog Oct 25, 2009 3:49 PM

^^^ While we're on the topic of tacky buildings, OCPE naturally comes to mind.

Has anyone walked along Central Ave next to OCPE recently? I guess they went with the less is more approach to landscaping. Consists of a whole lotta gravel with terrible choice of trees. The sad thing is, their surface parking lot looks lush compared to their Central Ave side.

Vicelord John Oct 25, 2009 4:10 PM

Can I have a show of hands, how many folks are non-drinkers? I don't mean ocassional cocktail, but somoene who doesn't touch alcohol.

I wonder because the other night I ordered an ice tea at the bar with a friend because I just didn't feel like drinking booze. The bartender looked at me like I was a complete schmuck and said I could make ice tea at home much cheaper, and then refused to give me refills without charging me an additional two dollars.

It would have cost me less to have a beer as it turned out and I just wonder if people who are hardcore non-drinkers ever go to bars and if they feel like total outcasts because they don't drink.

HooverDam Oct 25, 2009 5:53 PM

^Im a teetotaler myself and have never had that issue. I usually get a soda or whatever and they're happy to refill it for free. Sounds like that particular bartender was just a jerkoff. You shouldve told him you can buy booze at Safeway and drink them at home for far cheaper than the inflated prices at a bar, so his point was idiotic. You're paying a premium at a bar for the environment, not because alcohol is some hard to come by commodity.

NorthScottsdale Oct 26, 2009 5:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mwadswor (Post 4520000)
Wasn't a barrel cactus supposed to be the inspiration for the new Cardinals' stadium?

Yeah but it turned out just looking like a big space ship. I still think it looks cool tho. If designed right a tower like that would certainly be iconic. especially if its a new tallest. I also like Sean's idea of a pyramid. We need at least one tower that is creative and different in this city! As of right now the only icon we have is Camelback Mountain..

CraftTeutonic, what is so tacky about that? Should we keep building boring boxes?

PHX31 Oct 26, 2009 5:45 PM

I think we need a tower that looks like a shard of quartz... like one of the pieces below:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...al_93c3951.jpg

One that is more non-uniform would be the best. There is already a tower similar in San Diego (their tallest I think)... but my idea would be less symmetrical and fully cladded in glass.


All times are GMT. The time now is 4:47 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.