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Wind Turbines Coming to a City Near You
4/24/2013

An artist's impression of how the wind turbines could be installed on city buildings.   (Source: University of Wollongong)
An artistís impression of how the wind turbines could be installed on city buildings.
(Source: University of Wollongong)

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Rob Spiegel
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Wind keeps developing
Rob Spiegel   4/24/2013 9:54:31 AM
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Nice story, Elizabeth. Interesting that wind could deliver half the world's energy needs by 2030. I'm sure that would require advances in technology. This window-based energy collector may be a contribution to that.

Mydesign
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Re: Wind keeps developing
Mydesign   4/25/2013 1:23:43 AM
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Rob, but windmills may not be suitable for all cities or places. I my place we had implemented wind farms at certain areas, where wind is available atleast for 200 days/year. Other areas EB (Electricity Board) has instated solar panels for power generation. In certain places, they had implemented hybrid model, consisting of both windmill and solar.



Rob Spiegel
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Re: Wind keeps developing
Rob Spiegel   4/25/2013 1:43:57 PM
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Good point, My Design. Do you know what cities may be good choices for wind energy? Here in Albuquerque, we have a windy spring, but I don't believe we top 200 windy days. The need for consistent wind could create barriers to wind energy collection.

shehan
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Re: Wind keeps developing
shehan   4/29/2013 12:50:02 PM
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@Rob – yes you have a point, some don't get wind for most of the days, and this is when we should use a combination of solar panels and wind turbines to balance off. Do you think this will solve the problem?

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Wind keeps developing
Rob Spiegel   5/1/2013 4:28:40 PM
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I can see that the solar/wind combo could be a good combination. However, many offices and residences may have windows for wind, but if they're on the 20th floor of a 40-story building, they would not have roof space for solar. Another concern might be the loss of view from the window that has now become a wind turbine.

Charles Murray
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Re: Wind keeps developing
Charles Murray   5/1/2013 9:58:09 PM
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Admittedly, Rob, it would also look pretty strange to have a 200-foot-tall wind turbine atop a 30-story building.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Wind keeps developing
Rob Spiegel   5/2/2013 9:58:08 PM
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Yes, that would look strange, Chuck. Yet I remember the first time I saw wind turbines on the Texas plains, like something out of one of those early science fiction magazines. They gave me the willies, but they were also beautiful in their way

Charles Murray
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Re: Wind keeps developing
Charles Murray   5/9/2013 7:25:46 PM
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Rob, I'm afraid I feel the same way you used to. When I drive about 60 miles west of Chicago, I see great groups of wind turbines in the farm lands. They do detract from the serene look of that area.

Mydesign
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Re: Wind keeps developing
Mydesign   4/30/2013 1:05:27 AM
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"Do you know what cities may be good choices for wind energy? Here in Albuquerque, we have a windy spring, but I don't believe we top 200 windy days. The need for consistent wind could create barriers to wind energy collection."

Rob, am from India and here in most parts of southern states like Tamilnadu and Kerala has deployed similar models. These states have a vast costal area with Arabian sea and hence a good source of wind too.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Wind keeps developing
Rob Spiegel   5/2/2013 10:29:59 AM
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Hey, Mydesign, I live in Albuquerque, too. As you mentioned, we have plenty of wind during the string. But as a father of a kite-loving daughter, I can testify that most days here are not that windy. We have plenty of opportunity for solar however, since we get tons of sunshine.

Mydesign
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Re: Wind keeps developing
Mydesign   5/2/2013 11:32:05 PM
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"I live in Albuquerque, too. As you mentioned, we have plenty of wind during the string. But as a father of a kite-loving daughter, I can testify that most days here are not that windy. We have plenty of opportunity for solar however, since we get tons of sunshine."

Rob, we cannot assure the availability of both sunlight and wind throughout the year. That's the reason; we had implemented hybrid models, so that one or another will, be there throughout the year.



Rob Spiegel
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Re: Wind keeps developing
Rob Spiegel   5/6/2013 10:50:08 AM
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Acutually, MyDesign, Albuquerque is a good city for a combo of wind and solar. Right now, it's overcast and windy. When it clears up, the wind will go, but the sun will come out.

Mydesign
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Re: Wind keeps developing
Mydesign   5/7/2013 11:43:39 PM
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"Acutually, MyDesign, Albuquerque is a good city for a combo of wind and solar. Right now, it's overcast and windy. When it clears up, the wind will go, but the sun will come out."

Rob, then I think it may be one of the good place to live in. lucky fellows.



shehan
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Re: Wind keeps developing
shehan   4/29/2013 12:16:18 PM
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MyDesing – Yes as you said some areas do have much wind to generate energy, for such areas we could easily use solar panels to generate power as we have ample sun light that we waste. 

Mydesign
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Re: Wind keeps developing
Mydesign   4/30/2013 12:58:10 AM
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"Yes as you said some areas do have much wind to generate energy, for such areas we could easily use solar panels to generate power as we have ample sun light that we waste. "

Shehan, if it's a hybrid model then the absence of one source can be maintain/substitute by the other. I mean if its cloudy day, sunlight may not be there and hence power can be generated by wind and vice versa.

shehan
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Re: Wind keeps developing
shehan   4/29/2013 12:09:25 PM
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@Elizabeth – Impressive article, it's nice to see we are making use of the nature without finally destroying it. Renewable energy is what we need now as at the present situation we will very soon be short of fuel and other energy sources. 

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Wind keeps developing
Rob Spiegel   4/30/2013 8:14:33 PM
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Hey Shehan, unfortunately, we won't run low on fuel anytinme soon. The high price of fuel has spurred a wave of exporation and new technology to extract hard-to-get-to oil and gas (fracking). Those sources remain cheaper than most alternative fuels.

NadineJ
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for the birds
NadineJ   4/24/2013 11:04:05 AM
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This is very cool.  When I looked at the picture, the first thing I thought was "what about the birds?"  Not only could the birds get hurt/killed but they could also damage the turbines.

Is there any info yet on how that would be solved?

far911
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Re: for the birds
far911   4/25/2013 2:42:42 AM
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Nadine I think they will not leave the turbines naked to the environment, they may shield them using netted steel sheets in order to prevent accidents as well as to maintain smooth operation. 

tekochip
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Re: for the birds
tekochip   4/25/2013 8:26:05 AM
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That's quite a few moving parts, I'll bet it makes a bunch of noise.

shehan
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Re: for the birds
shehan   4/29/2013 12:34:57 PM
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@tekochip – Yes turbines have many moving parts, but I don't think it would make much noise other than the noise of the wind. I think that because the wind turbine generate energy not consumes it. Any engine that consumes energy will usually make sound when it burns the energy,

shehan
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Re: for the birds
shehan   4/29/2013 12:32:20 PM
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@far911 – Yes for smooth operations they will definitely have something fixed in front of the turbines, else they would have to repair or service the turbine every hour. 

shehan
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Re: for the birds
shehan   4/29/2013 12:11:43 PM
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@NadineJ - I am sure there is a way to stop birds been sucked to the turbine. A simple solution I see is to have a mesh in front of the turbine, or probably a red flashing light to scare away the birds.

NadineJ
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Re: for the birds
NadineJ   4/29/2013 2:06:42 PM
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@shehan-interesting thoughts.  The mesh protects the turbines but not the birds.  They'll very likely fly into the mesh.  How would that get cleaned regularly?

Red flashing lights aren't much of a deterrent for urban birds.  Pigeons nest in stoplights often.  From what I've seen, all three colours are acceptable.

Mydesign
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Hybrid Mode with Windmill
Mydesign   4/25/2013 1:20:10 AM
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"You don't normally find a wind turbine in the middle of a large metropolitan area, .......... has developed a wind turbine that can be positioned between, or atop, skyscrapers and large buildings to harvest wind areas in urban areas."

Elizabeth, but in my country we can see small wind mills over most of the buildings as a part of hybrid power generator. They used to install small turbine type windmill (hybrid mode) along with solar panels to generate power.

shehan
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Re: Hybrid Mode with Windmill
shehan   4/29/2013 12:14:32 PM
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@Mydesign – having small turbines on top of skyscrapers is a good idea; we need to use all sources of hybrid energy. We are still wasting a lot of natural resources. Solar panels and wind turbines are some of the best ways we could harvest the energy. 

shehan
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Re: Hybrid Mode with Windmill
shehan   4/29/2013 12:21:10 PM
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@MyDesign – Have you heard of the net metering method, this generates solar power from the panels located on roof tops of houses and connects them to the power grid.

  

Mydesign
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Re: Hybrid Mode with Windmill
Mydesign   4/30/2013 12:55:48 AM
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"we need to use all sources of hybrid energy. We are still wasting a lot of natural resources. Solar panels and wind turbines are some of the best ways we could harvest the energy. "

Shehan, apart from solar, there are many other natural resources, which can be used for power generation. Wind, waterfalls (Hydro), sea waves (tidal) etc are some of them.

pnadams
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Done before...
pnadams   4/25/2013 8:35:08 AM
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This has be done before it's commonly referred to the 'ladder mill'. Or, maybe I should say it has not been done, but has been patented several times as far back as 1972. The reason it has not be done, is because it's not an efficient way to extract power from air flow.

If you were going to spend money to extract power from air flow, you would compare this to a rotating blade an see that the return on investment dictated a rotating blade. Then you might think about a vertical axis wind turbine and see that the return on investment dictated a horizontal axis wind turbine. You might think about putting a shroud, end plates, funnels, or whatever on your wind turbine and find that it would be much cheaper to simply extend the blades a little longer.

There is a reason all wind turbines look pretty much alike, the laws of physics and economics dictate how they look.

rainmaking
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Re: Done before...
rainmaking   4/25/2013 12:46:37 PM
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pnadams-

You are probably right with almost all of your comments, but not so much in the case of the vertical axis turbine. Our pitch-controlled vertical machine has a Cp higher than any traditional horizontal-axis turbine commercially available. It is also quieter, more bird friendly, and easier on the eyes than traditional machines. Unfortunately we only make a 70kW version at the moment.

pnadams
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Re: Done before...
pnadams   4/25/2013 1:51:47 PM
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Can you post a link or URL?

rainmaking
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Re: Done before...
rainmaking   4/29/2013 1:15:02 PM
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inerjy.com

shehan
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Re: Done before...
shehan   4/29/2013 12:42:08 PM
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@rainmaking  - I am not much familiar on the sizes and the power the wind turbine generates. Would you know the size of a 70kW turbine? Can we not make it small and use a step up transformer to increase the power. 

William K.
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Re: Done before...
William K.   4/29/2013 4:18:07 PM
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Shehan, a transformer is not a way to increase the power. One could increase the voltage, but the power is a fairly constant quantity. Captured power is a direct function of the effective area that is capturing the wind. No way around that.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Done before...
Elizabeth M   4/26/2013 5:30:54 AM
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I didn't know about that pnadams, thanks for the information. I will do some research. As this PowerWINDows technology is still in its early stages, perhaps there is some twist on the technology that can make it work. I think it's too early to tell.

shehan
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Re: Done before...
shehan   4/29/2013 1:00:18 PM
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@Elizabeth – I think PowerWINDows technology is still new to the world and needs to establish and prove itself first for the users to start using it. I wonder how long it will take?

shehan
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Re: Done before...
shehan   4/29/2013 12:37:14 PM
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@pnadams – Well explained how wind turbines evolved, this is basically the same methods that was use sometime back, the only difference is now we use modern technology to make it small and harvest more energy.

DB_Wilson
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Concrete Canyons
DB_Wilson   4/25/2013 8:41:18 AM
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This may be very good in the concrete canyons in many large cities.  The channelling effects of the buildings will raise the wind speeds.  The channeling may help with the inability to turn the generator to face the wind.  This generator may be less of a problem with bird strikes than the rotating propeller type turbines.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Concrete Canyons
Elizabeth M   4/26/2013 5:47:39 AM
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That is something I didn't think of, DB, but that could be a really good use of this technology, considering how some streets are like wind tunnels. I had a lot of experience with this phenomenon when I lived in NYC. I'm not sure, however, where the best place would be to put the technology, though. Although I'm sure that could be worked out by much more intelligent people than me.

shehan
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Re: Concrete Canyons
shehan   4/29/2013 1:02:32 PM
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@Elizabeth – I think in NY we could have the small wind turbines and solar panels on top of roofs on skyscrapers. Solar panels could also be on streets to light up the street light there by at least contributing something to the power grid. 

William K.
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Where are the turbines in the picture?
William K.   4/25/2013 4:41:49 PM
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If the wind turbine is a horizontal axis device that looks a bit like a centifugal blower, then it certainly would be much less visible, and it might be less efficient as well. But wind is free, it is only the ROI that pushes for capturing the very most energy possible, disregarding appearance end everything else. A horizontal axis barrel-shaped turbine could be supported on both ends, making the structure easier to design, and allowing for a simpler suport arrangement. In addition there is that very real effect of tall buildings channeling the wind into high speed jetstreams, which might be used to an advantage in this application. 

But the very biggest advantage would be that the energy is being recovered in the area where it is needed, which would reduce the transport costs a lot.

Debera Harward
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Re: Where are the turbines in the picture?
Debera Harward   4/25/2013 5:48:29 PM
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William , Everything agreed but what i think is there will be one drawback i.e absence of wind,It wont be able to produce energy in the areas where there is no wind ,This technology is usefull for only places where there is lot of wind

shehan
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Re: Where are the turbines in the picture?
shehan   4/29/2013 12:55:19 PM
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@Debera – yes wind turbines could only be used where there is wind, but my opinion is we should use multiple methods to generate renewable energy. There might be an instance where we don't have wind but have ample sun light; we could use solar panels to make use of the sunlight we waste. 

Debera Harward
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Re: Where are the turbines in the picture?
Debera Harward   4/30/2013 6:54:11 AM
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Shehan, Agreed what you are saying but dont you think so one should use permanent method of energy production .like noise it is almost every where even where there are no humans we can get sound by animals insects or birds

jmiller
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Re: Where are the turbines in the picture?
jmiller   4/30/2013 8:50:54 PM
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I've read that Iowa is the third largest state in production of wing power.  However, one of the biggest problems is getting the energy from where it is generated to where it can be used.  In that example it's places like Chicago, Kansas City and St Louis that can use the energy that generated in little ol' Iowa.

Debera Harward
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Re: Where are the turbines in the picture?
Debera Harward   4/25/2013 5:48:35 PM
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William , Everything agreed but what i think is there will be one drawback i.e absence of wind,It wont be able to produce energy in the areas where there is no wind ,This technology is usefull for only places where there is lot of wind

William K.
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Re: Where are the turbines in the picture?
William K.   4/25/2013 6:59:21 PM
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Debera, you are certainly correct that if there is no wind then there is no energy capture. But I have found that on many occasions there is more wind up a couple of hundred feet than there is at ground level, which would seem to be a special case of the coanda effect coupled with laminar flow theory. BUT if there really is no wind, then the wind turbines would indeed be useless and a waste of resources. A really cheap check, which would educate the public as well as provide good information, would be to hange streamers from the areas where the wind turbines are proposed to be installed. If the streamers were always flying then there is wind, but if the streamers were never flying then the wind is simply not there. Cheap instrumentation indeed.

Charles Murray
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Re: Where are the turbines in the picture?
Charles Murray   4/25/2013 9:11:31 PM
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I agree that there seems to be more wind up high, William K. My information is purely anecdotal, but I was once up Chicago's Sears Tower (now called Willis Tower) and watched as a hanging ceiling fixture "swung" back and forth in an office on the 70th floor. It was explained to me that the hanging lamp often appeared to be swinging, when in fact it was not really moving at all. The truth was that the building was swaying and the hanging lamp was standing still. It takes quite a bit of wind to accomplish that. It probably doesn't prove much, but it's a good story, and it's true.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Where are the turbines in the picture?
Elizabeth M   4/26/2013 5:51:11 AM
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Interesting, Chuck. I think this also is meant to be used up high on top of buildings as well, which I think I mentioned in the story. So it would be able to take advantage of the wind up there. Probably both the building and the PowerWINDows installation would both be moving, which I think the engineers would have to take into consideration when they install it.

Charles Murray
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Re: Where are the turbines in the picture?
Charles Murray   4/26/2013 6:25:45 PM
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I do believe that the wind currents can also be tremendous between buildings, Liz. I know there have been cases where the low-prssure effects of wind currents between tall buildings have actually sucked glass panels from the exteriors of office buildings.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Where are the turbines in the picture?
Elizabeth M   4/29/2013 4:10:25 AM
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Indeed, Chuck, that is certainly true, and probably one of the best uses of the technology once safety issues are addressed.

Charles Murray
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Re: Where are the turbines in the picture?
Charles Murray   4/29/2013 7:34:31 PM
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If there's a way to put wind turbines up high between buildings, it would seem like a good source of power, Liz.

shehan
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Re: Where are the turbines in the picture?
shehan   4/29/2013 12:57:14 PM
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@William -  good suggestion usually the level we are do not have much wind at times, but as you elevate the wind keeps blowing. I think this is a good idea to keep the turbines spinning.

shehan
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Re: Where are the turbines in the picture?
shehan   4/29/2013 12:53:12 PM
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@William – yes as you said wind is a free resource (for now) we need to make the maximum use of the natural resources we have. It's only the initial setup cost and may be a small service cost once in 6 months. 

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