While we were mostly preoccupied with the shiny new cars in Detroit, there were also plenty of exciting green architecture developments this week. Ronald Lu & Partners just announced that ZCB, the first net-zero energy building in Hong Kong is now open to the public. Meanwhile in China, the 2013 Harbin Ice Festival just kicked off in Zhaolin Park near the Songhua River -- and it features some absolutely stunning castles made entirely from ice. And Wendy, the spiky blue pavilion from NYC-based architecture firm HWKN, made its debut in Abu Dhabi, and an Inhabitat reporter was on the scene to tour it.
Last week was a good one for renewable energy news. Japan announced that it will soon build the world's largest offshore wind farm near Fukushima to compensate for scaling back its use of nuclear power since the 2011 meltdown. Electronics giant Panasonic unveiled the next-generation Ene-Farm, which is the world's most efficient home fuel cell. Researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory developed a device that detects weak or defective silicon wafers, which could save the solar industry billions of dollars. And the California Public Utilities Commission announced that California installed an impressive 1 GW of solar power by the end of 2012 -- the most of any state in the country.
Inhabitat also reported on a wide variety of green products last week, starting with the iRock, an ingenious rocking chair that recharges your iPad using kinetic energy. Industrial designer Max Gunawan unveiled the Lumio, a hardbound book that opens up to become a gorgeous low-energy lamp. A group of University of Toronto grads launched the NanoLight, which they claim is the world's most efficient LED light bulb. Rethink Robotics, a Boston-based robotics firm created a $22,000 humanoid robot named Baxter, which the company thinks can help revive American manufacturing. And finally, in case you missed it, Inhabitat recently launched a photo contest with LightCollector -- enter now for your chance to win $1,000!