If you’ve watched the videos on my right sidebar, then you’ve heard San Francisco Mayor Newsom talk. He’s a big time supporter of going green and doing it for all sorts of reasons: it’s good business, good living, good for the city. Right now, according to SustainLane, San Francisco is the #2 greenest city in the United States. Well, SF is putting on a major campaign to be the greenest city in the United States and there’s a new green website to support the cause. www.letsgreenthiscity.com. Simultaneous to the roll-out of the website, letsgreenthiscity placed a total of nine couches throughout the city in various places (City Hall, Alamo Square, Ferry Building, Justin Herman Plaza, in the Castro, etc.). People, including Mayor Newsom, were provided the opportunity to get their picture taken on the couch, have it printed with soy-based ink, and frame it in recycled cardboard. The entire deal is being sponsored by Pacific Gas + Electric Company (PG+E) and ReadyMade Magazine. Oh yeah, and guess what, yours truly is a content partner for the website (unfortunately, my content says it’s posted by "anonymous"). Exciting times!
Answer. Thoughtfully flexible. It’s about time for a new installment to the Green Office segment. So far, I’ve mentioned the Leap + Think chairs, the Liege Desk, and office supplies from The Green Office. Enter: the MBDC Silver Cradle to Cradle Certified, GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certified Steelcase Answer®. The Steelcase Answer panel workstation is the first C2C Certified powered workstation for the contract furniture industry. First, Answer uses responsible materials. Workstation components consist of panels, wood work surfaces, overhead storage and floor-based storage. There is absolutely no PVC used in its construction. Second, Cradle to Cradle certification requires product design that contemplates what happens when the product is not longer useful for its intended purpose. There’s a focus on being able to recycle or safely compost the materials. Adhesives are eliminated, where possible, and recyclable parts are clearly marked. This is a big deal considering Answer is one of the best selling systems products in the world. I bet you could get the Answer workstation penciled into your tenant improvements agreement, right? Via PRNewswire.
Today's green project on 53 Standish Street is the first LEED for Homes project certified in Massachusetts and the first multi-unit building (up to 4 units) in the country to achieve this certification. The project was designed by Tony Butler of AB Architects and built by Aedi Construction LLC.
DFW builder Don Ferrier‘s daughter wanted an affordable, green home, so they retained the best, local green architect, Gary Olp of GGOArchitects, to get the job done. The result is Heather’s Home, which has its own website at www.heathershome.info. What’s interesting about this home is that it’s economically pragmatic, but it looks goods–it’s proof that a modern, green home can be relatively affordable. We’re talking about a 2,038 square-foot home in the price range of about $117 per square foot ($230,000). After getting the home design, she had to wait two months due to materials shortages, but the home took four months to build after that. The monthly home heating and cooling bill averages $20-30 month. That’s amazing, especially in Texas.
There’s a rainwater collection system connected to a 3,000-gallon holding tank, which is used for irrigation and toilet water. Toilets are low flush, of course. She landscaped with drought-tolerant, native Texas plants, to conserve water. She didn’t install a full blown solar system (costs about $30,000), but she did install enough solar panels to power the tankless water heater (also saves water). The home design called for Structural Insulated Panels (SIP) to create a more energy-efficient, tight building envelope. For heating and AC, the builder installed a Daikin HVAC system that runs at 20 SEER. The HVAC system price tag was $5,500, which is cheaper than a geothermal heat pump and about 90% as efficient. Of course, low-VOC paints and stains were used throughout. Lights and appliances are energy star.
The stairs are bamboo and some of the floors are stained concrete. The kitchen island surface is a grenadine Formica (Green Guard certified) and the cabinets were created from regionally produced ash, treated with a low VOC stain. You’ll notice the 33 glass block windows on the northerly wall, which invite natural lighting without diminishing interior privacy. There’s a solar tube in the closet for natural lighting. In the rooms with carpet, it is PET (polyethylene terephthalate) carpet, which is created from reclaimed polyester resins of two-liter soda bottles and and other plastic containers. Some of the other carpet is InterFLOR modular carpet, made from corn husks. The list of green features goes on and on! You can go to this link to find the source of all the products used in this home.
Sustainable building for 2006 had to be a watershed year, and this conference looks to be an exciting event. Everytime you see "LEED" in my blog, I’m talking about the professional, responsible embodiment of green buildings–smart, efficient, and energy independent. Starting tomorrow, the USGBC’s annual conference begins; here’s what’s in store for the next 3 days: +700 exhibitor booths, LEED workshops, green building tours, powerful keynote speakers, Master Speakers Series, USGBC Leadership Awards, etc. The conference will be an idea-rich feast for ideas on site location + development, water use, energy efficiency, materials + selection, indoor environmental quality, biophelia, health + productivity, financing, etc. I’d love to be there, but I just can’t afford the investment at this time, but the conference will be full of architects, building owners, code officials, contractors, developers, educators, engineers, facility managers, financial service providers, governmental agencies, green power providers, home builders, interior designers, landscape architects, nonprofit organizations, product manufacturers, schools + universities, students, urban planners, utility providers, and media.
Keynote speakers include Bill McDonough, Jeffrey Sachs, and David Suzuki. I also have links to the Master Speaker Series, Educational Sessions, Special Events, Attendee Schedule, FAQs, and Exhibitors.
It’s not too late to go, from what I understand…just hop a SWA flight and bill it to the company. Seriously, if you’re somewhat curious about green building, this is the event to go to. If you’re thinking about adopting a little green to improve your products offering, go and get some ideas. If you can’t go, last year, there was an inspirational opening session with Ray Anderson, Janine Benyus, and Paul Hawken, which is now available on DVD for $10. The DVD is called "Strategies for Sustaining the Sustainable Building Movement." You can order via here. A portion of proceeds go to the Biomimicry Guild.
The Colorado Convention Center
700 14th Street, Denver, CO 80202
Getting To the Convention Center
I’ve been keeping an eye on Salt Lake City, Utah (SLC) because I’m moving there in June 2007. Recently, there’ve been rumors that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the "Mormons") is in plans to officially adopt LEED standards on a going forward basis for its churches + buildings. Generally speaking, Mormons strive for thriftiness and gratitude, and these principles applied to construction mean that buildings should conserve and reuse resources where possible. While the church hasn’t made such an announcement, recent SLC news is the next best thing because the city’s population is about 50% Mormon. In early November 2006, the City Council unanimously approved an ordinance requiring commercial, apartment, and condominium builders to meet LEED standards if they are funded by city loans, grants, or tax rebates. The same ordinance also ratified Mayor Rocky Anderson’s summer executive order requiring new municipal buildings to meet LEED-silver standards.
SLC is changing in a big way. The entire downtown landscape will be transformed over the next five years as $1.5 billion in capital is placed in new construction. This movement, aka Downtown Rising, is garnering support from all levels in the community. According to the Vision Summary of Downtown Rising, one goal is to "develop environmentally efficient buildings, districts and public spaces."
Ostensibly, SLC’s main goal in providing LEED incentives is to promote environmentally friendly construction. This ordinance isn’t the last step for eco-building in SLC, however. They’re working on further incentives to promote green building; they’re considering expedited permits/plan reviews or lowered fees for all developers that incorporate LEED certification in their plans. Talk about major opportunities! It’s a great time to be a green developer. I can’t wait to get to SLC.