Articles - February, 2007

1926 Hyde Park Home's Green Renovation Televised in This Old House

1926_austin_bungalow

Sometimes, I’m amazed at what technology can do.  Recently, I read an article about Michael Klug + Michele Grieshaber’s 1926 bungalow in Austin’s historic Hyde Park, which was renovated in accordance with the Austin Green Building Program.  The original home was about 1,500 sf, but after renovations and adding some space, the 2,300 sf home uses half the energy of the original.  The house is part of an 8-show feature on This Old House, and you’ll be impressed to find a time-lapse video of the renovation project.  The DMN article suggests that the eco-friendly additions to the renovation added a price premium of about 10%, but let’s not forget that this home is outfitted with some pretty good stuff, including photovoltaics. 

Here are some of the green features:  rainwater reclamation for irrigation and landscaping; spray-foam insulation for added energy efficiency; recycled glass tile and countertops by IceStone; formaldehyde-free wood composites; milled wood from deconstruction used throughout the home in various places; James Hardie fiber cement siding, which can be a good substitute for wood siding; low-flow bathroom plumbing and high-efficiency kitchen appliances; a heat-reflecting standing-seam metal roof; and an array of photovoltaic panels on the south-facing roof.  Below, you’ll see pictures of the water reclamation tank and the cabinets that were made with Lyptus, a eucalyptus hybrid plant that grows fast.  DMN Article + Pictures

Steel Blue Lyptus Rainwater Reclamation

United Technologies Ad: First Zero Net Energy Building is Coming

Utc_ad

I just thought I would blog about this real quick because it caught my attention in the latest edition of BusinessWeek.  There was a full page ad saying, "Imagine that.  You can do well in the world without hurting it."  Pictured in the ad is a pretty neat looking building (above), which is interactive at www.utc.com/curious.  Go give it a look…United Technologies’ (NYSE: UTX) green building page has information on electrochromic glazing, 100% recycled structural steel, vertical axis wind power turbines, photovoltaic solar power arrays, zero VOC paints, green roofs with an integrated reclamation systems, conserving energy, fuel cell power plants, and combined cooling, heating and power (CCHP) systems.  Maybe someone should actually build the structure that’s in this rendering. 

$1.3B Carbon Neutral Chinese Eco-City in Dongtan

Chinese Dongtan Ecocity

In 2009, China is expected to surpass the U.S. as the largest emitter of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the world.  Over 26% of the population (roughly 340 million people) lack access to clean drinking water and over 40% of Chinese cities lack sewage treatment facilities.  But the country is trying to innovate solutions for the future.  Recently, USA Today had an interesting article called "China Envisions Environmentally Friendly ‘Eco-City.’"  According to the article, state-run developers are building an eco-city in Dongtan, which is 3/4 the size of Manhattan.  Dongtan is located on Chongming Island about an hour from Shanghai.  The $1.3 billion project may be a model for eco-cities all over the world. 

The eco-city will be carbon neutral with the main grid of the city designed for walking and cycling, not for cars.  The city will be powered by solar and wind power, biofuels, and recycled organic material.  There will be green roofs for energy efficiency and insulation benefits and rainwater capture to maintain the landscaping.  All vehicles will operate on clean fuels and about a fourth of the city will be open green space.  Without all the gas and diesel vehicles clogging the streets, residents should be able to open up a window and enjoy the air.  About 20% of the city is held out for affordable housing, but some of the farmers still say it’s out of their price range.  See also SIIC

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