Last month, Lorax Development broke ground on a building that’s being billed as the first off-grid building in San Francisco. At 1400 sf, The Eco Center is certainly an example of the future of green buildings — buildings that are off-grid and sustainable. The Eco Center is a $1.5 million environmental education center that will be located in McLaren Park. Designed by Toby Long Design for the non-profit Literacy for Environmental Justice (LEJ), when it opens in the fall, it will be the first building in San Francisco, purportedly, to recycle its own wastewater. Additionally, the off-grid center will have solar panels and an extensive green roof.
Amcork, a Texas based company, offers an incredible variety of cork flooring and wall covering options. Their flooring is available in floating floor planks (12"x36") and glue-down parquet tiles (12"x12"). Wall tiles are 12"x24" size. There are two things that set this company apart from others that I have found: price and style. Amcork has 21 colors of wall tiles and 25 colors of flooring available.
Gwendolyn Bounds invested about 16 months and $83k in her posh, green kitchen remodel. The process was slightly more difficult than she imagined, but nonetheless, as you can see from the below video: the result is quite nice. David Johnston, green building and renovation expert, unofficially inspected the work and gave her high marks for the eco renovation. Her remodel included Energy Star appliances, locally made fly ash concrete countertops, Plyboo and Arreis cabinets, no-VOC paints, FSC-certified wood floors, Nu-Wool recycled newspaper insulation, LED lights, and double-paned efficient windows.
Buro North, a design firm located in Melbourne, Australia, has partnered with Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab (VEIL) to develop this interesting solar-collecting sun shade called the "Solar Shade" for Australian elementary schools. The Solar Shade concept is part educational and part functional. Of course, when used in clusters, Solar Shades provide a shaded gathering place that generates energy for the school. But in addition, the device demonstrates and educates students on the dynamics of harvesting solar energy. The foundation of the Solar Shade includes LED lights that provide feedback as to whether the orientation is/is not optimal. When the LEDs turn red, students can grab the handle and rotate the device to absorb more of the sun’s rays. Although still a concept, it’s kind of a cool idea — maybe enthusiasm for the project will push it into production?
The Cascadia Region Green Building Council is about to raise the bar for professional credentials in the green building world. Cascadia is behind the growingly popular Living Building Challenge, a program where buildings pursue true sustainability with elegance and beauty. So it’s only natural that Cascadia would provide the tools to help professionals create Living Buildings™, and that’s where the Living Building Leader program comes in. Living Building Leader is an advanced program for professionals with previous experience in green building. It includes a series of 36, interactive, web-based sessions that mirror the six "petals" of the Living Building Challenge. Top green building experts will lead the sessions, with Jason McLennan, CEO of Cascadia, launching the first on June 4, 2008 at 9:00 am PST.