Articles - May, 2008

A Perspective of Green Building [Quotable]

Bruce Irving

"Truth is, I’ve been a skeptic about many aspects of the green building movement.  My eyebrow arches when, for example, someone uses bamboo flooring (which is held together with lots and lots of glue, often containing formaldehyde, and is shipped to the US on bunker-oil-burning ships) to floor a new ‘green’ 11,000 sf house.  Tough too to get on board when magazines feature low-VOC paints on one page and walk-in showers with multiple heads and bodywashers on another.  Greenwashing, marketing whatever’s hot, and just trying to make ourselves feel better as we change almost nothing about our consumption habits — the suspicion of these plus the thought that a year’s worth of green living is negated by 2 minutes operation of a coal-powered electricity plant … you get the picture … but after my time in the desert of cynicism, I’ve been reminded that every little bit helps, and just because larger forces are at work doesn’t mean we do nothing as individuals—as long as we keep lobbying against the big stuff, like coal-powered electricity plants."

     — Bruce Irving, Renovation Consultant, former producer of This Old House

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Selsam Small Turbines – Just Right for Residential?

Selsam

The bloggers at Engadget picked up on the Selsam small wind turbines, which look a lot like one of those amateur ham radio antennas we used to see on houses.  This small-scale wind solution is basically a single elongated shaft made of strong carbon fiber.  The carbon shaft holds rotors that range in size from 14-18 inches in diameter.  Apparently, the more rotors you have on a rod, the better output you get.  Invented by Doug Selsam, this 13-rotor small wind turbine can produce roughly 200 watts in 20 mph winds (or more in higher wind speeds).  It’s currently being tested and developed in California, so who knows, we may just start seeing stuff like this on top of houses and buildings?

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Green Container Condos in Early Planning for Detroit

Exceptional Green Living on Rosa Parks

A Detroit-based group has a container project in mind for a blighted chunk of land near Wayne State University.  News of the project hit the press this morning and local citizens didn’t quite know what to expect (see comments).  The project is currently being called "Exceptional Green Living on Rosa Parks" and would feature containers stacked four high with windows and doors cut out into various places.  In total, the 17-unit condo project would have units ranging in size from 960 – 1,920 and price from $100k – $190k.  Pretty good price for a modern, green pad.

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