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Dallas' Commerce Street Townhomes Receives Design Award

Commerce_street_front Local Dallas architect, Ron Wommack, received a 2006 Texas Society of Architects Design Award for his work on the Commerce Street Townhomes in east Dallas.  Actually, the site is located on a previously abandoned site, which was the industrial/manufacturing area east of downtown Dallas.  The neighborhood is gradually being renovated and transformed into residential living spaces.  With this project, one of the architect’s goals was to create a place that carried the baggage of location’s industrial past, so the design incorporates materials such as concrete blocks, metal, and wood (in the right colors).  I asked the architect about some of the sustainable features and wanted to relay those to the Jetson Green readership. 

Commerce_street_room_kitchen Commerce_street_bedroom

First, the buildling was designed to utilize natural light and shading (passive solar design), which is especially apparent in the trellised roof deck and the living room clerestory.  Second, you’ll notice, that the roof trellises were made with chain-link fence post pipe, which is easy to recycle and extremely low maintenance.  We’re thinking about the life cycle of the product here.  Third, the metal skins adjust quickly with the temperature changes.  And last, they used an HVAC system with a higher SEER rating (Seasonal Energy-Efficiency Rating – the higher the better…generally speaking, if you spend about $360 annually on AC with a 10-SEER, a move to the 16-SEER will save you $135 a year or so).  So, we’re seeing a little bit of green incorporated in the design, and the place is extremely striking, too.  Projects like this will help move Dallas forward into greener pastures of residential building. 

Commerce_st_condos_6 Commerce_street_roof_loft Commerce_street_roof

Extra Links:
Ron Wommack Website
Texas Society of Architects Award Article [Texas Architect]

3form Releases 100 Percent, A 100% Recycled Decorative Panel

Flakes Low impact, high design.  I just wanted to let the architects and designers know about a cutting edge material from 3form called "100 Percent."  100 Percent is made from 100% post-consumer high-density polyethylene (HDPE).  Basically, 3form collects post-consumer HDPE flakes, sorts them by color, arranges the flake material to create a pattern, and then applies heat pressure to fuse the flakes into a single panel (without using binders).  100 Percent is currently available in one pattern and four colors (shown below), and the company is waiting for Greenguard Environmental Institute certification for low indoor emissions.

Orange_slice Cut_grass Snowmelt Night_sky

While 100 Percent has yet to be installed on an actual project, it’s a very tough material and could be appropriate for high-abuse indoor applications (schools, bathrooms, etc.).  Indoor applications are limited by its UL 94 classification (HB) and outdoor applications are limited by its lack of UV protection.  3form says 100 Percent is "ideally suited for education, science, and health care environments."  This material was innovative enough to win the 2006 NeoCon Gold Award for surfacing materials at the NeoCon World’s Trade Fair.  The company is also well-known in the design world for its Varia materials line (made of Ecoresin–40% post-industrial reclaimed material).

Extra Links:
3form Website
3form Takes Recycled Content to 100 Percent [BuildingGreen.com]

Green Valley Lofts Raise the Bar for Innovative Mixed Use, Sustainable Development

Building_rendering_1 There really, actually, truly, factually, legitimately is a growing interest in living in more environmentally sensitive buildings.  Even still, whether you’re looking for a single family home, urban townhome, downtown loft, or warehouse loft, the players in the green development field are few and far between (but increasing).  I noticed an interesting developer that is building the "first ‘zero energy’ sustainable mixed-use building in Las Vegas."  This green development, called the Green Valley Lofts, is minutes from the Vegas strip and neighbors all the urban amenities one could ask for (gym, restaurants, banks, dry cleaner, car wash, etc.).  It’s lined to be LEED Certified, too. 

Green Features:
The building will have a stainless steel substructure with floor to ceiling Heat-Mirror insulated glass (benefits include improved interior comfortability, reduced fabric fading, and maximum noise control), aka the EAG Facade.  Also there’s a rooftop solar-photovoltaic system, energy-efficient (non-ozone depleting) closet-type water source HVAC system, low wattage lighting, Energy Star appliances, tankless water heaters, eco-space elevator, whole house central water filtration system, programmable thermostats, zero- to low-VOC non-toxic paints, and bamboo flooring.  The company has a nice description of the benefits of these green features online. 

The interior will include all the amenities that a modernist would desire:  imported Italian kitchens, recycled glass countertops, bamboo flooring, remote controlled window shades, and the whole house lighting system.  Note, some of these features are greener than others.  There’s a glass enclosed roof-top spa as well. 

Loft_interior Loft_bathroom Loft_balcony

As far as pricing is concerned, these lofts aren’t cheap, but that’s understandable because they aren’t built to be cheap.  Phase 1 prices seem to range from the low $400s to $1.1 million.  And some of the financial incentives that they offer include the popular energy efficient mortgage, the Nevada Power Solar Rebate Program, the usual Federal + State renewable energy tax incentives, and any other energy tax incentives.  What’s better, there will be an raffle and one lucky owner will receive the New 2007 Toyota Camry Hybrid.  Nice business model guys, really. 

Extra Links:
Green Valley Lofts [official website]
EAG Facade [Euro-American Glazing]

Modern LUMI Rainwater Tank Receives Sustainability Award

Evening_lumi_1 I wanted to share this modern + green water storage solution with those of you that are interested in keeping your landscape design project aesthetic.  Katrina Logan, founder of small architectural firm Katrina Logan Architects and design company Full Tank, designed the LUMI Rainwater Tank so that eco-conscious consumers could have a visually appealing rainwater storage receptacle.  LUMI is made of sculptural satin acrylic and can be made in a range of colors and sizes (250 liters – 1100 liters).  Additionally, the shape can be customized and tailored to commercial applications (graphic applications, advertising, etc.). 

Day_lumi The tank glows in the sunlight, making the rainwater reserves visible, and has internal lights that illuminate the tank in the evening.  Often, architects try to conceal and disguise water tanks on the side of the house or with various landscaping techniques, but Logan’s design eliminates the ugliness of common storage tanks.  In the LUMI, she’s successfully targeting the inner city design community.  And early in October 2006, she received The City of Melbourne Sustainability Design Award.  I’m starting to imagine one of these at Hotel Palomar or some place like that. 

Extra Links:
Daily Dose of Architecture Post
State of Design Awards, Victoria 2006

Skyscraper Sunday: Dallas Condo Tower, Azure, Going Green

Azure_dallas_image Absolute Architectural Splendor.  There’s a little bit of green development in Dallas, but we can do more to catch up to other progressive cities such as Portland + Austin.  Azure, a 375-foot condo in Dallas being developed by the innovative Gabriel Barbier-Mueller of Harwood International (+ Westback Projects Corporation), is Dallas’ first foray into LEED, green living, as far as residential condo development is concerned.  Azure is on track to receive the LEED gold certification from the USGBC, but it is trying to get platinum.  Really, all that matters is that this place will be green + modern. 

Architectural design is by James KM Cheng Architects Inc., interior design by Gensler and Lauren Rottet, FAIA, and external landscaping by SWA Group.  As far as sustainable building is concerned, here’s what I know so far:  high-performance engineered window system with clear anodized aluminum framing and insulated clear double glazing with Low-E coating; energy efficient lighting meeting National Energy Code; LEED certified building envelope and heating/air conditioning; and high-quality roller/motorized shading system made of sun control fabric. 

Azure_rendering Azure_interior Azure_side_rendering

Some amenities include Miele and Sub-Zero appliances and professionally designed interiors.  Owners will also have access to the spa, his/her sauna, state-of-the-art exercise facilities, private garage (refered to as "G2"), 17 seat theater, garden terrace and pool, boardroom, and library with a fireplace.  What this means is that Azure will be a 31 story, 202 unit, $400,000 – $4.2 M per-unit superstar.  Seriously.  And I know it’s well over 65% pre-sold, so those that are interested will need to jump on it quick.  It should be complete in Spring 2007. 

Extra Links:
Azure Website [www.azureliving.com]
The Allure of Azure [Jim Schutze - Observor]
Azure Live Construction Camera
Harwood International Website
Westbank Projects Corporation Website

Green Office: Steelcase Think Chair–"the Chair with a Brain + a Conscience"

Think_green_office My first installment to the "Green Office" segment is about the office chair.  I walked into a friend’s downtown office (a lawyer) and he had some beat up, patchy furniture inside.  I asked him what the deal was and he responded that it was all the firm provided.  That gets me, big-time.  For all you professionals out there, especially young professionals, your job is your domain and if the bossman isn’t providing it, do it yourself.  My credo, dress and office like the person who’s job you want to have.  So I prefer CEO-style all the way.  If clients come in my office, they’ll see CEO-style.  Compare that to the cubicle next door and they’ll form an impression about your position in the firm.  You’ve got to be a rainmaker, so this is all about looking the part. 

As far as office chairs go, there seems to be a race to ergonomics–"Ooh, nice, is that so and so’s chair?"  "Did corporate get that for ya?"  "How much does one of those run?"  You get the drift.  Steelcase, Inc. makes this entire process very easy, actually, modern + green easy.  They have two chairs that are Cradle to Cradle™ Certified Silver:  Think™ + Leap®.  I’m going to focus on Think.  Think also received the BusinessWeek 2006 Gold IDEA award, IIDEX Sustainable Design Gold award, NeoCon Editor’s Choice Award, and the Red Dot Award for Product Design (Germany).  But forget accolades, here’s where sustainability meets the chair. 

Think_white Think_downward Think_white_office

First, cradle to cradle for this chair means the company considered what goes into the chair, how it is made, and what happens to the chair when it is no longer a chair.  The chair is designed to be highly recyclable + safe for environmental health.  Second, the chair is up to 99% recyclable by weight + up to 44% recycled content.  Third, disassembly takes about 5 minutes and Steelcase has set up the structure for customers to participate in recycling of their used chair.  Fourth, the chair is Greenguard Indoor Air Quality Certified.  But if this is too green for you, there’s more. 

Think is comfortable too.  It has the adjustable arms, pneumatic seat height, and innovative back "flexors" that track and respond fluidly to your natural weight and movements.  So not only is this chair environmentally conscious, it’s smart, too.  I think an added benefit to the chair is that one can order the thing online and have it shipped FedEx ground-style for free.  So, if you’re tired of that standard office stuff and want to make a change, I’d get one of these Steelcase chairs shipped straight to the office. 

Extra Links:
Think Chair Mini-site [Steelcase]
Steelcase Online Store
MBDC Cradle to Cradle Certification

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