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California Finds the Missing Piece of the CO2 Emissions Puzzle

California Sprawl - SB375

This article was written by Charles Lockwood, a green real estate authority and consultant based in southern California and New York City.  His articles have appeared in the Harvard Business Review, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Barron’s.

California—the state that invented freeways and suburban sprawl—has become a trendsetter again, and not a moment too soon in our new age of global climate change.  In October 2008, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law SB375, which was supported by environmentalists, homebuilders, and cities and counties.  SB375 will limit the state’s CO2 emissions by curbing suburban sprawl and increasing transit-based development through various incentives. 

If a community plans walkable, mixed-use, transit-oriented growth that reduces automobile use and greenhouse gas emissions, for example, it gets moved to the front of the line for state and federal transportation funds.  If a proposed building is located near a transit line, it will have an easier environmental review process.  Why is SB375 important?

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Will There Be One Global Green Building Standard to Rule Them All?

Planet Plenty by Weef Kichards

This article was written by Phil Clark who blogs about green building and development in the UK at Zerochampion.  Make sure to come back after visiting his site …

Will there ever be one green building standard to rule them all?  It’s an interesting question given the explosion of new ones that are emerging around the globe: in the past month news has reached us over here of a new standard planned by the recently German Sustainable Building Council (this was discovered by Building Sustainability columnist and U.S. expert Jerry Yudelson, a reference of which is in this article) and of a new guide for eco-friendly projects in New Zealand.

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Prefab is Not the Answer to Affordable, Modern, and Green Homes

This article was authored by guest Chad Ludeman of Postgreen Homes. 

Prefab homes seem to be showing up more and more in the media these days, especially with two large exhibits in Philadelphia showcasing their history this year.  Like many, I hoped that prefab would be the answer to bringing modern architecture to the masses in the US and beyond.  I thought that finally, modern home design would be attainable by those of us who aren’t pulling in lofty six figure incomes. That was until I conducted extensive research into the possibility of starting a development company in Philadelphia using only prefab homes.

Don’t get me wrong, I love prefab and many of the firms out there with cutting edge designs in the prefab realm.  There are also a variety of building lessons that can be learned from the prefab methodology.  I just don’t believe it is the best way of delivering modern design to the average new home buyer.

Below we will look at this issue from two points of view.  First, we will look at the prefab industry and try to dispel some of the myths that have arisen around it.  Second, we will take a quick look at how the housing industry may be able to learn from both prefab and site-built homes to create a hybrid approach that will provide a better, more accessible solution to the home buyer and hopefully reduce the barrier of entry to modern, green, and unique residences.

Names and firms have intentionally been left out of this post in an effort to discuss only the facts, dispel some of the myths of prefab, and possibly look towards a better method for bringing modern homes to the average American.

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Must Follow Green Twitter Feeds

Twitter logo

The venerable HuffPo just posted a list of what they call the "Best Green Twitter Feeds."  It’s an okay list, but when you name streams like @Sprig (13 total updates and nothing in 7 days), @globalwarming (sporadic tweets with nothing in 7 days), and @greennews (sporadic tweets and nothing in 12 days), it’s tough to take the list seriously.  No offense Sprig, GlobalWarming, and GreenNews.  HuffPo’s list includes some stalwarts, don’t get me wrong, but when you assume the title of "Best," you have to bring it.  You have to name more than sixteen or seventeen Twitter* feeds.  Right?

Anyway, here’s my list (not a "best" list, just a list) of environmental and green related twitter folks that you might be interested in following.  To clear the air, we’re @jetsongreen.  Some of the following are no different than straight blog feeds.  Some are mixed blog feeds with conversation.  Others are pure conversation. 

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How Green Can Monster Homes Be? Topic Renewed.

Bighome

The topic pops up every month or two.  Last month, the issue of big green homes came up in the context of eco-terrorism.  Five luxury homes priced over $2 million each were set on fire with a sign left behind saying: "Built green?  Nope Black!  McMansions + RCD’s R Not Green – ELF"# #  The luxury homes were advertised as green, but clearly the eco-terrorists disagreed.#   The burnt homes were about 4200 to 4750 sf in size, which isn’t that bad, when compared to some so-called luxury green homes we’ve seen (this one being 9800 sf).  The incident highlights the tension between big homes and sustainability.   

Today the NY Times resurrects the issue in the context of a new development in Connecticut.  As you can tell from the image above, the homes are built in a style meant to evoke 19th-century English country houses.  I’m not really interested the style, but some people are and I understand that.  The above home is the model home — the first of at least twenty-four, extravagant "green" homes.  It’s 7,000 sf.

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The Green Audacity of Lifestyle Minimalism

Minimalist

Photo by Internet Power Lunch.

I’ve been thinking a lot about minimalism lately for some reason.  We all have an idea of what "minimalism" is, but I wanted to dig a little deeper.  According to Wikipedia, minimalism describes a movement where "work is stripped down to its most fundamental features … it is rooted in the reductive aspects of Modernism, and is often interpreted as a reaction against abstract impressionism and a bridge to Postmodern art practices."  Strip it down to the fundamentals. 

I like the concept of stripping stuff down to the fundamentals.  You can strip down anything and literally find that "less is more."  Try it.  I honestly believe that with the right amount of less, less can be more.  Why is that?  Well, quite simply because less equals the fundamentals and enjoying the fundamentals — with no excess — feels good.  Let me explain my thoughts on the lifestyle of minimalism. 

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