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34 Stunning LEED Platinum Projects

Swaner EcoCenter

Update – 12/29/08: added one more that’s now going for Platinum.

There’s so much innovation in the green building space, it’s pretty hard to keep up with it all.  I mean, check out these articles below.  In the past year alone, we’ve discussed at least thirty-four different LEED Platinum projects — some are done, some are under way, and some are still on the boards.  Wow, what an incredible year in green building news!  Innovation at the highest rung of the USGBC’s LEED system continues.  And so you know, we plan to pay more attention to the greenest of green projects over the next year.  Keep us informed if your project is a legit Platinum contender, we’re certainly interested:

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Thoughts on Al Gore's Five-Part Plan to Repower America

Five-Part Plan to Repower America - Al Gore

I’ve always been kind of irked by the fact that President Reagan, after having the White House’s leaky roof fixed, never replaced the solar hot water panels installed by President Carter.  But it’s hard to judge him because I was barely crawling at the time — I have no idea what was going on in the collective conscious of that generation.  I mean, Al Gore mentions in Sunday’s Op-Ed in the NY Times that President Nixon established Project Independence 35 years ago with a goal to, in seven years time, develop the potential to meet our country’s energy needs without having to rely on any foreign energy sources.  Yet, that never happened and Reagan’s act, the way I see it, symbolically shut the door on the possibility of American energy self-reliance.  At least for the time being. 

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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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The Second Annual Plenty Twenty

Plenty20

I always find these lists interesting, but here’s the idea: "There are game-changers and then there are world-changers.  From Internet giants working to make renewable energy cheaper than coal, to a sea captain monitoring the ocean’s plastic waste, to the growth of intentional communities (they’re not just for hippies anymore)—welcome to Plenty’s second annual list honoring (in no particular order) 20 dynamic individuals and 20 pioneering companies that are bettering the planet, plus 10 innovative ideas that will revolutionize how we live."

                                                – the Second Annual Plenty 20

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