In a few hours, the U.S. Department of Energy will announce final results of the Solar Decathlon at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The Solar Decathlon is a competition of 20 teams of college and university students to design, build, and operate the most attractive, effective, and energy-efficient solar-powered house. There are 10 subjective and objective contests in these categories: architecture, market viability, engineering, lighting design, communications, comfort zone, hot water, appliances, home entertainment, and net metering. At this time, the engineering and net metering contests are the only scores that have not been released. Is the suspense getting to you yet?
Leave it to Jerry Yudelson to write what is probably the clearest articulation of the business case for green buildings you could ever read. Jerry Yudelson is the author of several books that we've given away in the past, including Green Building A to Z, The Green Building Revolution, Choosing Green, and Green Building Trends: Europe, as well as about six others worth reading, too. He was a board member of the USGBC and chaired Greenbuild for about five years; he now heads Yudelson Associates, a consulting firm that is dedicated to "growing the business of green building." Most recently, Yudelson authored The Business Case for Green Buildings, and this is his conclusion:
In an article that appeared in the August 2009 issue of Buildings, John Kouletsis, executive director at Kaiser Permanente, set forth a list of eight things to do to develop sustainable buildings. These elements can be applied in the context of new construction or substantial renovations, but the key is to start doing something now. Here’s the list (with our own ad lib descriptions):
In the news, there’s a lot of talk about process journalism and using a feedback loop to evolve stories. It made me think about iterative design and the potential role of blogs and new media to transform projects. Probably, one of the most interesting and current examples I can think of comes from Michael Janzen, who’s behind Tiny House Design, Nine Tiny Feet, and Tiny Free House, among other ventures. Using Google SketchUp, Janzen transformed a shed cluster (through comments, analysis, feedback, and subsequent iterations) into a sustainable dogtrot home. Check it out:
Chances are, if you've ever researched modern homes online, you've seen the name Gregory La Vardera. In addition to maintaining a house plan blog (and contributing to a number of other sites and forums), he's on Houseplans.com, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, and probably a thousand other services. Frankly, he's all over the place, and he's trying to incite the kind of housing rebellion we're interested in seeing. In a blog article dated May 14, 2009, La Vardera describes the ReModern Movement — a time when people build their own modern or green house — and provides a list of reasons for why now is the time: