Over the weekend, I noticed another good article in the NY Times by Amy Gunderson, with the above illustration by Nancy Doninger. The article makes some salient points about prefab, things that must be considered before getting into it. For instance, one customer said "there is no substitute for seeing a house in person," because what you see online or in a rendering, may not be what you actually get. The same customer opted for Rocio Romero, and the home took 10 months to build at a cost of $300 psf (including installation and finishes). That price ends up being pretty decent, when compared to the cost of going after a custom-design modernist home.
Coal + Climate Change, ASLA's Green Roof, Sprawl Costs, Nanotechnology, Greener Homes + LEED Criticism (WIR)
- The highly respected Ed Mazria, founder of Architecture 2030, says, "The only fossil fuel that can fuel global warming is coal. If you stop coal, you stop global warming. End of story."
- The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) reports on their green roof: it retained lots of water, reduced building energy costs, and lowered the outdoor air temperature.
- Green Technology Forum report finds that nanotechnology can make green buildings more cost-effective, energy-efficient, and in tune with their environment.
- Greener homes mean much more than planting lots of trees.
- Texas Traffic Institute study says traffic congestion is worse than last year and cost the nation over $78 billion, including the cost of lost time.
BONUS: A Wave of LEED Critical News
Just a quick note on a new book that’s out by Jerry Yudelson called Green Building A to Z. I received an advance copy that I’ve read through and want to give away to a random commenter.* As the preface explains, "[this book] is designed for you, intelligent reader, who may not be actively engaged in architecture or building engineering, but who needs a quick introduction to the rationale for green buildings and the language of the field." I’d like to describe it as a dictionary of everything relating to green building, but it’s more than that. Yudelson has an approachable perspective and breaks everything down nicely. After reading through explanations of biophilia, thermal energy storage, and commissioning, you’ll be hitting on all cylinders. I think this is a good book to have on hand as a reference, almost as a checklist of things to think about with a project. It’s also a good book for building owners, investors, or lenders that want to know more about green building principles.
*After 48 hours, I’m going to pick a number out of a baseball cap and give this book away to the comment number corresponding to the number pulled from the hat. Since you leave your email when you comment, I’ll email you for your address and shipping’s on me to anywhere in the U.S. Not sure what to say in the comments? Tell me where you’re commenting from: "Salt Lake City, Utah here!"
- The Grid Impacts of Net Metering
- Big Steps in Building: Ban Minimum Floor Areas
- Kendall House in Miami is a model of efficiency and low environmental impact.
- Who’s the greenest bank of all? Sustainable building is all the rage – and big banks want in on the action.
- I never promised you a rose garden. You say natural. I say neglected. A growing number of urban gardeners are facing off with their neighbors over how they tend their plots: wild and eco-friendly or manicured and weed-free.
Twenty teams have been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy to compete in the 2007 Solar Decathlon, which takes place in Washington D.C. from October 12-20, 2007. As part of the competition, teams are challenged to design, build, and operate the most attractive, energy-efficient solar-powered home. Using only energy from the sun and with an eye towards modern design, teams meticulously choose the products and materials that go into their home. Interestingly, at least five teams, including MIT, UT-Austin, U. of Maryland, U. of Cincinnati, and Lawrence Technological University, are using the Warmboard Radiant Subfloor system. I’ve noticed the increasing use of Warmboard in several green projects, so I thought I would do a small post on the subject.
A quick, but interesting, little tidbit of information … in Haringey, a city in the UK, the city council hired a company to use a military-style plane outfitted with a thermal imaging to take pictures of every structure in the area. They took the heat loss information from the pictures and created a color-coded map identifying the various levels of heat loss for each building. As you can see from the image shot above, the dark red homes are really losing some heat. By visiting the Haringey Interactive Heat Loss Map, you can scroll over each gray dot and get the address of that particular energy loser. I’m not sure if the data has led to any improvements (there’s definitely a concern over privacy here in the U.S.), but it’s probably led to some interesting discussions: "Excuse me neighbor, did you know you’re a red house? Well, I’m a blue house and I think I can help…" Via CD + TechDirt.