Eight Small Ways to Build Green

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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):

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A Simple Yet Functional Container Home

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There's something about the simple design of this small container home that I really like.  It was mentioned on A Site-Specific Experiment, which is run by Chutayaves Sinthuphan out of Bangkok, Thailand.  The one-bedroom, one bathroom home was built using two, 20-foot containers with cutouts for windows and doors.  There's a prefab bathroom inside and the interior is insulated with a recycled content material. 

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100k House Gets All Sorts of Props

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A long time ago, we mentioned the 100k House project developed by Post Green in Philadelphia.  The project involves two attached homes designed by Interface Studio Architects, and one was a case study of sorts to try to build it for only $100,000.  What I liked about the project was its attempt to marry three essential elements: style, sustainability, and affordability.  All too often, these three are hard to put together in the same package.  But the media wave followed, and Post Green seems to have delivered what it set out to do.

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The Eco Office Reaches New Heights

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The Southface Eco Office is a state of the art building designed by Lord, Aeck & Sargent.  The Atlanta building has 10,000 square feet of space spread throughout three levels, as well as an upper-level green roof space.  The building is the same size as roughly three-quarters of the commercial buildings in the country, yet it's different in a number of ways.  Not only is it LEED Platinum certified, the highest level achievable, but The Eco Office was designed to use 53% less energy and 84% less water. 

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Austin’s Solar SunFlower Electric Garden

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Every now and then, you see something just knocks your socks off.  It’s either beautiful or creative or cutting-edge or all three.  And that’s what happened when I read about these solar SunFlowers created by Mags Harries and Lajos Héder for Catellus Development Company in Austin, Texas.  The permanent public art display was switched on in July and features 15 SunFlowers – photovoltaic solar collector panels on welded steel frames and stems. 

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Portland's First Rooftop Wind Turbines

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Over the weekend, Hoffman Construction lifted four Southwest Windpower turbines into place on top of a new building, Twelve West.  Located at Southwest 12th Avenue and Washington Street, Twelve West includes a mixture of office and apartment spaces and was designed by Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects to achieve LEED Platinum certification.  ZGF included the turbines in early renderings, and developer Gerding Edlen, probably the foremost green developer on the West Coast, determined to give the turbines serious chance.

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