William McDonough* has always been a beacon and true voice of environmental leadership, despite what a recent magazine article may be trying to say. Case in point, just last week he warned of a lop-sided focus on carbon during his keynote speech at the ParkCity conference in London (organized by Cabe and Natural England). If you've ever listened to Mr. McDonough, you know his speeches are captivating — there's always a lot worth remembering — but in this most recent keynote, one particular sound bite has been making the internet rounds. He likened buildings to "killing machines:"
Pardon the interruption, but I thought I would tap into the collective knowledge of readers for a little assistance. We've mentioned some awesome office chairs in the past, including the Zody and Embody, but I need some tips on a sub-$300 green task chair. My non-blogging, old school office chair went gimp a few months back with a broken leg. I kept using it because I was still getting by (and I like to really wear the hell out of stuff before replacing it), but a second leg just broke, so I need to get going on something new. I'm looking for something conservative (i.e., black or neutral) in this price range, preferably available in Salt Lake City, but I'll ship, if necessary. And I'd like it to be green, too, meaning made of recycled materials, made is a green factory, recyclable, etc. What do you know? Links, emails, suggestions?
There's a conundrum in the green building world that a lot of people are working on. They're trying to figure out how to building homes that are both sustainable and affordable — homes that most of us can approach. I could rattle off a list of folks working on this, and Habitat for Humanity would certainly be at the top. We just mentioned how a Michigan branch of Habitat for Humanity designed and built a LEED Platinum affordable home; and now according to The Oregonian, two Habitat homes in Portland are seeking LEED Platinum certification. The goal with these homes, like the Michigan home, was to test out various green strategies and technology for affordability. Here's a little more background:
- Think negawatts, not megawatts.
- Economy versus the environment.
- How companies are investing in sustainability.
- Americans moving into smaller, smarter homes.
- It's not easy turning co-op boards green.
- Portland deemed most sustainable city.
- Solar power: eco-friendly or eco-blight?
- Taking (walkable) cities in stride.
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It's fascinating to see the many and various forms created by prefab construction. In this case, Live Edge and Paul Discoe are using a Japanese post and beam system of construction (see bottom two images) to create somewhat traditional (but clean) and warm prefab homes. These homes are absolutely beautiful and built using reclaimed urban trees, which are removed for disease, storm damage, danger of falling, or construction clearing, etc. The home pictured above is Live Edge's one-bedroom prototype, and the one immediately below is a two-bedroom home.
This classic American home is the end result of smart planning, high performance materials, and passive design techniques. Designed on a $100,000 dollar budget by the Michigan firm of Dominick Tringali Architects, the project is set to be a prototype for the next generation of Habitat for Humanity homes. Lets take a closer look…