So the big day is September 8, 2008 — the day Mr. Thomas Friedman’s next book goes on sale. It’s called Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution–And How It Can Renew America. I have a feeling it’s going to be good, too, but I can’t pinpoint why. Maybe it’s because Friedman does a lot of research and assesses that research with a fresh perspective. Maybe it’s because he says new stuff — he’s not necessarily regurgitating what we hear everyday. Maybe it’s because he takes a strong position. Whatever it is, I have a stack of great books that I’ve been trying to get through, but this one will likely make it to the nightstand.
Update 8/08/2012 – Parans is now available through Wasco.
The interesting thing about fiber optic lighting is that it creates the ability to put natural light in places where there is none. Generally, here’s how it works. Using a building-mounted panel with computer-controlled, sun-tracking lenses, natural light is channeled through optical fibers to luminaires that diffuse the light (see diagram below).
Since early 2008, HUVCO Daylighting Solutions has been offering a fiber optic lighting system like this, or the Parans System, which was developed in Sweden. Although light only travels about 60 feet through optical cables, the ability to direct light in this manner is quite interesting.
Denmark50, located in Los Angeles, is comprised of a showroom and warehouse full of vintage Danish Modern furniture and accessories. And of course, buying vintage is such a green way to go. The showroom (below) is a nice display of what the company has to offer, but the warehouse (also below) is the really amazing part. Mid-Century Danish furniture is stuffed into the large space as far as the eye can see: couch after couch, chairs, tables, and any other piece one could imagine.
I’m dedicating this article to all the traditionalist readers out there — I must admit, though, I’m seriously hesitant about the design here, but I know some of you love this style. What I love, however, is the idea that green homes and communities can be zero energy. That’s what Solar Verde is all about. Solar Verde is a planned community of 20 homes and the developer claims its the first development east of the Rocky Mountains to offer a roof-top photovoltaic system as a basic design feature. Homes come with a 4 kW solar PV system made with SOLARSAVE roof shingles. As you can tell, the developer finished the first two model homes last July for this south Chicago green community.
This is a small little mixed-use building called Graham Street Lofts. With 12 residential units and some ground floor commercial, the infill building sits in the Eliot neighborhood of Northern Portland. Residential units start at ~$324k and each home is energy efficient and modern inside. The R-30, 10-inch thick PerformWall ICFs are made of recycled polystyrene and cement and help to keep the interiors quiet. Combine the efficient envelope with hydronic radiant floors and overall home energy use is quite low, too. Additionally, Graham Street Lofts has some of the following green amenities and finishes:
The Margarido House is on its way to being the first home the nation that's both LEED-H certified and GreenPoint rated. It's also aiming to be the first custom home in Northern California to be LEED-H Platinum certified. The ~4600 sf home is still waiting on Platinum certification, but it's important to note that because of it's large size, the homeowners had to pursue drastic green measure to get into Platinum territory. And they did quite well, actually, building a home that's 55% more efficient than California's Title 24 energy standards. Check out this list of green features: