The Green Audacity of Lifestyle Minimalism

Minimalist

Photo by Internet Power Lunch.

I’ve been thinking a lot about minimalism lately for some reason.  We all have an idea of what "minimalism" is, but I wanted to dig a little deeper.  According to Wikipedia, minimalism describes a movement where "work is stripped down to its most fundamental features … it is rooted in the reductive aspects of Modernism, and is often interpreted as a reaction against abstract impressionism and a bridge to Postmodern art practices."  Strip it down to the fundamentals. 

I like the concept of stripping stuff down to the fundamentals.  You can strip down anything and literally find that "less is more."  Try it.  I honestly believe that with the right amount of less, less can be more.  Why is that?  Well, quite simply because less equals the fundamentals and enjoying the fundamentals — with no excess — feels good.  Let me explain my thoughts on the lifestyle of minimalism. 

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LEED, Say It Don't Spray It [Open Thread]

++LEED, follow or get out of the way!! [CP]

On a related note, I realize there are some strong opinions about LEED and its so called issues or problems.  Let’s treat this as an open thread for comments relating to anything and everything you’ve heard that is a potential problem with LEED.  True or not, list the obstacle.  I’m going to be working on something based on the comments below.  Say it don’t spray it. 

SMIT GROW Solar and Wind Facades

Grow .1

Green start-up companies are doing some crazy things, and this company, SMIT, is certainly one to watch.  SMIT, an acronym for Sustainably Minded Interactive Technology, spent the last two years in R&D with this interesting approach to solar and wind power.  SMIT's GROW product has two iterations, GROW.1 and GROW.2, pictured above and below. 

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Portland's First SIPs House to Save 70% on Bills!

SEED SIPs House

Update: 8/7/08 – check out Seed’s blog documenting the project at www.sipshousepdx.com.

Yesterday Seed Architecture Studio and Kaya General Contractors announced plans to build the first house in Portland using structural insulated panels ("SIP").  This sustainable home design is targeted to save 70% on bills (compared to a home built to current energy code) utilizing tech such as LED and fluorescent lighting, efficient appliances, passive cooling, and the ultra efficient SIPs.  Speaking of the home, Seed Architecture Studio owner Darin Dougherty said:

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Emeco, a Classic in Eco Furniture Design

Emeco Emeco Emeco

Emeco* designs are simple, elegant, timeless, and award-winning, but did you know that their furniture is also super green?  Emeco furniture is hand-made from 80% recycled aluminum — half of which is post-consumer (soft drink cans) and the other half is post-industrial (manufacturing scrap).  Because of this, their furniture can contribute to LEED points in your green project (MR 4.2/5.1). 

The second thing that makes Emeco’s furniture so green is that their pieces are made to last for at least 150 years!  In this day of disposable furniture that lasts for maybe a decade, 150 years is an impressive lifespan.  Emeco’s designs come in two standard finishes, brushed and polished. 

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Discovery Tower Peaks with a Mini Wind Farm [S2]

Discovery Tower Wind Turbines

Construction just began on what could be one of the most innovative office towers in the U.S.  Located at 1501 McKinney Street in Houston, Discovery Tower is a 30 story office building that will cost upwards near $300 million to build.  And as you can tell from the above renderings, the pinnacle was designed to have 10 wind turbines.  But that’s not just some fancy, green add-on to an otherwise generic building.  Discovery Tower will be built to achieve LEED Gold certification from the USGBC. 

With construction set to finish in the second quarter of 2010, the Gensler-designed green skyscraper will have air filtration, water-efficient plumbing, and an energy efficient heating and cooling system, among other things. 

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