William McDonough and Michael Braumgart, founders of MBDC and authors of the popular Cradle to Cradle book, just announced the launch of their new blog, the Cradle to Cradle Community Blog. The blog looks to be authored authentically by the experts themselves, so we won’t have to chase after old Bioneers videos on Youtube just to get some wit and wisdom from McDonough himself. I can’t wait to read this, although it would be nice to have an RSS reminder every now and then. Simultaneously, they’ve announced the creation of the Cradle to Cradle Community Forum. The forum has subcategories for discussions on Cradle to Cradle Design, Innovative Materials, Closing Loops, and Cradle to Cradle Certification. There’s free and subscription levels within the forum and it looks like premium members get to participate in live chats. Fair enough.
If you’re like me, you want to be at the Greenbuild Expo, but there’s something keeping you from being there. Maybe you’re too busy making a green difference in the world and can’t break away. Maybe you can’t justify the travel to Chicago. Whatever your reason, it’s still nice to benefit from all the good information available at the event. Pop over to Greenbuild 365 for updates on what’s happening. Greenbuild started this morning with President Clinton and ends in a couple days. Right now, Greenbuild 365 has a video of Thom Mayne, founder and principal with Morphosis (we posted a podcast with him recently, too). I understand Greenbuild 365 will have more info as the event continues, so check back. Here at Jetson Green, we’re getting tons of info, so we’ll filter the best and blog about it over the next week or so.
There’s an interesting article in the November issue of Inc. Magazine about Full Spectrum NY and their low-income, green development, The Kalahari. Located at 116th Street in Harlem, Kalahari has an interesting design — it’s actually inspired by designs of the Ndebele tribes of southern Africa. The building is currently under construction and is aiming for LEED Silver certification; some of the green technology used in this building include wind and solar power, low-flow water fixtures, energy-efficient appliances, vegetated green roofing, and bamboo floors. About half of the 249 units are set aside for families earning in the $56,000 per year range. The article goes on to explain how successful Full Spectrum NY has been developing in the low-income, green housing niche. Very cool.
This is the Helix Wind Turbine, a small-wind, residential scale option that could cut your electricity bills in half, if installed and situated properly. This 2-kw grid-tie or off-grid system is designed to catch winds at lower speeds. And it won’t hurt the birds, either. According to the company’s website, the Helix System is inexpensive, reliable, and simple — it’s a good choice for low wind speed residential and commercial applications. The Savonius turbine based design catches wind from all directions creating smooth powerful torque to spin the electric generator. Perfect customers live in areas that have amenable small wind zoning and get about 10 mph of wind/cross-winds. Via EcoGeek.
Hot on the heels of a growing bundle of green retailers comes news of Kohl’s future plans for new construction. Starting in 2008, newly constructed retail stores will be built to LEED certification. Currently, Kohl’s has plans for about 80 new stores and the changes will include adding more insulation, using recycled or reusable building materials, ensuring that materials are locally supplied, and controlling lights, heat, and cooling from central headquarters to prevent excess energy consumption. Twenty-two stores in California will use solar power to supply roughly 40% of their energy needs, and three stores in Wisconsin will use solar to power about 20% of their energy needs.
Matt Allert took second place in the Cascadia Region GBC‘s Emerging Green Builders Natural Talent Design Competition this year with his idea, the Dwelling Dock [pdf]. The Dwelling Dock is premised on the idea that sustainability should begin with the most basic building block of our communities: the dwelling. It’s an attempt to fully integrate the infrastructure of the housing unit with the environment. Although purely in concept stage, the Dwelling Dock would be prefabricated, and would include all the accoutrements we’ve come to expect in green homes: pervious paving, recycled materials, living roof, water collection, and photovoltaic panels.
Allert’s goals for the Dwelling Dock project include some of the following: (1) collect rainwater for re-use, (2) produce energy on-site, (3) minimize site disturbance and preserve existing site resources, (4) use local materials, and (5) integrate sustainable design with recycled, low-VOC materials. And I’ve got to admit, I really like the design elements. Butterfly living roof. 3-level living. A healthy mixture of privacy and transparency. Would you live in one?