Extreme Recycling in the Big Dig House

Bigdighouse

The Big Dig House by Single Speed Design is a testament to recycling.  More than 600,000 pounds of material were recovered from the massive Boston transit project known as the Big Dig and were reused to make this 3,400 square foot house.  Temporary road sections (formerly used as access ramps for a bridge), support beams that shored up a slurry wall, and other pieces were saved from being sent to a landfill and instead became the bones of this unique home.

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Graham & Brown Recycled, Renewable Wallpaper

Geometric Grahambrown

Graham & Brown, the well-known 60 year-old wallpaper company, now claims that, "about 50% of an average roll of our wallpaper is made from renewable resources."  Their claim is backed by the FSC logo, which appears on all Graham & Brown wallpaper.  Now, that isn’t really a staunch enough commitment for me, but in the wallpaper world, Graham & Brown is one of the only companies making any real effort towards "greening" themselves.  Some of their other environmental policies are more impressive.  For example, they run a Waste-to-Energy Plant, which means they use their pollution to create more energy on-site instead of releasing into the environment.  They also use recycled rainwater, have special drainage systems to reduce runoff, and use non-acidic inks and coatings, which are more eco-friendly than conventional methods. 

I have never been much of a fan of wallpaper: it’s a pain to put up, it’s a pain to take down, and the patterns were traditionally dowdy and drab.  But, in the new wave of retro-modern, bright, and bold patterns, I have become a convert. 

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A Thermally Efficient Matrix of Buildings (S2)

Abu Dhabi Plaza A few days ago, Foster + Partners released design details of their newest mixed-use project in Astana, Kazakhstan — Abu Dhabi Plaza.  This clustered matrix of multi-level buildings will include retail, leisure, hotel, office, and residential uses.  David Nelson, Senior Executive and Head of Design at Foster + Partners said, "We are extremely excited to be working on this important project for Astana that will provide a new urban destination – visually and functionally. The design has resulted from a rigorous analysis of the city’s extreme climate, which has generated the unusual cluster diagram and has determined a façade that is both distinctive and highly efficient."  In this geography, the temperature can get as cold as -40 degrees Celsius, and Foster + Partners found that the compact situation of buildings helped to maximize thermal insulation during the harsh winter months.  The development also includes a series of temperate, year-round gardens with a network of sheltered pedestrian routes throughout the site.  Light shafts between the blocks will have laminated glass panels that shower colorful light, shadows, and patterns on the lower levels.

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$20B Green Homes Market, Efficiency Audits, Low-cost Technology, + Green Retail (WIR)

Week in Review

[Video] The Natural House, Net Zero Energy Home

I was excited to get an email this morning regarding the pilot episode of The Natural House, which is produced by Distant Planet Media.  The beginning of the video takes us through the Kelly Woodford Mountain Retreat in Oregon, a home we talked about previously.  It’s a net zero energy home, creating as much energy as it uses.  The producers were kind enough to allow embedding on this one, so watch and share away!

Celadon Green Townhouses Are Popular

Look5

Update 4/23/09: Celadon Eco Townhomes Now Complete!

This is a development by Origin Development called Celadon.  Celadon has 24 units of minimalist, modern, eco-friendly townhouses, and the good people of Charlotte are dang close to snatching up the entire lot.  Only two left.  Celadon was designed by a LEED accredited architect, so it looks to be green with a luxury twist  (certification will be through the NC HealthyBuilt Homes Program).  Green features include bamboo floors, natural skylights, recycled glass tiles, low-emitting cabinetry, energy-efficient appliances, fly-ash mixed concrete, unit submetering, high-efficiency HVAC, and xeriscaping, etc.

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