- The Urban Revival – Cities may be the key to curbing climate crisis.
- Fat Zones – Does where you live influence what you eat? A new study says ZIP codes are surprisingly accurate predictors of obesity.
- Another new study suggests that people who live in damp, moldy homes may be prone to depression.
- A new roof and attic system being developed at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory could help owners lower summer utility bills by 8% or more.
- Alcoa announced the start-up of a 588,000 watt, roof-mounted photovoltaic solar power system at its California manufacturing facility, enabling the supply of clean and reliable renewable energy.
I like the idea of using things that we already have to create things that we need — which is probably why the concept of container housing is so intriguing. In Las Vegas, Arnie Stalk, in conjunction with METRO Development Group and SHARE, has created an actual prototype of the Instant Built House. IBH is a rapid deployment shelter made from standardized, recycled ISO modules — containers that can be transported via ocean cargo ships, railroad "piggy-back" trains, semi-trucks, helicopter airlift operations, and civilian and military jumbo air cargo transports. In other words, an IBH can be shipped practically anywhere in the world in a moment’s notice.
IBH Shelters are built with the following: fully insulated walls, photovoltaic solar array for power, wind-ventilated scoops and skylights, roof-mounted HVAC units, satellite cable and internet, and internal waste collector and water recycling systems. IBH models are secured on concrete caisson footings, foundations, and slabs. I’m surprised they used Longhorn colors to paint it, but we’ll let that slide.
I know you could probably surf around and subscribe to a few channels here and there, but I’ve found a fun way to put the best green videos from YouTube all in one place. Introducing the Jetson Green Video Library. If you have the time, click the first one and it’ll take you through to the very end of all 17 videos. And if you like a particular video, click the YouTube logo within the video and you’ll go straight to that video’s dedicated YouTube page. Let me know if I missed one and I’ll keep the page updated with great green content.
I wasn’t able to find building images or renderings, but in noteworthy news, The Weather Channel recently announced plans to seek LEED Silver certification for its new, 12,500 sf HD studio. According to Debora Wilson, president of The Weather Channel, "Constructing a new facility in a way that is environmentally responsible sends a strong message about our commitment to helping people learn more about the issues that the public faces in regards to the environment. We are extending our ongoing mission of keeping our viewers informed and safe during severe weather to a similar role in regards to matters of safety and well-being for life on this planet." The Weather Channel’s green building plans coincide with an overall corporate goal to be more environmentally conscious and some planned features include energy efficient lighting, low-VOC paints and sealants, and water saving fixtures and plumbing. Completion is expected by February 2008.
Environmentalism is all the rage right now, isn’t it? It’s good, but we need to sift through some of the noise and clearly identify correct information. With respect to the costs of green building, depending on who you talk to, it’s possible to get conflicting information. To prove this point, try to survey a couple real estate pros (informally, of course) and you may be surprised by what you hear. When I’m around seasoned real estate pros, I make it point to ask them what they think about green building. The information is rarely consistent. Below, we have three legitimate reports seeking to clarify the discussion on green building costs. These reports are free, and by all means, email this post around to your real estate professional friends. Let’s make this information viral. Let’s get past any misunderstandings and start building better, more efficient buildings.
- Energy Efficiency in Buildings: Business Realities and Opportunities, Summary Report, World Business Council for Sustainable Development. Although focusing more on energy efficiency in buildings (as opposed to the entire environmental picture of a building), this report found, among other things, that the costs of green building are often misunderstood, and even overestimated by as much as 300%.
- Cost of Green Revisited: Reexamining the Feasibility and Cost Impact of Sustainable Design in the Light of Increased Market Adoption, Davis Langdon. Using the USGBC’s LEED system as a parameter, this report found that there is no significant difference in average costs for green buildings as compared to non-green buildings.
- Green Buildings and the Bottom Line: The ‘New Reality’ of Green Building, From Environmental Cause to Financial Opportunity, Building Design + Construction. Assessing all the different product types individually, this white paper discusses the costs and benefits of green buildings and presents a 10-point action plan for consideration by all the green building stakeholders.
I think we’re at the point where the information will start to take hold and green building practices will spread. It will gather such momentum that all the players in the real estate world, whether lenders, investors, contractors, engineers, architects, lawyers, owners, or developers, will have a seat at the table and will push for smarter, greener decisions.