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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
In January of this year, Frontline/World reporter Timothy Lesle published a three-part, video documentary on Huangbaiyu called "China: Green Dreams – A NOT SO model village." Here’s a teaser intro to the report: "The village of Huangbaiyu in rural northeast China was supposed to be a model for energy-conscious design. The initial project was to build 400 sustainable homes, a collaboration between U.S. architect William McDonough and the Chinese. But something went awry. [Timothy Lesle] traveled to the region to investigate." I’m not going to tell the whole story — the series is quite compelling, and Mr. Lesle presents an honest perspective of Chinese urbanization.