- USGBC Now Allows Cradle to Cradle (C2C) Points under LEED Innovation in Design Category.
- Britain Assesses the Pros and Cons of Green Homes.
- Baltimore is One Step Closer to Becoming Next City to Require Developers to Incorporate Green Building Standards into Projects.
- New Exelon HQs Becomes Largest Office Space in the World to be LEED-CI Certified at the Platinum Level.
At some point over the past year, the American population surpassed 300 million, and if we continue as expected, we’re going to have another 92 million people over the next 34 years. That’s a lot of people and they’ll need places to live. Over that period of time, it’s real important that we get planning right. The problem is, however, planning decisions are made by thousands of different people with thousands of conflicting interests. The gist, though, is that sprawl isn’t green. Here are ten good reasons to back that up.
- Sprawl development contributes to a loss of support for public facilities and public amenities.
- Sprawl undermines effective maintenance of existing infrastructure.
- Sprawl increases societal costs for transportation.
- Sprawl consumes more resources than other development patterns.
- Sprawl separates urban poor people from jobs.
- Sprawl imposes a tax on time.
- Sprawl degrades water and air quality.
- Sprawl results in the permanent alteration and destruction of habitats.
- Sprawl creates difficulty in maintaining community.
- Sprawl offers the promise of choice while only delivering more of the same.
I’m a child of sprawl. I’ve seen the effects of it. I’ve personally experienced #3, #4, #6, #9, and #10. Every smart person in this country needs to realize the effect of various policy and regulatory decisions and find a way to dig out of the mess we’re in. If not, sprawl will continue to hamper us more and more in the future.
Is there a silver bullet to fixing the problem? That’s tough. There is a temporary solution for some people: live near your work, church, and family. It will make your life more abundant when the places you go are close. Just find a way to live near the places you frequently go.
This list was created by James M. McElfish, Jr., Director, Sustainable Use of Land Program, Environmental Law Institute.
Modus Development is an innovative development group that works with infill sites in good locations to enhance the value of the land by improving the quality of life for those that live on it. How do they do that? With modern, cutting-edge, green designs. Currently, Modus is working on a 9 townhouse project in Scottsdale, Arizona, called Array. Each townhouse in Array will have a 2-kilowatt photovoltaic system provided by American Solar Electric. The system is expected to generate about 28,800 kilowatt hours of electricity annually and offset roughly 30,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. In addition, Modus is building the project to LEED standards, which will make it the second LEED-certified project in the area. According to Ed Gorman, President of Modus Development, "By adding the solar panels to the rooftops of every home, we create homes that are both architecturally unique and cost very little to operate." Each 3-story townhome will have about 1,800 sf, with 2-bedrooms, a den/office/bedroom option, 2.5 bathrooms, and a detached 2-car garage.
Recently, I’ve run across the work of an environmentally friendly Thai architect named Singh Intrachooto. Singh saw a problem in the industry and decided to do something to close the loop. If you’ve ever been involved with construction of any form, you know there’s tons of wasted materials. That’s where Singh comes in. He takes left over scrap from construction sites and designs furniture with them, each piece being different depending on the size and shape of the materials that get salvaged. Now, Singh’s furniture has exploded and is on display in Los Angeles and Paris.
Singh sells the furniture via his website, OSISU, but I’m not necessarily advocating the purchase of his work. It’s incredible and inspiring, but we have our own construction waste here in the U.S. We have tons of it. And it’s going straight to the landfill. Why not find value in that trash? Let’s close the loop and put good materials to use. With Singh, it was just about 18 months ago that he decided to start making this furniture, and in his words, "people thought he was crazy." Now it’s getting big-time coverage all over the media. All it takes is asking the construction workers to set aside scraps like wood, steel, and concrete. The pieces pictured were made from reclaimed teak morsels. Via reuters.
This year’s Met Home Design 100 list has a ton of green projects and products and one of the magazine’s choices is the David Hertz LivingHome shown above. Built from a unique, aluminum-based panelized system, the Hertz home is about 2,650 sf with four bedrooms + four bathrooms. For ease of reference, I’m going to refer to this home as DH1 (see also RK1 and RK2), which I think works because in all likelihood, LivingHomes will feature more Hertz designs in the future. DH1 features a green roof and a private balcony that can be accessed by three of the four bedrooms. And like the other LivingHome prefab products, it will be LEED certified.
At a price point of about $215 psf, I hear LivingHomes is looking for the right client to take the plunge on DH1. What does it take? (1) land in or near Los Angeles, (2) intent to build within the next six months, (3) a budget of about +$750,000, (4) interest in building a green home, and (5) tolerance and patience throughout the process.
To me, this is a no-brainer. If I were out of college and established in business, I’d plop down a million in a heartbeat just to get the DH1 built and use it as a vacation home (at a minimum). I’d buy it for the joy of having one of the greenest prefabs in the country and I’d let all my friends stay in it. Actually, I’d probably hire a management company to lease it out by the day, week, or month, so anyone in the world could test out the joys of living in a modern + green home. I’d invite builders from all over the country to stay in it for free and showcase the green benefits. I’d make green viral. That’s what you can do with a great-looking, high-performance home like the DH1.
It’s free. Use it. Design with it in mind. Natural light = equity. More natural light = less artificial light. It feels good. Workers appreciate it. Light chases away inhibition. Natural light does not have to be hot. Natural light is from the sun. The sun moves. Design with natural light is more advanced than design with artificial light. Artificial light is fake. CFLs + incandescents are artificial light. Artificial light requires electricity. Electricity can be used for other things during the day besides artificial lighting. Artificial light is man made. Natural light is not man made. Animals are cognizant of day and night. The day/night distinction is irrelevant to humans. Natural light comes from one source. Artificial light radiates from countless sources. Natural light = gift. Artificial light = debt. Image via.