Citizen Wisdom: Dallas Building Wants Green Renovation, Any Ideas?

Dallas Green RenovationThe bloggers over at the Practical Environmentalist just bought a non-green building in Dallas for their business, Clean Air Gardening.  The 13,000 sf building was built in the 1960s and they have a budget of about $50,000 to make it green.  We’re talking LEED, Energy Star, etc., you name it, they want to go green in an economically pragmatic way.  I figure we can tap the wisdom of the crowds and find a way to help them out, citizen wisdom style.  Feel free to drop your ideas into the comments here, or go over to PE directly and leave a comment.  Also, if you’re a Dallas business and want to get involved helping them do their thing, make sure to let them know. 

Already, PE seems to have this situation under control.  I like that they are signing up with Green Mountain Energy, using low-VOCs inside (good for indoor air quality), replacing old toilets with more water-efficient ones, adding a rainwater cistern to avoid using new water for landscaping, and replacing the door with a more energy-efficient set up.  Here are a few additional suggestions I have:

  • Consider a commercial-grade energy audit to determine where you may be losing air or energy.  Use that information to seal up cracks and fix stuff as needed (which will allow you to rely less on the dated HVAC system). 
  • Like you say, go with the Commercial Solatube lighting, if possible.  The more natural light, the better.  Why pay for light when the sun gives it away for free? 
  • For the interior design, use low-VOC carpets tiles and adaptable workstations/furniture from a company like Haworth (big-time commitment to recycled and sustainable products).  Haworth has a strong Dallas presence. 
  • Before making the investment in solar, try using a thermal energy storage product (like the ones offered by Dallas-based Trinity Thermal) that captures cheaper energy during off-peak times for use during more expensive peak periods.  This can contribute to LEED certification and has good $$ benefits. 
  • If you’re renovating the exterior, continue using a light color to reflect heat from the building.  Also, landscape in ways to shade the hottest parts of the building.  You guys are experts here, but natural landscaping will help with water conservation, too. 

That’s what I have so far, but I’m sure there are Dallas experts out there waiting to get your business and showcase their products.  Good luck!

Atkins' Al Sharq Office Complex in Kuwait City (S2)

Al Sharq Tower Recently, an Atkins office complex concept received big-time coverage by being awarded the 2007 MIPIM Architectural Review Future Projects Award in the Office category.  I’m blogging about it because I like some of the sustainable elements.  The 180 meter Al Sharq tower includes an executive gym, health club, spa, and swimming pool at the top.  The building also features planted sky gardens in strategic locations where people can step outside, take a break, soak in the view, and think.  Commenting on the building’s unique green attributes, Nicholas Bailey of Atkins in Bahrain said:

This is a green building – literally – because of its foliage camouflage.  Vertical fins to the street elevation, formed in colored glass, are fitted with integrated solar panels that contribute to the building’s energy needs.  The project showcases a new way of building the working environment.  It is no longer a cage to confine workers, but a creative living environment to encourage productivity.  The groundbreaking concept of the project is the provision of different scenarios where business can take place.  More images below. 

Good Links:
+Atkins Office Concept Wins International Award [atkins global]
+Kuwait Office Development Short listed for MIPIM Award [WAN]

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Green Corporate America, British Eco-Towns, Wal-Mart's Solar Play, + A Green Gas Station (WIR)

Week in Review
  1. McGraw-Hill Construction released the Greening of Corporate America SmartMarket report detailing corporate America’s opinions on green building and sustainability. 
  2. Future British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, has announced a plan to build 5 affordable "eco-towns," which will include wind and photovoltaic energy sources. 
  3. Wal-mart announced a major initiative to outfit 22 stores with solar power, an amount that could be up to 20 million kWh per year. 
  4. A $3 million BP gas station in South Baltimore becomes latest green building with an amazing living roof, among other things. 

M-CH: Less is More Edition

m-ch

Let’s face it, less is more.  What you see is the micro compact home, aka m-ch, which is a 76 sf home designed by Richard Horden, a professor at Technical University of Munich (TUM).  m-ch was designed to meet the growing demand for short-stay living.  I think Horden’s on to something.  Right now, there’s a horde of 7 m-chs that TUM students and staff occasionally stay in.  But there’s also a 16-unit village of m-chs being developed for a site near Vienna, Austria. 

What’s great about the m-ch is its high-tech design.  It’s all geeked out with the latest in electronics and technology.  Future models plan to use solar panels and horizontal-axis wind turbines to make the home self-sustaining.  For $96,000 (delivery + installation anywhere in Europe), you get a sliding table for 5, two 7.5 foot beds, shelves and drawers, an electrical systems control panel, bathroom and shower, and a kitchen with a microwave, fridge/freezer, sink, waste unit, and work surface.  For a quick jaunt and a little fun, what more could you ask for?  Via WiredCool images below the fold. 

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Masdar City: Zero Carbon, Zero Waste

1064_4_1000_foster_mascar_4

Foster + Partners has created a master plan for a massive and bold 6 million square meter sustainable development near Abu Dhabi called Masdar.  Driven by the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, Masdar will be a zero carbon, zero waste community, one that will be entirely car free. 

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Filler Post: The Light at the End of the Tunnel

I’m in the middle of a hellish end to law school finals.  I have some good content in the works, but need to sort through it + make it shine, so keep your eyes open for stuff later in the day.  For those of you aren’t familiar with the face behind Jetson Green, I’m at the end of my 4th year of grad school getting both JD + MBA degrees.  The MBA part finished last week.  I need to polish up my paper on lead paint public nuisance litigation for Friday and make it through the night studying for constitutional law.  Next week is graduation and we’re moving the very next day for Salt Lake City.  Posting will be erratic, but will come even if it’s at 4:00 am sometimes.  How ’bout them Jazz?  Who would’ve thought I’d leave the playoff-less Dallas for the playoff-full Salt Lake City? 

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