Steve Case, the former CEO, Chairman, and co-founder of AOL, recently announced the launch of his new company, Revolution, which will build a sustainable resort, Cacique – Costa Rica, in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. I saw the press release and asked the PR department for some images of the resort … needless to say, the above is all I received. So I think we’re in the very beginning stages of planning. One thing is for sure: that’s a beautiful island with lots of trees. Wouldn’t it just be incredible to sit there and chill out … take in the vibe … enjoy it the crystal clear water? Cacique – Costa Rica will feature high-end, luxury services and amenities with a focus on intelligent, environmentally friendly designs that reduce energy and water demand and take advantage of spatial, wind, and solar patterns to maximize natural ventilation, shade, and daylight. Fairly general information, I know, but we’ll keep it on our green resort watch. See the press release.
2020 Lawrence breaks ground early next year, but it’s already making headlines. With prices ranging from $290k-$800k, 20 of the 60 units have been pre-sold. But there’s a compelling financial scenario lurking in the numbers of this $20 million development: buyers that go with the 2-kw photovoltaic system will get a quarter point break on the 30 year mortgage (assuming buyer’s go with Countrywide Financial). The result is that it becomes cheaper to buy a unit with the pv system, than without the system. Nice.
Additionally, 2020 Lawrence will be built to LEED silver certification and will be the first condo community in the region to receive a Near-Zero Energy Home designation. As far as green amenities, 2020 Lawrence will have dual-flush toilets, sustainable hardwood floors, reserved hybrid vehicle parking, and rooftop solar power, to name a few. Via BGTV.
It looks like Best Buy is upping its green cred with the recent announcement that starting in early- to mid-2008, all future Best Buy stores will be built to LEED standards. In all honesty, the retail sector has been kind of slow to adopt programs such as LEED. But this is starting to change. Best Buy has the in-house architect and senior facilities manager working on getting LEED accredited right now. Additionally, the company plans to get its eco-prototype store certified by the end of the year. The eco-prototype will have energy-efficient lighting, rainwater recycling, recycled content building materials, a high-efficiency HVAC system, and some sort of day lighting system.
Best Buy’s greening will go beyond the new stores also. Before the end of the fiscal year, it plans to increase its use of reusable containers by 30 percent; retrofit 20 percent of its 650+ stores with dimmable, zonable ceramic metal halide lights; and recycle 75,000 tons of cardboard, 1,800 tons of plastic, 15,000 tons of consumer electronics, and 27,500 tons of appliances. Via MBJ.
The implications of this research are unbelievable. Seriously. I’ve written about the ten common problems associated with sprawl previously, but this story opens up the discussion again. Angkor Wat is the home of a magnificent temple in Cambodia and was the center to one of the largest cities in the pre-industrialized world. Recently, NASA used ground-sensing radar to study the extent of the city and found that it took up approximately 400 square miles. In comparison, Phoenix sprawls across about 500 square miles, not including the suburbs. The research revealed a complex network of canals, 1,000 man-made ponds, and roughly 70 long-lost temples. The canals carried and distributed water towards the temple and through the south of Angkor. Interestingly, the study also revealed evidence of breaches in dykes and areas where they attempted to fix the canals.
What’s most interesting is the idea that Angkor’s increasingly intricate and complex system of canals might have been too expensive and difficult to maintain. So, there was an elaborate infrastructure that might have run into disrepair … which possibly contributed to the downfall of Angkor? This is very interesting research. Apply that to our situation and query whether the issues we have with the levees in New Orleans or the bridge in Minnesota parallel the situation in Angkor. Do we have an infrastructure, fueled by sprawl and fractional planning, that is too expensive to maintain?
Although it’s not all that attractive looking from these images, it’s the greenest building in Billings, Montana, and one of a select few buildings certified "Platinum" under the LEED-NC (new construction) certification system. Using technology such as solar panels and composting toilets, it offices the Northern Plains Resource Council and consumes about 21% of the energy and 41% of the water of a similarly sized building. Financially, the building cost about $140 psf, which is about $35 psf cheaper than if the older building had been demolished and a new one put in its place.
In all honesty, there are only three other buildings in Montana that have green certifications from the USGBC. BUT, this building, known as Home on the Range, has created a gathering place for local architects, students, and the public. Now, there are 18 LEED projects in the registration phase in Montana. That’s incredible. We’re really getting some serious momentum behind this thing, that’s for sure.
This development on Reem Island called The Gate is currently under construction in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. We’re talking about a total of 11,300,000 sf of development space. One building is the Sky Tower. Sky Tower will be the tallest tower in Abu Dhabi and (only) the fifth largest tower in UAE. Topping out at 83 stories and 300 meters, it is anticipated that Sky Tower will be the first building in the UAE to receive LEED certification. The Gate Development will also include five 62-story towers and two 31-story buildings. Designed and planned by Arquitectonica, The Gate is supposed to become the gateway to a new city.
It’s a pretty incredible looking development. By all means, check the images below and let me know if you think it has a slight resemblance to Stonehenge. Anyone agree? When completed, The Gate will have a total of 4,600 residential units, 344,488 sf of office space, and 44,291 sf of retail space.