I’m a big-time reader–anything good I can get my hands on. But, I’m picky. So I take time to read BusinessWeek (BW) every week, and I can’t remember the last time they DIDN’T mention green this or sustainable that. This week, BW named green building one of The Best Ideas of 2006 (slide show). Again, this doesn’t come as a surprise because BW has been on green for a while now; back in July, for example, they had an article about the Green Wonders of the World. Here’s a snippet from this week: "The Hearst Building has lots of company in this year’s green all-star category, including Adobe’s new Silicon Valley headquarters, Google’s installation of solar panels at its Mountain View headquarters, and the new Bank of America tower in New York. BofA’s glassy wonder, now emerging over Bryant Park, is expected to become the greenest office tower in the U.S., complete with a living green roof and sensors that know when to pump fresh air into stuffy meeting rooms. Healthier workers. Fantasy digs. A smaller contribution to global warming. Green is good." Yes, indeed. For the inquisitive, I’ve posted on Hearst and Adobe before.
Here on Jetson Green, there’s a tradition where I focus on a green skyscraper of notable interest. This weekly column is called Skyscraper Sunday (click to see archives). Last week, TVS Architects unveiled the design of what will be Charlotte’s second tallest building, the Wachovia Tower. It will be 48 stories, 800 feet tall, and have 1.5 million square feet of space, and Wachovia will eat up about half of the building in what seems to be long-term lease commitment. The word is, owners of the building will be seeking USGBC certification (not sure what level) and will include features such as recycled rainwater and a greenroof, obviously among many other green features. While there’s not much information on the project just yet, news reports suggest that the price tag will be about $880 million (seem a little high?). Via Hugg + Forex.
::"S2" is short for "Skyscraper Sunday," a weekly article on green skyscrapers posted every Sunday::
I hate to post this on Saturday, because I’m afraid it won’t get a large readership, but I wanted to talk about David Baker + Partners‘ (DBP) new design for a development called Blue Star Corner. The design is called the New Urban Home. The New Urban Home philosophy blends loft and condominium attitudes, with a modern feel that tends to build up–not out. This philosophy was brought to the Blue Star Corner development to create a sustainable (LEED for Homes), modern, urban design for the historic Park Avenue District in the Bay Area. All the appliances will be Energy Star, all the plumbing will be water efficient, and the site is located near mass transit. Blue Star Corner is planned for completion in mid-2007.
The developer, Holliday Development, and DBP hope to achieve LEED for Homes certification on this project. Here’s some of what they’re going to do: will use recycled and non-toxic building materials, non-endangered woods, galvanized metal, bamboo flooring, and environmentally-fabricated CaesarStone quartz countertops; will try to source materials locally as much as possible (keeps money in local economy + eliminates the transportation/gas premium); open spaces will feature sustainable landscaping by Conger Moss Guillard Landscape; appliances will be energy-efficient with Duravit, Kohler, and Bosch brands; and much more.
Units will include also Ann Sacks bathtubs, Sub-zero + Jenn-Air refrigerators, Bisazza tiles, Benjamin Moore paint, in-unit iPod docking stations, and personal garages with fold-up work stations. This is all going in with the general setup with a master bedroom, living room, kitchen, and flex room. To add to that, homes will be unique–they won’t all have identical features, colors, or design. It’s important to cater to individuality.
New Urban Home at Blue Star Corner [Generalized Case Study]
David Baker + Partners Provide Design for "Green" Amsterdam-Inspired Townhouses [MHN]
Buildings account for 36% of the US’s total energy consumption, including 65% of its electricity use. The debate over coal, renewable energy, wind energy, solar panels, etc., pretty much comes down to the fact that we (Americans) use a lot of electricity. Well, a well-known green real estate consultant, Charles Lockwood, sat down with Tom Friedman to discuss his thoughts on everything green (article link – pdf). Tom Friedman is a three-time Pulitzer Prize winning columnist for the New York Times and wrote the wildly popular book, The World Is Flat. If you want to get your hands on the book, make sure to get the updated version. Friedman has some interesting comments about green buildings and technology. He talks about something he calls "Up, Not Out," and how green cities can attract younger workers. He also wants to re-frame the debates on environmentalism. Give the article a read and watch his video with Tim Russert of MSNBC.
The Green Quotient: Q+A Thomas L. Friedman [Charles Lockwood]
Every now and then, I find an innovative real estate development group that just knocks my socks off. After living in Japan for 2 years, I love to hear anything about the place, so you can imagine how cool I think Sakura Urban Concepts is. Sakura is Japanese for the "cherry blossom tree," which buds in early April and you can see blossoming trees all over Japan for about two weeks. It’s incredible to see. This forward-thinking group is behind a new urban design building in Portland called Shizen, which happens to be Japanese for "nature." Not only is Shizen going to be a net zero energy building, but it’s going to have sophisticated design, sense of community, and sustainable lifestyle written all over it. Be sure to check out Shizen’s website!
This project is funded, in part, by a grant from Portland’s Office of Sustainable Development (via funds from a Green Investment Fund partnership). First, the site was home to a famous Portland Bakery, the Helen Bernhard Bakery, so Sakura purchased the property and had the house moved down the street. The house was renovated and looks pretty good. By moving the house, 200 tons of material was diverted from the landfill. The condo will have a 23 kW photovoltaic array that generates roughly 1/3 of Shizen’s annual electricity; a biodiesel fueled microturbine will generate the other 2/3 (and enough to heat domestic hot water and space heating); there will be radiant floors in entries and bathrooms; rain that falls on the roof will flow to a 25,000 gallon cistern under the parking level, and that water will be used for toilet and irrigation water; 60% of Shizen’s energy savings will be through its high mass, well insulated envelope and high efficiency lights and appliances; double-glazed, argon-filled, triple coated low-e windows will allow light and block solar gain in the summer; and the roof will be a r-38 insulation.
Shizen will be located on 1706 NE Schuyler (one block north of Broadway/NE 17th). There will be 7 units, and construction starts in March 2007. The total building will have about 15,500 square feet (so average of 2,200 square feet per residence?) and the land site is 7,500 square feet. Not bad at all…Once you go green, you don’t go back.
The fact of the matter is, if you’re going to build green buildings, you gotta have green materials. And green building is getting easier because demand is increasing and creating innovative green products to fit all varieties of projects. There are different angles to take with a sustainable project and it’s not all about energy efficiency. You’ll want to look at everything. I like to think in terms of consumption. What are you consuming and how much of it are you consuming? Is the building water efficient? What does it do with waste (such as recycling)? Does waste equal food (C2C)? Did you have to ship it across the world to procure it? What’s the indoor air quality of the building? How does it look and feel? Did you benefit the community by buying the materials, paying the laborers, or building the project?
To make life a little easier, there’s the GreenSpec Directory, which includes more than 2,100 green product listings. It’s a veritable idea bank ($89.90). To give you a taste of what some of the products are, BuildingGreen announced the Top-10 Green Building Products during GreenBuild in November. Here they are. I’ve linked to the BuildingGreen product information and used "(company)" for the corporate website link. BuildingGreen doesn’t receive money from these companies for placing a product in the GreenSpec Directory, so the information is totally objective in that regard.
- Polished Concrete System from RetroPlate (company)
- Underwater Standing Timber Salvage by Triton Logging (company)
- PaperStone Certified Composite Surface Material by Klip Tech Composites, Inc. (company)
- Varia + "100 Percent" Recycled-content Panel Products by 3Form, Inc. (company)
- Recycled-content Interior Molding by Timbron International (company)
- SageGlass Tintable Glazing by Sage Electrochromics (company)
- Water-efficient Showerhead with H20kinetic Technology by Delta (company)
- WeatherTRAK Smart Irrigation Controls by HydroPoint Data Systems, Inc. (company)
- Coolerado Cooler Advanced, Indirect Evaporative Air Conditioner by Coolerado, LLC (company)
- Renewable Energy Credits from Community Energy, Inc. (company)
If you have an experience with any of these products, feel free to drop a comment so all the readers can benefit. Once you go green, you never go back!