Home Design + Construction, Consumer Environmentalism + Corporate Sustainability (WIR)

Why is new housing so big and lousy?  Why do builders build these homes?  Despite unwavering focus by the media, government and business, "going green" is only of moderate concern to most […]

By |August 18th, 2007|Categories: News, Week in Review|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Boulder's Green Hickory Home by VaST

This green home was built in 2003, so it’s not anything new in particular, but I wanted to share some of the green concepts the homeowners worked through during process of building it.  First, the owners, Brandy LeMae + Joseph Vigil, purchased an odd-shaped lot near a well-traveled road for $157k.  It was rather cheap, with some lots in Boulder costing nearly $400k, so the design would have to solve the noise and space problem.  Second, they wanted a green home on a budget.  In the end, they were able to build the Hickory House for about $91 psf.  There’s an excellent article from Dwell about their process, but I’m going to explain a little below.

The owners raved about structural insulated panels, or SIPs, which went up quickly, were cut to size, allowed for minimal waste, and helped to defray the costs of the project.  They also used Forbo natural linoleum countertops, radiant heating in the concrete floors, and denim by-product cotton insulation.  LeMae + Vigil tried to keep the design simple — the more complicated the design is, the less money there is to go towards green things (check out VaST’s 3 Design Strategies to Build Green + Save Money).  Vigil also designed a foot-wide concrete-block wall stuffed with foam insulation for the west side of the house.  By doing this, he was able to block out noise from the road and provide shading for the home.  They finished up with some interior design straight from IKEA and were happy with the final product.  Looks great from this angle.  More images below. 

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By |August 16th, 2007|Categories: Land Use, Materials, Modern architecture|Tags: |0 Comments

Former AOL CEO to Build Costa Rican Eco-Resort

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 […]

By |August 15th, 2007|Categories: Corporate|0 Comments

Denver's 2020 Lawrence – Green + Affordable?

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 […]

By |August 15th, 2007|Categories: Affordable, Condo, Modern architecture, Solar|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Best Buy to Build Only LEED Certified Stores

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 […]

By |August 14th, 2007|Categories: Energy Efficiency, LEED, Water Efficiency|Tags: , |0 Comments

Scientists Suspect Sprawl Destroyed Angkor Wat

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? 

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By |August 14th, 2007|Categories: Land Use, News, Vegetation|Tags: |0 Comments
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