Dual Flush Toilets, Nevada's Green Incentives, New York's Green Improvements, + William McDonough on Earth Day (WIR)
- If Your Toilet was Installed Before 1994, it probably Accounts for 40% of Household H2O…Dual Flush Toilets are Newest Way to Save Water.
- Patagonia’s LEED Gold Distribution Center Gets 50% Real Property Tax Abatement of Next 10 Years, Proves that Nevada is Only State to Offer Green Building Incentives.
- New York’s Home Performance with Energy Star Program has invested $100 million to Improve the Energy Efficiency, Comfort, Health, and Safety of More than 13,600 Homes.
- For Earth Day, William McDonough Asks us to Celebrate the Abundance of Solar Income and Commit to Cradle to Cradle Principles.
It looks like we can add Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO) to the list of companies that are trying to reduce the impact of business operations. Today, the company announced a collaboration with Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute to realize reductions in water and energy consumption at Coca-Cola’s 2M square-foot world headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. Under the collaboration, Coca-Cola will spend $3 million on energy-efficient lighting and air conditioning equipment, rainwater harvesting techniques, and advanced irrigation control systems. What’s the result?
- Savings of +$1 million in annual operating costs
- Elimination of 10,000 metric carbon dioxide emissions each year (equal to removing 2,000 cars from the road)
- 23% reduction in energy consumption
- 15% reduction in water consumption
Back-of-the-envelope style, that’s a three year payback. Coca-Cola realizes it can’t be frivolous with water, especially considering the fact that H20 is the main ingredient in the company’s beverages. Cola-Cola Energy and Climate Protection Manager Bryan Jacob talked about the green retrofits saying, "Since climate change will have a profound impact on freshwater resources, we are making water conservation – in our plants around the world and at our headquarters – a priority. The irrigation improvement projects at our Atlanta Office Complex will reduce the water used for landscaping by an estimated 75 percent."
I think Coca-Cola should be recognized for these efforts. This is another example of the business case for green buildings. Coca-Cola is going to save money on this deal. It’s the smart, business-savvy thing to do. Now, our next step is to figure out how to reduce the worldwide consumption of caffeine. Via Coca-Cola + Atlanta Business Chronicle.
Let’s face it, not everyone can go out there and build a new house to have a green home. A lot of older homes will need to be renovated. With green renovations, there’s a sequence to what you do. For example, if your home has poor insulation and leaks energy, putting solar panels on the roof shouldn’t be your first step to greening the home. You’d still be wasting too much energy and not getting much bang out the solar panels. The following list is going to be fairly generic, but if you’d like to get more information on green rehabs, give David Johnston’s book a look, he’s the expert on green remodeling.
- Purchase Energy Star – these days, appliances that don’t have the Energy Star label probably don’t sell, but you may have a lot of stuff lying around that hogs the energy. Gradually think about replacing that stuff with Energy Star stuff.
- Mind the Gaps – there’s no reason to lose energy through cracks, gaps, and creases in your home. In the summer, you’ll lose cool air. In the winter, you’ll lose warm air. Also, you’re probably having to over-cool or over-heat your place depending on what’s going on in the attic. Insulation is good. Caulking is good. Weather-stripping is good.
- Do a Blow Test – what you’re doing here is finding the air holes in a house and patching them up. It’s important to have the proper air tightness and the blower door test can help.
- Watch Your Water – consider all the myriad of ways water is used and think about doing things differently. If you’re going to get a new toilet, you might as well get the dual-flush. If you’re remodeling, you might as well swap out the fixtures for new, low-flow fixtures. Maybe a tankless water heater would be good, too.
- Upgrade the Windows – this step may not be as important as minding the gaps or doing a blow test, but new windows change the feel of a home. These days, windows can allow natural light and block heat gain, but you’ll want to look for low-E coatings and double-paned windows.
These five steps are going to help you save water and energy, but this is only one portion of the green home equation. Later on, you might think about what you have inside your home and how that stuff affects indoor air quality. Also, if you’re doing any type of repair or rehabbing, you’ll also want to work with sustainable materials. Three prongs: resource efficiency, sustainable materials, and indoor air quality. Via BusinessWeek; see also 5 Dumbest Renovation Fads.
The Philadelphia Sustainability Awards Finalists have been chosen and one of the projects that was overlooked is the following 13-unit, affordable, environmentally-friendly housing project designed by Interface Studio, LLC. One of the goals of this project was to design affordable homes with extremely low utility costs. When money is tight, being hit by the utility man is tough on morale, that’s for sure. The architect relied on modular design to lower costs of construction and challenge the bland look of typical affordable housing. Engineers estimate that units will be 30-40% more efficient than your standard Energy Star building upon completion. Pretty incredible, actually.
Although Sheridan Street Housing was not selected for the Philadelphia Sustainability Awards, it has received an AIA Philadelphia Silver Medal 2006 + residential architect Design Award 2007. Sheridan Street was designed with unique materials such as slate-like fiber cement cladding panel and textured exterior grade plywood cladding panel. Also, as you can tell from the images above, the design incorporates an airy third-floor terrace. I’d pay big money for that. I think another innovative aspect of the project is how the designer squeezed 13-units into an oddly shaped 40′ x 450′ piece of land. Each building dances with another in interlocking L-shaped footprints to maximize the available land.
Here are links to some of the other green projects considered for the Philadelphia Sustainability Awards: Bernice Elza Homes, Brewerytown Square, Jackie O’Neil Zero-Energy Prototype Homes (finalist), One Crescent Drive, Pembroke North Condominium, and The Reserve at Packer Park.
Lately, Ray Kappe has been getting a lot of attention for his residences designed for LivingHomes, the Steve Glenn prefab company. Kappe’s first home has been featured all over the place for achieving the highest LEED certification possible, the Platinum rating. I think his work is incredible, so I was studying his stuff when I came across this list of his, "the ten most important principles that helped make me a successful architect, planner, and educator." In the interests of learning from those that are remarkable examples of continuing achievement, I thought I would be good to share his list with the JG readers. Any thoughts?
- Think positively, not negatively.
- Accept structure but know that it is to be questioned and broken when necessary.
- Always be willing to explore, experiment and invent. Do not accept the status quo.
- Know yourself and keep your work consistent with who you are and how you think.
- Maintain good moral and social values.
- Be humble, honest, compassionate, and egalitarian.
- Have conviction about your work.
- Be open and say yes to most ideas and requests. The good ones will be valuable, the bad ones will cease to exist.
- Allow employees and fellow workers freedom and the ability to work to their strengths. Avoid hierarchy.
- Money should be the residual of work, not the goal. But do not compromise your worth.