- Ten "Zero-Energy" Town Home Community Planned in Issaquah, Washington [Seattle Times]
- McGraw-Hill Construction’s GreenSource Magazine and ENR.com Win Neal Awards [PRNewswire]
- Bahrain Twin Skyscraper Complex Becomes World’s First Commercial Development to Include Large-Scale Wind Turbines in its Structure [GE Eco-Business]
"Climate change, carbon emissions, greenhouse gases, green design–call it what you will. The need to change how we inhabit the planet to avoid catastrophic consequences is now widely accepted…in the year ahead I plan to work with the AIA board’s Sustainability Discussion Group to aggressively advance sustainable design and the key role the AIA can and our members must play to engage the great challenge confronting our generation–the future of our planet." – RK Stewart, FAIA, Principal at Gensler, AIA President
Back in December, the USGBC awarded Sweetwater Creek State Visitors Center the coveted Platinum level LEED-NC, making it just the 20th building in the world to receive the USGBC’s highest certification. Sweetwater was designed by Gerding Collaborative, an Atlanta-based architecture firm, to reduce the building’s potable water usage by 77% and energy usage by 51%. At these numbers, when compared to a similar building, Sweetwater avoids about 27 tons of carbon emissions annually. Plus, there’s the financial case for the building. Sweetwater was completed at $175 per sf, which I understand is highly competitive for the area.
In the words of Dan Gerding, AIA, Managing Principal of Gerding Collaborative, "The Sweetwater Project is a great example of how a new way of looking at design is good for the building’s owner, good for the people who use the building on a daily basis, and good for the environment." His firm walks the talk. About 70% of the firm’s technical staff is LEED Accredited (LEED-AP).
The building has a slew of classic green features such as a 10.5 KW photovoltaic array, vegetated roof, composting toilet system, drip irrigation system, and rainwater collection system. Also, for the architects out there, Sweetwater is one of the first LEED-Platinum buildings to be designed using 3D "virtual building" technology, Archicad 10. I understand the technology allowed different members of the team to visualize the project in context to provide design and technology solutions more effectively than if the project were designed with the typical 2D approach.
Sweetwater Platinum LEED Design Press Release
I’m picky about what I read. Are you? Henry David Thoreau once said, "Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all." I sincerely believe that. I anticipate that Jetson Green readers feel the same way, so when I write, I try to provide short, concise, informative posts that lead readers to quality information and learning. Well, I recently purchased the magazine Motto. Initially, I bought it to read the article called "6 Gurus of Eco-Chic," but when I sat down to delve in, I was shocked by the content. I’m talking about high-quality, positive, entrepreneurial content. I still haven’t finished one magazine because I find myself reading every page (not just looking at pictures in this one!).
But I had the thought. I just read a copy of Good Magazine a week or two ago, and I thought that magazine was good. It really was good. In Texas, good means okay. Good means fine. Good means pedestrian. Good means neutral. And that’s what it was to me. It wasn’t all that positive either, it was rather sobering. Full of information and sobering. So I took HDT’s advice and decided that I probably shouldn’t read good magazines anymore. I think Motto is in the best category of reading. What do you think?
[Email/RSS - Click to View Images] Every year, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) sponsors a home project and industry experts team up to create a demonstration home with the newest technologies and products. This year’s New American Home was unveiled at the 2007 International Builders’ Show in Orlando, Florida last month. The 2007 New American Home is a 3-story, 4,707 sf urban loft home with a roof plaza. There’s also a first floor terrace, pool, and a 576 sf suite with the two-car garage. Designed by BSB Design, the New American Home has a distinct look. The mission of the home was to illustrate that housing performance can be incorporated into the most simple or complex homes without sacrificing aesthetics. And as it turns out, housing performance = green home.
The New American Home is a standout in green achievement: it’s designed with universal design compliance, designated to be Energy Star certified, and certified green by the Florida Green Building Coalition. The home includes a 2.4 kw solar photovoltaic system; pre-cast, insulated structural concrete wall system; impact resistant, low-emissivity windows; residential automation and home control for all low-voltage systems; air conditioning systems between 15 + 17.8 SEER; four-foot overhangs over most of the south- and west-facing windows; and natural gas instantaneous water heaters. Nice.
So you’re saying, "Yeah but, this house is freakin’ huge!" Yes it is. It’s huge with Cribs-type amenities such as automated, built-in home theaters, an elevator, and a state-of-the-art security system. It’s a model home with tons of green features. More precisely, it uses 73 percent less energy for heating and cooling and 54 percent less energy for water heating, compared to a comparable house in a similar climate. For whatever reason, people build houses this big, so if you’re gonna go big, you might as well go green and energy efficient, too.