I was blown away when I found out about this online blog at the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It’s called From the Ground Up and the journal is tracking Jason Hammond’s quest to build a unique, modern home in the Twin Cities. The blog also includes information from the project’s architect, Michael Huber, and the project’s builder, Corey Benedict. From the Ground Up has become a huge success, with people of all backgrounds and interests chiming in to figure out what it takes to live in something modern + green. What I really like about the blog, however, is the pragmatic approach to building green. For many of us, myself included, it’s expensive to get into a well-designed, green home. So the process from beginning to end must be comprehensive and calculated, especially if you don’t want to waste money. From the Ground Up will "consider the balance between [Hammond's] family’s needs, the project costs, and the environmental considerations that go along with new home building." I already like what I see and can’t wait to continue reading about their home as it approaches completion. Via rolu | dsgn.
$5B Clinton, Eco-Yahoo!, Health-Care Constuction, Nevada Ungreens, Porous Paving, Ed Begley Jr.'s Green Website, & Green Building Studio (WIR)
- Clinton Climate Initiative Offers $5B to Green Municipal Buildings at Cities Nationwide.
- Yahoo! Issues ‘Greenest City in America‘ Challenge with Reward of Hybrid Taxi Fleet.
- $41B Health-care Construction Industry Going Green to Save Energy, Cut Infection Rates.
- Nevada State Board Hopes to Change (Remove) Green Building Standard, Mislead About LEED.
- Porous Paving Grows in Popularity as a Stormwater Management Solution.
- Ed Begley, Jr. Launches a Truly Unique Sustainable Living Website at FixingThePlanet.com.
- Green Building Studio being dubbed A Google for Green Building Products.
- Commentary on Why Green Buildings Cannot Save the Planet.
Do you read GreenSource? There’s a free read of the April 2007 edition of GreenSource online. I highly recommend it, if you have a little free time and a fast connection. It’s a quarterly production, supported by the editors of McGraw-Hill Construction, BuildingGreen, Inc., and the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). GreenSource has a circulation of about 42,000 readers. In March 2007, it was given the prestigious Neal Award for Best Start-Up Publication. I spent way too much time online reading the articles…it just sucked me right in.
The bloggers over at the Practical Environmentalist just bought a non-green building in Dallas for their business, Clean Air Gardening. The 13,000 sf building was built in the 1960s and they have a budget of about $50,000 to make it green. We’re talking LEED, Energy Star, etc., you name it, they want to go green in an economically pragmatic way. I figure we can tap the wisdom of the crowds and find a way to help them out, citizen wisdom style. Feel free to drop your ideas into the comments here, or go over to PE directly and leave a comment. Also, if you’re a Dallas business and want to get involved helping them do their thing, make sure to let them know.
Already, PE seems to have this situation under control. I like that they are signing up with Green Mountain Energy, using low-VOCs inside (good for indoor air quality), replacing old toilets with more water-efficient ones, adding a rainwater cistern to avoid using new water for landscaping, and replacing the door with a more energy-efficient set up. Here are a few additional suggestions I have:
- Consider a commercial-grade energy audit to determine where you may be losing air or energy. Use that information to seal up cracks and fix stuff as needed (which will allow you to rely less on the dated HVAC system).
- Like you say, go with the Commercial Solatube lighting, if possible. The more natural light, the better. Why pay for light when the sun gives it away for free?
- For the interior design, use low-VOC carpets tiles and adaptable workstations/furniture from a company like Haworth (big-time commitment to recycled and sustainable products). Haworth has a strong Dallas presence.
- Before making the investment in solar, try using a thermal energy storage product (like the ones offered by Dallas-based Trinity Thermal) that captures cheaper energy during off-peak times for use during more expensive peak periods. This can contribute to LEED certification and has good $$ benefits.
- If you’re renovating the exterior, continue using a light color to reflect heat from the building. Also, landscape in ways to shade the hottest parts of the building. You guys are experts here, but natural landscaping will help with water conservation, too.
That’s what I have so far, but I’m sure there are Dallas experts out there waiting to get your business and showcase their products. Good luck!
If you’re like me, you don’t have The Sundance Channel and you buy each episode of Big Ideas on iTunes for $1.99. I downloaded the last episode called "BUILD" and liked it so much, I’m going to buy a copy of the video on iTunes for the first 5 people to comment in this post. It’s really good. In an information-packed 25 minutes and 38 seconds, the producers take us through Michelle Kaufmann’s prefab factory, the process of building a Glidehouse, Carlton Brown’s green multifamily housing in New York, the advantages of green building, the future of green building with technology, and Mitchell Joachim’s fab tree hab.
Note – I’ll use the email that you comment with to gift the episode to you through iTunes. This is not a Sundance promo, this is JG promoting modern, green building.