Answer. Thoughtfully flexible. It’s about time for a new installment to the Green Office segment. So far, I’ve mentioned the Leap + Think chairs, the Liege Desk, and office supplies from The Green Office. Enter: the MBDC Silver Cradle to Cradle Certified, GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certified Steelcase Answer®. The Steelcase Answer panel workstation is the first C2C Certified powered workstation for the contract furniture industry. First, Answer uses responsible materials. Workstation components consist of panels, wood work surfaces, overhead storage and floor-based storage. There is absolutely no PVC used in its construction. Second, Cradle to Cradle certification requires product design that contemplates what happens when the product is not longer useful for its intended purpose. There’s a focus on being able to recycle or safely compost the materials. Adhesives are eliminated, where possible, and recyclable parts are clearly marked. This is a big deal considering Answer is one of the best selling systems products in the world. I bet you could get the Answer workstation penciled into your tenant improvements agreement, right? Via PRNewswire.
DFW builder Don Ferrier‘s daughter wanted an affordable, green home, so they retained the best, local green architect, Gary Olp of GGOArchitects, to get the job done. The result is Heather’s Home, which has its own website at www.heathershome.info. What’s interesting about this home is that it’s economically pragmatic, but it looks goods–it’s proof that a modern, green home can be relatively affordable. We’re talking about a 2,038 square-foot home in the price range of about $117 per square foot ($230,000). After getting the home design, she had to wait two months due to materials shortages, but the home took four months to build after that. The monthly home heating and cooling bill averages $20-30 month. That’s amazing, especially in Texas.
There’s a rainwater collection system connected to a 3,000-gallon holding tank, which is used for irrigation and toilet water. Toilets are low flush, of course. She landscaped with drought-tolerant, native Texas plants, to conserve water. She didn’t install a full blown solar system (costs about $30,000), but she did install enough solar panels to power the tankless water heater (also saves water). The home design called for Structural Insulated Panels (SIP) to create a more energy-efficient, tight building envelope. For heating and AC, the builder installed a Daikin HVAC system that runs at 20 SEER. The HVAC system price tag was $5,500, which is cheaper than a geothermal heat pump and about 90% as efficient. Of course, low-VOC paints and stains were used throughout. Lights and appliances are energy star.
The stairs are bamboo and some of the floors are stained concrete. The kitchen island surface is a grenadine Formica (Green Guard certified) and the cabinets were created from regionally produced ash, treated with a low VOC stain. You’ll notice the 33 glass block windows on the northerly wall, which invite natural lighting without diminishing interior privacy. There’s a solar tube in the closet for natural lighting. In the rooms with carpet, it is PET (polyethylene terephthalate) carpet, which is created from reclaimed polyester resins of two-liter soda bottles and and other plastic containers. Some of the other carpet is InterFLOR modular carpet, made from corn husks. The list of green features goes on and on! You can go to this link to find the source of all the products used in this home.
There are cities and leaders in the US that are taking bold steps to change public perception of green principles, and I wanted to share their words and vision with you. I’ve included a new section on my right sidebar for some informative, watershed videos. I use the word watershed because future generations will respect these leaders for their foresight, they will be heros. Are you one of these leaders? If you’re a CEO, can you count yourself among the lonely ranks of eco-warriors like Ray Anderson, Jeff Immelt, and Lee Scott? If you’re a mayor, can you count yourself among the growing ranks of eco-leaders like Gavin Newsom, Tom Potter, Mufi Hannemann, Greg Nickels, and Will Wynn? If you’re not a mayor or CEO, are you an eco-leader in the world that you live in?
There’s a video on the right with Tom Friedman speaking. You’ll know him from the bestselling book, The World is Flat. He makes some critical points, but one of the most important points is that the chase for sustainability will create money-making, business opportunities for innovation in the 21st century: opportunities that the US is currently abdicating to China. Do we want to shift our middle east energy dependence by becoming dependent on China for renewable energy technologies?
So SustainLane released its yearly Top 50 US Cities, which is a report card on urban sustainability. I was surprised to find Dallas at #24; one thing that holds us back is our addiction to cars–I don’t see how that will change without 10-30 years of persistent city planning + changing, considering how the city is currently laid out. That’s okay, however, the rankings are there to get us to study other cities and make positive changes. You can read about each city at SustainLane. I encourage you to watch the video on #1 Portland (urban transportation and LEED building superstar) and #2 San Francisco (recycling superstar).
Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Limited (privately-held corporation with ownership of Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, Toronto Marlies Hockey Club, Air Canada Centre, and Leafs TV + Raptors NBA TV) is behind an innovative, forward-looking project development called Maple Leaf Square. Being inspired by the mixed-use projects developing around sports franchise centers such as Dallas and Miami, the Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Corporation will be unique in one significant aspect: it’s green, LEED-certified, that is. The project, designed by KPMB and Page + Steele, contains two aspiring towers (54 + 50 floors) built on top of a seven story podium, all including the following: 900 residential condominiums, boutique hotel with about 170 rooms, 6,000 square foot daycare, over 200,000 square feet of office space , indoor/outdoor swimming pools, fitness facilities, and high-technology restaurants, sports bars, and retail stores. It’s the quintessential multi-use development of the future, blending sports, entertainment, living, vacationing, night life, and work.
In addition to being one of the most technologically advanced building structures in the world, the project contains some important green features (note, technology also can make a building green): green roof, energy-efficient appliances in every suite, Enwave (low cost, energy efficient supplier of heating, cooling, and domestic hot water supply), individual storage/bicycle lockers, and close proximity to Toronto’s PATH system. Technologically, the building will use RFID door locks and Intelligent Building Technology (visit the website for a demonstration).
The project has been welcomed with open arms by the public; reports vary, but the Residences of Maple Leaf Square are reportedly 95% sold already. Talk about unmet demand for a modern, green structure! Available residences range in size from 400 – 2,100 square feet and price from $200,000 – $1,400,000. North Tower opens in October 2009 and South Tower in March 2010. Found by EarthChangeII.
[Total Time: 5:06 minutes] I found this informative, richly entrepreneurial video on Container City, which is a container-based urban development in London. Here in the US, we have some work to do, to get to the point that we support this variety of innovative development. Demand for a place to rent has been through the roof, so they added another level of container modules to rent out a few more funky flats. The website is at the following link: Container City.
BUSINES PLAN QUESTIONS:
I’m writing a business plan based on a container based retail enterprise. If you have experience working with these containers, could you email me with information on the costs of acquiring a container (including transportation, rehab, + wiring for use)? Any other information and experience that you may have with these containers is welcome! Entrepreneurial architects, your expertise is demanded!!!