Today my alma mater Southern Methodist University celebrates a new master’s degree program in sustainability and development. The degree covers sustainability-related topics from policy to design in both developed and developing worlds. SMU will kick off the endeavor mid-day Friday with London sustainability strategist Peter Bishop and the unveiling of a low-cost Pallet House prototype designed by I-Beam Design.
London and Dallas-based Accsys Technologies recently announced a new variant of the modified wood product Accoya, but this one is made with North American red alder. The company puts wood through a proprietary acetylation process in whichwood molecules that want to bond with water are replaced with more stable acetyl groups. This improves durability, hardness, water absorption, and dimensional stability.
It seems like manufacturers are turning to third parties to validate environmental claims with increasing frequency lately. For example, I just learned that DuPont expanded their Corian Terra line of solid surfaces and five colors have at least 20% pre-consumer recycled resin content, according to Scientific Certification Systems. Several other colors have at least 13% and the rest have a minimum of 6% pre-consumer recycled resin content. In addition, all colors are GREENGUARD certified; they’re non-porous and do not promote the growth of mold, mildew, or bacteria, according to DuPont.
Wood is a desirable construction material for many reasons including its low embodied energy. But, until recently, it has not been possible to build tall wooden structures because of the relative weakness of conventional wood stud construction methods. This is starting to change as a new method of fabricating wood panels, called cross-laminated timber, or CLT, is making “massive wood” construction a possibility for mid-rise construction, as well as for other construction uses.
Several months ago, I shared news of unique, green birth chart art by StarArc. That company now has some new prints based on each customer’s primary astrological sun sign symbol as well as their moon and rising sign symbols. Although I can’t shed much light on astrology, I can say the prints are made using a museum quality giclée printing process that utilizes environmentally friendly canvas, inks, and stretcher bars. They come with a modern look, 35 color schemes, eight sizes, and pricing from $49.
I received an email about a “new” product that I thought I’d pass along. Tell me what you think about this far-infrared heating panel that can applied to a wall or ceiling and run through an electrical outlet. Made by Prestyl, the panel incorporates a “reliable French thin-film technology that has been used in aircraft, ships, trains, homes and public buildings overseas for nearly 16 years,” according to a company release.