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IceStone, Gorgeous Green Countertops


This articles was written by one of Jetson Green’s newest writers, Sarah Roe, an artist, art educator, and passionate environmentalist.  As you can tell from the article below, she has considerable knowledge and experience with green materials.  Welcome!

Here is one of the best looking, green countertop products on the market.  And it is beautiful!!  IceStone is made of 70-75% recycled material (glass mostly); of that, the post-consumer percentage is quite low (1-20%) but it is still a great product for LEED certification applications.  IceStone is available in a wide variety of colors, some very bright and some neutral.  My favorites are the Alpine White and White Pearl for neutrals and the Pistachio Pearl (green) for a bright accent.  This product is just as beautiful in person as you would hope for it to be.  It feels similar to Corian, even more stone-like, but it looks much more beautiful because of the array of glass moving through it.  Some colors, usually on the more expensive side, even have white iridescent pieces of shell throughout, which is a gorgeous touch. 

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Stroh Haus, Unbelievably Modern Straw Bale Home

Stroh Haus

Stroh Haus is a home in Switzerland made of compressed straw bale and designed by Felix Jerusalem.  As you can see from the images below, the staw bale is used not only for the external walls, but also as a sound barrier insulation on the inside.  What’s incredible, though, is that green tint, translucent sheeting on the exterior.  Quite compelling, isn’t it?  I wish I had more to say on the home, but there’s not much information, other than what I’ve seen at Architechnophilia

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Green Labeling, Sourcing Wind Energy, Sustainable Development + Landscape Design Rating System (WIR)

Week in Review
  • Most Americans and Canadians say "green" labeling just a marketing tactic.
  • Harnessing the Wind to Fuel India’s Growth – as nations examine their carbon output, wind turbines provide one alternative to coal.
  • Will sustainable development "shake up" architecture?
  • Clean energy can’t meet growing demand, which is outstripping supply, pushing up prices, and raising the specter that some states may not meet clean-energy mandates. 
  • Green Building Moves Outdoors – the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) announced the development of a new rating system for landscape design. 

Modern Green Cherokee Lofts

Cherokee Lofts

Update 12/13/09: Platinum Lofts @ Cherokee Studios Now Complete!

There's a lot to mention with REthink Development's project called Cherokee Lofts:  history, sustainability, modern design, materials innovation, etc.  This Pugh + Scarpa-designed development is on track to be named the first, privately developed, LEED Gold Certified, mixed-use project in Southern California.  The project will have 12 loft units, all ranging in size from 1,000 – 2,000 sf, and 2,800 sf of commercial space. 

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Phinney House, Modern Green Attractive Reuse


I guess the term would be adaptive reuse, but I think I’m going to start calling this "attractive reuse."  Attractive reuse is about taking boring, old, traditional homes and renovating them into modern, green abodes.  The Phinney House was intended to be a case study house — the existing house was extensively remodeled, the main floor was raised to give more height in the basement, the main floor plan was opened up, and a new second floor was added.  It’s Built-Green certified, too.  Some of the many ecologically sustainable elements in this project include the following: hydronic radiant-floor heat; whole-house heat-recovery ventilation; FSC-certified lumber, plywood and cabinetry; reclaimed fir beams and columns; sustainably harvested Ipe wood siding and decking; straw-board flooring; non-toxic paints and finishes; concrete with fly-ash content; and rain-screen siding.  Nice.

Also, for other attractive reuse projects, check out the Boxhouse and the TrailerWrap Project.  Check below for what the Phinney House looked like before the makeover.

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The Spime Arrives, Bruce Sterling

The Spime Arrives

What does the future have in store for us?  In whose hands will design be?  What economic trends will prevail?  Bruce Sterling provides the answers to some of these questions.  But some of the answers are hard to understand.  He foresees monumental changes in the world of design:  a transformation of conventional users, with their currently available user-alterable gizmos, into “wranglers” with blobjects, spimes, and arphids in their pockets and briefcases. 

To visualize some of this future world, take a gander at Sterling’s web video: The Spime Arrives.  Someday, there will be a world where products are designed, visualized, and ordered online.  Consumers may be able to see products manufactured and shipped.  And products will be made of renewable, recycled materials, hailing from the closest, most efficient location.  Plus, when the product ceases to be useful, the manufacturer will take it back from us with a smile.  Trash will diminish, the loop will close.  This is a world where everything is downloadable.  Metadata is valuable and enables solutions. 

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