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Scientists Suspect Sprawl Destroyed Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat Temple Model

The implications of this research are unbelievable.  Seriously.  I’ve written about the ten common problems associated with sprawl previously, but this story opens up the discussion again.  Angkor Wat is the home of a magnificent temple in Cambodia and was the center to one of the largest cities in the pre-industrialized world.  Recently, NASA used ground-sensing radar to study the extent of the city and found that it took up approximately 400 square miles.  In comparison, Phoenix sprawls across about 500 square miles, not including the suburbs.  The research revealed a complex network of canals, 1,000 man-made ponds, and roughly 70 long-lost temples.  The canals carried and distributed water towards the temple and through the south of Angkor.  Interestingly, the study also revealed evidence of breaches in dykes and areas where they attempted to fix the canals. 

What’s most interesting is the idea that Angkor’s increasingly intricate and complex system of canals might have been too expensive and difficult to maintain.  So, there was an elaborate infrastructure that might have run into disrepair … which possibly contributed to the downfall of Angkor?  This is very interesting research.  Apply that to our situation and query whether the issues we have with the levees in New Orleans or the bridge in Minnesota parallel the situation in Angkor.  Do we have an infrastructure, fueled by sprawl and fractional planning, that is too expensive to maintain? 

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Even Montana Has LEED Platinum Buildings

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Although it’s not all that attractive looking from these images, it’s the greenest building in Billings, Montana, and one of a select few buildings certified "Platinum" under the LEED-NC (new construction) certification system.  Using technology such as solar panels and composting toilets, it offices the Northern Plains Resource Council and consumes about 21% of the energy and 41% of the water of a similarly sized building.  Financially, the building cost about $140 psf, which is about $35 psf cheaper than if the older building had been demolished and a new one put in its place. 

In all honesty, there are only three other buildings in Montana that have green certifications from the USGBC.  BUT, this building, known as Home on the Range, has created a gathering place for local architects, students, and the public.  Now, there are 18 LEED projects in the registration phase in Montana.  That’s incredible.  We’re really getting some serious momentum behind this thing, that’s for sure. 

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Power Pod Can Reduce Energy Costs Up to 80%

Powerpod

And that’s pretty incredible.  It can be used for personal, business, or industrial applications.  The Power Pod arrives on a single flatbed truck and sets up in a day.  But what’s so special about it?  Well, it can outfitted with rooftop solar, the butterfly roof collects water for use in radiant floor heating, and the highly insulated walls (SIP R-28) keep the temperature just right.  Plus, there’s also the typical energy-efficient lighting, low-flow plumbing fixtures, and building performance monitoring system.  Keeping track of things helps to optimize efficiency.  And with the sculptural steel pier foundation, setup should be pretty quick, too. 

Can you feel the modern, green prefab-type options increasing?  Almost out of control?  Well, competition is good and this company is based in Lawrence, Massachusetts.  It’s not really practical to be shipping homes all the way across the country, so there’s going to be lots of options in places that demand this type of construction.  The working prototype, as you will see below, looks pretty good, too.  Via Treehugger.

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The Conservatory to Become Florida's First LEED Platinum Building

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Overture Development Group has what I think is the best designed website for a real estate group that I’ve ever seen.  It’s incredible looking.  They’re 100% confident that green buildings are the future of real estate, too.  Financial benefits?  Check.  Occupancy benefits?  Check.  Marketing and messaging appeal?  Check.  Good for the environment?  Check.  The Conservatory is in the final stages of receiving permitting approval from Osceola County, and once that’s squared away, we’re looking at completion in mid-2008 or so.  When finished, The Conservatory at Celebration Place will have 178,000 sf of Class A+ office condominium space spread through six floors.  And from the renderings, it looks like there will be a healthy dose of green roofing and solar panels, too.

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[Video] Nanosolar Causing Disruptions at 1/3 Cost

Nanosolar wants to create paper-thin, flexible solar panels that can be made at 1/3 the cost of heavy, silicon-made solar panels.  It’s important to keep an eye on tech like this because Nanosolar is currently building the largest solar panel manufacturing plant in the U.S.  If successful, this stuff is going to be on every building and structure starting in 2008.  It’s going to change the way the game is played in a major way. 

To give you an idea of how compelling, how enormous this is, check this:  the Google founders are investing in Nanosolar, an IBM manufacturing executive just joined Nanosolar, and the U.S. Department of Energy just awarded them $20 million. 

Trend Q: Modern, Green All Surface Material

Trend Q

Trend USA has just released details of their new engineered, agglomerate stone product called "Trend Q."  Trend Q is a USA-made, 1/4" surface material that is impervious to stains and fading.  It can be made in sizes as small as 12" tiles and as large as 10′ x 4′ slabs.  Containing up to 72% post consumer recycled content, Trend Q not only contributes to LEED certification, but it comes in a veritable cornucopia of colors.  Organic neutral.  Fiery orange.  Brilliant red.  You name it.  Another cool aspect of the product is that it’s made to be applied to all types of surfaces, whether it’s walls, counters, or floors.  Just bust out the water jet machine and make that magic happen. 

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