- Duke Energy Donates $80,000 to The Nature Conservancy for Shareholders Choosing Paperless Delivery of Annual Report
- S. California "Green Schools" Light Bulb Exchange Program Enables Students to Reduce their Families’ Home Energy Bills
- The U.S. Supreme Court Ruled 5-4 that the EPA violated the Clean Air Act by Declining to Regulate New-Vehicle Emissions Standards to Control the Pollutants that Contribute to Global Warming.
Guest post contributed by Kent Swanson, a freelance writer specializing in environmental issues. Kent’s writing is also featured on Practical Environmentalist, Clean Air Gardening: Organic Gardening Advice, and Ecobackyard.
When we think of green architecture, sometimes we forget that our landscaping can have a big impact on how efficient and sustainable a building is in the long run. For example, a few strategically planted trees can help to cool off a building and reduce the amount of energy allocated to air conditioning. The following is a list of 11 suggestions to create an eco-friendly landscape that will complement a holistic approach to green building design. Incorporating a few of these ideas will help you save energy and water, and also reduce environmental contamination. If you’d like to make a suggestion on how to use landscaping to reduce your environmental footprint, please leave a comment!
(1) Incorporate Native Plants in Your Landscaping
When planning your landscape, consider using a collection of native plants. Native plants are adapted to your area, which means they naturally require less maintenance and water than exotic plants. They are also more resistant to pests and diseases than many exotics, reducing the need for pesticides. Additionally, native plants attract native wildlife and beneficial insects. You don’t need to exclude exotic plants from your yard and garden, but incorporating natives in your design can make a big difference. The U.S. EPA’s Greenacres Program is a great place to look for information on using native plants for home landscaping.
I’m happy to report to you that I have the insider tip on a new website that the American Institute of Architects (AIA) is launching: How Design Works (http://howdesignworks.aia.org/). The website includes information and a series of videos on the entire process of selecting an architect and going from consultation to design to build to occupation. What I really enjoyed was the case study on Medora Woods’ sustainable home (pictured above) in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Woods retained architect Sarah Nettleton to design a home to suit a difficult piece of land with a 28 foot falling slope from road to creek. What Nettleton did, using the words of Frank Lloyd Wright, was build "of the hill, not on it," and designed the house to the environmental standard of the Kyoto Protocol. Here are a few quotes of interest from the videos.
- There is no wasted space.
- Simple is sustainable.
- Small spaces can lead to ample lives.
- The house encourages me to keep simplifying my life.
In the last video, "occupy," Woods takes you through the house and really shows off some of the sustainable features. This new website provided by the AIA is nice tool for finding an architect, discerning the process of working with an architect, and discovering ways to incorporate sustainable building practices and energy-efficient design strategies into a plan. Go take it for a spin.
Photos via Sarah Nettleton Architects.
As one of the first residential LEED homes on the west coast, the Kelly Woodford home is blazing a trail for the future of residential construction. In addition to its USGBC certification, the home is "net zero energy use" and Energy Star certified. The 2,000 square-foot, three-bedroom/two-bath retreat has a great view of Mt. Hood and some pretty impressive green features. Tom Kelly and Barbara Woodford built the home as a family getaway (with the Neil Kelly Company as general contractor), but they’ve also made the home available half the year to Neil Kelly employees to enjoy.