First, it receives a 2006 red dot design award, and now, the Verdi Lawnscaping System has received a 2007 Gold IDEA Award. Verdi is a low-maintenance, modular landscaping system that hopes to become the alternative to traditional grass lawns. Verdi tiles are pre-seeded with built-in irrigation and they interlock for easy installation. Once completed, the entire system can be attached to a grey water pump, which uses certain recycled water from the home to irrigate the landscaping. The Verdi system also has other modular parts, such the solar-powered light tiles, shrub planters and path tiles, recycled glass composite inserts, and bamboo or molded recycled plastic inserts. The technology is compelling because it has the capability to transform the process of landscape design in the backyard, terrace, or even on the roof. And the built-in irrigation system reduces inefficient use of water, too. This is a cool product concept to keep an eye on.
Pretty much everyone is talking about green roofs these days, so I thought I would round up a few of the good articles. Just as a refresher, back in March, I wrote an article summarizing the costs and benefits of green roofing. The benefits are numerous in comparison to the costs, but a green roof may not be right for every application. I'll let you decide, but to get you thinking, here are some of the most thorough articles on green roofing that I've read and studied. There's also some eye candy with each, too.
- Green Roofs + 13 pages of pictures, Andrea Ford.
- Green Roofs: An Introduction with Pretty Pictures, Philip Proefrock
- Green Roofs: For Healthy Australian Cities
- Green Roofs: A Primer, Lloyd Alter
- Green Roofs, Jill Fehrenbacher
- Sod Roof Doghouse, Kitty Bartholomew
Also, read other articles about projects involving green roofs in our archives.
My wife sent me this article from Perez Hilton about Brad Pitt, who will be appearing on NBC’s Today with Ann Curry to talk about his green development project in New Orleans. I’m not a reader of the celebrity sites, so I would have missed this, but the New Orleans development project is really moving along. And the green houses they are building are 100% incredible. Brad has good style — it fits so well with Jetson Green, we should just bring him on as a regular writer!
Global Green broke ground on the Holy Cross Project on May 10. Yesterday, they unveiled the progress on this first home, which is still under construction. It’s going to be a showcase home, but in total, the Holy Cross Project will have 5 homes and 18 apartments. All of them will be affordable and green. The goals of the project are to achieve LEED Platinum certification (LEED-H for the single family homes and LEED-NC for the other buildings), net zero energy, and carbon neutral building. By using solar panels, high performance building design, HVAC systems, energy and resource monitoring systems, and energy efficient appliances, the buildings in the Holy Cross Project will use at least 75% less energy than typical buildings. In addition, Global Green is also exploring the use of river turbines in the adjacent Mississipi River.
I watched this video of the Jellyfish House by architects Lisa Iwamoto and Craig Scott, and needless to say, I was kind of blown away. It’s quite compelling to watch, but at the same level, it’s complicated. I can’t say I understand everything that’s going on but I like it. Jellyfish are responsive to the environment around them, so like jellyfish, one concept with this house is that water is filtered and harvested through the actual structure of the home. The structure uses UV light filtration, which could come down in price in the future, and titanium dioxide, which is now used for self-cleaning glass in tall skyscrapers. This concept prototype for the future of sustainable living was designed (hypothetically) for Treasure Island, a decommissioned military base in San Francisco Bay with toxic top soil.
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?
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.