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Schaar's Bluff Gathering Center, a Living Building

Schaar's Bluff

I’m not going to write too much about this project because it’s under construction and we’ll end up doing more when it comes to life.  Here, though, is the design for a living building — one that gives something back.  It’s the kind of building that goes beyond LEED (although I think it will also get LEED certification, too).  Schaar’s Bluff Gathering Center ranks within the top 1% of all sustainable structures, as compared to the USGBC’s registered buildings.  How?  The structure will generate its own power, react to weather conditions, reuse rainwater, and feed the animals with a trellis planted specifically with fruit vines.  Located in Nininger Township, Minnesota, the 3,500 sf Gathering Center will also have an on-site wind turbine, operable windows linked to the HVAC system, a high performance building envelope, automated shading devices, in-floor radiant heating, and rainwater capture and treatment. 

The Gathering Center will be a model of sustainable building for the future: living buildings. 

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Next Generation Wal-Mart Uses 25% Less Energy!

Walmart_supercenter

I know, I know.  I’m treading on thin water with this one, what with all the haters and anti-sprawlsters out there.  But strictly to make the point that businesses can use less and save money, I like this story.  Next week, Wal-Mart will open the first store of the company’s next generation of green stores in Romeoville, Illinois.  Where their first generation of two green stores saved about 20% energy, this store will save about 25% energy.  The energy savings result from experimentations in refrigeration and heating/cooling systems in their first generation of green stores. 

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An Earth-Friendly Home [Graphic]

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The average American releases about 50,000 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year.  A large portion of that comes from our homes and wasted, wasted energy.  Matter of fact, according to a recent McKinsey study, the single most cost-effective way to reduce GHG emissions is via building insulation.  Click on over to the Time Earth-Friendly Home graphic and move the lens around for other ideas to reduce GHG emissions and save some dolla, dolla bills.  Before you click over though, I will say, this is pretty basic information, but at least they provide some numbers and illustrate the impact of concerted effort. 

While you’re over there, check out this article, too:
++51 Things We Can Do to Save the Environment [Time]

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