Smart-Home Tech, Big Houses, Wind Energy White Paper, + Peddling Smart Growth (WIR)

Week in Review
  1. Wired to Sell – Smart-home technology is becoming increasingly available with a variety of conservation and convenience features. 
  2. Why Big Houses? The average, new American home is 2,400 sf; experts weigh in on America’s fascination with bigger is better. 
  3. Wind Energy White Paper "In Defense of Wind," by Dallas attorney Trey Cox outlines concerns about wind energy industry’s rapid and unregulated growth. 
  4. Peddling Smart Growth – call your project "smart" – even when it isn’t – and get millions in public funds. 

Green Roofs Increase 25%, Home Depot's $100M Plan, Troubled Water Supplies, + Standard 189P (WIR)

Week in Review
  1. North America sees the installation of +3M square feet of new green roofs in 2006– an increase of 25% over 2005. 
  2. Home Depot launches $100M plan to support the development of 100,000 affordable, healthy homes, and the planting/preservation of more than 3 million trees over the next decade. 
  3. Troubled Waters: drought, pollution, mismanagement and politics have made water a precious commodity in much of the world.
  4. New proposed green building standard (Standard 189P) nears completion and is now open for public comment. 

The Daily Green's Weird Weather Watch Feature

Phoenix Smog
Worth Preserving

Do you ever just get outside and look in the sky?  Last night, it was about 10:15 pm here and I could still see light peeking through the clouds on the horizon.  I can dig that, light until 9:30 pm.  Moving across the country, I’ve had the opportunity to watch the clouds and weather from early morning until late night.  It’s fun.  I think this is why I like The Daily Green‘s feature called the Weird Weather Watch: the photo blog of climate change.  It’s important to recall the concept that weather is not climate, but weather over a period of time is climate.  To my knowledge, there’s nothing on the world wide web like this feature that gets so many diverse, quality, and unique images specifically on odd weather.  It’s pretty cool.

Here’s what it’s all about: "Calling all backyard environmentalists, cell phone climatologists, citizen photojournalists, weekend bird fanatics and others in The Daily Green community! The warmed climate is throwing us surprise after surprise, and Weird Weather Watch is your destination for the photos that capture the moment and your conscience. While it may be impossible to scientifically link any one weather event to global climate change, Weird Weather Watch will collect photos of everyday weather-related changes that concern our community. Help us create THE photo blog of the new environmental movement."

By |May 25th, 2007|Conservation, Land Use, News|0 Comments

$5B Clinton, Eco-Yahoo!, Health-Care Constuction, Nevada Ungreens, Porous Paving, Ed Begley Jr.'s Green Website, & Green Building Studio (WIR)

Week in Review
  1. Clinton Climate Initiative Offers $5B to Green Municipal Buildings at Cities Nationwide.
  2. Yahoo! Issues ‘Greenest City in America‘ Challenge with Reward of Hybrid Taxi Fleet.
  3. $41B Health-care Construction Industry Going Green to Save Energy, Cut Infection Rates.
  4. Nevada State Board Hopes to Change (Remove) Green Building Standard, Mislead About LEED.
  5. Porous Paving Grows in Popularity as a Stormwater Management Solution. 
  6. Ed Begley, Jr. Launches a Truly Unique Sustainable Living Website at FixingThePlanet.com
  7. Green Building Studio being dubbed A Google for Green Building Products.
  8. Commentary on Why Green Buildings Cannot Save the Planet.

Citizen Wisdom: Dallas Building Wants Green Renovation, Any Ideas?

Dallas Green RenovationThe bloggers over at the Practical Environmentalist just bought a non-green building in Dallas for their business, Clean Air Gardening.  The 13,000 sf building was built in the 1960s and they have a budget of about $50,000 to make it green.  We’re talking LEED, Energy Star, etc., you name it, they want to go green in an economically pragmatic way.  I figure we can tap the wisdom of the crowds and find a way to help them out, citizen wisdom style.  Feel free to drop your ideas into the comments here, or go over to PE directly and leave a comment.  Also, if you’re a Dallas business and want to get involved helping them do their thing, make sure to let them know. 

Already, PE seems to have this situation under control.  I like that they are signing up with Green Mountain Energy, using low-VOCs inside (good for indoor air quality), replacing old toilets with more water-efficient ones, adding a rainwater cistern to avoid using new water for landscaping, and replacing the door with a more energy-efficient set up.  Here are a few additional suggestions I have:

  • Consider a commercial-grade energy audit to determine where you may be losing air or energy.  Use that information to seal up cracks and fix stuff as needed (which will allow you to rely less on the dated HVAC system). 
  • Like you say, go with the Commercial Solatube lighting, if possible.  The more natural light, the better.  Why pay for light when the sun gives it away for free? 
  • For the interior design, use low-VOC carpets tiles and adaptable workstations/furniture from a company like Haworth (big-time commitment to recycled and sustainable products).  Haworth has a strong Dallas presence. 
  • Before making the investment in solar, try using a thermal energy storage product (like the ones offered by Dallas-based Trinity Thermal) that captures cheaper energy during off-peak times for use during more expensive peak periods.  This can contribute to LEED certification and has good $$ benefits. 
  • If you’re renovating the exterior, continue using a light color to reflect heat from the building.  Also, landscape in ways to shade the hottest parts of the building.  You guys are experts here, but natural landscaping will help with water conservation, too. 

That’s what I have so far, but I’m sure there are Dallas experts out there waiting to get your business and showcase their products.  Good luck!

M-CH: Less is More Edition

m-ch

Let’s face it, less is more.  What you see is the micro compact home, aka m-ch, which is a 76 sf home designed by Richard Horden, a professor at Technical University of Munich (TUM).  m-ch was designed to meet the growing demand for short-stay living.  I think Horden’s on to something.  Right now, there’s a horde of 7 m-chs that TUM students and staff occasionally stay in.  But there’s also a 16-unit village of m-chs being developed for a site near Vienna, Austria. 

What’s great about the m-ch is its high-tech design.  It’s all geeked out with the latest in electronics and technology.  Future models plan to use solar panels and horizontal-axis wind turbines to make the home self-sustaining.  For $96,000 (delivery + installation anywhere in Europe), you get a sliding table for 5, two 7.5 foot beds, shelves and drawers, an electrical systems control panel, bathroom and shower, and a kitchen with a microwave, fridge/freezer, sink, waste unit, and work surface.  For a quick jaunt and a little fun, what more could you ask for?  Via WiredCool images below the fold. 

(more…)