Masdar City: Zero Carbon, Zero Waste

1064_4_1000_foster_mascar_4

Foster + Partners has created a master plan for a massive and bold 6 million square meter sustainable development near Abu Dhabi called Masdar.  Driven by the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, Masdar will be a zero carbon, zero waste community, one that will be entirely car free. 

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Gatorade Building Becomes Largest, Green Food + Beverage Facility in World

Gatoradelogo That’s right.  Another example of the business case for going green.  Recently, Gatorade received LEED Gold-level certification for the Gatorade Thirst Quencher Blue Ridge facility in Wytheville, Virginia.  At 950,000 sf, it weighs in as the largest green food and beverage facility in the world.  Notice the oxymoron: large green; but it’s not really fair for me to say that.  Building a manufacturing facility to the LEED Gold level can be quite the accomplishment.  Like Coca-Cola, PepsiCo (which owns Gatorade) sees the benefits of having green production facilities.  In addition to the PR benefits of showing the community that you’re not wasteful of valuable water resources, you build a better work environment for employees and waste less energy.  Big companies with green buildings show their employees that green is good, and this thinking starts to cascade.  Eventually, employees will greenify their homes and habits.  Employees will tell their friends and families, too.  Word will spread and there will be a point, not in the too distant future, when everyone accepts green as the standard and non-green as pass√©, wasteful, and unsophisticated. 

Good Links:
+Gatorade LEED Gold Press Release
+Gatorade Press Release with Blue Ridge Image [CSRwire]
+Coca-Cola Flaunts Business Case for Green Renovations [JG]

By |May 8th, 2007|Conservation, Energy Efficiency, LEED|0 Comments

Top 10 Problems with Sprawl

Sprawl

At some point over the past year, the American population surpassed 300 million, and if we continue as expected, we’re going to have another 92 million people over the next 34 years.  That’s a lot of people and they’ll need places to live.  Over that period of time, it’s real important that we get planning right.  The problem is, however, planning decisions are made by thousands of different people with thousands of conflicting interests.  The gist, though, is that sprawl isn’t green.  Here are ten good reasons to back that up. 

  1. Sprawl development contributes to a loss of support for public facilities and public amenities.
  2. Sprawl undermines effective maintenance of existing infrastructure. 
  3. Sprawl increases societal costs for transportation.
  4. Sprawl consumes more resources than other development patterns. 
  5. Sprawl separates urban poor people from jobs. 
  6. Sprawl imposes a tax on time.
  7. Sprawl degrades water and air quality. 
  8. Sprawl results in the permanent alteration and destruction of habitats. 
  9. Sprawl creates difficulty in maintaining community.
  10. Sprawl offers the promise of choice while only delivering more of the same. 

I’m a child of sprawl.  I’ve seen the effects of it.  I’ve personally experienced #3, #4, #6, #9, and #10.  Every smart person in this country needs to realize the effect of various policy and regulatory decisions and find a way to dig out of the mess we’re in.  If not, sprawl will continue to hamper us more and more in the future. 

Is there a silver bullet to fixing the problem?  That’s tough.  There is a temporary solution for some people:  live near your work, church, and family.  It will make your life more abundant when the places you go are close.  Just find a way to live near the places you frequently go. 

This list was created by James M. McElfish, Jr., Director, Sustainable Use of Land Program, Environmental Law Institute

By |May 4th, 2007|Conservation, Land Use, Lists, Water Efficiency|3 Comments

The Importance of Natural Lighting

Click to Enlarge It’s free.  Use it.  Design with it in mind.  Natural light = equity.  More natural light = less artificial light.  It feels good.  Workers appreciate it.  Light chases away inhibition.  Natural light does not have to be hot.  Natural light is from the sun.  The sun moves.  Design with natural light is more advanced than design with artificial light.  Artificial light is fake.  CFLs + incandescents are artificial light.  Artificial light requires electricity.  Electricity can be used for other things during the day besides artificial lighting.  Artificial light is man made.  Natural light is not man made.  Animals are cognizant of day and night.  The day/night distinction is irrelevant to humans.  Natural light comes from one source.  Artificial light radiates from countless sources.  Natural light = gift.  Artificial light = debt.  Image via

By |April 30th, 2007|Conservation, Energy Efficiency|8 Comments

Small Wind, Green Commercial Buildings, IBM Greens, + Leading Green Initiative (WIR)

Week in Review
  1. Small Wind Market Takes Off – Increasing Numbers of Homeowners, Small Businesses, and Farms are Installing Wind Turbines to Generate Electricity. 
  2. BOMA Released its List of Top 10 Ways for Commercial Buildings to Save Energy
  3. IBM is Hooking Up with The Nature Conservancy to Launch Software that will Help Businesses and Government Make Smart Environmental Decisions. 
  4. The Leading Hotels of the World, Ltd., Announced the Launch of the Leading Green Initiative, a program to support Sustainable Travel International. 
By |April 28th, 2007|Conservation, Energy Efficiency, Week in Review, Wind|0 Comments

Sundance Channel's Big Ideas Episode #2: Build

Big Ideas Build

If you’re like me, you don’t have The Sundance Channel and you buy each episode of Big Ideas on iTunes for $1.99.  I downloaded the last episode called "BUILD" and liked it so much, I’m going to buy a copy of the video on iTunes for the first 5 people to comment in this post.  It’s really good.  In an information-packed 25 minutes and 38 seconds, the producers take us through Michelle Kaufmann’s prefab factory, the process of building a Glidehouse, Carlton Brown’s green multifamily housing in New York, the advantages of green building, the future of green building with technology, and Mitchell Joachim’s fab tree hab. 

Note – I’ll use the email that you comment with to gift the episode to you through iTunes.  This is not a Sundance promo, this is JG promoting modern, green building.