In the heart of Seattle, the design professionals at Mithun see a farm rising vertically into the sky. Although it may never be built, the Center for Urban Agriculture (CUA) won “Best of Show” in the Cascadia Region Green Building Council’s Living Building Challenge. Vertically constructed on a .72 acre site, the off-grid building is designed to be completely energy and water sufficient and will include 318 affordable apartments (studio – 2 bedroom). And on top of that, there will be greenhouses, rooftop gardens, a chicken farm, and fields for growing vegetables and grains.
- The Grid Impacts of Net Metering
- Big Steps in Building: Ban Minimum Floor Areas
- Kendall House in Miami is a model of efficiency and low environmental impact.
- Who’s the greenest bank of all? Sustainable building is all the rage – and big banks want in on the action.
- I never promised you a rose garden. You say natural. I say neglected. A growing number of urban gardeners are facing off with their neighbors over how they tend their plots: wild and eco-friendly or manicured and weed-free.
When I was growing up, if there was an errant light or something on, my dad would take my brothers and sisters into the room and say something like, "kids, this light isn’t going to turn itself off and it isn’t free to keep on either." Needless to say, I learned to turn things off at a young age. To make this process easier, two pieces of technology aim to eliminate the need to micro-manage electronics in your home.
There’s the GreenSwitch and the House-Off Switch. The premise of each is that there’s a singular switch that turns off all non-essential electronic items that have been set up to the switch. The designer of the House-Off Switch (pictured top left) is Jack Godfrey Wood, who is based in London (and I’m not sure whether his concept is being marketed at this point). The GreenSwitch (pictured top right) is the real deal and is supported by our favorite green expert, Ed Begley Jr.
Here’s how the GreenSwitch works. The central switch controls all the slave components that have been set up and home installation takes about an hour. There are 4 simple pieces you may use: (1) master switch, (2) thermostat control, (3) slave wall switches, and (4) outlets. You decide what you have a tendency to leave on or which areas are vampires and install the proper piece at that position. The relay between the master and slave is wireless, microchip-controlled radio frequency (RF) based communication, so there’s no getting in the attic with wires, etc. And as a side note, according to the Department of Energy, 10-15% of the what you pay for on your energy bill is from stand-by or phantom power, so to the extent that you can trim that down, you’re saving money. Basic Kit MSRPs for $1125.00.