Off-Grid and Carbon Free in Samsø


A few months ago, I became interested in Samsø after reading Elizabeth Kolbert's column in The New Yorker entitled The Island in the Wind.  Then, just this week, I noticed a photo essay of Samsø in The Guardian with pictures from Nicky Bonne.  What's interesting about Samsø is that it's a producer of energy — the entire island produces more energy from renewables than it uses.  They sell the rest and have been doing so since 2003. 


By |September 24th, 2008|Conservation, Land Use|4 Comments

REX House Accomplishes 100% Reuse

Rex House

Shannon Quimby, as far as I can tell, is the first to successfully reuse 100% of an old dilapidated home in a new home construction project.  The REX House, or Reuse Everything eXperiment, is located at 2030 SE Rex Street in Portland, Oregon and Shannon has been documenting the entire process since December 2007.  What she’s doing is quite difficult, especially if/when you’re deconstructing a house that has toxic materials, lead, asbestos, and other damaged parts.  But that’s the goal of the project: to share with everyone how to recycle and keep landfills from overflowing with useable construction materials. 


By |September 17th, 2008|Conservation, News, Single Family|2 Comments

World's First Dual LEED Platinum Building


There's an interesting story to the green building certification of the historic Mutual Building in Lansing, Michigan.  Not only did it receive LEED Platinum certification in both the LEED-CS and LEED-CI ratings systems, making it the world's first building to do so, it's also an historic building that's been preserved, renovated, and certified.  People will, in all likelihood, discuss the building's double platinum certification, but I think it is more commendable and noteworthy that they did all that in the context of a building listed on the National Register of Historic Landmarks.  It's quite incredible …


By |September 14th, 2008|Conservation, LEED|2 Comments

Muffler Shop Converted to First LEED-NC Architect Office in Georgia

Menefee + Winer LEED Office

As an interesting example of adaptive reuse, I thought it would be fun to showcase the design of Menefee + Winer’s office in Atlanta, Georgia.  Located at 1075 Brady Avenue near Georgia Tech, the 4,100 sf building used to be bland, gray muffler shop (see bottom) — but now with its vibrant colors and fierce shape, how about the transformation?  This LEED Silver building is also, interestingly, the first LEED-NC certified architect’s office in Georgia.  Here are a few things they incorporated through the gut rehab:


By |September 12th, 2008|Conservation, LEED, Modern architecture|2 Comments

South Waterfront Named World's First Salmon-Safe Certified Neighborhood

South Waterfront

The South Waterfront area of Portland is a new and interesting neighborhood.  All the buildings in South Waterfront will be LEED certified and thoughtfully planned.  The 35-acre, 17-block district abutting the Willamette River is also the first urban neighborhood to achieve Salmon-Safe certification.  The mission of Salmon-Safe is to restore the health of watersheds so salmon can spawn and thrive.  Here’s what the certification tells us about South Waterfront:


By |September 7th, 2008|Conservation, Land Use, Water Efficiency|0 Comments

Rainwater Collection Gaining Huge Mainstream Momentum


There’s kind of an edgy, underground movement of conscious homeowners and environmentalists that are finding creative ways to capture water and reuse it for their needs.  BusinessWeek’s Malia Wollan just wrote an article called "Rainwater collectors work to ease shortages," and she talks about the popularity of the movement.  In the article, Wollan mentions a website called HarvestH20, which has seen an increasing number of visitors seeking information and advice on rainwater collection and reclamation. 


By |September 1st, 2008|Conservation, Gadgets, News, Water Efficiency|7 Comments