Prairie Crossing is located in Grayslake, Illinois about 40 miles north of Chicago. This beautiful, nature-focused community has preserved more than 60% of its 677 acres. An impressive measure which clearly points to the good intentions of the "developers", a group of neighbors who bought the land in the 1980’s with the goal of truly responsible development. The community has 359 homes and 36 condos versus the 2400 homes that another developer had plans for. The condos have received the highest energy star rating possible.
This is Blue Ridge Parkway Destination Center, a $9.8 million visitor’s center near Ashville, North Carolina. As a modern structure seeking LEED Gold certification, it’s garnered significant press for its ecological design. Designed by Lord, Aeck, & Sargent, Blue Ridge was modeled to use 75% less energy than a comparable, conventionally designed building. That’s due, at least in part, to its incredible green features, such as the sawtooth Trombe walls on the southerly face, 10,000 sf green roof, natural daylighting, high-efficiency mechanical system, natural ventilation, radiant heating, rainwater reclamation system for on-site use, etc.
Last month, Lorax Development broke ground on a building that’s being billed as the first off-grid building in San Francisco. At 1400 sf, The Eco Center is certainly an example of the future of green buildings — buildings that are off-grid and sustainable. The Eco Center is a $1.5 million environmental education center that will be located in McLaren Park. Designed by Toby Long Design for the non-profit Literacy for Environmental Justice (LEJ), when it opens in the fall, it will be the first building in San Francisco, purportedly, to recycle its own wastewater. Additionally, the off-grid center will have solar panels and an extensive green roof.
I know it’s just a toilet, but this miniLOO is quite the attractive alternative when it comes to taking care of your primary and secondary business. MiniLOO utilizes a water-efficient, dual flush, in-wall tank with either a .8 or 1.6 gallon flush. The compact off-floor mounting allows easy cleaning and accessibility in either the residential or commercial setting. It’s perfect for a smaller space and available in a variety of finishes, including recycled stainless steel and white powdercoat.
Proximity Hotel seems to have found a way to deliver a comfortable, luxury-type experience and still be one of the greenest hotels in the country. It was built to use roughly 36% less energy and 30% less water than a comparable hotel. Proximity Hotel also heats over half the building’s water with roughly 4,000 sf of solar thermal panels on the roof. In the video embedded below, Dennis Quaintance, Chief Design Officer of Proximity Hotel, mentions that the savings from the solar thermal investment is about $20k per year. He also talks about the hotel’s innovative elevator, which is the first Regenerative Drive Otis Gen2 elevator in North America — it captures energy while going down and uses it while going up.
In her Teardown Diary, Wall Street Journal columnist Nancy Keates forgoes the common practice of demolition and instead opts for "unbuilding." Usually referred to as deconstruction, unbuilding is when you disassemble an old structure piece by piece and salvage the usable parts. Ms. Keates found that the deconstruction of her home will cost about $4,000 more than straight demolition, but costs can vary project to project.