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Proximity Hotel Assumes Role as One of the Greenest Hotels in Country

Exterior

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.

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Deconstruction Grows in Popularity, Spawns New Businesses

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.

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Whitehead-Elniski Residence, Green Adaptive Reuse!

Roof

This is a refreshing story of a another innovative green home in Chicago.  Frances Whitehead and James Elniski recently had their green home featured in NY Times.  It’s a fantastic rendition of green adaptive reuse.  Check the images of the living rooftop and two twirling turbines (by Windside).  Those turbines cost about $40,000,including installation, and provide about $500 per year in savings.  Still, the owners don’t mind the payback of 80 years because their perspective is guided by the realities of a carbon cluttered world.  Drastic times require drastic actions?

This live/work residence has some of the following green features: cellulose insulation, geothermal heating and cooling, solar thermal hot water and cooling, photovoltaic panels, rainwater collection cisterns, and water-saving appliances and dual-flush toilets, etc.  Perhaps the greenest feature of all is that the building used to be a blighted, 3000 sf, brick warehouse on a chunk of land with a contaminated underground gasoline storage tank.  Ugh … removing USTs can be nasty, expensive, and fraught with administrative burdens, too. 

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Schaar's Bluff Gathering Center, a Living Building

Schaar's Bluff

I’m not going to write too much about this project because it’s under construction and we’ll end up doing more when it comes to life.  Here, though, is the design for a living building — one that gives something back.  It’s the kind of building that goes beyond LEED (although I think it will also get LEED certification, too).  Schaar’s Bluff Gathering Center ranks within the top 1% of all sustainable structures, as compared to the USGBC’s registered buildings.  How?  The structure will generate its own power, react to weather conditions, reuse rainwater, and feed the animals with a trellis planted specifically with fruit vines.  Located in Nininger Township, Minnesota, the 3,500 sf Gathering Center will also have an on-site wind turbine, operable windows linked to the HVAC system, a high performance building envelope, automated shading devices, in-floor radiant heating, and rainwater capture and treatment. 

The Gathering Center will be a model of sustainable building for the future: living buildings. 

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Next Generation Wal-Mart Uses 25% Less Energy!

Walmart_supercenter

I know, I know.  I’m treading on thin water with this one, what with all the haters and anti-sprawlsters out there.  But strictly to make the point that businesses can use less and save money, I like this story.  Next week, Wal-Mart will open the first store of the company’s next generation of green stores in Romeoville, Illinois.  Where their first generation of two green stores saved about 20% energy, this store will save about 25% energy.  The energy savings result from experimentations in refrigeration and heating/cooling systems in their first generation of green stores. 

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An Earth-Friendly Home [Graphic]

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The average American releases about 50,000 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year.  A large portion of that comes from our homes and wasted, wasted energy.  Matter of fact, according to a recent McKinsey study, the single most cost-effective way to reduce GHG emissions is via building insulation.  Click on over to the Time Earth-Friendly Home graphic and move the lens around for other ideas to reduce GHG emissions and save some dolla, dolla bills.  Before you click over though, I will say, this is pretty basic information, but at least they provide some numbers and illustrate the impact of concerted effort. 

While you’re over there, check out this article, too:
++51 Things We Can Do to Save the Environment [Time]

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