There’s an interesting podcast with architect Thom Mayne, principal at Morphosis, and Andrew Blum (contributing editor at Metropolis and Wired). This article at Treehugger explains the building’s green features and striking exterior. Notably, it’s designed to use about half as much energy as a similar-sized office building. Via Andrew Blum.
Green Your Business, Lifecycle of a Green Product, Energy-Efficient Dwellings, + James Lovelock (WIR)
- 50 Ways to Green Your Business
- 7 Steps in the Lifecycle of a Green Product
- Kansas Coal-fired Power Plant rejected over carbon dioxide.
- Cement is crucial for growth in booming economies but an enemy of green.
- UA architecture students set out to prove that energy-efficient dwellings need not be expensive.
- Scientist James Lovelock says that global warming is irreversible.
Yesterday, Kovac Architects announced the groundbreaking of Sycamore House, a modern ridge top residence in the Pacific Palisades designed to achieve a Platinum level rating under the USGBC’s LEED for Homes Program. The 3,400 sf home will serve as both a laboratory of learning in sustainable design and the home of Michael Kovac, principal with Kovac Architects. With construction already in progress (you can view a webcam on their website), the home should be complete in the latter part of 2008.
By all means, take some time to wander through the Sycamore House online web site, it’s quite informational. This home will feature a 23-foot tall thermal wall to regulate air temperature and guide warm air to clerestory windows; a building integrated photovoltaic system and green roof to insulate the home and reduce the heat island effect; and a geothermal system for supplemental cooling. On the inside, all the materials will be sustainably harvested, rapidly renewable, or previously recycled. Plus, there will be the usual water-efficient fixtures, energy-saving LED lights and appliances, and low-VOC paints and varnishes. Although still only in rendering stage, it will be exciting to see the Sycamore House become a reality. Personally, I like the ability to congregate on the living roof and show off the solar panels. That’s a nice touch.
The City of Austin, after a year of serious research by the Zero Energy Capable Homes Task Force, announced a huge initiative towards requiring all new single-family homes to be zero-energy capably by 2015. Here’s how it works. Today, the city adopted the first in a series of code amendments and a road map of code amendments that will be implemented through 2015. Due to this first series of changes, roughly 6500 new homes built in Austin will be about 20% more efficient. Through 2015, as the code changes ratchet up the efficiency baseline, homes will end up using about 65% less energy than those built today. Then, owners will have the option of adding solar or some other clean tech to get the home to zero energy status.
Speaking of the Zero Energy Homes Initiative, Mayor Will Wynn said, "We’re taking action today that will lower the cost of utility bills, make housing more affordable, help improve air quality and take critical steps in the fight against global warming." He continued, "The savings here are staggering – over the next ten years these policies will save homeowners almost $125 million on utility bills and have the same greenhouse gas reduction effect as taking almost 200,000 cars off the road." It should be said, however, that home prices will increase slightly due to the initiative, but all those green Dell employees should be able to handle it, right?! Speak with your wallet.
The Sidwell Friends School is the first LEED Platinum-rated K-12 school in the world, but what’s incredible is the story behind it. First, it’s a renovation of a fifty year old facility. Second, the renovation involved the students, so everyone was able to participate and learn about the benefits of a green building. Matter of fact, about sixteen 5th – 8th graders studied the building, wrote about its benefits, and recorded an audio feature explaining each green feature. Feel free to take the green building tour to learn about low-VOC materials, CO2 monitoring, natural light, native plants, the green roof and biology pond, photovoltaic panels, a heat recovery wheel, vertical solar fins, and the settling tank, etc. This is quite the impressive interactive visual/audio tour. Seriously, great work.
[Run time: 2:05 min] I hope you enjoy this short video of Shawn Frayne, a young inventor that has created this device to generate, on the micro-scale, energy for LED lights and radios in developing countries. This is the first approach that uses aeroelastic flutter to create super cheap electricity. We’re talking about changing the way wind energy is harvested and captured. Frayne won a 2007 Breakthrough Award from Popular Mechanics, and he deserves it. This incredible technology is 10-30 times more efficient than the best micro-turbines. So, Frayne hopes to fund third-world distribution of the Windbelt through sales in first-world applications. So inspiring …
UPDATE: EcoGeek reports that Shawn Frayne has launched the website for Humdinger Wind Energy. Soon, according to the website, developer kits are going to be available for schools, researchers, and independents.