Near North Apartments by Helmut Jahn: Affordable, Mecha Small, Green + Modern

Night Near North Apartments

Not only is this place sustainable, but rooms are small, too.  With 96 units at an average size of 300 sf, Near North Apartments (NNA) is a pretty incredible habitat for people that deserve to live in a well-designed space.  NNA is the creation of renowned architect Helmut Jahn, who designed the single-occupant spaces for limited income, homeless, and disabled persons.  You’ll notice from the images that the building generates some power through roof-mounted wind turbines, or aeroturbines.  to be precise, the building shape was conceived to maximize wind to the aeroturbines.  They were invented at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and are now being marketed through Aerotecture International

The building also uses solar thermal collectors and a rainwater reclamation system.  The water system recycles shower water to flush toilets, apparently making it one of the few graywater systems in Chicago.  NNA is located at 1244 North Clybourn Avenue in Chicago and is owned by Mercy Housing Lakefront group.  The reason I’m blogging about this structure, in addition to being an example of small, sustainable living, is because it was listed on Metropolitan Home’s 2007 Design 100 list.  Congrats. 

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Eco-Boutique Coming Soon: Hotel Terra, Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Hotel Terra Rendering

Starting in December 2007, Hotel Terra is going to add itself to an exclusive list of green hotels operating in the United States.  The Terra Resort Group (TRG) is developing this hotel for the market niche that desires luxury + sustainability.  The Jackson Hole offering, which is going to be LEED certified, will be the first of 12-15 eco-boutique resort hotels that TRG plans to build by 2015.  Hotel Terra is going to have every luxury one would need in a resort stay: spa + fitness center, ‘Terra Living Room’, rooftop hot tub, two restaurants, and a snowboard/ski rental shop.  Also, guest rooms will have a Bose speaker setup, flat screens, and free wireless.

Green Features:
As far as the LEED features are concerned, Hotel Terra is going to be decked out pretty good:  100% recycled "Eco Shake" roof shingles; low-VOC carpets, sealants, paints, adhesives, etc.; personalized, energy-efficient heating and cooling zones; radiant heating on the bottom level to minimize direct heat loss and energy use; air quality and moisture filtering technology; Energy Star windows with low-E coating; water saving features such as dual-flush toilets, low-flow water fixtures, waterless urinals, and native landscaping; rainwater capture and runoff mitigation technology; chemical free cleaning and laundry products used in the hotel operations; hotel design to maximize internal exposure to natural lighting; 80% recycled content steel in the building structure; 50% construction waste reused or recycled; wind power used for 35% of electricity purchased by Hotel; and heavy reliance on renewable or recycled building materials such as bamboo, crushed glass, and seatbelts. 

I’ve blogged about two other green hotel matters, Starwood’s 1 Hotel and Gaia Napa Valley Hotel.  I have a feeling that Hotel Terra is going to have a leg up, assuming the absence of another market shock-type event like 9/11, on the other groups that are thinking about leveraging a serious green hotel brand.  I’m also thinking I may have to take a quick jaunt up to Jackson Hole next December, since I’m going to be in SLC starting in May.  Nice. 

Hotel Terra Lobby Area

By |April 24th, 2007|Conservation, Energy Efficiency, Hotel, LEED, Vegetation|2 Comments

AIA: 2007 COTE Top Ten Green Projects

2007 AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects

Today, the AIA released its list of the 2007 COTE Top Ten Green Projects, projects that showcase excellence in sustainable design principles and reduced energy consumption.  On May 3, these ten projects will be honored at the AIA National Convention and Design Exposition in San Antonio.  The jurors were the following leaders in the sustainability field:  David Brems, FAIA, Gillies Stransky Brems Smith PC; Alisdair McGregor, PE, Arup; John Quale, LEED AP, University of Virginia School of Architecture; Traci Rose Rider, LEED AP North Carolina State University; Anne Schopf, AIA, Mahlum Architects; and Susan Szenasy, editor-in-chief, Metropolis.  It’s likely that I’ll take a slower approach to some of the more modern of the following, but for right now, here are links to each of the ten projects that were selected. 

Congratulations to everyone for this recognition and for their contribution to the greener building environment.  Anyone have a favorite or comment? 

By |April 23rd, 2007|Energy Efficiency, LEED, Modern architecture, News|0 Comments

Dual Flush Toilets, Nevada's Green Incentives, New York's Green Improvements, + William McDonough on Earth Day (WIR)

Week in Review
  1. If Your Toilet was Installed Before 1994, it probably Accounts for 40% of Household H2O…Dual Flush Toilets are Newest Way to Save Water
  2. Patagonia’s LEED Gold Distribution Center Gets 50% Real Property Tax Abatement of Next 10 Years, Proves that Nevada is Only State to Offer Green Building Incentives.
  3. New York’s Home Performance with Energy Star Program has invested $100 million to Improve the Energy Efficiency, Comfort, Health, and Safety of More than 13,600 Homes
  4. For Earth Day, William McDonough Asks us to Celebrate the Abundance of Solar Income and Commit to Cradle to Cradle Principles. 

Coca-Cola Flaunting the Business Case for Green Renovations

Drink Me! It looks like we can add Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO) to the list of companies that are trying to reduce the impact of business operations.  Today, the company announced a collaboration with Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute to realize reductions in water and energy consumption at Coca-Cola’s 2M square-foot world headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia.  Under the collaboration, Coca-Cola will spend $3 million on energy-efficient lighting and air conditioning equipment, rainwater harvesting techniques, and advanced irrigation control systems.  What’s the result? 

  • Savings of +$1 million in annual operating costs
  • Elimination of 10,000 metric carbon dioxide emissions each year (equal to removing 2,000 cars from the road)
  • 23% reduction in energy consumption
  • 15% reduction in water consumption

Back-of-the-envelope style, that’s a three year payback.  Coca-Cola realizes it can’t be frivolous with water, especially considering the fact that H20 is the main ingredient in the company’s beverages.  Cola-Cola Energy and Climate Protection Manager Bryan Jacob talked about the green retrofits saying, "Since climate change will have a profound impact on freshwater resources, we are making water conservation – in our plants around the world and at our headquarters – a priority. The irrigation improvement projects at our Atlanta Office Complex will reduce the water used for landscaping by an estimated 75 percent.

I think Coca-Cola should be recognized for these efforts.  This is another example of the business case for green buildings.  Coca-Cola is going to save money on this deal.  It’s the smart, business-savvy thing to do.  Now, our next step is to figure out how to reduce the worldwide consumption of caffeine.  🙂  Via Coca-Cola + Atlanta Business Chronicle

5 Ways to Start Your Home's Green Remodel

Green_remodeling_david_johnston Let’s face it, not everyone can go out there and build a new house to have a green home.  A lot of older homes will need to be renovated.  With green renovations, there’s a sequence to what you do.  For example, if your home has poor insulation and leaks energy, putting solar panels on the roof shouldn’t be your first step to greening the home.  You’d still be wasting too much energy and not getting much bang out the solar panels.  The following list is going to be fairly generic, but if you’d like to get more information on green rehabs, give David Johnston’s book a look, he’s the expert on green remodeling. 

  1. Purchase Energy Star – these days, appliances that don’t have the Energy Star label probably don’t sell, but you may have a lot of stuff lying around that hogs the energy.  Gradually think about replacing that stuff with Energy Star stuff. 
  2. Mind the Gaps – there’s no reason to lose energy through cracks, gaps, and creases in your home.  In the summer, you’ll lose cool air.  In the winter, you’ll lose warm air.  Also, you’re probably having to over-cool or over-heat your place depending on what’s going on in the attic.  Insulation is good.  Caulking is good.  Weather-stripping is good.
  3. Do a Blow Test – what you’re doing here is finding the air holes in a house and patching them up.  It’s important to have the proper air tightness and the blower door test can help. 
  4. Watch Your Water – consider all the myriad of ways water is used and think about doing things differently.  If you’re going to get a new toilet, you might as well get the dual-flush.  If you’re remodeling, you might as well swap out the fixtures for new, low-flow fixtures.  Maybe a tankless water heater would be good, too. 
  5. Upgrade the Windows – this step may not be as important as minding the gaps or doing a blow test, but new windows change the feel of a home.  These days, windows can allow natural light and block heat gain, but you’ll want to look for low-E coatings and double-paned windows. 

These five steps are going to help you save water and energy, but this is only one portion of the green home equation.  Later on, you might think about what you have inside your home and how that stuff affects indoor air quality.  Also, if you’re doing any type of repair or rehabbing, you’ll also want to work with sustainable materials.  Three prongs: resource efficiency, sustainable materials, and indoor air quality.  Via BusinessWeek; see also 5 Dumbest Renovation Fads
 

By |April 19th, 2007|Conservation, Energy Efficiency, Water Efficiency|0 Comments