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Blue Ridge Parkway Center a Model of Ecological Design

Blue Ridge Destination Center

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. 

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Home Depot To Save $16 M/YR By Switching to CFLs

Ecooptions

You may have noticed recent news that Home Depot will be providing free, in-store recycling of CFLs at all of its U.S. stores.  But buried in that story is another interesting factoid — a tidbit of information in the likes of plucking the low hanging fruit.  Home Depot announced that they will be switching to CFLs at all U.S. Light Fixture Showrooms and expect to save roughly $16 million in annual energy costs.

This news isn’t all that sexy, but it’s important.  Make the switch, if you haven’t already and stop throwing money out the window.  With the low hanging fruit, it’s true: money grows on trees!

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Pallet Structure Gets A Human Touch

Unit Load_Redux

About ten years ago, I worked at UPS in their "boneyard" — a place where all the pallets were unloaded and strewn in huge heaps on an asphalt parking lot.  We’d neatly stack the pallets, place them in a trailer, and UPS would get rid of them, netting about $0.25 per pallet saved.  At the time, I didn’t realize the amount of pallets in circulation around the globe.  It’s estimated that there are about 2 BILLION ordinary unit load pallets in circulation globally, and about two-thirds of these are only used once.  It’s further estimated that U.S. companies throw away roughly 4 billion board feet of wood pallets every year.  Pretty crazy, I know. 

So HDR Architecture came up with Unit Load_Redux, a temporary exhibition intended as a probe for sustainable living through the redux of pallets and the use of bicycle energy.

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