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LEED-H New Urban Home by David Baker + Partners at Blue Star Corner

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I hate to post this on Saturday, because I’m afraid it won’t get a large readership, but I wanted to talk about David Baker + Partners‘ (DBP) new design for a development called Blue Star Corner.  The design is called the New Urban Home.  The New Urban Home philosophy blends loft and condominium attitudes, with a modern feel that tends to build up–not out.  This philosophy was brought to the Blue Star Corner development to create a sustainable (LEED for Homes), modern, urban design for the historic Park Avenue District in the Bay Area.  All the appliances will be Energy Star, all the plumbing will be water efficient, and the site is located near mass transit.  Blue Star Corner is planned for completion in mid-2007. 

Green Features:
The developer, Holliday Development, and DBP hope to achieve LEED for Homes certification on this project.  Here’s some of what they’re going to do:  will use recycled and non-toxic building materials, non-endangered woods, galvanized metal, bamboo flooring, and environmentally-fabricated CaesarStone quartz countertops; will try to source materials locally as much as possible (keeps money in local economy + eliminates the transportation/gas premium); open spaces will feature sustainable landscaping by Conger Moss Guillard Landscape; appliances will be energy-efficient with Duravit, Kohler, and Bosch brands; and much more. 

Other Amenities:
Bsc_rendering Units will include also Ann Sacks bathtubs, Sub-zero + Jenn-Air refrigerators, Bisazza tiles, Benjamin Moore paint, in-unit iPod docking stations, and personal garages with fold-up work stations.  This is all going in with the general setup with a master bedroom, living room, kitchen, and flex room.  To add to that, homes will be unique–they won’t all have identical features, colors, or design.  It’s important to cater to individuality. 

Extra Links:
New Urban Home at Blue Star Corner [Generalized Case Study]
David Baker + Partners Provide Design for "Green" Amsterdam-Inspired Townhouses [MHN]

BuildingGreen's 2006 Top-10 Green Building Products + GreenSpec Directory

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The fact of the matter is, if you’re going to build green buildings, you gotta have green materials.  And green building is getting easier because demand is increasing and creating innovative green products to fit all varieties of projects.  There are different angles to take with a sustainable project and it’s not all about energy efficiency.  You’ll want to look at everything.  I like to think in terms of consumption.  What are you consuming and how much of it are you consuming?  Is the building water efficient?  What does it do with waste (such as recycling)?  Does waste equal food (C2C)?  Did you have to ship it across the world to procure it?  What’s the indoor air quality of the building?  How does it look and feel?   Did you benefit the community by buying the materials, paying the laborers, or building the project? 

Greenspec_2006_cover To make life a little easier, there’s the GreenSpec Directory, which includes more than 2,100 green product listings.  It’s a veritable idea bank ($89.90).  To give you a taste of what some of the products are, BuildingGreen announced the Top-10 Green Building Products during GreenBuild in November.  Here they are.  I’ve linked to the BuildingGreen product information and used "(company)" for the corporate website link.  BuildingGreen doesn’t receive money from these companies for placing a product in the GreenSpec Directory, so the information is totally objective in that regard. 

If you have an experience with any of these products, feel free to drop a comment so all the readers can benefit.  Once you go green, you never go back!

Skyscraper Sunday: 1800 Larimer LEED Silver Office Tower (Denver)

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Apparently, the mid-1980s was the last time a new high rise office building was built in Denver, Colorado.  We know what happened then and why skyscraper construction halted (hint: construction loans/S+L Crisis); knock on wood…S+L 2.0??  Recently, Westfield Development announced plans to build the most energy efficient high rise in downtown Denver, 1800 Larimer–actually, it’s a $150 million, 22 story, 500,000 square foot, energy-efficient, proposed LEED Silver tower.  Westfield Development President Rich McClintock said, "if it is not a sustainable building, it is outdated."  I couldn’t agree more. 

This LoDo area building was designed by Denver-based RNL Design.  Some of the features include the following:  subfloor air distribution system; 9-foot, 6-inch floor-to-ceiling windows; state-of-the-art health club for tenants; a half-acre terrace parklike environment 20 feet off the ground; tenant controlled temperature system; blue + gray glass facade; trees in the lobby; and a 30-foot high "wall of water" inside the lobby.  I’m excited that new construction is going green, but I will say that Denver is working hard to make the right choices.  This green building is, after all, only a small kog in the greater machine initiated by Denver’s Mayor Hickenlooper called Greenprint Denver

I keep saying this, but the smartest cities are also the greenest:  San Francisco, Portland, Denver, Austin, Chicago, and a trailing Salt Lake City.  The human capital + brain power of these cities is really mind-boggling, so where are you going to live?  Via RMN

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UPDATE:  According to the global votes of over 100,000 people, Mayor Hickenlooper was ranked #9 in a survey of best mayors in the world that have made long-lasting contributions to their cities.  Only one other US mayor made the list.

BD+C White Paper: Green Building + The Bottom Line (2006)

Bdcwhitepaper06_cover "The ‘New Reality’ of Green Building from Environmental Cause to Financial Opportunity."  I wanted to put up a quick post regarding BD+C’s new green building white paper–it’s big-time informative, talking about green building in the context of office, retail, hotel, restaurant, residential, education, healthcare, and government buildings.  If you don’t read anything else (it’s a dense report of 64 pages, of which about 10-15 pages are for so called green sponsors), read the Executive Summary on page three to catch a drift about what’s going on in the industry.  One issue that keeps popping up is the issue of whether green buildings cost more than code-built buildings.  For one thing, certification will cost some money (unless it’s LEED-Platinum), but other than that, there’s a small premium that an owner will pay.  But that’s when you analyze the building on a first costs basis.  If you’re looking at first costs + operating costs (which the industry is still trying to work out), green buildings can be pretty attractive.  With the possibility of higher occupancy rates, less tenant turnover, and less $$ on energy + water, green building is a phenomenon to be reckoned with.  Plus, green buildings try to source materials locally, so to the extent that this happens, $$ spent on materials stay in the cities you’re trying to rebuild and develop.  There are lots of positives…

Building Design + Construction’s Green Building White Paper 2006 [registration required]

Central Oregon's First LEED-H Certified Residential Project: Newport District Modern House Project by Abacus GC

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Have you ever been to Bend, Oregon?  Bend is smack dab in the middle of the state, it’s Central Oregon, and it’s beautiful.  Central Oregon is not to be confused with the rainy, western part of the state.  Bend is in close proximity to some of the best golfing, hiking, camping, rock climbing, and skiing locations in the world, which is why lots of Californians either relocate or have a vacation home in the area.  And real estate isn’t cheap, either (speaking from a Texas frame of mind).  But in Bend, you have an innovative, forward-thinking real estate company, Abacus GC, that has just received the first LEED-H (LEED for Homes) certification in Central Oregon for its Newport District Modern House Project.  It’s also Earth Advantage certified and will save about 54% more in energy consumption than a standard code-built home. 

This project (corner of NW 12th Street + Newport Avenue) includes 5 green, modern, luxurious homes, scheduled for completion in December 2006.  Each lot is 3,000 square feet, and each home is 2,000 square feet (prices starting at roughly $850k).  Here are some of the green features:  cool metal roof that reflects UV radiation and keeps the house cool in the summer; green roof trellises; xeriscaped lawns with drought tolerant and local plants (require less water and maintenance); Sierra Pacific windows made from timber that meets the Sustainable Forestry Initiative requirements; grid-tied solar energy system (2 kilowatt) from photovoltaic panels that run backwards; extensive use of FSC-certified lumber; blown in formaldehyde-free insulation (exterior walls, R-23; attic, R-50!) for energy-efficiency, sound control, and improved indoor air quality; lightweight all-aluminum garage doors that are maintenance free and recyclable; hydronic radiant floor heating systems powered by a 96% energy-efficient boiler; tons of strategically placed windows to optimize natural light and shade; locally harvested Madrone wood for the stairs and kitchen counter tops; Caroma dual-flush toilets that save up to 80% of annual water usage; 80% energy-efficient Ribbon fireplace by Spark Modern Fires (with the enclosure made of Eco-Terr recycled tiles); and Green Seal-certified, zero-VOC YOLO Colorhouse primer and paints.  These are just some of the many green features of the five homes in the Newport District Modern House Project. 

In addition to the green features, these homes are stylish:  top of the line hardware (Kohler, Grohe, Blum, Sub-Zero, etc.), 9-foot ceilings, Category-5 Ethernet cable installed, etc.  We’re are talking about luxury everything, in an extreme, environmentally-friendly orchestration.  The Newport District Modern House Project is everything that Jetson Green espouses:  Modern + Green + Healthy Living.  But specifically, these homes help an owner achieve water and energy independence, which is valuable in a world where energy prices will continue to rise and water will continue to become more scarce.  I really like the trajectory of this company and the projects they have in the pipeline–I’m sure this won’t be the last abacus GC project on Jetson Green. 

Extra Links:
Abacus Take Lead on LEED-H Certification [Press Release]
Earth Advantage Features [pdf]
Abacus GC Builds Modern Dwellings [Cascade Business News - pdf]

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LEED First at 53 Standish Street

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Today's green project on 53 Standish Street is the first LEED for Homes project certified in Massachusetts and the first multi-unit building (up to 4 units) in the country to achieve this certification.  The project was designed by Tony Butler of AB Architects and built by Aedi Construction LLC

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