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Agro-Housing Becoming an Option for China

Agrohousing

In China, there’s a massive exodus from the rural to urban areas, but it’s controlled because the country doesn’t have enough housing for everyone that wants to live in a city.  At the same time, urbanization accentuates the air and soil pollution problems.  So, Knafo Klimor Architects proposed an agro-housing project that blends agriculture and high-rise housing in one structure.  This agro-housing project brings the food-supply directly to the building, and to the extent that residents can realize the benefits of urban farming, there is a decreased reliance on transportation for agricultural products (shopping and delivery to stores).  Plus, with the building’s integrated water capture systems, the project has the potential to reduce water consumption and runoff.  Residents could make money off the crops, too. 

This agro-housing project is going to be built in Wuhan, China.  As you can see from the renderings, the building has quite the elaborate labyrinth to control water, air, and heat.  Structurally, it will be made with SIPs and a majority of the materials will come from steel, aluminum, and terracotta — all materials that can be recycled at the end of the building’s life.  Via Dwell

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Sidwell Friends School, Anatomy of a Green School

Sidwell Friends School

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. 

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REI Boulder Continues Green Building Tradition

REI Boulder

Over the weekend, REI opened the doors on a brand-spanking new, LEED-CI Silver certified, green retail store in Boulder, Colorado.  Designed by Gensler, this store is an extension of REI’s commitment to green building.  REI’s director of store development, Dean Iwata, said, "REI’s Boulder store builds on our more than 10 years of green building experience, and helps us test concepts that will pave the way for how our stores are built in the future, including design, material selections and use of technology."  I couldn’t be happier for the company — I think I’ve found a justification to splurge $165 on a new North Face Denali jacket.  Vote with your money, right?!

The store has tons of green technology, such as specially-designed Solatubes (which save major deniro and energy).  Also, using efficient, low-flow fixtures, the store uses 30% less water than federal code mandates.  70 percent of the store’s hot water is heated through solar energy.  REI Boulder is the first retail integration of Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV) and uses recycled, renewable, and low-VOC materials throughout.  Plus, as many responsible builders do, REI diverted 75% of construction waste from the local landfills by using it in other areas of the store or recycling it. 

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UMB Bank Colorado, Denver's Second Green Roof Building [Updated]

UMB Stapleton

UMB Bank Colorado, a chartered bank of UMB Financial Corporation (NASDAQ: UMBF), is getting ready to unveil their new “green” banking center at Stapleton, which opens to the public on Monday, October 1. The UMB Bank at Stapleton is Denver’s second building to incorporate a grass roof into the structural design. The banking center is located at 3515 Quebec Street in Quebec Square at Stapleton.  Speaking of the building’s green roof, Mariner Kemper, chairman and CEO of UMB Bank Colorado, said, “Amidst growing concerns over the health of the environment and the rising cost of natural resources, there is a national trend to develop ‘green’ buildings … green buildings are designed to reduce the impact on the environment by conserving resources such as water and energy while blending with the features of the natural landscape. Our new banking center in Stapleton further supports UMB’s commitment to a cleaner, safer, and sustainable environment.” 

NOTE: I wasn’t able to find an actual picture of the building, but I know we have some JG readers in Denver on the scene.  Feel free to email me live pictures if you have them (jetsongreen at yahoo dot com).

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Pirates Bay House, Partially Prefab + Green

Pirates Bay House

Many of you have probably seen this house by Stuart Tanner Architects, it was the Architectural Record House of the Month in July 2006.  But I just noticed it and want to post a few images.  It’s a small house of 1,184 sf located near Eaglehawk Neck on Tasmania’s Tasman Peninsula.  As you can see, it juts out into the air, blending the boundary between the wildlife and sea.  I’m sure the owners have witnessed the grandeur of nature at its best, being enveloped by the eucalypt forest and the sea.  Due to the location, the architect had the home partially prefabricated — framing was complete in two days.  The home also has many of the green features most homes should have, such as energy-saving lights, heating, and appliances.  It’s well-insulated throughout and designed to maximize cross ventilation.  And there’s an on-site waste management system, greywater recycling, and fresh water catchment and storage, too. 

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Coal + Climate Change, ASLA's Green Roof, Sprawl Costs, Nanotechnology, Greener Homes + LEED Criticism (WIR)

Week in Review
  • The highly respected Ed Mazria, founder of Architecture 2030, says, "The only fossil fuel that can fuel global warming is coal. If you stop coal, you stop global warming. End of story."
  • The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) reports on their green roof: it retained lots of water, reduced building energy costs, and lowered the outdoor air temperature.
  • Green Technology Forum report finds that nanotechnology can make green buildings more cost-effective, energy-efficient, and in tune with their environment. 
  • Greener homes mean much more than planting lots of trees.
  • Texas Traffic Institute study says traffic congestion is worse than last year and cost the nation over $78 billion, including the cost of lost time. 

BONUS: A Wave of LEED Critical News

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