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Crappy GHG Homes, Water-efficient Golf, Green Retail Centers + Wells Fargo's $1B in Green Lending (WIR)

Week in Review
  1. 88% of new homes are crappy, greenhouse gas spewing energy hogs – meaning they don’t meet the comparatively weak Energy Star standards. 
  2. Las Vegas golf courses are using better water-efficient landscaping to save over 1 billion gallons of water per year. 
  3. Regency Centers is teaming up with the USGBC to implement a pilot program aimed at developing green shopping centers across the country (this is badly needed). 
  4. Wells Fargo passes the $1 Billion mark in financing for LEED certified buildings with loans ranging from $10 to $225 million per project. 

07.07.2007 – Thoughts on Live Earth, John Mayer + David de Rothschild

Live Earth Global Warming Survival Handbook Unless you’re completely oblivious to what’s happening on Earth, you know there’s a world full of concerts going on.  Live Earth.  With some things, I like to exercise a modicum of skepticism to make sure I know my feelings on the issue.  I was slow to come around to Live Earth.  I mean, I love a good concert.  I’ve seen DMB in concert multiple times.  I respect many of these artists for their tireless contribution to musicality.  But, I popped open the Live Earth Global Warming Handbook and here’s Tip #45: Take a Bath Together.  How am I supposed to take this book seriously?  What is this, some silly excuse to get it on?  Well, I kept reading.  Tip #45 talked about low-flow toilets and a future world with water shortages.  Water heating can take up to 25% of a home’s energy use.  I decided I should change my attitude and bought the book.  To take the words of one of the greatest musicians (and I mean musicality when I say that), John Mayer:

To the journalists who will lay in wait for the perfectly maligned moment of hypocrisy, you will probably find one if that’s how you want to spend your time. Just use this as a measuring stick; give Live Earth’s initiative at least as much benefit of the doubt as you’ve given to the iPhone, or a new Radiohead album…Sure, if I wanted to be cynical, I could pose the question as to what happens if the biggest concert on Earth takes place only to hear the world respond with a resounding "that’s nice, but have you seen the cat that plays piano on YouTube?" But all I feel going into Saturday afternoon is hope. And lots of it.

Point well taken.  I’m watching Live Earth highlights of what looks like Foo Fighters, Smashing Pumpkins, Ludacris, Jack Johnson, and maybe the Pussycat Dolls?  I’m also thinking this event should raise the world’s awareness of the low hanging environmental fruit.  Plastic bags, CFLs, Junk Mail, etc.  I’ve spent the last 2-3 hours reading through David de Rothschild’s Global Warming Handbook and there’s some good leads here.  Here’s some content relevant to the scope of Jetson Green,

Good Links:
++The 10 Easiest Ways to Green Your Home [MSN RE]
++Re-Thinking Energy in Homes [Live Earth Green]
++Green Construction Saves Money and Earth [MSNBC]

Smart Growth, Valuable Green Ideas, Energy Efficiency Investments + Affordable Green Developments (WIR)

Week in Review
  1. Boston suburbs urged to adhere to smart growth principles or face the loss of open space and dwindling water resources. 
  2. There’s money to be made in green ideas; the business landscaped has changed from risk management to chasing revenue growth opportunities. 
  3. Businesses are investing in energy efficient measures for the main purpose of decreasing rising energy costs. 
  4. Enterprise Green Communities continues support for green buildings by handing out four grants of $70,000 to Los Angeles-based affordable housing developers. 

The Greenest Home in San Francisco – Clipper House by LORAX Development

The Greenest Home in San Francisco - The Clipper House

I read an excellent article about San Francisco’s Clipper House by LORAX Development in Solar Today magazine and wanted to share some info about it.  The Clipper House has become a showcase for residential sustainable features, basically showing off everything but the financial case for green building.  The 2,600 sf home was designed by John Maniscalco/Architecture, Inc., and was completed in the summer of 2006.  For a cool $1.9 M, you could probably purchase this incredible home–often referred to as the Greenest Home in San Francisco. 

If you do, here’s what you’re going to get:  1.7 kw DC photovoltaic array with BP Solar panels installed by SolarCity (total cost $16,700, net AR $11,543); 64 sf of solar thermal glazed collectors by Heliodyne ($6,750); warmboard radiant heating system using PEX tubing ($50,000); rainwater-catchment system by Wonderwater Inc. ($25,000); hemp carpets colored with vegetable dyes; low-VOC paints and caulks throughout; energy-efficient windows and doors; hardwood floors made from 100-yr-old TerraMai railroad ties from Southeast Asia; FSC-certified kitchen cabinets; Richlite kitchen counters made from recycled paper products; recycled blue jean insulation by Bonded Logic; 50-year warranty James Hardie fiber-cement siding made partially with fly ash; and recycled plastic and wood Trex composite decking.  The Clipper House certainly prioritizes energy-efficiency, properly sourced sustainable materials, and indoor air quality.  Real nice. 

Good Links:
++Pushing Boundaries, Advancing a Market [Solar Today]
++520 Clipper in Noe Valley: Smart, Green, Luxe [LORAX - PDF]
++Clipper Street Green Home Facts & Images [LORAX]

Armstrong's HQ Receives LEED-EB Platinum Award

Armstrong HQ

[Video: 4:25 min.Armstrong World Industries, Inc. (NYSE: AWI) is based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and operates in the business of designing and manufacturing floors, ceilings, and cabinets.  Their current headquarters was built in 1998 and is now part of an elite group of buildings to obtain the LEED Platinum certification for existing buildings.  Feel free to click the above link to see video of Armstrong’s HQ building.  The 3-story building is a glass and steel structure that has workspaces for about 235 employees.  Here are a few things they did to take the green plunge:

  • 60% of the building’s waste is recycled;
  • Building water use was reduced to 420,000 gallons (from 800,000 gallons);
  • Less than 1.5 watts/sf of energy is used, which is 1/2 the national average for comparable properties;
  • 75% of the building’s power is supplied by wind energy; and
  • Green Seal-certified cleaning products are used throughout the building. 

Now the question is:  if you own your headquarters, have you looked into LEED-EB certification through the USGBC?  We’ve seen Adobe & Owens Corning do it.  Now we have Armstrong.  Who’s next?

Good Links:
++Armstrong LEED-EB Facts & Information Page
++Armstrong Headquarters Receives LEED-EB Platinum Certification [PR]

Thoughts on The Clean Tech Revolution (Updated)

Thecleantechrevolution So I received from HarperCollins a copy of Ron Pernick + Clint Wilder’s latest book called The Clean Tech Revolution.  I’m a big enthusiast of renewable technology because it has the potential to change the world of real estate and green living.  Preliminarily, let me say that this book is an incredible read.  Seriously.  It’s smart and approachable.  To get an idea of the breadth of the book, here are the chapter subjects:  solar energy, wind power, biofuels and biomaterials, green buildings, personal transportation, smart grid, mobile technologies, water filtration, creating your own Silicon Valley, and clean-tech marketing.  And the book is geared towards individuals, investors, corporations, and governments alike. 

The authors are Clean Edge guys and they know what they’re talking about.  The research put into each topic is unbelievably thorough.  The Clean Tech Revolution is not some chump book by someone that just recently jumped on the green bandwagon (not that there’s anything wrong with that).  The authors talk about the tipping point of green brought about by six C’s–cost, capital, competition, China, consumers, and climate.  These six things have come together to make clean tech something of a revolution that will occur over the next 20, 30, 40 years plus.  It’s pretty exciting.  In each of the chapter categories mentioned above, the authors identify several companies to watch.  For instance, the authors say we should keep an eye on the following companies in the ‘green building’ chapter:  Aspen Aerogels, Clarum Homes, Cree, The Durst Organization, Interface Engineering, Ortech, PanaHome, Rinnai, Turner Construction, Wal-Mart Stores

Update:BusinessWeek published an extensive review over the weekend saying, in part: "But what sets Pernick and Wilder’s book apart is its focus on the business benefits of going green, from money saved by building eco-friendly corporate headquarters and lowering heating and cooling bills, to money earned by startups committed to creating clean technologies. Other books, magazines, and Web sites tend to include clean-tech and green business within a spectrum of other lifestyle, political, environmental, or design topics."

I’m not going to give away too much, but I’m really impressed with this book.  Actually, I’ve got two people in mind that I want to pass a copy to, and they’re not getting mine. 

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