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Green Roofs Increase 25%, Home Depot's $100M Plan, Troubled Water Supplies, + Standard 189P (WIR)

Week in Review
  1. North America sees the installation of +3M square feet of new green roofs in 2006– an increase of 25% over 2005. 
  2. Home Depot launches $100M plan to support the development of 100,000 affordable, healthy homes, and the planting/preservation of more than 3 million trees over the next decade. 
  3. Troubled Waters: drought, pollution, mismanagement and politics have made water a precious commodity in much of the world.
  4. New proposed green building standard (Standard 189P) nears completion and is now open for public comment. 

Masdar City: Zero Carbon, Zero Waste

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Foster + Partners has created a master plan for a massive and bold 6 million square meter sustainable development near Abu Dhabi called Masdar.  Driven by the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, Masdar will be a zero carbon, zero waste community, one that will be entirely car free. 

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Top 10 Problems with Sprawl

Sprawl

At some point over the past year, the American population surpassed 300 million, and if we continue as expected, we’re going to have another 92 million people over the next 34 years.  That’s a lot of people and they’ll need places to live.  Over that period of time, it’s real important that we get planning right.  The problem is, however, planning decisions are made by thousands of different people with thousands of conflicting interests.  The gist, though, is that sprawl isn’t green.  Here are ten good reasons to back that up. 

  1. Sprawl development contributes to a loss of support for public facilities and public amenities.
  2. Sprawl undermines effective maintenance of existing infrastructure. 
  3. Sprawl increases societal costs for transportation.
  4. Sprawl consumes more resources than other development patterns. 
  5. Sprawl separates urban poor people from jobs. 
  6. Sprawl imposes a tax on time.
  7. Sprawl degrades water and air quality. 
  8. Sprawl results in the permanent alteration and destruction of habitats. 
  9. Sprawl creates difficulty in maintaining community.
  10. Sprawl offers the promise of choice while only delivering more of the same. 

I’m a child of sprawl.  I’ve seen the effects of it.  I’ve personally experienced #3, #4, #6, #9, and #10.  Every smart person in this country needs to realize the effect of various policy and regulatory decisions and find a way to dig out of the mess we’re in.  If not, sprawl will continue to hamper us more and more in the future. 

Is there a silver bullet to fixing the problem?  That’s tough.  There is a temporary solution for some people:  live near your work, church, and family.  It will make your life more abundant when the places you go are close.  Just find a way to live near the places you frequently go. 

This list was created by James M. McElfish, Jr., Director, Sustainable Use of Land Program, Environmental Law Institute

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
 

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