There’s a new online video show hosted by Alex Pettitt called Mainstream Green. Their videos are high-quality and super informative. Sometimes, it helps to see how things work, so I love to show video as often as possible. The video above is on recycling and deconstruction. The deconstruction guy says the cost of on-site deconstruction is comparable to waste removal. That’s a good. Generally, people are self-interested and when it becomes profitable to do the right thing, more and more people will start doing the right thing. Makes sense doesn’t it?
At West Coast Green in San Francisco last week, U.S. EPA Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response Assistant Administrator Susan Bodine announced winners of the first inaugural Lifecycle Building Challenge competition. Winners were recognized for their cutting-edge green building ideas that aim to reduce environmental and energy impacts of buildings. Ideas from the design contest will jumpstart the building industry to help reuse more of the 100 million tons of building-related construction and demolition debris sent each year to landfills in the U.S. The winners are listed below:
- Sustainability by Design, Professional Unbuilt, People’s Choice Award
- Pavilion in the Park, Professional Built, Buildings
- GreenMobile, Professional Unbuilt, Buildings
- groHome, Student, Buildings
- Demountable Tape, Profesional Built, Components
- Deconstructable & Reusable Composite Slab, Professional Unbuilt, Components
- Guidelines for Building with Reusable Materials, Student, Components
- ATHENA Assembly Evaluation Tool, Professional Built, Services
- Deconstruction Engineer, Student, Services
Congratulations to all the winners, honorable mentions, and participants.
Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of discussing the phenomenon of container housing with David Cross, Chief Business Development Officer for SG Blocks LLC. SG Blocks, short for Safe and Green, is a sustainable building system made from containers. Going beyond the trendy fascination with exposed container architecture design–modern, industrial, and extremely good looking, in my opinion, SG Blocks intends to use containers as a fundamental component to building construction. A container home doesn’t necessarily have to look like a container home (that’s up to you), but it can have all the same advantages: comfortable, strong, green, and affordable.
The home you see above is an example of container modules being used on a traditional home as a framing system. From the outside or inside, you’re not going to know that it was built with container modules. The cost of framing a home built with SG Blocks is about $22-30 psf, which is roughly comparable to other forms of construction. BUT did you know that recycling containers into steel beams takes nearly 8,000 kW of energy at a cost of roughly $800? Rather, it takes about 400 kW of energy to turn containers into a home. At about 5% of the energy when compared to straight recycling, that’s not bad. And right now, SG Blocks is in the process of rolling out their building system nationally.
I really like Haworth. In short, Haworth is a leader in office furniture and architectural interiors. They do everything with a commitment to appealing aesthetics, thoughtful ergonomics, and sustainability. I came in contact with some Haworth employees when I was finishing my JD/MBA program in Dallas, and they gave me a personal tour of the super-stylish Dallas showroom (a commercial interiors office display built to LEED-CI Gold standards). Now, Haworth is working on a major, award-winning overhaul of their Holland, Michigan Headquarters. The 300,000 sf renovation was designed to meet LEED-NC Gold standards; some of the building’s green features include the following:
- The new facade will have a sun-filled atrium and vegetated green roof, blending the boundary between the structure and natural environment;
- All of the interior 830 workstations will have access to daylight views;
- Over 99% of the existing materials collected during deconstruction and recovery are being recycled; and
- Although the footprint of the building will increase by 20%, energy use will remain at pre-renovation levels due to sustainability improvements.
Of the green headquarters, Haworth Chairman Dick Haworth said, "The new Haworth Center will be a leading example of change. We’re not just building a better building … we’re building a better future."
Quality modern, green projects just keep coming and there’s no stopping them. Here’s a project called 12.5 Condos. Why 12.5? Well, there’s going to be twelve 3-story townhouse condominiums and one 2-story condominium. Designed by Holst Architecture and built by Portland green builder Barrs & Genauer Construction, 12.5 will be located in the MLK corridor. With construction expected to finish by the end of this year, 12.5 is going to be an awesome example of green construction. At least 90% of construction debris will be recycled. Materials will include FSC-certified wood, recycled content site and structural metals, low-VOC non-toxic products, and fly ash concrete. Appliances will be Energy Star certified, toilets will be dual-flush, and the HVAC system will be ultra-efficient. Count on the skylights to usher in natural light, and everything will be super clean and linear. Extremely sustainable and extremely good looking. Look for these condos at the corner of NE Knott Street and NE 7th Avenue in Portland, Oregon. Prices starting from $295k and $375k.
Vanessa Rae, excellent host of the Pulse Videocast, takes us through this video of green builder Blake Holden as he turns a dilapidated Brooklyn brownstone into a vintage green home. While reclaimed wood and materials preserve the look and feel of a classic brownstone, energy–saving features like blue jeans insulation and radiant heating minimize the home’s carbon footprint. Natural building materials prevent toxic indoor air pollution.