Articles With "Development" Tag

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

Modus Development, Array: Modern + Solar + Green

Array Exterior

Modus Development is an innovative development group that works with infill sites in good locations to enhance the value of the land by improving the quality of life for those that live on it.  How do they do that?  With modern, cutting-edge, green designs.  Currently, Modus is working on a 9 townhouse project in Scottsdale, Arizona, called Array.  Each townhouse in Array will have a 2-kilowatt photovoltaic system provided by American Solar Electric.  The system is expected to generate about 28,800 kilowatt hours of electricity annually and offset roughly 30,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions.  In addition, Modus is building the project to LEED standards, which will make it the second LEED-certified project in the area.  According to Ed Gorman, President of Modus Development, "By adding the solar panels to the rooftops of every home, we create homes that are both architecturally unique and cost very little to operate."  Each 3-story townhome will have about 1,800 sf, with 2-bedrooms, a den/office/bedroom option, 2.5 bathrooms, and a detached 2-car garage. 

Good Links:
+Modus Development [developer]
+[merz] project [architect]
+Modus Offers Solar for Scottsdale Townhomes [Phx Biz Journal]

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David Hertz Designed LivingHome Makes 2007 Met Home Design 100 List

Dh1

This year’s Met Home Design 100 list has a ton of green projects and products and one of the magazine’s choices is the David Hertz LivingHome shown above.  Built from a unique, aluminum-based panelized system, the Hertz home is about 2,650 sf with four bedrooms + four bathrooms.  For ease of reference, I’m going to refer to this home as DH1 (see also RK1 and RK2), which I think works because in all likelihood, LivingHomes will feature more Hertz designs in the future.  DH1 features a green roof and a private balcony that can be accessed by three of the four bedrooms.  And like the other LivingHome prefab products, it will be LEED certified. 

At a price point of about $215 psf, I hear LivingHomes is looking for the right client to take the plunge on DH1.  What does it take?  (1) land in or near Los Angeles, (2) intent to build within the next six months, (3) a budget of about +$750,000, (4) interest in building a green home, and (5) tolerance and patience throughout the process. 

To me, this is a no-brainer.  If I were out of college and established in business, I’d plop down a million in a heartbeat just to get the DH1 built and use it as a vacation home (at a minimum).  I’d buy it for the joy of having one of the greenest prefabs in the country and I’d let all my friends stay in it.  Actually, I’d probably hire a management company to lease it out by the day, week, or month, so anyone in the world could test out the joys of living in a modern + green home.  I’d invite builders from all over the country to stay in it for free and showcase the green benefits.  I’d make green viral.  That’s what you can do with a great-looking, high-performance home like the DH1. 

Riverhouse, One Rockefeller Park = Greenest Residential Building on East Coast? [S2]

Riverhouse Riverhouse, or One Rockefeller Park, is slated to open in late 2007 in Manhattan, and the word on the street is that it could be one of the greenest, most stylish residential developments on the East Coast.  The developer, Sheldrake Organization, is planning on LEED Gold certification for the building.  To do that, Sheldrake has enlisted the help of Polshek Partnership Architects for the exterior design and Ismael Leyva Architects for the interior design.  In addition, the famous Rockwell Group is working on interior design for the one-, two-, and three-bedroom residences and other aspects of the building. 

Green Features:
Here’s a list of some of the things the developer will do:  use recycled wastewater for cooling the tower and landscaping; generate electricity from solar photovoltaic panels on the roof; draw in natural lighting without heat gain by using low-E, double-pane glass; use Energy Star appliances to save energy and Toto dual-flush toilets to save water; construct the building with about 20% recycled materials and recycle over 80% of the construction waste; and acquire over 40% of the building materials locally.

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Eco-Boutique Coming Soon: Hotel Terra, Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Hotel Terra Rendering

Starting in December 2007, Hotel Terra is going to add itself to an exclusive list of green hotels operating in the United States.  The Terra Resort Group (TRG) is developing this hotel for the market niche that desires luxury + sustainability.  The Jackson Hole offering, which is going to be LEED certified, will be the first of 12-15 eco-boutique resort hotels that TRG plans to build by 2015.  Hotel Terra is going to have every luxury one would need in a resort stay: spa + fitness center, ‘Terra Living Room’, rooftop hot tub, two restaurants, and a snowboard/ski rental shop.  Also, guest rooms will have a Bose speaker setup, flat screens, and free wireless.

Green Features:
As far as the LEED features are concerned, Hotel Terra is going to be decked out pretty good:  100% recycled "Eco Shake" roof shingles; low-VOC carpets, sealants, paints, adhesives, etc.; personalized, energy-efficient heating and cooling zones; radiant heating on the bottom level to minimize direct heat loss and energy use; air quality and moisture filtering technology; Energy Star windows with low-E coating; water saving features such as dual-flush toilets, low-flow water fixtures, waterless urinals, and native landscaping; rainwater capture and runoff mitigation technology; chemical free cleaning and laundry products used in the hotel operations; hotel design to maximize internal exposure to natural lighting; 80% recycled content steel in the building structure; 50% construction waste reused or recycled; wind power used for 35% of electricity purchased by Hotel; and heavy reliance on renewable or recycled building materials such as bamboo, crushed glass, and seatbelts. 

I’ve blogged about two other green hotel matters, Starwood’s 1 Hotel and Gaia Napa Valley Hotel.  I have a feeling that Hotel Terra is going to have a leg up, assuming the absence of another market shock-type event like 9/11, on the other groups that are thinking about leveraging a serious green hotel brand.  I’m also thinking I may have to take a quick jaunt up to Jackson Hole next December, since I’m going to be in SLC starting in May.  Nice. 

Hotel Terra Lobby Area

S2: LOT-EK Slanting Container Building – 87 Lafayette Tower

Perceptual_contrast_slant
Solar_slant

I’m not sure whether this is already in the works or whether this is just a proposal, but I thought it was creative and interesting enough to talk about.  From the pictures above, you’ll notice a few things.  Its slanting shape.  The protruding containers.  The juxtaposition of ultra-modern and historical landmark neighbors.  The developer of the NYC Chinatown project, Mr. Woo of Young Woo & Associates, was interested in LOT-EK‘s design and considered the use of large, metal shipping containers in residential construction "fascinating" and "environmentally friendly."  You’ll also notice from the renderings that the developer plans to have an array of solar panels on the roof. 

To make it work, the slant begins on the third floor of the south end and the six floor of the north end.  What that does is create some unusable square footage for the occupants on the south face (depending on the acuteness of the angle), with a pretty cool view for the occupant on the north face.  Those on the north slant will have the benefit of peering over the ledge without having to worry about falling in.  Also, I’d be interested in seeing a sun model of this to see how the building design takes on natural lighting for the occupants.  All in all, it’s cool to see innovative building designs.  Someone needs to push the entrepreneurial envelope, right?  Via Lloyd of Treehugger

Extra Links:
+LOT-EK Container Housing Coming to New York [Treehugger]
+Leaning Tower of 87 Lafayette Explodes Our Brains [Curbed]
+Slanted Tower Studied Next to Landmark Firehouse [CityRealty]
+New Tower on Lafayette Street? [Wired-NY]



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