- Why is new housing so big and lousy? Why do builders build these homes?
- Despite unwavering focus by the media, government and business, "going green" is only of moderate concern to most consumers, according to a recent research study.
- There is a reason why homes rot (hint: it has to do with much more than age).
- Shades of Green – with more large companies going green, the entire industry is under scrutiny.
It looks like Best Buy is upping its green cred with the recent announcement that starting in early- to mid-2008, all future Best Buy stores will be built to LEED standards. In all honesty, the retail sector has been kind of slow to adopt programs such as LEED. But this is starting to change. Best Buy has the in-house architect and senior facilities manager working on getting LEED accredited right now. Additionally, the company plans to get its eco-prototype store certified by the end of the year. The eco-prototype will have energy-efficient lighting, rainwater recycling, recycled content building materials, a high-efficiency HVAC system, and some sort of day lighting system.
Best Buy’s greening will go beyond the new stores also. Before the end of the fiscal year, it plans to increase its use of reusable containers by 30 percent; retrofit 20 percent of its 650+ stores with dimmable, zonable ceramic metal halide lights; and recycle 75,000 tons of cardboard, 1,800 tons of plastic, 15,000 tons of consumer electronics, and 27,500 tons of appliances. Via MBJ.
Overture Development Group has what I think is the best designed website for a real estate group that I’ve ever seen. It’s incredible looking. They’re 100% confident that green buildings are the future of real estate, too. Financial benefits? Check. Occupancy benefits? Check. Marketing and messaging appeal? Check. Good for the environment? Check. The Conservatory is in the final stages of receiving permitting approval from Osceola County, and once that’s squared away, we’re looking at completion in mid-2008 or so. When finished, The Conservatory at Celebration Place will have 178,000 sf of Class A+ office condominium space spread through six floors. And from the renderings, it looks like there will be a healthy dose of green roofing and solar panels, too.
Nanosolar wants to create paper-thin, flexible solar panels that can be made at 1/3 the cost of heavy, silicon-made solar panels. It’s important to keep an eye on tech like this because Nanosolar is currently building the largest solar panel manufacturing plant in the U.S. If successful, this stuff is going to be on every building and structure starting in 2008. It’s going to change the way the game is played in a major way.
To give you an idea of how compelling, how enormous this is, check this: the Google founders are investing in Nanosolar, an IBM manufacturing executive just joined Nanosolar, and the U.S. Department of Energy just awarded them $20 million.
Eco-Cities, 1 Hotel & Residences, Consumer Perception of Green Business + Variety in Green Homes (WIR)
- Eco-cities, centers that showcase the cutting-edge of land use and urban planning, are being planned for the UK and China but do they have what it takes to solve environmental challenges?
- Atlanta’s The Streets of Buckhead will be one of the first cities in the southeast to gain a luxury, eco-friendly hotel in the new Starwood Capital Group brand, 1 Hotel & Residences.
- An increasing number of businesses are making a commitment to the environment, but it seems that consumer perception of "going green" businesses could be mixed.
- The Tale of Two Green Homes – one is efficient and thrifty, and the other is stylish and opulent. They both help the environment, right?
The following post may seem a little esoteric, if not absolutely dry, but don’t be intimidated. Bear with me a second as the idea opens up towards the end of this article. Every year, roughly 1.89 billion tons of cement (the main component of concrete) are manufactured. Cement accounts for about 7-8% of all human-generated CO2 emissions (a main ingredient in the recipe for climate change). Here’s what happens: cement is made by burning fossil fuels to heat a limestone and clay powder to 1500 °C. Then, the resulting cement powder is mixed with water and gravel and the invested energy in the powder is released into chemical bonds that form calcium silicate hydrates. Those calcium silicate hydrates bind the gravel to create concrete.
So, the idea goes, human bone could show us how to manufacture concrete with less CO2 emissions. Human bone achieves a similar packing density to concrete at the nanoscale, but with human bone, this packing density is achieved at body temperature with no extra release of CO2. Stated otherwise, bone strength is achieved naturally without having to heat powder at a high temperature, and thus, without the CO2 release. The problem is, however, the hardening of apatite minerals in the bone takes a long time. Say, a month or more.