- Duke Energy Donates $80,000 to The Nature Conservancy for Shareholders Choosing Paperless Delivery of Annual Report
- S. California "Green Schools" Light Bulb Exchange Program Enables Students to Reduce their Families’ Home Energy Bills
- The U.S. Supreme Court Ruled 5-4 that the EPA violated the Clean Air Act by Declining to Regulate New-Vehicle Emissions Standards to Control the Pollutants that Contribute to Global Warming.
I’m asking because if you have an Ikea, you may be one of the next cities to have their prefab home product. Maybe in 5, 10, 15 years, but it looks possible. Over the past decade, Ikea has teamed up with Swedish construction company Skanska to build a home that was light, well-planned, functional, and furnished with natural materials. That home, the BoKlok, which is Swedish for "smart living," has become Ikea’s big idea. After building about 3,500 BoKlok homes across Scandinavia, Ikea has decided to expand and create a British BoKlok development with about 36 flats in St. James Village, Gateshead (UK). After that, they’ll add another 60 homes.
BoKlok Homes are timber-framed, almost entirely pre-fabricated, and brought onto the site in pre-assembled units on the back of a truck. After transport, put on the roof + siding, install the plumbing + wiring, and that’s about it. BoKloks usually come in a two-floor, L-shaped configuration with three apartments on each floor. Early on, Ikea sold the BloKlok from the store, but they were so popular that people were camping out to get them. Now, Ikea chooses residents using a random lottery. Yes, I just wrote that. Demand is so big, there’s a lottery to choose residents. I can’t believe this, but it goes to show that there really is a problem with the lower portion of the economic pyramid being served with quality products.
Maybe I’ll get around to converting these figures, but for now, I’ll give you the original metrics so the data is accurate. The houses planned for Gateshead cost about £120,000 – £150,000. Ikea priced the units specifically to target households earning roughly £15,000 – £30,000 a year, and they’re excited to have a modern, environmentally-friendly, affordable living space. One bedroom flats are about 46 square meters and two bedroom flats are 58 square meters. Residents are expected to move in towards the end of 2007 or in early 2008. I wonder when we’ll see these in the U.S.? See also Guardian.
- Study Shows Green Homeowners Are Happier With Their Homes and Recommending Them; Cost Savings are a Top Motivating Factor for Buying Green.
- CarMax Receives LEED Silver Certification and Becomes First Company in Virginia to Construct a LEED Building for Corporate Headquarters.
- Seth Godin on the No Impact Man; Zero is the New Black.
[Run time = 26 min.] I’ve posted about LivingHomes here, here, and here. Well, Steve Glenn is the company’s CEO and Founder and he has some interesting things to say. If you’re still unsure about his green cred, he built the first LEED Platinum home in the United States (with the design help of Ray Kappe). Enjoy…
- Bank of America Announces $20 Billion Environmental Initiative – BofA announced a $20 billion initiative to support the growth of environmentally sustainable business activity to address global climate change. Bank of America’s ten-year initiative encourages development of environmentally sustainable business practices through lending, investing, philanthropy and the creation of new products and services.
- Residential Green Building Slow to Gain Momentum – The major homebuilders, who account for 80 percent of all homebuilding activity in the nation, face a unique challenge in implementing green building on a widespread scale. Many have added energy-saving features and experimented with environmentally friendly materials but have not yet been able to sign on a critical mass of buyers willing to pay more for them.
- Easy, Eco-friendly Ways to Put Those 21 Extra Hours of Evening Daylight to Good Use This Spring – Tomorrow, the entire nation will spring forward three weeks early, gaining an extra 21 hours of evening daylight. Since energy conservation is the driving force for the early time change, Lowe’s is encouraging homeowners to utilize these hours wisely with some simple, green projects that would make Mother Nature smile.
Don’t forget to spring forward tonight.
Fellow green building blogger Stephen at GreenBuildingsNYC had an editorial published called "The Greening of Buildings: Babylon Town’s adoption of an environmentally friendly building code has virtues, but could scare off potential development." Stephen talks about Town of Babylon’s adoption of a LEED Code (likely the nation’s strictest) requiring commercial, industrial, office, and multiple residential buildings larger than 4,000 sf to get LEED certification. I recommend giving the article a read, but I wanted to highlight a few salient points that he made:
- LEED ordinances that require an actual USGBC certificate face opposition from interested parties because (1) depending on the size of the project, owners will need to pay a minimum of $35,000 per project just to secure certification (unless Platinum certified), and (2) there is a potential for delay in process of evaluating applications.
- LEED ordinances that "automatically adopt any future versions promulgated" could be problematic. By doing this, a town has effectively handed the keys to its local building code to a third party. The building code can be subject to modification any time.
- An effective means of encouraging green building practices is through the use of financial incentives such as floor-area bonuses under the existing zoning, expedited review of building permits, and various tax credits and rebates.
Good food for thought. These are just a few points from the article. It’s important to remember that LEED is a means to sustainability, it’s not the end, by any stretch of the imagination. Nice work, Stephen.