- Wired to Sell – Smart-home technology is becoming increasingly available with a variety of conservation and convenience features.
- Why Big Houses? The average, new American home is 2,400 sf; experts weigh in on America’s fascination with bigger is better.
- Wind Energy White Paper "In Defense of Wind," by Dallas attorney Trey Cox outlines concerns about wind energy industry’s rapid and unregulated growth.
- Peddling Smart Growth – call your project "smart" – even when it isn’t – and get millions in public funds.
This is a pretty huge announcement. The financial case for green building is so compelling that we occasionally see companies making the green change cold turkey saying, "Everything from now on will be green." That’s what Wachovia is doing. First comes news that Wachovia will take space in the Charlotte, N.C, green tower designed by TVS architects. Now, we have an announcement that starting in 2008, all bank branch construction will be according to LEED specifications. With major expansions expected in California and Texas, we’re talking about 300 green bank centers. Here’s the incredible part. Wachovia has determined that each green building will save the company about $80,000 in construction costs and 20% in operating costs, when compared to a traditionally constructed branch. Additionally, when leasing new space in the future, Wachovia has committed to take on space certified under the LEED for Commercial Interiors program. The company is currently studying ways to retrofit existing branches in a green way.
In addition to using about 20% less energy and 25% less water, these healthier buildings should increase worker productivity and have better indoor air quality. Wachovia plans to roll out its recycling program for paper, plastics, aluminum, and glass. Also, branches will feature preferred parking for low-emitting vehicles. Move Hummer, get out the way. Via.
- North America sees the installation of +3M square feet of new green roofs in 2006– an increase of 25% over 2005.
- 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.
- Troubled Waters: drought, pollution, mismanagement and politics have made water a precious commodity in much of the world.
- New proposed green building standard (Standard 189P) nears completion and is now open for public comment.
"It’s better to be ahead of the ‘green’ curve than to play catch-up. A proactive program to modify your development methods clearly represents an opportunity to increase competitive advantage in civic development projects. This is the case for Federal Realty where Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified buildings and other environmentally based requirements are mandated by a number of jurisdictions in charge of civic projects."
–Donald Wood, President & CEO
Federal Realty Investment Trust
Real Estate Portfolio, May/June 2007
I’m not sure if this concept will make it into practice, but I like the idea. We have zoos right? Why not create a botanical visitor’s attraction of the tropical rain forest? That’s the concept that Grimshaw Architects created and was rewarded with a 2007 MIPIM/AR Future Project Award in the Sustainability category. Generally, here’s how it works: the enclosed greenhouse will create a tropical zone, a rain forest of sorts, housing both plant and animal life that people can walk through and study. The goal of this man-made rain forest is to mimic the ecosystems from tropical regions of the world. It will have 50 meter high gabion walls around the enclosure that contain composting tubes for heat generation during periods when the passive solar gain isn’t enough to sustain the tropical environment. The idea is to harness the energy created by the decomposing biodegradable matter and re-create a tropical rain forest. Grimshaw hopes that by doing so, the Rainforest will have the potential to grow fruits and vegetables with vastly reduced food miles.
Transporting goods has a carbon cost associated with it, so people want to buy locally. But climate can vary dramatically from one place to another making it tough to get some things locally…that is, unless you can recreate the climate of another area. Think: oranges in Canada. To a small extent, this is what happens with a greenhouse. Here, however, you are creating a greenhouse on a grand scale, one that is carbon neutral and cyclical. It’s a good idea.