[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.
There’s a reason GreenBuild 2007, the green building industry’s major conference and expo, is going to be in Chicago. The city is just busting at the seams with progressive thinkers and eco-entrepreneurs. Recently, I noticed a news report about Baum Development rehabbing the old Cooper Lamp Factory in Logan Square into a one-stop, live-work, shopping center of green businesses and activities. It’s going to be called the Green Exchange. The four-story, 250,000 square foot building, located at 2545 West Diversey Avenue, will be renovated to LEED Silver standards with a variety of uses including retail, showroom galleries, office, and incubator lofts.
The Baum Development team is planning on some aggressive green renovations. The parking spaces will have electrical outlets for hybrid cars, but that’s not all: hybrids have priority parking privileges. There will be a 9.000 square foot sky garden, solar panels on the roof, and a roof garden. A rainwater cistern will collect water for the gardens and landscaping. Some other green features include the high-efficiency HVAC system, eco-friendly paints and stains, bike room and showers, car sharing services, and energy-efficient doors and windows. In total, Baum will spend about $30 million outfitting the old facility with the latest and greatest in green building technologies.
PVC Debacle, Green Affordable Housing, Home Depot + Green Roofs, + Corporate Environmentalists (WIR)
- Hugging the Tree-huggers: Environmentalists at the Corporate Table – BusinessWeek article on why so many companies are suddenly linking up with eco-groups. Hint: Smart business.
- Enterprise Encourages Legislation to ‘Green’ Affordable Housing – Enterprise joins Congressmen Adam Smith (D-WA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), John Lewis (D-GA) and Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD) in support of legislation to "green" affordable housing by promoting energy efficiency, resource conservation and sustainable development in low-income communities across the country.
- The Home Depot Foundation Awards $300,000 Grant to Further Support Green Roof Development – Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC) and Earth Pledge (EP) are pleased to announce the receipt of a $300,000 grant from The Home Depot Foundation to support their combined efforts to advance the green roof industry in three key cities: Minneapolis, Atlanta, and Los Angeles.
- USGBC’s Technical and Scientific Advisory Committee Issues Final Report on PVC – The Technical and Scientific Advisory Committee (TSAC) of the USGBC issued its final report to USGBC’s LEED Steering Committee (LSC) on the technical and scientific basis for a PVC-related credit within the LEED® Green Building Rating System™. The report raises broader questions; LEED Steering Committee to decide next steps, policy agenda, and potential actions.
The existence of this struggle between PVC supporters and the USGBC suggests that PVC is not so green. If you lobby hard enough, throw enough money at the cause, and wear enough people down, you can win in our day and age. Generally speaking, people don’t stand up for what is right because doing so would require taking a visible position. Taking a position requires persistence, diligence, ethics, and uncompromising, unwaivering fortitude. So I ask, Mr. USGBC… do you have what it takes? I hope you can swim upstream on this one or your existence will be completely and utterly futile. If you can’t decide what’s green and what’s not, there is no need to certify buildings according to your ‘green’ standards. imho.
Since GreenBuild 2007 will be in Chicago, I wanted to showcase one the many green buildings in Chicago. In 2005, 111 South Wacker in Chicago, Illinois, received an AIA Design Excellence Award and LEED-CS Gold certification for it’s sustainability achievements. Designed by Goettsch Partners, the 53-story tower is an incredibly handsome skyscraper. The transparent base of the tower is particularly interesting with those seemingly dinky pillars holding up the entirety of the building.