There's an excellent interview by CNN with Ken Yeang, principle of the UK firm Llweleyn Davis Yeang. Almost a year ago, I wrote about Yeang's fascinating Menara Mesiniaga building, and that article has been a popular one in terms of visitors. Yeang is an ecological, architectural visionary designing in a way that blurs the boundary between the natural and human-built environments. With eco-logical design, the goal is to build a structure with no pollution or waste. And we're getting there, too. To quote Yeang, "we'll see green buildings long before 2020 — I think the movement is intensifying. Within the next 5-10 years we'll see a lot more green buildings being built. Not just buildings but green cities, green environment, green master plans, green products, green lifestyles, green transportation. I'm very optimistic." The green buildings pictured in this post are only a fraction of those designed by Ken Yeang. If you're looking for more information, feel free to pick up his latest book: ECODESIGN: A Manual for Ecological Design.
I was excited to receive a copy of The Green Book in the mail from Crown Publishing the other day. Actually, my wife took it over before me, so I had to wait for her to finish. I’ve been interested in reading it ever since I saw that Will Ferrell had a part in there about his electric car. I wasn’t disappointed either. This book is excellent. The celebrity asides really make the book shine I think. I can just hear them talking as I’m reading it. I’ve taken the liberty of including Owen Wilson’s commentary below–it’s a little long, but the guy just kills me. He’s so casual and chilled out, it’s hard not to appreciate what he’s saying. I mean, he’s absolutely dead on. Go get a copy at the Jetson Green Sustainability Store, inside you’ll find tons of discourse on the small and big things we can do (with research references if you have more questions).
"I started driving a Prius a few years ago, and I was surprised to find myself a little defensive about it. ‘You know, aside from the whole environmental thing," I’d say, almost dismissively, "it’s actually a pretty cool car to drive.’ It was like I was halfway apologetic because I didn’t want to be aligned with any group, or movement. Sort of like, ‘Hey, just because I’m driving a hybrid doesn’t mean I’m turning into Ed Begley Jr.’ But you know people say marijuana is a gateway drug? That’s sorta what buying a Prius was for me…in terms of becoming environmentally sensitive. Because before too long, I stopped wondering if driving it made me some kind of a preachy do-gooder and I actually started looking for other ways to ‘go green."
Unless you’re completely oblivious to what’s happening on Earth, you know there’s a world full of concerts going on. Live Earth. With some things, I like to exercise a modicum of skepticism to make sure I know my feelings on the issue. I was slow to come around to Live Earth. I mean, I love a good concert. I’ve seen DMB in concert multiple times. I respect many of these artists for their tireless contribution to musicality. But, I popped open the Live Earth Global Warming Handbook and here’s Tip #45: Take a Bath Together. How am I supposed to take this book seriously? What is this, some silly excuse to get it on? Well, I kept reading. Tip #45 talked about low-flow toilets and a future world with water shortages. Water heating can take up to 25% of a home’s energy use. I decided I should change my attitude and bought the book. To take the words of one of the greatest musicians (and I mean musicality when I say that), John Mayer:
To the journalists who will lay in wait for the perfectly maligned moment of hypocrisy, you will probably find one if that’s how you want to spend your time. Just use this as a measuring stick; give Live Earth’s initiative at least as much benefit of the doubt as you’ve given to the iPhone, or a new Radiohead album…Sure, if I wanted to be cynical, I could pose the question as to what happens if the biggest concert on Earth takes place only to hear the world respond with a resounding "that’s nice, but have you seen the cat that plays piano on YouTube?" But all I feel going into Saturday afternoon is hope. And lots of it.
Point well taken. I’m watching Live Earth highlights of what looks like Foo Fighters, Smashing Pumpkins, Ludacris, Jack Johnson, and maybe the Pussycat Dolls? I’m also thinking this event should raise the world’s awareness of the low hanging environmental fruit. Plastic bags, CFLs, Junk Mail, etc. I’ve spent the last 2-3 hours reading through David de Rothschild’s Global Warming Handbook and there’s some good leads here. Here’s some content relevant to the scope of Jetson Green,
If you ask what you are going to do about global warming, the only rational answer is to change the way in which we do transportation, energy production, agriculture and a good deal of manufacturing. The problem originates in human activity in the form of the production of goods…The Chinese like to say, ‘Crisis means change.’ It means you can get things done. Unfortunately, I think that most of the ‘greening’ that we see so much of now has failed to look back on arguments such as my own — that action has to be taken on what’s produced and how it’s produced. That’s unfortunate, but I’m an eternal optimist, and I think eventually people will come around (color added).
The Paul Revere of the Environmental Movement
"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
Lately, Ray Kappe has been getting a lot of attention for his residences designed for LivingHomes, the Steve Glenn prefab company. Kappe’s first home has been featured all over the place for achieving the highest LEED certification possible, the Platinum rating. I think his work is incredible, so I was studying his stuff when I came across this list of his, "the ten most important principles that helped make me a successful architect, planner, and educator." In the interests of learning from those that are remarkable examples of continuing achievement, I thought I would be good to share his list with the JG readers. Any thoughts?
- Think positively, not negatively.
- Accept structure but know that it is to be questioned and broken when necessary.
- Always be willing to explore, experiment and invent. Do not accept the status quo.
- Know yourself and keep your work consistent with who you are and how you think.
- Maintain good moral and social values.
- Be humble, honest, compassionate, and egalitarian.
- Have conviction about your work.
- Be open and say yes to most ideas and requests. The good ones will be valuable, the bad ones will cease to exist.
- Allow employees and fellow workers freedom and the ability to work to their strengths. Avoid hierarchy.
- Money should be the residual of work, not the goal. But do not compromise your worth.