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Green Your Business, Lifecycle of a Green Product, Energy-Efficient Dwellings, + James Lovelock (WIR)

Week in Review

Second-Look, Recycled Vinyl Wallcoverings

Secondlook

Watch out!  Second-Look is a new product that has the potential to make a splash.  I’m still trying to decide how I feel about it, but Buildings Magazine gave it a Grand Prize Product Innovation Award in the Environmental Solutions category.  Second-look invested 2 years in R&D to create the first recycling program for vinyl wallcoverings.  The company wants your used vinyl wallcoverings and they’ll take old product from any manufacturer.  Using old vinyl, they’ve developed three new collections of wallcoverings – Versa, Cirqa, and Plexus – all made of 20-percent recycled vinyl content, including 10-percent post-consumer recycled content.  The low-VOC wallcovering produces fewer emissions than paint, uses water-based inks, incorporates a mildew-inhibiting agent, and can be micro-vented for additional breathability.  Plus, Second-Look can be used for LEED points.  Anyone have thoughts?

Varia by 3form, a Diverse and Unique Product

Woven

Varia is produced by 3form, a great company to look into for many of your green interior design needs.  They produce a wide range of materials and for each of those materials, such as Varia, the application potential is practically endless.  If you can dream it, you can probably make it happen with one of their products.  Varia, or Ecoresin as it’s also called, is made of 40% post-industrial re-grind content and is GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certified, making it a good option for LEED credits.  This is the most diverse product in terms of color, pattern, texture, and application options that I have found on the green market. 

There are, by the way, over 210 color, pattern, and texture options.  On top of that, there are additional finish options such as patent or patina.   Patterns include jacquard prints and hand-dyed capiz shells and glass suspended between layers of Ecoresin.  My favorite is the Organics collection with options that include bamboo patterns, leaves, grass and even rocks, some of which actually contain those materials with the layers.  Varia also comes in a variety of thicknesses which allows it to be even more versatile.  Possible uses for this material include backsplashes, countertops, wall coverings, flooring, cabinet doors, ceiling panels, door panels, and canopies.

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Technische Universität Darmstadt Takes First Place at Solar Decathlon 2007

Solar Decathlon Winner 2007

It’s pretty unbelievable to see all these cool houses at Solar Decathlon.  I mean, why can’t all houses look like this?  Late yesterday, it was announced that the Technische Universität Darmstadt team from Germany took first prize.  Congratulations!  Word on the street is that this house was consistently swarmed with visitors the entire week.  Rightfully so, too.

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Austin to Require Zero Energy Homes by 2015

Austin

The City of Austin, after a year of serious research by the Zero Energy Capable Homes Task Force,  announced a huge initiative towards requiring all new single-family homes to be zero-energy capably by 2015.  Here’s how it works.  Today, the city adopted the first in a series of code amendments and a  road map of code amendments that will be implemented through 2015.  Due to this first series of changes, roughly 6500 new homes built in Austin will be about 20% more efficient.  Through 2015, as the code changes ratchet up the efficiency baseline, homes will end up using about 65% less energy than those built today.  Then, owners will have the option of adding solar or some other clean tech to get the home to zero energy status. 

Speaking of the Zero Energy Homes Initiative, Mayor Will Wynn said, "We’re taking action today that will lower the cost of utility bills, make housing more affordable, help improve air quality and take critical steps in the fight against global warming."  He continued, "The savings here are staggering – over the next ten years these policies will save homeowners almost $125 million on utility bills and have the same greenhouse gas reduction effect as taking almost 200,000 cars off the road."  It should be said, however, that home prices will increase slightly due to the initiative, but all those green Dell employees should be able to handle it, right?!  Speak with your wallet. 

Good Links:
++Zero Energy Home Initiative Approved [Austin Biz Journal]
++Mayor Winn Announces Action on Zero Energy Homes [ACC]

Sidwell Friends School, Anatomy of a Green School

Sidwell Friends School

The Sidwell Friends School is the first LEED Platinum-rated K-12 school in the world, but what’s incredible is the story behind it.  First, it’s a renovation of a fifty year old facility.  Second, the renovation involved the students, so everyone was able to participate and learn about the benefits of a green building.  Matter of fact, about sixteen 5th – 8th graders studied the building, wrote about its benefits, and recorded an audio feature explaining each green feature.  Feel free to take the green building tour to learn about low-VOC materials, CO2 monitoring, natural light, native plants, the green roof and biology pond, photovoltaic panels, a heat recovery wheel, vertical solar fins, and the settling tank, etc.  This is quite the impressive interactive visual/audio tour.  Seriously, great work. 

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