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Green Roofs, Cleantech Investments, Monster Homes + Stellar LEED Returns (WIR)

Week in Review
  1. Rooftop vegetation and gardens are catching on–though there are still many questions about how and when to apply the technique. 
  2. Cleantech venture capital investments are small but growing. 
  3. Monster Homes: Enough is Enough – some places will make you pay for that big thing. 
  4. Developer sells its LEED certified project and it was "certainly a stellar return." 

Jeriko House Explores The Platform for Living

Jh1

I’m going to be talking with the CEO of Jeriko House, Shawn Burst, later this week, but I still want to post an update on what’s happening with this Louisiana-based modern prefab company.  I broke the story on Jeriko House last January and a lot has happened since that time.  Right now, Jeriko House is smack dab in the middle of three different projects, with more on the development table.  Feel free to head on over the newly redesigned, updated website for current projects, the gallery, and other information on what the company has to offer.

Hypothetical: What Would it Take?
Jeriko House is prepared to adapt their designs for a variety of climates and sites, so they can go anywhere in the United States.  With that in mind, let me throw out a little hypothetical to satisfy my own curiosity.  Assume your are in the market for a new home and you have an empty lot.  What would it take to put a Jeriko House on your lot?  Any thoughts?  Unload in the comments.  Also, some incredible pictures below the jump.

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Are Skyscraper Farms Part of the Solution? (S2)

Vue_nocturne

With a skyscraper farm, the idea is that one can control the environment and manner of producing crops.  Unless the building is wiped out by tornado or earthquake, vertical farms have the potential to reduce weather-related crop failures.  And with modern engineering, one could set up an elaborate system of rainwater reclamation and filtering to avoid water runoff pollution.  Plus, skyscrapers go everywhere.  You could have towers in Tokyo, London, Shanghai, Dallas, or where ever, growing organic goods.  Locally-produced organic goods sans the transportation premium and carbon emissions–now that has the potential to be disruptive!  Vertical farms use artificial light and with the right combination of renewable energy power a building, I could see this being a legitimate endeavor.  Experts suggest we’re about 15 years away from realizing something like this, but hey, it’s not one of the worst ideas I’ve ever heard. 

The above image is the Living Tower by Pierre Sartoux.  The first level below the jump is Gordon Graff’s SKYfarm.  The second level is the Vertical Farm by Chris Jacobs.  Link for background story; link for images.

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Michael Jantzen's Solar Wind Pavilion Design Proposal

Solar Wind Pavilion

Our built environment should integrate clean tech and renewable energy generation of all forms and this is an example of that concept.  Michael Jantzen proposed a design for California State University at Fullerton that would turn the everyday gathering pavilion into a discussion on sustainability.  The pavilion could serve as the gathering place for up to 300 people.  From the images, notice the wind turbine and the solar panels on the roof.  Towering into the air at 150 feet tall, any energy harvested from the turbine and solar panels could be used by the university.  Inside, there’s a cylindrical digital projection display screen, roof-mounted fogging nozzles to cool the interior, and benches that can be stored inside the floor when not in use.  I think it’s an excellent idea, especially because students always want a place to gather and hang.  Why not here?  Via WAN + HumanShelter.org

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The Green Book: A Gateway to Greener Living

The Green Book 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." 

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Project7ten Goes for Platinum, Draws Celebrity Crowd

Project7ten

Project7ten proves that ultra green can look ultra good.  This is another cool residential home project that will get LEED certified at the Platinum level.  Actually, as one of only a few LEED Platinum homes in the country, this project could become the discourse for a greener home.  The home was designed by Melinda Gray, founder of GRAYmatter Architecture, and is currently under construction.  Upon completion in the fall, there will be an open house for everyone to see how good a green home can look.  710 Milwood Avenue, Venice, California.   

The event where project7ten was introduced drew a crazy celebrity crowd with the likes of Cindy Crawford, John Cusak, David Duchovny, Toby McGuire, Laird Hamilton, Gabrielle Reece, and Ed Begley Jr.  How’s that for some ‘razzi fodder? 

So what’s going to make this home so green?  Rainwater reclamation system and grey water recycling, locally-sourced sustainable materials, recycled content countertops and insulation, FSC-certified lumber, solar panels to power the home, and appropriate landscape to shade the home during the summer and allow light during the winter.  Also, there will be Energy Star appliances and Kohler water-efficient fixtures.  The lucky purchaser will get an 18-month lease on a Ford Escape Hybrid, too.  Not too shabby.  Plus, with all the sponsors lined up to support the project, the developer Minimal Productions will donate a share of proceeds to charity.  More images below the fold. 

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