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$1.3B Carbon Neutral Chinese Eco-City in Dongtan

Chinese Dongtan Ecocity

In 2009, China is expected to surpass the U.S. as the largest emitter of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the world.  Over 26% of the population (roughly 340 million people) lack access to clean drinking water and over 40% of Chinese cities lack sewage treatment facilities.  But the country is trying to innovate solutions for the future.  Recently, USA Today had an interesting article called "China Envisions Environmentally Friendly ‘Eco-City.’"  According to the article, state-run developers are building an eco-city in Dongtan, which is 3/4 the size of Manhattan.  Dongtan is located on Chongming Island about an hour from Shanghai.  The $1.3 billion project may be a model for eco-cities all over the world. 

The eco-city will be carbon neutral with the main grid of the city designed for walking and cycling, not for cars.  The city will be powered by solar and wind power, biofuels, and recycled organic material.  There will be green roofs for energy efficiency and insulation benefits and rainwater capture to maintain the landscaping.  All vehicles will operate on clean fuels and about a fourth of the city will be open green space.  Without all the gas and diesel vehicles clogging the streets, residents should be able to open up a window and enjoy the air.  About 20% of the city is held out for affordable housing, but some of the farmers still say it’s out of their price range.  See also SIIC

Platinum USGBC, Steelcase's IAQ, Energy Star Hits NM + CoStar Group (WIR)

Week in Review
  1. USGBC’s New D.C. Headquarters Go Platinum – The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) can now hold itself out as an example of what green building is all about. The USGBC has a 22,000 square-foot office suite in the Gold Certified Service Employees International Union Building (LEED-NC). What’s incredible is that the USGBC’s office suite just obtained LEED Platinum for Commercial Interiors (LEED-CI). So the building is gold on the outside and platinum on the inside.
  2. Steelcase Products Awarded Indoor Advantage Certifications for Low Emissions – Steelcase Inc. (NYSE: SCS), a global office environments manufacturer, today announced that over 20 of its product lines have received Indoor Advantage(TM) certifications from Scientific Certification Systems (SCS), an independent third-party certifier.
  3. EPA Gives Six NM Buildings Energy Star Ratings – Six buildings in New Mexico have earned an Energy Star rating from the EPA for cutting their energy bills and greenhouse gas emissions.  The buildings encompass more than 1.9 million square feet and saved an estimated $350,000 annually in lower energy bills. They also prevented more than 5 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions, equal to the emissions of more than 400 vehicles.
  4. CoStar Group Promotes Energy Efficiency, Sustainable Green Buildings by Adding Energy Star Rating to Commercial Properties in its Database – CoStar Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: CSGP) announced that it will begin adding the ENERGY STAR rating–the most recognized national metric for evaluating building energy efficiency–to properties in its massive online database, which currently contains more than 2 million researched and verified commercial properties of all classes and types.

Video: Construction 2.0 + CleverHomes

[Run time: 54:30 min.]  I was reading the Scobleizer and found a fairly substantial video interview with Toby Long, founder of the San Francisco-based, design-build firm CleverHomes.  Cleverhomes is one of those companies swimming upstream in a construction river of anti-progress, anti-innovation, and staunch traditionalism.  I love the Scoble laugh, seriously, it makes the interview pretty good.  Long talks about the interface of technology + construction, or what I’m calling Construction 2.0, with an added dimension of sustainability.  Going forward, the environmental consequences associated with construction need to be figured into a given project’s analysis.  He also mentions structural insulated panels (SIPs), building information modeling (BIM), sustainability, and modern vernacular.  Get past the beginning and give it go…

LEED-H Silver Kelly Woodford Retreat Near Mt. Hood, Oregon


As one of the first residential LEED homes on the west coast, the Kelly Woodford home is blazing a trail for the future of residential construction.  In addition to its USGBC certification, the home is "net zero energy use" and Energy Star certified.  The 2,000 square-foot, three-bedroom/two-bath retreat has a great view of Mt. Hood and some pretty impressive green features.  Tom Kelly and Barbara Woodford built the home as a family getaway (with the Neil Kelly Company as general contractor), but they’ve also made the home available half the year to Neil Kelly employees to enjoy. 

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Climate Change Legal Practice, Green Building Lending, Texas Geothermal, + Green Sans LEED (WIR)

Week in Review
  1. The Law Firm of Holland & Hart Announces New Global Climate Change Practice – The firm is the first and only law firm based in the Rocky Mountains to organize a practice group concentrating on this rapidly emerging area of law and policy.  Holland & Hart’s Global Climate Change Practice Group consists of attorneys who counsel clients on the climate change aspects of energy and natural resources development, industrial energy use, regulatory compliance, renewable energy and energy infrastructure projects, corporate disclosure and governance, carbon markets, litigation, and government relations.
  2. New Resource Bank Aims to Make it Easier to Build Green – A new banking program here aims to encourage developers and investors to start green building projects by offering financial incentives like providing more money at a lower cost, higher loan-to value, and lower interest rates.
  3. Texas Issues First Lease for Geothermal Energy Exploration and Development along Gulf Coast – Texas has awarded the state’s first lease for geothermal energy production to Ormat Technologies, Inc., which plans to explore the renewable energy’s potential along seven Gulf Coast counties.  The company paid $55,645, or $5 an acre, for the right to explore 11,129 acres for pockets of hot water and steam under the ocean floor, the General Land Office announced Tuesday.
  4. Building Greener and Cheaper than LEED – While many argue over the costs and benefits of requiring LEED-certification, some affordable housing developers have shown that building green doesn’t require following the program’s recommendations.

LEED-H Silver, Energy Star, Earth Advantage – Dolph Creek Townhomes


In Portland, Oregon, there’s a sustainable development called The Headwaters at Tryon Creek, which is a 2.88 acre, master-planned, mixed-income community that prioritizes sustainable building practices, energy + water conservation, wildlife habit restoration, and stormwater management.  One portion of the development includes the Dolph Creek Townhomes, which are 14 for sale, attached townhouses that are LEED Silver, Energy Star, and Earth Advantage certified.  Quite the list of certifications!  These luxury townhouses vary in size from 1,585 – 1,695 square feet, and in price from $369,950 – $379,950…purchasers qualify for the State Residential Energy Tax Credit. 

In addition to saving up to 45% on annual energy costs, here are some of the green features:  solar panels with 80 gallon storage tank, energy efficient windows, green label carpet, formaldehyde free cabinetry and wood products, heat recovery ventilators, on-demand gas and solar water heating, polyfoam insulation, exhaust fans in all the garages, drip irrigation system, and low-flow toilets, showers, and water faucets.  Of course, the floors will be bamboo (hopefully not the Chinese import variety) and the patio will have ipe hardwood decking.  From what I’ve seen, this looks like quite the community. 


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