When I lived in Japan, I was always feeling the pinch of electricity bills. It wasn't because of over-consumption. Things were just plain expensive. And luckily, the electricity meter was always near the front door, so I got in the habit of opening the door to check the spin rate on the meter. After looking at the meter, I'd walk around and unplug things that weren't in use. Here in the U.S., though, there's no easy access to the meter, especially in the traditional single-family home. Which is why something like the PowerCost Monitor could come in handy.
Central Oregon's First LEED-H Certified Residential Project: Newport District Modern House Project by Abacus GC
Have you ever been to Bend, Oregon? Bend is smack dab in the middle of the state, it’s Central Oregon, and it’s beautiful. Central Oregon is not to be confused with the rainy, western part of the state. Bend is in close proximity to some of the best golfing, hiking, camping, rock climbing, and skiing locations in the world, which is why lots of Californians either relocate or have a vacation home in the area. And real estate isn’t cheap, either (speaking from a Texas frame of mind). But in Bend, you have an innovative, forward-thinking real estate company, Abacus GC, that has just received the first LEED-H (LEED for Homes) certification in Central Oregon for its Newport District Modern House Project. It’s also Earth Advantage certified and will save about 54% more in energy consumption than a standard code-built home.
This project (corner of NW 12th Street + Newport Avenue) includes 5 green, modern, luxurious homes, scheduled for completion in December 2006. Each lot is 3,000 square feet, and each home is 2,000 square feet (prices starting at roughly $850k). Here are some of the green features: cool metal roof that reflects UV radiation and keeps the house cool in the summer; green roof trellises; xeriscaped lawns with drought tolerant and local plants (require less water and maintenance); Sierra Pacific windows made from timber that meets the Sustainable Forestry Initiative requirements; grid-tied solar energy system (2 kilowatt) from photovoltaic panels that run backwards; extensive use of FSC-certified lumber; blown in formaldehyde-free insulation (exterior walls, R-23; attic, R-50!) for energy-efficiency, sound control, and improved indoor air quality; lightweight all-aluminum garage doors that are maintenance free and recyclable; hydronic radiant floor heating systems powered by a 96% energy-efficient boiler; tons of strategically placed windows to optimize natural light and shade; locally harvested Madrone wood for the stairs and kitchen counter tops; Caroma dual-flush toilets that save up to 80% of annual water usage; 80% energy-efficient Ribbon fireplace by Spark Modern Fires (with the enclosure made of Eco-Terr recycled tiles); and Green Seal-certified, zero-VOC YOLO Colorhouse primer and paints. These are just some of the many green features of the five homes in the Newport District Modern House Project.
In addition to the green features, these homes are stylish: top of the line hardware (Kohler, Grohe, Blum, Sub-Zero, etc.), 9-foot ceilings, Category-5 Ethernet cable installed, etc. We’re are talking about luxury everything, in an extreme, environmentally-friendly orchestration. The Newport District Modern House Project is everything that Jetson Green espouses: Modern + Green + Healthy Living. But specifically, these homes help an owner achieve water and energy independence, which is valuable in a world where energy prices will continue to rise and water will continue to become more scarce. I really like the trajectory of this company and the projects they have in the pipeline–I’m sure this won’t be the last abacus GC project on Jetson Green.
OPPENheim Architecture + Design just received unanimous approval for a $40 million, 25 story, 380 foot tall, multi-use green tower for Miami’s Design District (4025 NE 2nd Ave., Miami, FL 33137). It’s called COR and construction will start July 2007 + complete in 2009. COR will have 113 condominium units, 20,100 square feet of office space, and 5,400 square feet of retail space (includes cafe + furniture store). Chad Oppenheim designed COR with the assistance of energy consultant Buro Happold + engineer Ysrael Seinuk. As you can see by looking closely at the pictures, the 10 inch, energy-efficient exoskeleton incorporates wind turbines near the top and provides numerous environmental benefits (thermal mass for insulation, shading, enclosure for terraces). In addition to wind turbines, the tower will use also photovoltaic panels and solar hot water generation.
The funky, modern building design is expected to attract creative, design-oriented businesses and trendy, eclectic professionals. Restaurants and retailers will occupy the ground floor, in an attempt to capture the urban energy of the building. Of course, the interior will benefit from a mixture of natural sun and shading and design plans call for a high-tech building infrastructure. Residences will range in size from studio to two-story penthouse units, which range in price from $400,000 to $1 million. We’re talking about Energy Star appliances, recycled glass tile flooring, bamboo lined hallways, etc. Residents will have access to the pool and fitness facility as well. So far, so good I say. Via Archiseek + Multi-Housing News.
UPDATE: I was hearing from various sources that this project wouldn’t happen. Now, there’s an interview with Chad Oppenheim about the COR Tower. This is legit and this is pretty cool.
DFW builder Don Ferrier‘s daughter wanted an affordable, green home, so they retained the best, local green architect, Gary Olp of GGOArchitects, to get the job done. The result is Heather’s Home, which has its own website at www.heathershome.info. What’s interesting about this home is that it’s economically pragmatic, but it looks goods–it’s proof that a modern, green home can be relatively affordable. We’re talking about a 2,038 square-foot home in the price range of about $117 per square foot ($230,000). After getting the home design, she had to wait two months due to materials shortages, but the home took four months to build after that. The monthly home heating and cooling bill averages $20-30 month. That’s amazing, especially in Texas.
There’s a rainwater collection system connected to a 3,000-gallon holding tank, which is used for irrigation and toilet water. Toilets are low flush, of course. She landscaped with drought-tolerant, native Texas plants, to conserve water. She didn’t install a full blown solar system (costs about $30,000), but she did install enough solar panels to power the tankless water heater (also saves water). The home design called for Structural Insulated Panels (SIP) to create a more energy-efficient, tight building envelope. For heating and AC, the builder installed a Daikin HVAC system that runs at 20 SEER. The HVAC system price tag was $5,500, which is cheaper than a geothermal heat pump and about 90% as efficient. Of course, low-VOC paints and stains were used throughout. Lights and appliances are energy star.
The stairs are bamboo and some of the floors are stained concrete. The kitchen island surface is a grenadine Formica (Green Guard certified) and the cabinets were created from regionally produced ash, treated with a low VOC stain. You’ll notice the 33 glass block windows on the northerly wall, which invite natural lighting without diminishing interior privacy. There’s a solar tube in the closet for natural lighting. In the rooms with carpet, it is PET (polyethylene terephthalate) carpet, which is created from reclaimed polyester resins of two-liter soda bottles and and other plastic containers. Some of the other carpet is InterFLOR modular carpet, made from corn husks. The list of green features goes on and on! You can go to this link to find the source of all the products used in this home.
Sustainable building for 2006 had to be a watershed year, and this conference looks to be an exciting event. Everytime you see "LEED" in my blog, I’m talking about the professional, responsible embodiment of green buildings–smart, efficient, and energy independent. Starting tomorrow, the USGBC’s annual conference begins; here’s what’s in store for the next 3 days: +700 exhibitor booths, LEED workshops, green building tours, powerful keynote speakers, Master Speakers Series, USGBC Leadership Awards, etc. The conference will be an idea-rich feast for ideas on site location + development, water use, energy efficiency, materials + selection, indoor environmental quality, biophelia, health + productivity, financing, etc. I’d love to be there, but I just can’t afford the investment at this time, but the conference will be full of architects, building owners, code officials, contractors, developers, educators, engineers, facility managers, financial service providers, governmental agencies, green power providers, home builders, interior designers, landscape architects, nonprofit organizations, product manufacturers, schools + universities, students, urban planners, utility providers, and media.
Keynote speakers include Bill McDonough, Jeffrey Sachs, and David Suzuki. I also have links to the Master Speaker Series, Educational Sessions, Special Events, Attendee Schedule, FAQs, and Exhibitors.
It’s not too late to go, from what I understand…just hop a SWA flight and bill it to the company. Seriously, if you’re somewhat curious about green building, this is the event to go to. If you’re thinking about adopting a little green to improve your products offering, go and get some ideas. If you can’t go, last year, there was an inspirational opening session with Ray Anderson, Janine Benyus, and Paul Hawken, which is now available on DVD for $10. The DVD is called "Strategies for Sustaining the Sustainable Building Movement." You can order via here. A portion of proceeds go to the Biomimicry Guild.
The Colorado Convention Center
700 14th Street, Denver, CO 80202
Getting To the Convention Center
Albanese Organization (AO) is a great example of an interesting phenomenon: once you go green, you don’t go back. AO is the forward-thinking real estate firm behind two other green buildings, The Solaire and The Verdisian. Their specialty is sustainable and high performance buildings. They’ve partnered with Starwood Capital Group Global LLC for their third green project, which has yet to be named, located at 70 Little West Street, surrounded by Battery Place, Little West Street, Second Place, and Third Place. The $310 million, 33-story project will have 152 condominium units and retail space on the first floor. Slated for occupation in 2008, the design architect is Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects; the building architect is Schuman, Lichtenstein, Claman & Efron; the interior design is by Stedila Design Inc.; and the general contractor is Turner Construction.
The glass and terracotta tower will have a curved facade to create river views from all four corners of the building. Like most modern buildings, this building will include a state-of-the-art fitness center, a pool, rooftop gardens, dining area, children’s playroom, parking garage (not always a given in NYC), and a lounge room with a fireplace.
I’ve heard rumors that some LEED buyers (not necessarily this one) are looking for the LEED label and point shopping around the energy efficient requirements–why do that? The point is, buildings need to be grid-independent and levered less to energy price fluctuations. By point shopping, you’re losing money by purchasing a hollow certificate (not to mention losing valuable environmental benefits).
Anyway, this building will be 35% more energy efficient than standard code buildings; 5% of the energy load will be provided by building-integrated solar panels and 35% of the building’s energy will be provided by wind generation. Geothermal systems will provide heating/cooling for part of the building. Low or no-VOC materials will be used throughout. There will be a high efficiency air filtration system to optimize indoor air quality ("IAC"). Individual residences will have year-round climate control via digital thermostat that controls a four-pipe fan coil system. A black water treatment plant will recycle bathroom and kitchen water to resupply toilets and supply make-up water for the HVAC system cooling tower. 10,000 gallons of water will be harvested and used to irrigate the rooftop garden, which provides a layer of insulation for the building. See also Multihousing News.