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Rancho Verde Takes Platinum for Innovative Brownfield Redevelopment

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One of Chicago’s biggest names in landscaping now lays claim to one of the greenest locations in the city.  Christy Webber Landscapes, along with the City of Chicago and GreenWorks, came together to develop an area in a struggling neighborhood.  After decades of abuse as an auto impound, landfill, and iron-works, the polluted site had been declared a brownfield.  Subsequently, in 2003 the City of Chicago proposed an initiative to reclaim the site, and a short three years later, the 12.5 acre piece of land was clean and fully operational.  Called "Rancho Verde," in honor of the mostly Hispanic workforce that makes up the landscaping industry, the former brownfield is now the headquarters for Christy Webber Landscapes.  Rancho Verde features a one-story office building, warehouse, and a shop-yard big enough to hold dozens of trucks that keep Chicago looking healthy all year round. 

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Eco-Laboratory Concept Living Building

Eco-Laboratory View from NE

This could just be one of the most innovative sustainable designs you’ll see all year.  Here’s the background: a team from Weber Thompson designed this building for the Cascadia Natural Talent Design Competition put on by the Emerging Green Builders of the USGBC.  They won the Cascadia competition and moved on to compete against about 15 other regional winners from around the country.   They won there, too, and "Eco-Laboratory" was announced as the winner of the 2008 Natural Talent Design Competition at Greenbuild.  Eco-Laboratory is a theoretical design set in Seattle with affordable and market-rate residential housing, a job training center, homeless shelter, hygiene station, and public farmer’s market. 

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World's Most Sustainable Airport Hangar

Hangar

This is Hangar 25, a LEED Platinum certified airport hangar located at the Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, California.  It’s the world’s first aviation hangar to achieve such a high level of certification from the USGBC.  The 60,000 square foot structure was built by Shangri-La Construction without a significant cost increase over building a non-green airport hangar — a fact that furthers the financial case for green building development.  Check out this green list of accomplishments:

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IBM Predicts Solar Growth in 5 Years

IBM is becoming gradually more involved in the world of clean tech, so it’s not surprising that their third annual "IBM Next Five in Five" includes a mention of solar power.  The list includes five innovations that will change the way people work, live, and play over the next five years.  Accordingly, IBM thinks energy saving solar technology will be built into asphalt, paint, and windows.  Basically, with the advent of thin-film solar cells and advances in technology, everything everywhere will have solar cells and harvest energy.  And the technology to do so will be affordable, too. 

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Vatican Gets Serious with Solar

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Maybe Samsø started a trend in becoming a net exporter of renewable energy because it appears that the Vatican is thinking about doing something similar.  The curvaceous roof of Paul VI Audience Hall, a building that's located right by the famous St. Peter's Basilica, has been topped with 2,400 photovoltaic panels to source energy for lighting, heat, and air conditioning. 

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LEED Platinum Home Breaks Records

Gottfried Home - LEED Platinum

We’ve seen a ton of LEED Platinum homes on this site, but today’s home achieves something new.  USGBC founder David Gottfried and his family recently finished the green renovation of their 1440 square foot Craftsman bungalow, a home that was originally built in 1915, and took it through the LEED for Homes certification process.  In doing so, they received a total of 106.5 points (out of a total 136) and the noteworthy accomplishment of being the highest-scoring green home renovation since LEED-H launched earlier this year.  The Platinum home is designed to be net-zero energy and utilizes technology such as solar photovoltaics and a solar- and hydronic-powered water heating system. 

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