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38 posts from July 2007

July 22, 2007

Crappy GHG Homes, Water-efficient Golf, Green Retail Centers + Wells Fargo's $1B in Green Lending (WIR)

Week in Review
  1. 88% of new homes are crappy, greenhouse gas spewing energy hogs - meaning they don't meet the comparatively weak Energy Star standards. 
  2. Las Vegas golf courses are using better water-efficient landscaping to save over 1 billion gallons of water per year. 
  3. Regency Centers is teaming up with the USGBC to implement a pilot program aimed at developing green shopping centers across the country (this is badly needed). 
  4. Wells Fargo passes the $1 Billion mark in financing for LEED certified buildings with loans ranging from $10 to $225 million per project. 

July 21, 2007

$400 M Green Project "Blvd6200" Approved for Hollywood

Plaza

Looks like LA City Council has unanimously approved a $400-million mixed-use green development totaling 1.1 million sf called Blvd6200.  Blvd6200 will feature more than 1,000 apartments, 40,000 sf of live-work office space, and 175,000 sf of retail and restaurant uses on a seven-acre site.  Designed by Santa Monica-based Van Tilburg, Banvard & Soderbergh, the new LEED project will occupy a site that spans both sides of Hollywood Boulevard at Argyle Avenue east of Vine Street.  The project is going to be developed by the Clarett Group, a top New York development company, and other than having 10 flex cars available for residents, specifics on green certification aren't available yet.  I'll keep tabs on the project.  More images below the fold.  Via Globe St.

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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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July 20, 2007

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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July 19, 2007

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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An Example of Green Renovation, the Brownstone

Vanessa Rae, excellent host of the Pulse Videocast, takes us through this video of green builder Blake Holden as he turns a dilapidated Brooklyn brownstone into a vintage green home. While reclaimed wood and materials preserve the look and feel of a classic brownstone, energy–saving features like blue jeans insulation and radiant heating minimize the home’s carbon footprint. Natural building materials prevent toxic indoor air pollution.

July 18, 2007

Eco-Centric Design Planned for Luxury Chinese Island

Sanya Resort

Sanya is a tropical oasis located on the Southern peninsula of Hainan Island.  A Chinese developer, Tiafeng, has teamed up with Kevin Kennon Architect to design a healthy, luxurious development for Sanya.  Check out some of the eye candy renderings below the fold...this is going to be a nice resort.  Matter of fact, I feel healthier just imagining myself there.  Slated to open in mid-2008, Sanya will include 350-room, 5-star Shangri-La Hotel, an 18-story apartment building, and a fluid, ribbon-like complex of 23 apartment and condo buildings.  All the structures will have roof gardens.  KKA specifically designed the development with privacy in mind, but opened up the architecture to the surrounding green space.  The buildings are meant to flow and blend into the environment, as opposed to standing out in contrast to the natural surroundings.  I can't wait to see more specifics on this project.  Via

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July 17, 2007

DiCaprio, Discovery to Rebuild Devastated Greensburg into Eco-Town

Discovery Planet Green

On May 4, Greensburg, Kansas, population 1,500, was smashed by a tornado.  Celebrity Leonardo DiCaprio saw the destruction and decided to help Greensburg rebuild their into an "Eco-town."  DiCaprio pitched the idea to Discovery and the company decided to join with him to make the rebuilding into a 13-part series for Discovery's new Planet Green channel.  The series will be called "Eco-town," and it will document Greensburg becoming a "sustainable model of eco-living and one that will save it from future environmental catastrophe." 

DiCaprio plans to executive produce the series through his company Appian Way, with the additional help of Craig Piligiann and Discovery Planet Green.  They anticipate working closely with the governor of Kansas and Greensburg to put resources into the rebuilding and make a genuine difference.  I think it's an excellent idea and can't wait to watch and learn from the effort.  Via NY Times.

To get an idea of the damage to this town, check the photos below the fold.  It's unbelievable the damage nature can do. 

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July 16, 2007

Rafael Viñoly Walkie-Talkie Tower Gains Approval (S2)

Walkie Talkie Tower

Soon, London is going to welcome another interesting object to the city's skyline.  If you're familiar with 30 St Mary Axe, you know what I'm talking about.  Now, developer Land Securities will get the opportunity to construct a new, 37-story, Rafael Viñoly-designed building that commentators affectionately call the "Walkie-Talkie" Tower.  City councillors were split on whether to approve the scheme, but ultimately it received a 12-8 vote for approval.  Some councillors were worried about its location and the asymmetrical impact to London's skyline.  Another councillor said the building design is "striking, remarkable and [an] exciting standalone building."  To be located at 20 Fenchurch Street, Land Securities thinks the building is necessary to meet the market's demand for efficient large floor plates. 

Like most towers being designed these days, this one will also include sustainable design.  One notable green feature is the roof garden and park.  The sky garden will be open to the public on the weekends, making it the highest accessible park in London.  Also, there will be a cafe and restaurant on the park level.  Via BD Online

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July 15, 2007

Capitol Hill Green Building, Ford's Plug-in Hybrid, SCU's Solar Home + Putting Buildings on an Energy Diet (WIR)

Week in Review
  1. Congress celebrates first green building on Capitol Hill with one building being renovated to LEED Silver level certification and saving energy by about 48%. 
  2. Ford Motor Company and Southern California Edison join together to make plug-in hybrid technology a reality. 
  3. Santa Clara University was chosen by US Department of Energy to design, construct, and display a fully functional, 650 sf solar powered home. 
  4. The Cost of Saving Energy - New Yorkers are working on energy consumption, but some buildings need to go on an energy diet. 
         
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