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41 posts from September 2007

September 30, 2007

The Spime Arrives, Bruce Sterling

The Spime Arrives

What does the future have in store for us?  In whose hands will design be?  What economic trends will prevail?  Bruce Sterling provides the answers to some of these questions.  But some of the answers are hard to understand.  He foresees monumental changes in the world of design:  a transformation of conventional users, with their currently available user-alterable gizmos, into “wranglers” with blobjects, spimes, and arphids in their pockets and briefcases. 

To visualize some of this future world, take a gander at Sterling's web video: The Spime Arrives.  Someday, there will be a world where products are designed, visualized, and ordered online.  Consumers may be able to see products manufactured and shipped.  And products will be made of renewable, recycled materials, hailing from the closest, most efficient location.  Plus, when the product ceases to be useful, the manufacturer will take it back from us with a smile.  Trash will diminish, the loop will close.  This is a world where everything is downloadable.  Metadata is valuable and enables solutions. 

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LEED Costs, Urban Wind, Green Building Growth + Clinton Global Initiative Commitments (WIR)

Week in Review

September 29, 2007

UMB Bank Colorado, Denver's Second Green Roof Building [Updated]

UMB Stapleton

UMB Bank Colorado, a chartered bank of UMB Financial Corporation (NASDAQ: UMBF), is getting ready to unveil their new “green” banking center at Stapleton, which opens to the public on Monday, October 1. The UMB Bank at Stapleton is Denver’s second building to incorporate a grass roof into the structural design. The banking center is located at 3515 Quebec Street in Quebec Square at Stapleton.  Speaking of the building's green roof, Mariner Kemper, chairman and CEO of UMB Bank Colorado, said, “Amidst growing concerns over the health of the environment and the rising cost of natural resources, there is a national trend to develop ‘green’ buildings ... green buildings are designed to reduce the impact on the environment by conserving resources such as water and energy while blending with the features of the natural landscape. Our new banking center in Stapleton further supports UMB’s commitment to a cleaner, safer, and sustainable environment.” 

NOTE: I wasn't able to find an actual picture of the building, but I know we have some JG readers in Denver on the scene.  Feel free to email me live pictures if you have them (jetsongreen at yahoo dot com).

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Lawrence Country Home with Trombe Wall, Small Wind + Solar Power

Lawrence Country Green Home

This home isn't necessarily modern, but it has all the modern conveniences one could ask for: solar panels, small wind, radiant floor heating, air filtration system, and a trombe wall, etc.  Kent and Kathy Lawrence's custom country home, which was completed in 2005, ended up costing roughly $300 psf.  The wind turbine alone came in at a cool $37,100 (producing 13,000 kwh/year), and that's without tax subsidies.  And unlike many custom homes that tend to explore new boundaries of profusion, this home is only 2,200 sf.  Not bad.  But the Lawrence's weren't just concerned with smart design and energy efficiency.  Currently, they're removing invasive plant species and planting native flowers, just trying to be gentle stewards of the land they inhabit.  I think this is a rather picturesque setting for a home ... much the American Dream. 

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September 28, 2007

Napa Prefab Now For Rent!

Napa Prefab

Have you ever wanted to walk through a prefab or see what the excitement is about in person?  If you live on the west coast, the opportunity to walk through a prefab happens fairly frequently.  Just wait for the right conference or event and you'll hear about a tour or walk through.  Now, two hours north of San Francisco in Napa County (Pope Valley), there's a Rocio Romero prefab open for tour, rental, or even for commercial photo, movie, and production shoots. 

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September 27, 2007

2007 Lifecycle Building Challenge Winners

Pavilion in the Park

At West Coast Green in San Francisco last week, U.S. EPA Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response Assistant Administrator Susan Bodine announced winners of the first inaugural Lifecycle Building Challenge competition.  Winners were recognized for their cutting-edge green building ideas that aim to reduce environmental and energy impacts of buildings.  Ideas from the design contest will jumpstart the building industry to help reuse more of the 100 million tons of building-related construction and demolition debris sent each year to landfills in the U.S.  The winners are listed below:

Congratulations to all the winners, honorable mentions, and participants.

Pirates Bay House, Partially Prefab + Green

Pirates Bay House

Many of you have probably seen this house by Stuart Tanner Architects, it was the Architectural Record House of the Month in July 2006.  But I just noticed it and want to post a few images.  It's a small house of 1,184 sf located near Eaglehawk Neck on Tasmania's Tasman Peninsula.  As you can see, it juts out into the air, blending the boundary between the wildlife and sea.  I'm sure the owners have witnessed the grandeur of nature at its best, being enveloped by the eucalypt forest and the sea.  Due to the location, the architect had the home partially prefabricated -- framing was complete in two days.  The home also has many of the green features most homes should have, such as energy-saving lights, heating, and appliances.  It's well-insulated throughout and designed to maximize cross ventilation.  And there's an on-site waste management system, greywater recycling, and fresh water catchment and storage, too. 

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Before Buying a Prefab [Blogging NYT]

PrefabArtWeb by Nancy Doninger

Over the weekend, I noticed another good article in the NY Times by Amy Gunderson, with the above illustration by Nancy Doninger.  The article makes some salient points about prefab, things that must be considered before getting into it.  For instance, one customer said "there is no substitute for seeing a house in person," because what you see online or in a rendering, may not be what you actually get.  The same customer opted for Rocio Romero, and the home took 10 months to build at a cost of $300 psf (including installation and finishes).  That price ends up being pretty decent, when compared to the cost of going after a custom-design modernist home. 

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September 26, 2007

Office Depot, Staples follow Best Buy's LEED

LEED Big Box Retailers

Hot on the heels of Best Buy's announcement to build new stores to LEED standards, we have Office Depot and Staples jumping into the LEED game.  With these announcements, we're seeing two main trends: (1) the mainstreaming of green buildings and (2) the business case for green buildings, especially in the retail context.  It just makes sense.  But as many other commentators have mentioned, these so called green stores will be energy efficient, made of renewable materials, and will use less water, BUT they're huge and a by-product of American sprawl.  Without passing judgment, I have the belief that a green retail store is better than a non-green retail store.  It's a step in the right direction.  More on each company below.

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September 25, 2007

My WCG Emails: Perpetual Water, Design Solutions, Celadon + American Clay Enterprises

West Coast Green

I hope readers enjoyed the West Coast Green and Jetson Green partnership ... personally, I'm glad this website was able to participate in a small way.  In the few weeks leading up to the event, I received a flood of emails for products to be showcased at WCG, and I wasn't able to research each product and do an individual post.  So, I'd like to share with you some of the leads I received.  Feel free to check them out, if you have time. 

  • Perpetual Water, an Australian water conservation technology company, introduced their breakthrough high-efficiency water conservation technology, including The Garden Angel. 
  • Design Solutions introduced two new lines of green, earth-friendly cabinets. 
  • Celadon Energy Systems featured their highly efficient, environmentally-friendly, "green" lighting systems designed for affordable mixed-use, residential, and commercial applications.
  • American Clay Enterprises returned to showcase their all natural, eco-friendly earth plaster.  They had a joint exhibit with Green Planet Paints, a company we talked about here

I can email you my press releases, if you're looking for more information (just drop a comment).  Did anyone have a favorite product or gain any particular insight? 

         
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