62 posts categorized "Water Savings" Feed

June 21, 2007

Thoughts on The Clean Tech Revolution (Updated)

Thecleantechrevolution So I received from HarperCollins a copy of Ron Pernick + Clint Wilder's latest book called The Clean Tech Revolution.  I'm a big enthusiast of renewable technology because it has the potential to change the world of real estate and green living.  Preliminarily, let me say that this book is an incredible read.  Seriously.  It's smart and approachable.  To get an idea of the breadth of the book, here are the chapter subjects:  solar energy, wind power, biofuels and biomaterials, green buildings, personal transportation, smart grid, mobile technologies, water filtration, creating your own Silicon Valley, and clean-tech marketing.  And the book is geared towards individuals, investors, corporations, and governments alike. 

The authors are Clean Edge guys and they know what they're talking about.  The research put into each topic is unbelievably thorough.  The Clean Tech Revolution is not some chump book by someone that just recently jumped on the green bandwagon (not that there's anything wrong with that).  The authors talk about the tipping point of green brought about by six C's--cost, capital, competition, China, consumers, and climate.  These six things have come together to make clean tech something of a revolution that will occur over the next 20, 30, 40 years plus.  It's pretty exciting.  In each of the chapter categories mentioned above, the authors identify several companies to watch.  For instance, the authors say we should keep an eye on the following companies in the 'green building' chapter:  Aspen Aerogels, Clarum Homes, Cree, The Durst Organization, Interface Engineering, Ortech, PanaHome, Rinnai, Turner Construction, Wal-Mart Stores

Update:BusinessWeek published an extensive review over the weekend saying, in part: "But what sets Pernick and Wilder's book apart is its focus on the business benefits of going green, from money saved by building eco-friendly corporate headquarters and lowering heating and cooling bills, to money earned by startups committed to creating clean technologies. Other books, magazines, and Web sites tend to include clean-tech and green business within a spectrum of other lifestyle, political, environmental, or design topics."

I'm not going to give away too much, but I'm really impressed with this book.  Actually, I've got two people in mind that I want to pass a copy to, and they're not getting mine. 

June 19, 2007

Introducing the WIRED LivingHome by WIRED Magazine + LivingHomes

WIREDLivingHome

A Showcase of the Best in Sustainability, Technology, and Design.  As we speak, LivingHomes + WIRED Magazine are up to their ears in a collaboration of massive, enormous proportions.  We're talking about a partnership that will blow the lid off this huge modern + green movement.  Plans are in motion on the first-ever WIRED LivingHome, a modern, luxury residence that will attain at least a Gold rating under the LEED for Homes Program by the USGBC.  Located in an exclusive, modernist home community of Los Angeles called Crestwood Hills, the large 4,057 sf WIRED LivingHome is set to be finished by Fall 2007.  In anticipation of the final product, LivingHomes CEO and Founder Steve Glenn remarked, "We are honored to be working with WIRED on the next LivingHome...WIRED covers the future and the future of building is green.  Their reputation for cutting-edge design and great editorial technology and innovation make them the perfect partner to demonstrate the balance of form, function and sustainability."

Green Features:
The old structure on the lot is being deconstructed, rather than demolished, and a minimum of 75% of all materials will be reused and repurposed.  While deconstruction is ongoing, the Ray Kappe-designed home will be manufactured in the factory, with installation to occur in August 2007.  Here are some of the green products that will be part of the WIRED LivingHome:  4-kw SunPower solar power system; forced hot air radiant heating and cooling system; recycled glass countertops; Heath ceramic tile in the master bathroom; low-maintenance high-design ecological kitchen cabinetry by Valcucine; environmentally friendly washer/dryer system by Bosch; water-efficient fixtures by Toto; windows and doors constructed with recycled glass and aluminum by Fleetwood USA; reclaimed redwood by Pacific Heritage Wood; FSC-certified exterior siding; LED lighting (uses less energy than conventional lighting); tankless water heaters; and carbon offsets to cover the home's first year of use.  In the end, the WIRED LivingHome will be about 36% more efficient than a conventional residence of the same size. 

The WIRED LivingHome also will be tricked out with the latest in technology.  In addition to home automation by the industry leader Control 4, the home will have biometric iris recognition technology by Panasonic.  At a price of $300 /sf, the WIRED LivingHome is going to be an incredible residence with the best in green + modern + technology.  I can't wait to visit. 

Good Links:
++WIRED Home by LivingHomes [WIRED]
++LivingHomes Official Website
++LivingHomes + Wired Magazine Announce WIRED LivingHome [Press Release]

June 03, 2007

Green Roofs Increase 25%, Home Depot's $100M Plan, Troubled Water Supplies, + Standard 189P (WIR)

Week in Review
  1. North America sees the installation of +3M square feet of new green roofs in 2006-- an increase of 25% over 2005. 
  2. Home Depot launches $100M plan to support the development of 100,000 affordable, healthy homes, and the planting/preservation of more than 3 million trees over the next decade. 
  3. Troubled Waters: drought, pollution, mismanagement and politics have made water a precious commodity in much of the world.
  4. New proposed green building standard (Standard 189P) nears completion and is now open for public comment. 

May 11, 2007

Masdar City: Zero Carbon, Zero Waste

1064_4_1000_foster_mascar_4

Foster + Partners has created a master plan for a massive and bold 6 million square meter sustainable development near Abu Dhabi called Masdar.  Driven by the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, Masdar will be a zero carbon, zero waste community, one that will be entirely car free. 

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May 05, 2007

Top 10 Problems with Sprawl

Sprawl

At some point over the past year, the American population surpassed 300 million, and if we continue as expected, we're going to have another 92 million people over the next 34 years.  That's a lot of people and they'll need places to live.  Over that period of time, it's real important that we get planning right.  The problem is, however, planning decisions are made by thousands of different people with thousands of conflicting interests.  The gist, though, is that sprawl isn't green.  Here are ten good reasons to back that up. 

  1. Sprawl development contributes to a loss of support for public facilities and public amenities.
  2. Sprawl undermines effective maintenance of existing infrastructure. 
  3. Sprawl increases societal costs for transportation.
  4. Sprawl consumes more resources than other development patterns. 
  5. Sprawl separates urban poor people from jobs. 
  6. Sprawl imposes a tax on time.
  7. Sprawl degrades water and air quality. 
  8. Sprawl results in the permanent alteration and destruction of habitats. 
  9. Sprawl creates difficulty in maintaining community.
  10. Sprawl offers the promise of choice while only delivering more of the same. 

I'm a child of sprawl.  I've seen the effects of it.  I've personally experienced #3, #4, #6, #9, and #10.  Every smart person in this country needs to realize the effect of various policy and regulatory decisions and find a way to dig out of the mess we're in.  If not, sprawl will continue to hamper us more and more in the future. 

Is there a silver bullet to fixing the problem?  That's tough.  There is a temporary solution for some people:  live near your work, church, and family.  It will make your life more abundant when the places you go are close.  Just find a way to live near the places you frequently go. 

This list was created by James M. McElfish, Jr., Director, Sustainable Use of Land Program, Environmental Law Institute

April 22, 2007

Dual Flush Toilets, Nevada's Green Incentives, New York's Green Improvements, + William McDonough on Earth Day (WIR)

Week in Review
  1. If Your Toilet was Installed Before 1994, it probably Accounts for 40% of Household H2O...Dual Flush Toilets are Newest Way to Save Water
  2. Patagonia's LEED Gold Distribution Center Gets 50% Real Property Tax Abatement of Next 10 Years, Proves that Nevada is Only State to Offer Green Building Incentives.
  3. New York's Home Performance with Energy Star Program has invested $100 million to Improve the Energy Efficiency, Comfort, Health, and Safety of More than 13,600 Homes
  4. For Earth Day, William McDonough Asks us to Celebrate the Abundance of Solar Income and Commit to Cradle to Cradle Principles. 

April 21, 2007

Coca-Cola Flaunting the Business Case for Green Renovations

Drink Me! It looks like we can add Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO) to the list of companies that are trying to reduce the impact of business operations.  Today, the company announced a collaboration with Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute to realize reductions in water and energy consumption at Coca-Cola's 2M square-foot world headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia.  Under the collaboration, Coca-Cola will spend $3 million on energy-efficient lighting and air conditioning equipment, rainwater harvesting techniques, and advanced irrigation control systems.  What's the result? 

  • Savings of +$1 million in annual operating costs
  • Elimination of 10,000 metric carbon dioxide emissions each year (equal to removing 2,000 cars from the road)
  • 23% reduction in energy consumption
  • 15% reduction in water consumption

Back-of-the-envelope style, that's a three year payback.  Coca-Cola realizes it can't be frivolous with water, especially considering the fact that H20 is the main ingredient in the company's beverages.  Cola-Cola Energy and Climate Protection Manager Bryan Jacob talked about the green retrofits saying, "Since climate change will have a profound impact on freshwater resources, we are making water conservation - in our plants around the world and at our headquarters - a priority. The irrigation improvement projects at our Atlanta Office Complex will reduce the water used for landscaping by an estimated 75 percent.

I think Coca-Cola should be recognized for these efforts.  This is another example of the business case for green buildings.  Coca-Cola is going to save money on this deal.  It's the smart, business-savvy thing to do.  Now, our next step is to figure out how to reduce the worldwide consumption of caffeine.  :)  Via Coca-Cola + Atlanta Business Chronicle

April 20, 2007

5 Ways to Start Your Home's Green Remodel

Green_remodeling_david_johnston Let's face it, not everyone can go out there and build a new house to have a green home.  A lot of older homes will need to be renovated.  With green renovations, there's a sequence to what you do.  For example, if your home has poor insulation and leaks energy, putting solar panels on the roof shouldn't be your first step to greening the home.  You'd still be wasting too much energy and not getting much bang out the solar panels.  The following list is going to be fairly generic, but if you'd like to get more information on green rehabs, give David Johnston's book a look, he's the expert on green remodeling. 

  1. Purchase Energy Star - these days, appliances that don't have the Energy Star label probably don't sell, but you may have a lot of stuff lying around that hogs the energy.  Gradually think about replacing that stuff with Energy Star stuff. 
  2. Mind the Gaps - there's no reason to lose energy through cracks, gaps, and creases in your home.  In the summer, you'll lose cool air.  In the winter, you'll lose warm air.  Also, you're probably having to over-cool or over-heat your place depending on what's going on in the attic.  Insulation is good.  Caulking is good.  Weather-stripping is good.
  3. Do a Blow Test - what you're doing here is finding the air holes in a house and patching them up.  It's important to have the proper air tightness and the blower door test can help. 
  4. Watch Your Water - consider all the myriad of ways water is used and think about doing things differently.  If you're going to get a new toilet, you might as well get the dual-flush.  If you're remodeling, you might as well swap out the fixtures for new, low-flow fixtures.  Maybe a tankless water heater would be good, too. 
  5. Upgrade the Windows - this step may not be as important as minding the gaps or doing a blow test, but new windows change the feel of a home.  These days, windows can allow natural light and block heat gain, but you'll want to look for low-E coatings and double-paned windows. 

These five steps are going to help you save water and energy, but this is only one portion of the green home equation.  Later on, you might think about what you have inside your home and how that stuff affects indoor air quality.  Also, if you're doing any type of repair or rehabbing, you'll also want to work with sustainable materials.  Three prongs: resource efficiency, sustainable materials, and indoor air quality.  Via BusinessWeek; see also 5 Dumbest Renovation Fads
 

April 17, 2007

President Amy Gutmann, UPENN, + the Green Penn Connects Project

Penn Connects

Amy Gutmann, President of University of Pennsylvania since 2004, is leading the charge on a massive expansion of the University campus.  The Penn Connects project is a $1.94 billion development plan for a 24-acre parcel of land between the current campus and Schuylkill River.  Slated for completion by 2030, and with the early guidance of Sasaki, Penn will take that 24-acre, industrial zoned land and create a walkable, transit-oriented neighborhood with environmentally-friendly architecture, expansive green spaces, and lively walkways.  Penn Connects is about further integration, or connection, of the University with the community.

continue »

April 09, 2007

Skyscraper Sunday: LEED Platinum Banner Bank Building

Banner Bank Building

Well actually, it's more of a mid-rise, but 11 stories in Boise is about as skyscraper as it gets.  According to Gary Christensen, Christensen Corporation owner and Banner Bank Building developer, "we created a beautiful, high-performance building that's good for the environment.  And it didn't cost us any more to do it."  Specifically, the 195,000 sf, $25 million building was built to spec (ulation), so the ability to strike market-competitive lease deals was paramount on the project.  Also, on July 27, 2006, Banner Bank Building received the coveted LEED-CS Platinum certification, earning 49 out of a possible 62 points in the Core and Shell Development system.  In tangible savings, the building uses 65% less energy and 80% less water. 

The following is a list of some of the many green features built into the Banner Bank Building:  proximately situated near public transportation access; indoor bicycle storage and individual shower rooms; drought tolerant vegetation and automated irrigation system with motion sensors; state-of-the-art water reclamation system and conserving water fixtures, systems, and mechanical equipment; geothermal heat system and underfloor air distribution HVAC; 75%+ construction waste was separated, collected, and recycled; the building was constructed using locally sourced materials and 40%+ recycled content materials; zero- to low-VOC indoor finish materials; dimmable energy-efficient lighting; and a biodiesel fuel-powered backup generator. 

Extra Links:
+USGBC Project Profile LEED Facts
+HDR Project Summary Page
+Better Bricks Interview with Gary Christensen

         
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