Monday, June 21st, 2010
The Northland Pines LEED appeal (a complete history is available here) and the Deepwater Horizon spill illustrate an inherent problem in any regulatory system–there will always be people who are looking to avoid regulation and commit fraud, and there will always be regulators looking to protect the status quo of regulations.
Many people have called for the abandonment, execution and other stringing up of the LEED system because there are flaws, perhaps including the ones identified in the Northland Pines appeal. Just in the past few weeks, in addition to Northland Pines, we have seen criticism of the USGBC for its wood credits and its alleged failure to take into consideration human health issues. Frank Gehry, from his vaunted position as one of the world’s most famous architects, has fired his own shots at the LEED system, saying:
Monday, June 21st, 2010
Greening America’s Capitals is a project of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities between EPA, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to help state capitals develop an implementable vision of distinctive, environmentally friendly neighborhoods that incorporate innovative green building and green infrastructure strategies. This program will assist three to four communities per year, with the first projects beginning in the fall of 2010. (more…)
Friday, June 11th, 2010
In the past few weeks, the Northland Pines Third Party LEED challenge has exploded, the Washington Building Industry Association sued the State of Washington to enjoin their energy code from taking effect, and a private lawsuit which could potentially turn into green litigation emerged onto the scene. In other words, the wave of green litigation which I first predicted back in 2007 has arrived. (more…)
Thursday, June 10th, 2010
An abundance of technology upgrades offer ways to reduce energy use in commercial facilities.
Trimming energy consumption in commercial buildings is an objective in the campaign to curb fossil fuel use and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that is attainable by upgrading mechanical systems with improved technologies.
There are choices for reducing energy use in almost all functional areas of a commercial facility, according to energy expert David Wylie, vice president of ASW Engineering Management Consultants of Tustin, Calif., “as long as owners are willing to look beyond initial costs to see the long-term gains in lower utility costs, less downtime and increased building equity.”
Wylie outlined the latest developments in technologies for commercial building energy efficiency in seven broad categories during a daylong workshop held at the California Center for Sustainable Energy in San Diego, Calif. (more…)
Monday, June 7th, 2010
Last week, I posted about why the case, Gidumal v. Site 16/17 Development LLC was not green litigation. In short, the case incorporates allegations regarding the green components of the project as support for its regular construction claims, not for failure to acheive green requirements. It got me to thinking–what would legitimate claims regarding green construction defects look like? To some extent, it depends on who the parties are and what damages they are looking to require. (more…)
Tuesday, May 25th, 2010
“Gavin and I both really wanted to be entrepreneurs. We felt like that was a great way to make an impact in the world. Making the jump was a little scary though. Gavin and I both had jobs lined up. He went to the National Laboratory designing super colliders and I was working on humanitarian de-mining vehicles. I actually quit my job on the first day when I got there to start work on this. Gavin did the same a few weeks later!” -– Eben Bayer, CEO, Ecovative Design
KissMyCountry interviewed Eben Bayer, CEO of Ecovative Design. A green building company that is developing alternatives to synthetic materials. Eben talks about starting the company with his co-founder and Chief Scientist, Gavin McIntyre, goals for the future, and their most recent media hit — a mention on “CSI New York.”
KissMyCountry: Eben, Ecovative Design is coming out with some exciting products. First, tell us about EcoCradle natural packaging – what it is, how it saves the planet and why it’s a breakthrough product.
Friday, May 21st, 2010
The practice of “commissioning,” in which an engineer monitors the efficiency of a building from its design through its initial operation, just may be the most effective strategy for reducing long-term energy usage, costs, and greenhouse gas emissions from buildings. So why is it so seldom used?
In a different world, it could be a reality television show — “Buildings On Trial,” with a street-savvy engineer going into skyscrapers, factories, offices and other commercial buildings to find the dumb mistakes that make them waste energy and produce a disproportionate share of the nation’s global warming emissions.
And in almost every case, even new buildings proudly displaying a LEED “green building” plaque by the front door, the engineer would come back out with a list of energy hog culprits: Here’s the ventilation system fan installed backwards, so it blows full force into another fan blowing in the right direction. Here’s the control system set up so heating and cooling systems both work at once, like driving with your feet on the brakes and the accelerator at the same time. Here are the stuck dampers that prevent the building from drawing on outside air when the temperature is right.
Tuesday, May 18th, 2010
With more than 16,000 retail locations around the world, Starbucks continues to innovate and evolve the customer experience with a new store design approach inspired by Starbucks Shared Planet, their commitment to ethical sourcing, environmental stewardship and community involvement. With each new or renovated store, Starbucks strives to reflect the character of the surrounding neighborhood, allowing customers to feel at home when visiting “their” store and giving them opportunities for discovery at our other locations around the world.
For the last 15 years, the Starbucks coffeehouse at 72 Spring Street in New York City has been a gathering place for local patrons and international visitors alike. The renovated location draws upon the area’s commercial and retail history as well as its vibrant arts and cultural renaissance over the past several decades. The Spring Street store blends the aesthetics of a turn-of-the-century dry goods warehouse with the original iconic mercantile-inspired Starbucks location at the Pike Place Market in Seattle. (more…)
Monday, May 17th, 2010
Rep. Ed Perlmutter, Secretary of HUD Shaun Donovan and Denver Mayor Hickenlooper, Benedict Park Place housing development in Denver.
I believe that when you set out to look for a home, you aren’t just looking for a house, but you are also looking for a community. You are thinking about access to quality schools and safe streets for your children. You are thinking about transportation to work and school. It’s important for you to have access to good jobs, grocery stores and transportation. When you choose a home, you choose a community and all that is has to offer. As a father, I understand how important it is to spend less time commuting and more time with family.
Through the U.S. Housing and Urban Development department’s Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities, we are working with the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency to create those sustainable communities. Guided by six “livability principles,” our Interagency Partnership is working to break down silos that traditionally exist in the federal government and help local communities across the country improve access to affordable housing, more transportation options, and lower transportation costs, while protecting our environment. It will help communities build more livable, walkable, environmentally sustainable regions by connecting housing to jobs, fostering and encouraging local innovation, and by building a clean energy economy. (more…)
Monday, May 17th, 2010
Solar energy has been around for decades, but its popularity has grown by leaps and bounds over the last few years. Solar power is popping up in more and more conversations, in news articles and on the Web. The popularity of renewable energy is reminiscent of the dot-com boom of the late 1990s.
The major difference between the dot-com and renewable energy booms is that there’s a lot more value spread across the renewable energy field. There are fewer “flash in the pan” operators, if you will. That doesn’t mean that the solar sector doesn’t have its share of flakes, but it just doesn’t have as many.
What strategies for picking a solar energy installer will help you weed through the pretenders and find the right one? First, there are many installers out there who are starting out. They may not have a huge body of work, but they are very well educated on the science and design of solar. These installers are not to be discounted. (more…)