Untangling the Green Building Standards

Green Building LogosLEED-H. FGBC. Energy Star. HERS. Fortified Home. EarthCraft. These are all names of green building standards used around the country for homes. And now NAHB (National Association of Home Builders) is due to unveil its own Green Building Standard at the upcoming International Building Show in Orlando, Feb. 13-16.

What’s a prospective homeowner (or designer or builder) to make of this intellectual tangle? Upon reading each standard, others are referenced, but not uniformly. Energy Star, developed by the US Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency, is probably the most familiar brand to consumers, which they know from appliance shopping. But do they know that a house can be labeled Energy Star? Energy Star is possibly the most cited of the standards by the others – if you build a house that qualifies for Energy Star, you’re well on your way to many of the other ratings, but the obvious (and more to the point, useful) overlaps seem to end there.

No wonder people are confused. NAHB says that “Six of the 10 most popular education sessions so far are devoted to green issues as attendees continue to sign up for an introduction to the NAHB National Green Building Program, sessions on sustainable architecture and even ‘Green Building 101.'” – That’s great to hear – though I suspect that there’s going to be a market for those people who can figure out what is actually being asked for and can “certify” buildings. The public will want to know if House A is greener than House B, and why. After all, “green” is increasingly being understood as less expensive to own.

I wish I could explain, in a single blog post, what the various differences are amongst the systems. I’m afraid that task is more on the order of a book – and I find keeping up with them all to be worthy of full-time employment. I’m also not advocating for a single system – at least not yet. The climatic variations in this country alone demand a lot of any attempt to state best practices in one system. But I’m glad to welcome NAHB’s latest effort, and I look forward to reading it – and most of all, putting it into practice.

Stress-eating at Mi Tortilla

Redlands Daily Facts October 24, 2008 | Jesse B. Gill There are two kinds of work weeks – awesome work weeks and work weeks where I feel like setting my head on fire.

Let’s just say that this week, my wife has hid the matches in a pretty good spot in our apartment.

It’s during weeks like these when I do something that psychologists and head-shrinkers everywhere agree is a super great way to deal with stress – I overeat.

Come on, people. I know I’m not the only guy who can eat his weight in deep-fried chicken-fried steak So when I’m stressed out, I tend to want food that I’m comfortable with and that I know I enjoy. This includes BurritoQuest.

While I feel the ultimate stress food is Chipotle, I’ve already done a BurritoQuest on Chipotle. I also love Jose’s, because Jose’s is so awesome, I had them cater my wedding. (Editor’s note: He’s not kidding.) Unfortunately, I’ve already done a BurritoQuest on Jose’s, too. And, since I waited until Wednesday to go out to eat for this week’s burrito article, I was left with precious few options.

Then, a realization snapped into sharp focus as my boundless intellect.

For those who might not have the finger on the pulse of the burrito world like I do, Mi Tortilla was started by the same company that started Jose’s. Surprisingly, the company is owned by a guy named Schlomo Bergstein, I think. (Editor’s note: Umm … no. His name is actually Jose Jara.) The thing that separates Jose’s from Mi Tortilla is that Jose’s is meant to reflect the food and culture of Zacatecas, Mexico (Editor’s note: where Jara is from) Mi Tortilla is supposed to reflect the food and culture of Coastal Mexico (Editor’s note: Where Jara’s wife, Martha, is from). Despite the differences, the two restaurants are very similar in one key area: awesomeness. here carne asada marinade this web site carne asada marinade

So, by eating at Mi Tortilla, it’s almost just like it would be if I were eating at Jose’s, but I still get to review a new place.

So on Wednesday night, on my way home from work, I stopped by Mi Tortilla in Citrus Plaza. I had the Carne Asada Chipotle Burrito, which featured beans, rice, some fancy-pants Chipotle sauce and, you guessed it, carne asada. In case you were wondering, carne asada is the Mexican term for “the bee’s knees.” I ordered the burrito enchilada style, which entitled me to some awesome red sauce and a bunch of melted cheese on top. Because, after all, I was stress-eating, and what’s rule number one in the stress-eating handbook? Always pay for the extras. And far be it from me to defy the rules. (Editor’s note: Interesting, since you defy us like every single day.) The burrito was fantastic, to say the least, but of course I already knew it would be since I’ve benefitted from Mi Tortilla’s cornucopia of awesomeness in the past. My only problem was that when I was finished, I was uncomfortably full and still stressed out. But that wasn’t any fault of the restaurant’s. Rule No. 2 in the stress- eating handbook? It doesn’t matter how much you eat, you’re still going to be stressed out afterwards.

Mi Tortilla is what I like to call a mid-range priced burrito joint. You have your low-priced burritos, which can be found in the finest hole-in-the wall places, which I love. Those will usually run you from four to five bucks a piece. Then you have your high-priced burritos from fancy, high-fallutin’ places that fill them with Winnebago furniture. Those can run you anywhere from $14 a piece to selling your firstborn child into a future of indentured servitude. At a place like Mi Tortilla, you’re going to pay anywhere between six and 10 bucks for your meal, but it’s worth it because their food is pretty high-quality. Also, if your burrito doesn’t fill you up, you can go nuts on the free chips and salsa.

So stressed out or not, Mi Tortilla is a great place to enjoy a burrito. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some deadlines to miss. (Editor’s note: speaking of which, this story is late ) Mi Tortilla is at 27510 Lugonia Ave. in Redlands.

Jesse B. Gill


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