The world largest conference and expo dedicated to green building, GreenBuild 2011 started with an opening plenary at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada. Some of the guest speaker included, NY Times reporter and Pulitzer Prize-winner, Thomas Friedman, who spoke about the necessity of green revolution. Friedman recalls the year of 1979 as the year on path of consumption and the 2008 Economic crisis as the wake-up call of the downward spiral we the world have created. Ending with a call to action, Friedman said, "The challenge we have today is that we must become the regeneration."
Greenbuild NEXT focuses on what's next and with this in mind, I went to the exhibition hall to meet with the companies to discuss what they are doing to take their company to the next level in their sustainability effort. I found most of the companies focused on waste product and how to minimize that waste stream to the best of their ability. The hypothetical question, 'How do we recycle or reuse what no longer works for us?' seems to be the question everyone is asking.
I arrived in Toronto, Canada this afternoon for Greenbuild 2011 called Greenbuild NEXT. This is the first time the biggest green building expo/conference is held outside the United States. Although the conferences has started today, I will not do a full coverage of the expo until tomorrow. As I took the public transpo to my hotel, (great public system Toronto, Love how easily accessible and simple the transit network is for passengers) I noticed te recycling bins everywhere including the…
I have developed a natural aversion to plastics over the years. They are unsightly, everlasting and a hazard to the environment and our fragile eco-system. However, their insidious existence seems unavoidable at times. No matter how much I try to minimize our family’s dependence on it, the plastics find a way back into our home.
So How do we really combat this plastic conumdrum?
The obvious choice would seem that it would have to come from the policy makers and ban them outright. However, with the plastic industry peddling the plastics the way tobacco makers did in the early 90s; the plastics are here to stay. According to Grist, the only solution to the plastic conundrum is prevention-not using them at all; however plastic industry does not look favorably upon that outcome.
We all know the story of the three little pigs. The first pig who made his house made with straws got eaten by the big bad wolf. However, for homeowners and builders, homes built with straw bales may have redeeming qualities of being energy-efficient and cost-effective. It has become such an attractive green building material that even the UK government believe it has the potential to bale out the economic crisis felt even abroad.
“A typical straw bale wall is roughly three times as efficient as conventional framing,” says Andrew Morrison, owner of Straw Bale Innovations. “Over the life of a typical thirty year mortgage, this superior insulation can reduce energy costs by up to 75%, saving money and vital natural resources.”
Earth Advantage and Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) have teamed up to provide a free online course on how to reduce home energy use by 15 to 20 percent by a placement method of keeping all ducting within the conditioned space of new homes. A self-paced online course geared toward industry professionals, the self-paced tutorials, “Ducts Inside” teaches builders, designers, heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) professionals a new energy-efficient method that can save energy and home heating and cooling costs.
Cake decided to use renewable energy source to produce their sixth album, “Showroom of Compassion” which debuted at number one on the Billboard Top 200. The band installed 13 photovoltaic solar roofs on top of their recording studio in Sacremento, Calif.
“We hired a company with great experience and competence, Borrego Solar, and they set us up with a way to break away from our dependence on the city’s energy grid,” said members of the band, “Working on a new album, we feel satisfaction in the common denominator of together embracing the unlimited resource of the sun.”
With two major quintessential U.S. holidays coming up which are all about outdoor grilling, parties and family gatherings; I sought a sustainable alternative to those dreaded plastic utensils and paper plate products. There remains a sweet compromise of sustainability with guilt-free entertaining with Susty Party Products. Founded by Emily Doubilet, a NYC native and an environmental consultant, Susty Party provides chic and compostable party products which include utensils, plates, cups and napkins.
Brian Liloia, a former Green Building Elements writer and a resident of the Eco-village, The Dancing Rabbit, recently self-published his first book, “The of Year of Mud: Building a Cob House”. The books is available through Blurb for purchase on their website. Brian based the book on his experience of building a first cob house at the Dancing Rabbit
Tragedy in Japan reminds us the vulnerability we face as our dependence on Energy comes into conflict with the Environment and technology advances we have yet to understand. Our full reliance on natural resources causes depletion of the same resources which causes us to seek different energy sources.
For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) was created over 20 years ago by inventor, Dean Kamen to encourage future generations of children to explore technology and science. To sustain this project, FIRST sells Green “E-Watt Saver” LED lightbulbs that are consumer and home friendly.
The Truro Home in Cape Cod is a stunning combination of modern architecture that works in harmony with nature rather than against it. Environmentally conscious as well as energy-efficient, the Truro home takes full advantage of the west facing view of the ocean.
Couple of students at University of Calgary, namely Kimberly Bowal, Michael Herrmann, Christopher Bowal created a video on sustainablity for TD Go Green Challenge. They are striving to win the TD Go Green Challenge. The team that wins earns their home university $100,000 to implement the sustainablity measures outlined in their video. So help out a good cause with your vote by taking a look at their video submission and voting.
WellHome has created a self online assessment of energy audit and at the end of that assessment, each participant will be entered in a contest that has a reward the winner in energy-efficient improvements and renovations valued up to $2500.
Back in my early 20's, when I used to live in the city (that's what New Yorkers call Manhattan); I had a brief stint at the Mercer Kitchen as a hostess. Besides their impeccably delicious and perfectly prepared food, I always loved the interior design of this iconic hotel, especially the floating stair case. Designed by Parisian designer, Christian Liaigre, This all revealing sub floating staircase was what started my love for modern zen architecture and passion for beautiful builds.
Green Building 101: Choosing a Budget for Sustainable Renovations and How the Energy-Efficient Buildings Pays for Itself
Whether you are building on a shoestring or have an abundance to spend on the green design home of your dreams; We must all have a budget for sustainable building and renovation expenses planned out before the real work begins. Some of the questions you must ask before starting the green building project is how are you going to pay for it all? Another important question that potential builders and home owners must consider is the federal tax breaks and incentives for green building and remodeling.
Ever wondered what it felt like to live in a truly sustainable community? Wonder no more, because Dancing Rabbit, an Ecovillage based in northeastern Missiouri can be a life changing experience for anyone who’s willing to learn, live and work under their Eco-minded philosophy.