All posts from Kristin Dispenza

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New Materials, Timeless Look

Banner Bank has been one of the leading institutions in Idaho to pursue LEED certification for its facilities. The Banner Bank Building itself, an 11-story art-deco structure in downtown Boise, received an LEED Platinum rating in 2006 and also won a 2007 Excellence in Design award from Environmental Design and Construction magazine. It gained national […]

March 25th

Metropolitan Home Goes Green

As green design becomes mainstream, it faces the challenge of having to appeal to an ever wider audience. To do so, it must adopt a diverse vocabulary, and not remain limited to — or associated with — a subculture. It is invaluable, then, when designers who are working to reinvent green are showcased in traditional […]

March 18th

Living Green in the 21st Century

In my post of February 26th, I looked at how builders and developers are tackling the challenge of building green for the residential market. A good case study from the Pacific Northwest is the company of Pryde + Johnson, whose Ashworth Cottages were the first homes in the state of Washington to achieve LEED for […]

March 11th

Learning from UniverCity

‘UniverCity‘ might sound like an imaginary place, a conceptual model confined to the framework of academia. It is, however, the name of a very real community located in Burnaby, British Columbia. UniverCity came into being through a 1995 agreement between Simon Fraser University and the Province of British Columbia, in which forested land owned by […]

March 4th

What Does it Mean to Build Green?

In an MSNBC article last year, it was projected that by 2010 half of all new homes will be built green, since homebuilders see a big benefit to their business from going green. In a nationwide survey conducted in 2007 by Professional Builder Magazine, builders reported that they believed energy efficiency to be somewhat or […]

February 26th

The Triple Bottom Line: A New Paradigm for Developers

Sustainability Victoria, in partnership with ICLEI/Local Governments for Sustainability Oceania, has been encouraging developers to work in accordance with the ICLEI’s Triple Bottom Line (TBL) Capacity Building Program. This program promotes a ‘bottom line’ that incorporates three measures for success: environmental, social, and financial. In 2004, the City of Victoria requested proposals to redevelop a […]

February 19th

Ideas for Energy-Efficient Home Building

For the past several years, the U.S. Department of Energy has been promoting the development of Zero Energy Homes (ZEHs). The DOE has put forth efforts that range from funding studies and partnering with private contractors to providing free building energy analysis software. By some estimates, over 2000 Zero Energy Homes have been built. Beginning […]

February 12th

Green Building Efforts in Alaska

The Pacific Northwest has a reputation for being progressive when it comes to green building, with Washington and Oregon setting the pace. But where does Alaska fit into the picture, and how do its green building efforts measure up? With regard to the LEED program, Washington and Oregon each have certified or registered projects numbering […]

February 5th

Global Recognition for High Point

The High Point neighborhood in Seattle, Washington — a mixed-use, mixed-income community that is seven miles from the space needle — has been winning national awards since its redevelopment began in 2003. At the end of 2007, it achieved worldwide recognition, receiving the Urban Land Institute’s 2007 Global Award for Excellence. Before its redevelopment, the […]

January 29th

Greenbuild 2007: On-the-Boards Competition Winners

This month I have spent some time looking at the Living Building Challenge and the related Greenbuild 2007 competition. On January 8th I discussed winning buildings that were recognized for their actual performance (defined as being operational for one year in a brochure posted on, but the competition recognized an equal number of unbuilt […]

January 22nd

A New Crop for American Farmers

Northwest cities do such an impressive job of leading urban America toward more planet-friendly living that it can be easy to overlook the region’s many rural landholders who are also paving the way to a greener future. Beginning January 27, Portland, Oregon will be hosting farmers, ranchers and other agricultural professionals at Harvesting Clean Energy’s […]

January 15th

Greenbuild 2007: Operational Building Winners

Last week’s post outlined the Living Building Challenge, established by the Cascadia Region Green Building Council. The Cascadia Region GBC, together with the U.S. GBC, hosted the Greenbuild 2007 Living Building Competition and six winners were announced in November. Awards were granted to two different types of projects: Operational and On the Boards. Operational buildings […]

January 8th

Moving Beyond LEED

The Cascadia Region Green Building Council (covering Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia) is already attempting to push beyond the LEED envelope by issuing its Living Building Challenge. This challenge sets a new standard for what it means to be green. Its icon is a vibrant orange flower, meant to suggest elegance and efficiency; the flower, […]

January 1st

Married with Children… in the City

Communities full of “McMansions” seem to be everywhere these days, and they have plenty of buyers standing at the ready. Many of these oversized suburban homes are considered starter homes, making it easy to forget that the majority of middle income Americans will never be able to afford such a house in their lifetime. This […]

December 25th

Is 'Paperless' Really so Green?

It seems that journalism has become a pretty green profession. Whether I am blogging or working for a more traditional media outlet, I can get almost any information I need simply by using the internet. So with a paperless home office, and no travel to speak of, just about the only ecological cost of doing […]

December 18th