All posts from Philip Proefrock

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Community Solar Power

A community in Canada has an unusual form of solar power that can provide over 90% of the annual heating and hot water needs for the homes, despite being situated in a cold Alberta location where winter temperatures can reach -33 degrees C (-27 F). The Drake Landing Solar Community collects solar energy in a […]

June 27th

Small Homes Banned

Smaller homes are more energy efficient generally, and consume fewer resources for their construction. In the United States, the average house size has been skyrocketing in the past few decades from 983 square feet in 1950 to almost 2,350 square feet in 2004. Smaller buildings are potentially more affordable, are better suited to livable neighborhoods, […]

June 17th

Solar Power and RVs

How does driving an unsustainable fuel hog around contribute to the adoption of solar power? While some purists might point out that RVs are great fuel hogs and a waste of energy, nevertheless, they do offer an educational opportunity to help spread the acceptance and familiarity with solar power.

June 11th

LEED Double Platinum for Construction Offices

The headquarters of a construction firm in Michigan has the distinction of being the first building to achieve LEED “double platinum” certification. What is more, according to the company, the cost of construction was no greater than conventional building practices. The Christman Construction offices in Lansing MI occupy roughly half of the 64,000 square foot […]

June 9th

Permeable Pavers Protect Water Quality

Stormwater management is an urban logistical requirement. Rainwater and the water from melting snow have to be dealt with. When plants and soil, which absorb water from rain and snow are replaced with buildings, roads, and other impervious materials, the water from a storm no longer goes into the ground where it can recharge the […]

June 6th

Alliance Between USGBC and AIA

There has been a lot of news out of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in the last few weeks, including the draft version of the new LEED standard. But an alliance between the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and USGBC will help bring green building even further into the mainstream.

June 6th

Automatically Preheat Water to Save Energy

Usually when we are talking about plumbing fixtures for green building we are dealing with something that conserves water. But some plumbing devices can contribute to energy savings, as well. When you are in the shower, the hot water from the shower strikes your body and transfers some heat before it falls away. But most […]

May 29th

LEED Version 3 Is Coming

Since 2000, the U.S. Green Building Council has been transforming the built environment through the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program. If you’re at all paying attention to green buildings, you are well aware of LEED. There are now over 10,000 projects, representing over 3.5 billion square feet of buildings, that have been […]

May 19th

Green Architecture Versus Great Architecture

Last week, in writing about this year’s AIA Committe on the Environment’s COTE Top Ten winners, representing the best “examples of sustainable architecture and green design solutions that protect and enhance the environment,” I asked “Are COTE Winners Too Much of the Same?” While I am certain I’m not alone in that viewpoint, I’ve come […]

Are COTE Winners Too Much of the Same?

The winners of this year’s AIA Committee on the Environment (COTE) Top Ten Green Buildings were announced this week, and there certainly are some very attractive buildings among the lot. Some of these buildings are certified, or in the process of becoming certified, to high LEED standards, in addition to their COTE Top Ten recognition. […]

Earth Day: Elements of Building

Tuesday, April 22 is Earth Day, and we thought that a couple special posts would be appropriate on this date.  Building has an enormous impact on the Earth, and green building offers the opportunity to lessen or eliminate many of those effects. Today, in a series of articles titled Elements of Building, we take a […]

April 22nd

Elements of Building: Materials

At the heart of all building projects are the materials, the stuff, the bricks and sticks, the elements that are assembled to build a building. Different materials have different impacts on the Earth. Some require extensive resources for their manufacture. Steel and other metals need to be refined from ore and processed into their final […]

April 22nd

Elements of Building: Energy

Buildings, according to calculations done by Architecture 2030, are responsible for nearly half of the total energy consumption in the United States. And 76 percent of the electricity generated in this country goes to the Building Sector. So while there are a range of steps that need to be taken in moving toward a more […]

April 22nd

Grand Rapids Has the First LEED Museum

Grand Rapids, Michigan is one of the greenest cities in the country, at least if you go by the number of LEED certified buildings it has. And now it adds to its distinction with the first LEED Gold certified art museum in the country. Grand Rapids is tied with Pittsburgh and Washington at #5 on […]

April 15th