News

How Green Are the Beijing Olympics Buildings?

The 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing are supposed to be the greenest yet. There has been some coverage on television, and despite all the attempts to clean things up beforehand and to limit especially the air pollution during the games, pictures from the city show it still in many ways to be a smoggy, grimy place. It’s not wholly bad, however. The buildings constructed for some of the competitions are architecturally striking, and they seem to be a functional success,…

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Hansgrohe to Bring Simple, Compact Grey Water System to U.S.

Already a leader in water and energy conservation in bathroom fixtures, Hansgrohe is preparing to bring to the United States the Silent and odor-free, the Pontos Aquacycle uses a four chamber system to filter the bath or shower water into clean, usable water: two main recycling chambers, a sediment disposal chamber, and a UV-sterilization chmaber.   No date has been set for the US release of the Pontos Aquacycle, but I’ve been told that Hansgrohe is targeting 2009.

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Structural Bamboo

The newest structural element has been used in Asia for years. Now it is tested and certified for use in the western world. It can be grown and harvested in three years, and is actually good for the environment. But, will it catch on?

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The Costs of Not Building Green

Despite the narrowing gap in cost between green building and traditional “to-code” building, most builders and home buyers still perceive the green option to be significantly more expensive.  The reality is that due to increased builder education and an influx of affordable green building products, a building can be built green within the same budget as a non-green building.  According to Clark Wilson, CEO of Austin based Green Builders, Inc., “It’s our job as builders to find those green products…

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Shaver Green Building to Offer Sustainable Workforce Housing

“Workforce housing” is a term being heard more and more, used place of the more familiar “affordable housing”. It differentiates between housing that is intended to accommodate people from the lowest income brackets, and housing for the lower middle class, people who have steady employment but have been priced out of the housing market in many areas. According to Wikipedia, workforce housing has four defining elements: Affordability Home Ownership Key Workforce (in other words, composed of critical members of a community’s workforce…

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Low Impact Living: My Solar Hot Water Experience

Editor’s note: this piece has been contributed by guest blogger Kevin Hughes. Kevin was generous enough to share his own experience with installing a solar hot water system on his home. Thank you, Kevin! I live in Los Angeles and I prefer the ugly one! Please don’t get me wrong, my wife is very beautiful, but when it comes to solar power, I prefer the ugly one. Let me explain, for the past few years there has been huge interest…

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Build Your Ultimate Green Kitchen

A few weeks ago I offered my thoughts on green kitchens on a budget.  Today, I want to focus on making your new kitchen as green as possible, without regard for cost.  Remember, often the greenest options is to keep your current kitchen; many choose to repaint their cabinets with non-VOC paint or to tackle DIY cabinet projects.  This article is for those building a whole new kitchen or are remodeling from the ground up.  It’s up to you to…

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Low Impact Living: Green Prefab — Everyone’s into Modular Homes

Editor’s note: Modular (or prefabricated) housing is hot, and our friends at Low Impact Living have the lowdown on some of the companies driving this trend. This post was originally published on Thursday, June 12, 2008. It seems everyone is “going modular” these days with the rapid growth in the movement of green prefab design and construction. The buzz in modular construction is causing a rush of new designs, innovative products, and advanced modular systems being introduced. The goal of…

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Cities Need to Offer Incentives for Building Green Roofs

The Top Ten Cities for Green Roof Installations In April, the not-for-profit industry association Green Roofs for Healthy Cities released its 2007 lists of the Top Ten Cities for Green Roof Installations. The Top Ten cities in the U.S. are as follows: Chicago IL Wilmington DE Baltimore MD Brooklyn NY Virginia Beach VA Royersford PA Washington DC Philadelphia PA Amery WI For lists of 2007’s top ten cities in North America and Canada, see the Final Report of the Green…

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GreenBuildingTalk: Serious Green Drywall

Editor’s note: Drywall isn’t the sexiest of subjects, but, as our friends at GreenBuildingTalk note, it’s the most used interior building material out there… and also has a substantial environmental footprint. Serious Materials new EcoRock product is attracting attention among a number of audiences… including investors. This post was originally published on Wednesday, June 4, 2008. Serious Materials, an indoor building material manufacturer, successfully raised an impressive $50 million in late 2007 to support its efforts in bringing it’s new…

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Green Builders, Inc. Bringing Green Homes to the Masses

Austin, Texas builder Clark Wilson has been in the homebuilding industry for over twenty five years, serving as president of Doyle Wilson Homebuilder, Inc. and then as CEO of Clark Wilson Homes, Inc. before retiring in 2002. Eager to get back into home building and aware of the growing demand for green homes, Mr. Wilson took over a small company named Green Builders, Inc. in 2007 with the goal of turning it into the largest builder and developer of green…

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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 water table, but stays on the surface and has to be managed in some fashion to keep the streets and buildings from flooding. Low water…

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Programmable Thermostats Save Money and Energy – EPA Shows You How

As part of their year-long “Change the World, Start with ENERGY STAR” campaign, EPA has launched a website to help you save money and and energy with your programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat properly programmed and used can reduce 1,847 lbs of green house gas emissions a year. According to the EPA, maximizing household energy use through serviced heating and cooling systems, leak-less ducts, and thermostats that are programmed to save energy at night or when residents are away, would…

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Low Impact Living: Save Water with the Rainwater Pillow

Editor’s note: Just like our friends at Low Impact Living, we’ve got passion for saving water… so we were very happy to see this post about a new technology for homeowners interested in doing just that! LIL writer Jason Pelletier originally published this post on Wednesday, May 28, 2008. I’m often pleasantly surprised at how much interest and passion you (our visitors) display for water-saving technologies. Renewable energy is sexy, and eco-friendly cars are top-of-mind for most people these days,…

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Rastra or Durisol? Eco-Alternatives for Construction

Let me first preface this post with the following: I’m not a construction professional. I’m just a curious homeowner seeking out the best building materials for my home. With that said, I was familiar with three options in residential construction – concrete block, wood frame or the super green alternative, rammed earth. Turns out there are new options that combine the wonderful qualities of Portland cement with recycled post-consumer plastics (Rastra) or recycled wood fibers (Durisol).

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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 of the heat in that water simply goes down the drain. Reportedly, 80 to 90 percent of the energy used to heat water for the…

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GreenBuildingTalk: Save Money on Your Heating and Cooling Bill with Geothermal

Editor’s note: While we’ve discussed home geothermal systems a number of times around the Green Options Media network (see the list at the bottom), we’re glad to bring you today’s post from GreenBuildingTalk on the subject. They not only provide an overview of the technology, but point you to some cutting-edge models of geothermal heat pumps. This post was originally published on Thursday, May 15, 2008. With energy costs on the rise, homeowners are looking for ways to offset higher…

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The Casey: A High-Rise Condominium Earns LEED-Platinum

In addition to being the first high-rise condominium in the country to achieve a LEED-Platinum rating, The Casey represents a partnership between the building’s developers, designers, and the local arts community. In 2000, Gerding Edlen Development selected GBD Architects to renovate 5 blocks of historic brewery buildings located in a former industrial area of Portland, Oregon known as the Pearl District. The success of the Brewery Blocks project sparked a rebirth of the neighborhood; in 2005, The Sierra Club recognized…

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