News

GreenBuildingTalk: Energy Efficient Appliances

Editor’s note: With energy prices on the rise, efficiency has to be a key element of any new appliance purchase. Our friends at GreenBuildingTalk have the low down on several new products for your home that use energy more wisely… and keep those utility bills low. This post was originally published on May 6, 2008. Consumers are demanding more energy efficient and environmentally beneficial appliances for their homes. Take a look at how several companies are meeting those demands. Appliances…

Read More

Certified Green Broker: Helping Buyers Find Green Buildings

Many of my recent posts have touched upon the theme that the building industry cannot accomplish major advances in sustainability by itself; first its market must change. But there is ample evidence that consumers are now driving a change in the market. The USGBC website has printed a report by CoStar Group which has found “that sustainable “green” buildings outperform their peer non-green assets in key areas such as occupancy, sale price and rental rates, sometimes by wide margins…. The…

Read More

Book Review: Off the Grid Homes – Case Studies for Sustainable Living

Off the Grid Homes combines beautiful images with technical information for sustainable homes. The book by architect Lori Ryker is less of a manual for systems to be used in off the grid homes (though it does include good information about the systems and strategies that are used in sustainable off the grid living) and more of a showcase of state of the art homes at the intersection of appealing architecture and high sustainability. For many, the phrase “off the…

Read More

Touchless Faucets for the Home?

Seemingly relegated to airport and stadium bathrooms, touchless faucets are starting to make their way into homes, with plumbing manufacturers moving to offer more design options.  It’s an idea that may seem strange at first, but touchless faucets are actually quite practical, especially for a children’s bathroom.  They are clearly beneficial in that they limit the spread of bacteria, but they also save water.  Consider how much water is wasted while brushing teeth.  A touchless faucet ensures that water isn’t running…

Read More

Low Impact Living: Green Your Kitchen

Editor’s note: Thinking about a kitchen remodel? This week, Low Impact Living takes a look at every element of kitchen use, and how you can both make the space more efficient, more livable, and more earth-friendly. This post was originally published on September 7, 2007. You may not know it, but your kitchen is one of the biggest resource hogs in your house. You use electricity and natural gas for your appliances. You use water in your sink and dish…

Read More

It’s Time to Rethink Tub Sizes

As I mentioned in my KBIS Report, I was struck by the sizes of bathtubs on display at this year’s kitchen and bath trade show. Though green was king thoughout most of the convention, companies that pitch themselves as catering to a luxury market seem to be sending the message that if you have enough money to waste water in giant bathtubs, then they’d be happy to sell you some, as if money absolves you of any kind of environmental…

Read More

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 forms, often several operations, all taking great amounts of energy. The choices that go into selecting building materials have long range ramifications in a number…

Read More

Earth Day Movie Premiere: The Greening of Southie

On Tuesday, April 22, the Sundance Channel will present as part of their The Green series “The Greening of Southie,” a documentary on the construction of Boston’s first green residential building, the Macallan, which is seeking a LEED gold rating. If the idea of watching a documentary on the construction of a condo building doesn’t sound too exciting to you, I cannot recommend this film enough to anyone who is or wants to be a part of green building. It…

Read More

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 a list of cities with the most LEED certified buildings, surpassing even cities such as Chicago, San Francisco, New York. Grand Rapids also has embraced…

Read More

KBIS Report: It’s Getting Green in Here

As I walked around last year’s Kitchen and Bath Industry Show in Las Vegas, I asked where I could find the green products. I was encouraged to put on my walking shoes and make the trek to a minor hall where I found about twenty square feet devoted to five or six products that left little impression on me. Much has changed, it seems, in only one year. Green is the buzzword at this year’s show, helped in no small…

Read More

Aerogel Insulation Advances

Aerogel is almost a product out of science fiction. Nicknamed “frozen smoke,” aerogel is extremely lightweight material, with a density only 3 times that of air. Only a small fraction of a volume of aerogel is the material itself. Most of the volume is filled with air. This makes aerogel an excellent insulator. (Aerogel provides nearly 40 times the insulation of fiberglass insulation.) Aerogel can withstand great pressures and is also an excellent sound insulator. Aerogels can also be used…

Read More

USGBC and ASID Launch REGREEN: Green Remodeling Guidelines

Under the FAQs for LEED for Homes is a question on whether the US Green Building Council has a LEED program for remodeling. The response is that they are “in active consideration.” It seems they’ve done more than just consider. Last month at the Interiors 08 conference in New Orleans, the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) unveiled REGREEN, a joint program with the USGBC to provide guidelines for remodeling green. REGREEN will target residential designers, construction professionals, and homeowners.…

Read More

Green Counter Culture

If you attended the Greenbuild conference in Chicago last November, you would have been hard pressed to find a green cabinet manufacturer among the exhibitors – but you couldn’t turn around without bumping into a new type of green countertop. They nearly outnumbered the waterless urinals. Over the past couple of decades, countertops have evolved from tried-and-true laminate to bold new materials and colors of every taste and budget. It’s not surprising to see the creativity of new countertops go…

Read More

Ban on Garbage Disposals? Really?

In a move that had many residents bewildered, the Raleigh, North Carolina, city council voted to ban garbage disposals in all new construction and to prohibit residents from replacing broken garbage disposals. The ordinance, which took effect this week, has its roots in over 100 large sewage spillovers in the last three years within the city of Raleigh. The cost of such cleanups and the threatened fines from state agencies forced the council to implement the ban. What’s the connection…

Read More

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 publications that reach a broad readership. In April, Metropolitan Home is introducing its first entirely green issue. One of the feature stories, “Sustainable in Seattle,”…

Read More

Super-Insulating Vacuum Glass

In terms of energy efficiency, windows are one of the biggest contributors to heat loss from buildings. However, a new window technology being developed by Guardian Industries could allow for windows that can provide insulation values comparable to a standard insulated 2×4 stud wall, with a new double-pane glass and a vacuum between the panes. A thermos keeps hot beverages hot and cold beverages cold by separating the contents from the outside world with a vacuum. Heat is conducted by…

Read More

Green Cabinets: When Wood is Good

So you’re building or remodeling green, and you’re trying to decide what to do about the cabinets. Scanning the requirements for various green building programs, you seem to have two choices. First, you can try to find cabinets made with Forest Stewardship Council certified wood from companies like Neil Kelly Cabinets. But if the company is not local, the packaging and shipping of these products may cut into their green-ness. Or you could try out agrifiber based cabinets, like Humabuilt…

Read More

Book & DVD Review: Building with Awareness

Building with Awareness is an interesting package loaded with information. It is a DVD with an accompanying book (or a book that comes with a DVD included, depending upon how you look at it). The two nicely complement one another in a fairly unique way. The story contained in the DVD documents the construction of the author’s own small (800 sq. ft.) home built in Albuquerque, NM. The book goes into more detail about the solutions and approaches that are…

Read More
×