Archive for August, 2010

Keyed Up For West Coast Green

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

wcgreenimagesEven though West Coast Green remains just a shade over a month away, we’re still keyed up about the event. With the continuing housing storm and distressed housing situation, many people have not been considering sustainable aspects to real estate.

We’re sure that will change. It may take a few years to re-convince people that Green building and innovation are not just for the good real estate times. Green building should be a staple and not just a temporary fad.

As for the show, we can’t wait to see sustainable rock stars like Bill McDonough of Cradle-to-Cradle fame who will deliver a 3-hour presentation about the tradition of Buckminster Fuller. Also, on our must see list will be the Innovation Pipeline which creates an “Exploratorium-like” exhibit with smart products that always to seem to wow us.

Don’t think that we won’t be looking out for any “greenwashers” as some companies seem to only promote the hype but provide nothing sustainable in the tank.

Leave No Trace Graffiti

Friday, August 20th, 2010

leave no traceWe took off for a few days hiking a long loop trail through Yosemite and the Ansel Adams Wilderness and we spotted one item along our multi-day hike that caused us to ponder. Check out the stone. On the backside of Koip Peak we spotted a rock with “Leave No Trace” carved into it.

How curious.  Is this irony? Would we carve Leave No Trace into a tree? Is the person who carved this creating natural graffiti or were they honestly trying to make a point about not leaving anything behind?

We think that people can make a better choice to spread the word about Leave No Trace then carving it on natural items. Like try a blog, dude.

Controversy About Huge Green Tiburon House

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

tiburon_gallery_09Across the Bay in Marin in Tiburon to be exact, a lot of rumblings continue to occur about a soon to be built Green House. A large, soon to be built Green house. 15,240 square feet of large to be exact making it one of the biggest in the county.

It brings up the question that we have debated before. Is it better to build a small “dirty” house or a large Green house? Seeing that Anders Swahn who wants to build this home runs a solar energy startup, we would think that he would get the whole idea of sustainability.

He plans to build the structure as carbon neutral with solar panels, geothermal heating and greywater recycling. It would be built to last for 200 years and, of course, would measure up to Marin County’s green building standards.

The problem that many neighbors have remains the size. Since when is a 15,000 square foot house sustainable. Unless 10 people live there. A lot of materials will be used to build it. No matter how much FSC certified lumber he uses it still would need copious amounts. We’re not even talking about the trees that will removed on the wooded bluff location in order to build the house (not to mention the 2000 sq ft guesthouse).

A more sustainable idea would be to buy another large home like the one for sale just down from the proposed site, a 10,944-square-foot estate, with 11 bedrooms and 10 baths that sits on the market for $37 million. He could add his Green bells and whistles to that estate and be more sustainable without sacrificing his need to live in a ginormous casa.

San Francisco’s Old U.S. Mint to Get a Shade Greener

Monday, August 2nd, 2010
San Francisco Mint

San Francisco Mint

For some builders and architects the challenge to even consider building Green from scratch remains daunting and monetarily off the radar but taking a structure like San Francisco’s Old U.S. Mint built in the 19th century and transforming it into a 21st century Green mixed-use cultural center would be even more challenging. San Francisco new goal is to create the most sustainability innovative National Historic Landmark in the United States. Like they say is Swingers, “That is so money.”

Back in the day, the US Mint used to print the green stuff now it will encompass Green thinking.

Some of the ideas that the building will incorporate include:
Natural Daylight – The redesign will include an alteration to the ground floor, which will allow daylight to reach the ground floor.
Natural Ventilation – Currently sealed windows will be redesigned to create natural ventilation.
Water Use – A new canopy drainage system will allow rainwater to be harvested, treated and stored for uses throughout the building. The water, among other benefits, will be used to feed vegetation on the roof.

Now if we can do something about the Bank Of Italy building.

Photo by Mike Hofmann