Posts Tagged ‘Green Building’

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.

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

CCSF Joint Use Facility To Go Platinum LEED

Monday, June 21st, 2010

ccsf-joint-use_extWe thought that the whole college system was broke, so where the heck will the get the green to build this sustainability built joint use building on the rapidly improving CCSF campus? Maybe they will have giant vegan cookie sale over the next few years.

It’s not that we aren’t ecstatic to see the campus using sustainable deign practices be having architect Peter Pfau shoot for a LEED Platinum rating. Some of the sustainable elements will include natural ventilation, a green roof, radiant flooring, a geothermal central plant, abundant daylight, durable and easy to maintain materials, well designed shading for west-facing façade, and post consumer/green materials. Notice the lack of big-ticket items? Just because a building shoots for a LEED Platinum rating doesn’t mean that the budget needs to unsustainable.

When the new three story facility opens we’re sure that the students and facility will be give the building high marks for indoor air quality and the overall healthy study conditions.  It makes us want to go back to school.

Laguna Honda Hospital Will Mark the First Green-Certified Hospital in California

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

laguna_honda_hospitalWith the downturn in overall new building, more sustainable efforts have seemingly fallen by the wayside. We’re glad to see that some projects have not totally disappeared. On June 26, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom will cut the ribbon on San Francisco’s new Laguna Honda Hospital and Rehabilitation Center, which will mark the first green-certified hospital in California.

Especially with energy still on everyone’s radar, the new technology in the hospital’s three new buildings will focus on energy and water savings. The buildings will use 30% less energy than statutory requirements, have Energy Star rated roofs which keep the buildings cooler on hot days and reduce energy use, and they have “closed-loop” air conditioning systems, meaning the system uses water for cooling is reused rather than wasted. Although do they really need AC in San Francisco?

Because this is a hospital, designers and builders people actually gave a nod to indoor air quality with use of low or zero VOC paints, wood, glues, and flooring materials in the new buildings. Reducing the highly toxic VOC’s, and other indoor air contaminants will only improve indoor health for Laguna Honda residents and staff.

With this green thinking, finally hospitals will start to realize that hospital recovery not only comes with injecting various medicines into patients but giving them a place that offers a healthier environment as well.

Image courtesy JKL

San Francisco Wants Everyone to Green Their Property

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

green ebergy sf green building sfWith many cities putting Green building on the back burner, while they try and help solve the distressed homeowner crises (equally important), San Francisco continues their progressive Green thinking. In a few years, when the distressed homeowners crisis hopefully wanes, people will start thinking about how important Green building looms in terms of not just energy and cost savings but the health of people who live their.

San Francisco recently developed an accessible financing program that allows residential and commercial property owners to finance sustainable building improvements. This effort coincides with efforts across California and the United States to establish similar financing programs.

Interested home and business owners to finance can utilize GreenFinanceSF privately owned energy efficiency, renewable energy and water conservation improvements.  The repayment obligation is attached to the property, rather than the individual, and is paid back through property taxes over the life of the financing.

All size residential and commercial buildings can use the program. Eligible projects include energy efficiency upgrades—such as adding insulation, replacing windows, and upgrading heating systems; and water efficiency upgrades—such as installing low flow toilets. Financing is also available for installation of renewable energy generation on buildings such as solar arrays – in conjunction with energy efficiency improvements.

Pretty simple, huh? We think so. It should be a win-win for everyone so we’re hoping that everyone will look long term (yes, we know that is hard for most Americans) and utilize this program.

(photo courtesy apartment therapy)

West Coast Green 2009 Comes Back to San Francisco

Monday, October 5th, 2009

It’s good to have West Coast Green back in SF. Not that San Jose didn’t play a fine host to last years bigger conference but the show lacked something last year, call it a vibe, or energy but something didn’t gel. So, this year’s scaled down but energetic and education West Coast Green found itself a new home at the Fort Mason. Maybe the ocean air and bay views added a green spark to the conference.

The economy definitely had an impact on this year’s West Coast Green with less venders but with less money that mean that people just had to get more creative with less moola such as the floating island, show gardens and even the sustainability built Jewish Sukkoth. The usual green rock stars like Eric Corey Freed and Michelle Kaufman made their presences felt with their energetic personalities. (more…)

Green House Meets Gas Guzzler

Sunday, October 29th, 2006

ho_greenhouse_5.jpg

You might say that San Francisco Green thinking still has a way to go after we spotted a un-Green SUV (Range Rover) in the garage of an already well publicized Noe Valley Green house.
After speaking with the one of the owners they admit that it’s hardly Green to drive the gas guzzler but they say that it’s leased. And they have a hybrid SUV on their radar for their next purchase. As for how they’re adapting to and how they like some of the interior green attributes inside the house well that’s for a future entry.

Orchard Garden Hotel preview

Thursday, October 5th, 2006

luna-textiles

The Orchard Garden Hotel continues to experience a delayed opening. Yes, the soon to be LEED certified hotel originally scheduled to open in September now has a realistic November on its sights.

The delays didn’t detract from the evening where Mayor Gavin Newsom joked that instead of a ribbon cutting ceremony the evening offered more of a preview. Even, the General Manager Stefan Mühle joked that the crowd should grab paint brushes. Instead they grabbed champagne flutes, wine glasses, and appetizers (especially the sweet gazpacho) and got a mini tour of the five completed rooms.

While most people admired the coziness and sightlines of the rooms and suites, a couple of us focused on the green aspects such as the FSC certified maple wood furniture, low flow water fixtures, Luna Textiles and key card energy system. The rooms offer a clean, spartan yet cozy look. We weren’t exactly thrilled to see Chinese granite bathroom countertops but you can’t have everything green.

Green House Goes Down – In Price That Is

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2006
bernal-heights-green-house

We actually feel sorry for the owner for the owner of the Green house in Bernal Heights. That same property (338 Holladay Ave.) has been languishing on the market for almost three months. That’s the same residence where the house’s owner wrote a letter to the editor of the San Francisco Chronicle several weeks back, which practically exclaimed a rebuttal to the paper’s articles saying that Green houses are all the rage and will sell like hotcakes.

The owner can’t be a happy camper as he and his agent continually drop the asking price from $1,279,000 to $1,195,000 to $1,049,000 to $994,000. The owner claims that location sells houses, as evidenced by the Green house in Noe Valley.  True the Noe Valley Green house location represents a superior addy to the one in Bernal Heights. Also, that Noe Green house sale occurred in a slightly warmer market.

There may be a degree of truth in the owner’s statement but instead of location, location, location the seller and his agent should be more concerned with marketing, marketing, marketing. And education. (more…)