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Category Archives: green

A new book by Nathan Shedroff that suggests 12 principles of Sustainable Design.  

“Anyone feel like banging-out a Facebook app that lets people make their DreamCompany by specifying, for example, BMW’s engineering, Nike’s sense of style, Amazon’s customer service, and…? Oh wait, that’s Apple. But, you get the idea.”

A “provocative” statement from Paul Eldrenkamp, a remodeling contractor based in Newton MA.   (if you read the article you will see he is not really anti-environment at all, just making a point).

“Green building is dead. Its time has passed. We lie to ourselves when we think we can build any number of new buildings in a green, environmentally sustainable way. We need to acknowledge that every building is an unnatural act. We want a building to be warm when it’s cold outside, cool when it’s warm outside, dry when it’s wet outside, and light when it’s dark outside. Although rot and decay is the essential refueling mechanism in nature, in a building, rot and decay is the surest sign that something has gone seriously wrong. Looked at this way, every building is an environmental mugging.”  – from the linked blog.

Bravo!   Architecture is ARTIFICIAL, people!  We don’t like the environmental conditions given to us by nature and create buildings to modify that condition.


A tip of the hat to Trevor Graham for making me aware of this.    I prefer 300 horsepower though ….

An article in FASTCOMPANY magazine that blows the whistle on the business practices of William McDonough, a celebrity “green architect.”   

I have personally shown videos of his work, including his design at Oberlin College in which “a building should be like a tree.”  

(from the article)  –  “Then there is McDonough’s “great story” about Oberlin College and his “building like a tree.” McDonough’s stunning Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies facility was completed in 2000; by the next year, actress Susan Sarandon, in a voice-over for The Next Industrial Revolution, a documentary on McDonough, was describing how “the building produces more energy than it consumes,” a claim echoed later that year in a Metropolis magazine profile on the architect. Four years later, in a 2005 TED conference speech, McDonough was still highlighting his own achievement, telling conferees, “Here’s a building at Oberlin College we designed that makes more energy than it needs to operate.” However, John H. Scofield, an Oberlin physics professor who has taught in the building, began monitoring its energy use when it was completed in 2000. He calculated that it was consuming more than twice the energy projected and drawing 84% of its power from local power plants, rather than renewable sources. “We should sue William McDonough + Partners,” Scofield told The Oberlin Review in 2002 (he is not a spokesperson for the university). ”



 This company LiveRoof provides a turnkey system for installation of turf roofs for building projects.


Morphosis Architects’ US Federal Building in San Francisco uses concrete’s thermal mass and natural ventilation as part of its strategy to cut carbon emissions while creating a comfortable office environment

The United States Federal Building in San Francisco is one of the first major US office buildings for more than 70 years to be naturally ventilated.

Above the fifth floor this building, completed in 2007 by Morphosis Architects for the General Services Administration, is naturally ventilated, providing high-quality workspaces that require only modest quantities of primary energy to create comfortable conditions.

The exposed internal concrete structure is a vital component in achieving comfort because it provides accessible thermal mass that can store energy on a diurnal basis.




An i-phone app is available that uses the i-phones built in accelerometer to tell you how much gas you are using, how much carbon your car is emiting in real time.


Perhaps another consequence of the recession.


I want to be able to control street traffic lights from my iphone …..