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Tag 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 ….

This building in Dubai is based on the biological structure of a cactus plant.



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). ”



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.


Article in NY Times Sunday Magazine about the ZIPCAR concept.   This company rents cars to members for an hourly rate.  The cars can be reserved and located via web 2.0 technology.    I’ve seen them driving around San Francisco.  The favorite vehicle in the fleet is a Mini Cooper.   I wonder if they have any SMART cars.    If I was still living in NYC I would definitely take advantage of this.  However, at $15/hour its not cheap.  


Perhaps another consequence of the recession.


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