My Favourite Stories of 2011: February

td bank

TD Bank builds a LEED platinum net zero energy branch in Florida and I complain about how it is sitting in the middle of a suburban parking lot with three drive-through bays.

Until sprawl is reined in and the rules change to disincent these stand-alone buildings in the middle of parking lots, the net-zero designation is pretty superfluous; the 100,000 kWh is a drop in the bucket. It converts in energy to 2456 gallons of gasoline, the average consumption of five American drivers per year.

Commenters were outraged.

Lloyd has gone off his rocker....I loathe these types of articles, they simply paint environmentally and sustainable minded people as extremists who can never be pleased....Treehugger is way too preachy, its getting really annoying. ...This is ridiculous. If TD Bank does not reach suburban customers, someone else will, and the odds are they're not going to be as charitable to the environment as TD Bank.

I was really upset by this, and responded with another post, When It Comes To Net zero Banks in the Burbs, The Internet Is Wrong About My Being Wrong. I Think.. I asked a number of commentators on urban issues for their opinions and Kaid Benfield, Nate Berg and Alex Wilson were kind enough to comment. I concluded:

We have to look at the issue of context, of how we get around, about how we make streets, about how we encourage walkable communities, how we live in a world after oil. Otherwise it really is just rearranging deck chairs, or as Ruben notes, since we are a design journal as well as an environmental one, recovering them.

My Favourite Stories of 2011: February
More on the debate about the real meaning of green building

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