As we head down the rabbit hole of recession, one of the best tools we have for reducing our consumption is transparency; being able to see what we are using and how much it is costing us as we use it. Prius drivers find that the fuel consumption
Smoke detectors have helped drastically reduce the number of house fires, but 3,000 people still die every year in them, and a house burns every 80 seconds. The environmental costs are high as well, as burning vinyl produces dioxins and other toxic
We have noted before that the current design trend of floor-to-ceiling glass makes a lovely looking building, but that it is ridiculously extravagant in terms of energy. Now we learn from the Wall Street Journal that gee, there are other problems: One
Not just because of safety; Fire Marshals have been demanding that for years. It is probably necessary if we want to build healthy as well as safe houses. Perhaps if houses had sprinklers, then manufacturers would not have to use flame retardants that
Buildings consume 76% of electricity generated; they create 48% of our greenhouse gases; a quarter of our waste in landfills comes from construction. Over the past year we have suggested a dozen big steps that could be taken to make our buildings better
As we know courtesy of FEMA's optimization experiments, Formaldehyde exposure is not a good thing. It gets worse; a new study links it to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's disease. As we know courtesy of the Environmental Protection
We have stated that the real big step in building would be to ban demolition and renovate, but if the building has to come down, at least it should be deconstructed. The demolition numbers from the US EPA are shocking;
How dumb is this? Use coal to boil water. Use steam to spin turbines and run generators to make electricity then transported long distances to connect to a coil at the bottom of a tank- to make hot water.
Developers don't like saving trees; it forces them to adjust the lot grading and road patterns for tree preservation rather than efficiency. The installation of services and construction disrupts the water table and the trees sometimes die anyways.
Studio Gang are very talented architects, and have shown that they know how to design for energy efficiency. and their Aqua project certainly is interesting. However every one of those balconies on each of eighty floors of highrise condos is a giant
At a time when few big name architecture firms are building green in China, Steven Holl Architects is working on a few LEED-seeking projects: the sustainability-minded Linked Hybrid housing complex in Beijing, the mixed-use Vanke Center in Shenzhen,
Hallandale, Florida's oceanfront is wall-to-wall condos; you can tell the ones built in the recent boom because they are generally huge stucco and glass monsters like the one on the left, interspersed with older, lower buildings that were just big
John notes in an earlier post that gray water re-use is, well, a gray area. However in fact it has been studied and documented, and is accepted in the IPC, or International Plumbing Code. Most municipalities use this or the Universal Plumbing Code,
We spent the summer borrowing bandwidth from a timberframe builder in Dorset, Ontario. Early in the summer his design for a small 512 square foot tower was published in a popular cottaging magazine. Brad Johnson of Portico Timberframes is quoted: "If
Edison was right; direct current is better than alternating current. Tesla and Westinghouse won the current wars, because it was easy to transform into different voltages without electronics, and they needed high voltages, which travel longer
For at least 3700 years, since the code of Hammurabi, builders of houses have had building codes, a government minimum standard intended to protect the health and safety of its citizens. Possibly in all that time, the majority of builders have