"No man is an island, entire of itself." Through
this statement, John Donne asserted that we all share a common humanity. In
today's interrelated world, not only is no man an island but, similarly, no
building stands alone. Look out your window. What do you see? Paved streets and
electrical wires, meadows and birds, a farm full of cows? Whatever may surround
you is your environment. Whether it was created by Mother Nature, a developer,
or your municipal works department, we are not separate from it. Today our world is increasingly complex, the
behaviors and actions of one country affects us all; due to this intricacy no
building can be built or operated as a microcosm. Just like earthquakes and
floods have an effect on our well being, we have an effect on nature, polluting
air and water via our factories and homes, reducing our natural resources, and
packing landfills with our used cars and obsolete electronics. Luckily, we have
the power to make a change, but to achieve these global results our efforts
must be global as well.
August 15, 2009
Joseph Blanco and De'Aundri Abbott
Green Building Trends: Europe
The "green building revolution" is a worldwide movement for
energy-efficient, environmentally aware architecture and design. Europe
has been in the forefront of green building technology, and Green Building Trends: Europe provides an indispensable overview of these cutting edge ideas and applications.
Jerry Yudelson, author of Green Building Trends: Europe, is a professional engineer with an MBA. He has trained 3,500 people in
the LEED green building rating system, and has chaired Greenbuild, the
world's largest green building conference, for the past five years. The
founder of a green building consulting firm, he is the author of three
books on green building marketing and an advisor to manufacturers,
venture capital firms, design firms and developers.
Mr. Yudelson interviewed a number of Europe's leading architects and
engineers and visited many exemplary projects. With the help of copious
photographs and illustrations, Yudelson describes some of the leading
contemporary green buildings in Europe, including the new Lufthansa
headquarters in Frankfurt, the Norddeutsche Landesbank in Hannover, a
new school at University College London, the Beaufort Court
Zero-Emissions building, the Merck Serono headquarters in Geneva, and a
zero-net-energy, all-glass house in Stuttgart.
Green Building Trends: Europe is an essential resource for anyone interested in the latest developments in this rapidly growing field.
To read more click here
To buy Jerry Yudelson's book Green Building Trends: Europe click here
Solar Energy in Mexico
By: Keith Gifford
August 14, 2009
"We are like tenant farmers chopping down the fence around our house for fuel when we should be using nature's inexhaustible sources of energy - sun, wind and tide. I'd put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don't have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that. I wish I had more years left."
- Thomas Alva Edison
Ojos Negros is a quiet little community about twenty miles east of Ensenada, Baja California. In 2008, a group of medical professionals from Mexico and the United States began work to establish a medical clinic in this rural area. Soon, building materials and labor were being donated and the little clinic began to take shape. Then a road block threatened the project's future. Mexico's electrical grid didn't reach into this area and the local power company wanted forty thousand dollars to connect the facility to their grid. The call was put out for donations, but the amount necessary seemed insurmountable. Then the idea was suggested, "How about solar?" Today, the clinic is nearing completion and a three kilowatt solar electric system coupled with energy storage provides all the energy necessary to run the facility. In communities throughout the developing world, solar energy systems like this are providing the necessary power to bring basic services to millions of people.
In an article from the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, we see how Mexico has shown its eagerness to pave the way for other countries by instituting an aggressive plan to reduce its dependence on oil and dramatically reduce its industrial emissions. Mexico recognizes the devastating effects global warming will have on its economy if action isn't taken immediately.
Around the world, developing countries are turning to solar power to supply their energy needs. Organizations like the Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF) have brought solar energy to thousands of people in over twenty countries. SELF has coined the term "Energy Poverty", which they define as a lack of access to clean and efficient energy systems. They state that energy is a foundation, a prime condition, a prerequisite for healthy living, and competitive economy. Without an affordable, reliable energy supply, communities will never be able to flourish.
Today, as the cost of solar energy systems becomes increasingly affordable, basic services are now available in deprived communities. Lighting, refrigeration, irrigation, and medical care to name a few, are supplied through the sun's energy. We must continue to reach out to developing nations and provide the guidance and resources necessary to establish their own self sustaining energy resources.
To learn more about SELF click here
Global Green Projects
August 14, 2009
The second cycle of the Holcim Awards
competition has reached its pinnacle: the top sustainable construction projects
out of thousands of submissions from all continents have been selected. The four
winning entries are a river remediation scheme in Morocco, a greenfield
university campus in Vietnam, a rural planning strategy in China, and a shelter
for day laborers in the USA. A series of prize-handovers will be held at the
site of each project to celebrate the winners and their highly-acclaimed
examples of sustainable
Gold for River remediation and urban
development scheme in Fez, Morocco
A project centered upon restoration of the river
through the UNESCO World Heritage, listed Medina of Fez, was awarded the
Gold. A youthful and international project team are removing pollution and contaminants from the river Fez to revitalize the ancient heart of the city.
The approach includes a series of interventions to renovate traditional
tanneries, create public spaces and pedestrian zones, and restore wetlands as
well as biodiversity.
The scheme was applauded by the jury for creating a
chain of recovery projects to enable future sub-projects to be added and for
addressing the economic and social life of the city together with the ecology of
The silver was given to the low-impact greenfield university
campus in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. A new campus for the University of Architecture in
Ho Chi Minh City, designed by architect Kazuhiro Kojima (Japan). The
project avoids massive land reclamation on an island in the Mekong Delta and
aims for harmony with all elements of the surrounding ecosystem; flooding
rice fields, mangroves, winds, and seasonal changes.
Electricity consumption is cleverly reduced through
the inclusion of solar lighting and extensive use of photo-voltaic cells to meet
energy requirements. Natural ventilation and solar shading mean that most
locations on campus will need no air conditioning; rainwater is harvested
for gray water use and cooling through vaporization. A time-honored local
construction method - brick-filled concrete frames finished with a facade of
porous bamboo or mangrove timber - is used to enhance ventilation.
Bronze was given to a rural planning design of a suburban village in
Beijing, China for effectively combining heritage
preservation, traditional knowledge, local materials, modern technology, and
professional project management. The urban planning strategy improves
logistics, public utilities, and services while meeting stringent ecological and
energy-saving targets for new buildings.
The project applies a detailed approach to
challenges of pollution, urban sprawl, loss of agricultural land, food security,
and limited resources. The planning has a high potential to become a role
model for the sustainable development of rural communities and urban districts
in emerging economics.
To read more about these projects and International
Finalists which illustrate the broad scope of sustainable construction click here
Source: Holcim Foundation for Sustainable
Global Holcim Awards 2009
It has been postulated that there is no good business case
for a compromised environment. Why you
ask? Because nature does so much for us
without any charge.
By: Jon Dougal
August 11, 2009
How would you grow food without the bee? Try $33 billion dollars in free bee
services. With no bees who would be
doing the pollinating at any price?
Wars pose severe environmental degradation. The war in Iraq
has wrought havoc on the environment; most notably on the air quality. Dust storms are a regular feature of the desert
ecology caused by frequent daily thermal changes, and the uplifting air current
passing though creates violent winds. Due to the war much of the landscape of Iraq
has changed; farms have been destroyed, natural channels of water, ditches,
irrigation canals, and rivulets have been changed forever.
The Arial Sea
in Russia (one
of the largest lakes in the world) was once the most fertile body of water in
the region, however, now it is a blighted area with a deserted landscape. In order to promote aggressive agricultural
economic returns, increasing amounts of water was diverted from the lake. This decision was a huge cost to the Russian
society resulting in a loss of productivity, loss of agro-production, and unfavorable
to their healthcare system, as citizens developed debilitating breathing
This same scenario is now happening to many innocent victims
of the continual war in the area. As
farmers are shut out of the land, the land retaliates with alarming
ferocity. The simple truth is that when
major environmental benefits are compromised the restoration costs are many
times unreachable. Will the fertile
cradle of civilization ever be the same?
The Green Funny Bone!
Zero Carbon Homes in Europe: Are they surpassing the U.S. in Green building?
By: Joseph Blanco
August 15, 2009The answer is yes, on multiple levels. In an article released on August
10, 2009 by the New York Times, written by E&E, states that Europe
is currently more proactive in green building then the United States.
Builders, despite the premium ($96 per square foot) are still building green
homes, but not all have jumped on the green wagon, because of fear that
customers will go with the cheaper house. Even though law makers in the United Kingdom
require that all homes be net zero by 2016 other European countries are
considering implementing stricter requirements. Denmark in particular will require
all new houses to meet the "passive house" standards by 2020. These standards
will mean that homes use 85% less energy and produce 95% less CO2 than regular
Implementing these types of
standards in the US
will mean big payoffs. According to a report by the McKinsey Consulting Co.
released last month the US could save $1.2 trillion by 2020
and cut green house emission by 1.1 gigatons annually if it invested $520
billion in improved building insulation and low energy appliances. These
numbers don't take in considerations the additional saving that would come from
the use of solar or other weatherization methods.
Currently, homes built in Europe are net zero, slashing heating bills by 80% and the
neighborhoods save 23,000 cubic meters of water per year. As the demand for
these homes increase the focus will turn to existing buildings. The UK reports that
if all of their buildings were zero carbon, the country would eliminate nearly
half of its carbon emissions. The Department of Energy and Climate Change, in efforts to curb carbon emissions, wants older buildings to be refurbished to become zero carbon by 2050. This is a step in the right direction but we still need to match Europe's strong lead in climate change policy, especially in the realm of green building standards and codes. For the full article click here
|SMART ENERGY WEST COAST CONFERENCE 2009
FIRST ANNUAL SAN RAMON ECO-FESTIVAL 2009
Date to be announced
Eco-festival events are designed to engage consumers of all ages through interactive entertainment and exhibitions that make learning how to minimize harm to our environment fun.
For more info Click Here
Mon August, 31 - Tues Sept, 1 - San Diego, CA
A unique opportunity to
gain in-depth, comprehensive knowledge and first-hand
experience of the benefits and challenges, technologies and
implementation techniques of smart metering, giving attendees
a strategic and practical approach to the smart grid and green
This event is the only
executive platform available on the West Coast that enables
companies to take advantage of the global surge towards
smarter, greener energy infrastructure, implementation and
To register Click Here
RENEWABLE ENERGY FINANCE FORUM - WEST 2009
WATER & LAND FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY IN THE SOUTHWEST
Tues Sept 29 - Wed Sept 30 - San Francisco, CA
The conference focuses on finance and investment for clean energy technologies, with a particular emphasis on the Western US, and covers both large scale projects and the development and commercialization of new technologies.
Thurs Oct 22 - Fri Oct 23, 2009 - Tucson, AZ
Renewable energy is coming to the Southwest. How will it impact our natural resources? Topics:
- Issues and opportunities for renewable energy in the Southwest
- Incentives and barriers to renewable development
- Federal, state, and utility roles
- Land and water requirements
- The permitting process
- Costs and benefits of various technologies
Featured Green Product
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Plant of the Month
Although it is
not a true yucca and the flowers aren't actually red, this plant is very
similar to a true yucca with the clumped, narrow, sword-like leaves. The drought-tolerant
Red yucca can be used in landscapes in the same way a traditional yucca plant
is used and thrives in arid to semi-arid regions. The
bright blooms range in color from pink to salmon and sit atop tall spikes,
attracting hummingbirds and butterflies. The Red Yucca does well in containers.
Click Here For More Info
Get Trained: Green Building in 2009
RESCUE Green has invested substantial resources in developing Training programs that are relevant, as well as rigorous.
RESCUE Green utilizes its Professional Collaborative as well as other experts in green building and psychometrics to prepare and approve the RESCUE Green materials, and to ensure state-of-the-art environmental training certification for commercial and/or residential practitioners.
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Next class: August 26th. Space is limited.
If you are interested in up to date Green Building training, email your contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org
and we will send you a list of training classes in your area.
Teasers on Next Month's Issue
In the September Edition
Quote of the Month
"In our shortsighted efforts to sustain the global economy, as currently structured, we are depleting the earth's natural capital. We spend a lot of time worrying about our economic deficits, but it is the ecological deficits that threaten our long-term economic future. Economic deficits are what we borrow from each other; ecological deficits are what we take from future generations."
- Lester R. Brown, Eco-Economy
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