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This Earth Day (April 22), the people behind Architecture for Humanity dispatched a reminder: It's now down to the wire for Design Like You Give a Damn project entries. Every five year or so, the organization published a new coffee-table book, "a compendium of innovative projects from around the world that demonstrate the power of design to improve lives," according to its editors. Digital space may be unlimited, but a published book has a finite number of pages -- in the case of Design Like You Give a Damn, just enough to feature about 80 projects. So if you know... Continue reading
Posted May 9, 2010 at Turning Green
There's a correlation -- a verifiable, calculable, measurable one -- between the energy required to construct and maintain a building and the amount of CO2 it emits into the environment. The brains behind the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) came to this realization quite early on, which led to the launch of CarbonBuzz is a carbon-management resource portal, representing cross-collaboration between architects and engineers. Global architecture consulting firm Aedas helped champion the site. "Anyone can use CarbonBuzz," declares its creators. "Architects and engineers can use it to manage their... Continue reading
Posted Mar 29, 2010 at Turning Green
Readers, Green Warriors, and Eco-Conscious Designers! We need your input. We've been steadily adding resources to our TenEcoLinks index. We think it'll be a great help to those who wish to create greener products to have a few dedicated online resources. Do you know of any searchable web-based catalogs and libraries that list green properties of substances commonly used in manufacturing? Where do you go if you need to pick materials with the least toxins and production methods that are less harmful? Please share your bookmarks! Thanks in advance! Continue reading
Posted Mar 9, 2010 at Turning Green
A storm is about to hit earthquake-ravaged Haiti, but it's expected to bring hope instead of fear. PLAN Haiti, a collaborative architecture design exercise, is modeled after similar projects in the past, called BIMStorms. BIMStorm concept is the brainchild of KImon Onuma, founder and principal of Onuma Inc., which develops and markets a collaborative architecture platform called Onuma System. "Now it’s Time to Help Haiti," announce the organizers of Plan Haiti. "Join us in Planning the Future of Haiti the BIMStorm way. We need your support and input. You can support the effort through the Internet from anywhere in the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 22, 2010 at Turning Green
If you're an environment-conscious traveler equipped with an iPhone or an iPod Touch, you now have an option to download and consult local maps loaded with noteworthy green features, such as farmers' markets, bike lanes, and green buildings. Now available from the iPhone app store, these green maps come from Green Map System, an organization that promotes "inclusive participation in sustainable community development worldwide, using mapmaking as our medium." The mobile app connects you to 600 maps in 55 countries, each one locally grown. The maps are the creations of environmentalists, teachers, community developers, planners, eco-tourism experts, entrepreneurs, biologists, architects,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 17, 2010 at Turning Green
A group of forward-thinking collaborators plan to design and deliver a single family home in Ghana as an open-source house (image courtesy of Open Source House, Most of us are aware of open source software (Linux operating system, for instance), but how about an open source house (OS-House)? In June 2009, a "mixed, enthusiastic group of young people" (as they prefer to be known) came together to build an affordable, eco-friendly house in Ghana. They were deliberately targeting lower middle class citizens in developing countries so they could avoid donor dependence, according to the case study the group had... Continue reading
Posted Jan 27, 2010 at Turning Green
A few weeks ago, we scanned the blogsphere in search of bloggers who provide regular doses of green insights, tips, news, and anecdotes. The outcome is the following TopTen list, along with an alphabetical listing of what we stumbled on. Inhabitat Real Life LEED Earth Architecture Jetson Green Columbia Green Builders Blog Go Green gbNYC (Green Building NYC) hanrahan Meyers architects BLOG treehugger We'd like you to tell us about the good ones whose musings you follow, the ones we've missed out on, the ones who manage to strike that delicate balance between advocacy, education, and entertainment (those, I'm... Continue reading
Posted Jan 20, 2010 at Turning Green
My reply to you prompted me to give more thoughts on this issue, which eventually became an article, so I think I owe you a drink or something. :-) The resulting article, "Balancing Cost, Analysis, and Sustainability," ran in last week's newsletter:
The virtual amphitheater in Second Life where biomimicry expert Janine Benyus is scheduled to speak in February. Unlike the real world, the virtual world inside Second Life is not about to be threatened by climate changes, a sudden sea level rise, an unexpected temperature drop, or a series of tsunamis and snowstorms (that is, not unless its creator Linden Research decides to introduce a string of code to cause these disasters). Nevertheless, environmental concerns from the real world are spilling into the virtual world. On Thursday February 18, at 7 PM Mountain Time/6 PM Pacific Time, biologist, researcher, and writer... Continue reading
Posted Jan 12, 2010 at Turning Green
I started taking the survey, but quickly found out I'd corrupt the data if I do. I use CAD as a reporter/journalist, but I don't work for a manufacturing firm. Looking ahead, I think the need to balance three elements--sustainability, FEA, and cost--will become a challenge in the design process. Currently, most CAD system lets you do them, but only one at a time. But I think ideally you should be able to look at these three elements in the same application window. That way, you can tell that, if you switch from Steel to Plastic, you might decrease the carbon output and cost but increase the likelihood of product failure. If SolidWorks can come up with a way to integrate all these three into a single application window, it'll be a huge advantage, something other CAD and PLM companies haven't figured out yet.
Facebook and Twitter -- the twin social media platforms where teens and tweens pour their hearts out into cyberspace -- are also where many green communities are springing up. They range from grassroots groups like Green Architecture (800 members) and nonprofit groups like Architecture for Humanity (1,900 members) to USGBC and AIA groups (4,700 and 2,700 members respectively). The groundswell online suggests the next generation of architects, designers, and engineers are breaking social, professional, and geographic boundaries to share green tips and ideas and learn about current environmental policies. On Green Architecture Facebook group's public wall, member Ward inquired, "I... Continue reading
Posted Jan 4, 2010 at Turning Green
I have obviously missed the deadline, but my choice would have been Space Station V from 2001: A Space Odyssey. With two rotating wheels in constant motion, it would offer a chance to test out SolidWorks simulation features. Here's my blog post about my own attempt to recreate the spacecraft in SW 2010:
Whereas Art Deco drew its aesthetic energy from the ornamental panels of the Art Nouveau tradition, and Modern Architecture propelled the rise of monolithic geometric forms (still the dominant style for many corporate headquarters), the burgeoning Sustainable Architecture movement might bring us back to the sunny side of the road (or hill, depending on your project site). Scouring the Internet for examples of sustainable buildings, I came across the lists of top green building projects (updated annually) by the American Institute of Architecture's Committee on the Environment (AIA's COTE) and some of the projects selected by TIME as part of... Continue reading
Posted Dec 15, 2009 at Turning Green
Ever wonder what the carbon footprint of a major tradeshow like Autodesk University (AU 2009) might be? This week, when I met Autodesk's sustainable design program manager Dawn Danby, I posed that question to her. I was expecting an evasive answer. To my surprise, she gave me a number: 8,000 metric tons. In the previous years, at company-hosted press conferences and user events, Autodesk president and CEO Carl Bass had called attention to the rise of green house gas emission, putting the burden squarely on the building profession. ("The building sector accounts for almost half of all greenhouse gas emissions... Continue reading
Posted Dec 4, 2009 at Turning Green
On Sunday November 15, San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom strolled into the Concourse Exhibition Center, a 125,000 sq. ft. glass-and-steel structure resembling a giant greenhouse. He was expected to address the crowd at the eight annual Green Festival, which attracted an estimated "45,000 members of the Bioneers, Burning Man, Harmony Festival, and LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability) community," according to the organizers. After tarrying briefly before a baby clothing vendor (he is now the proud father of a two-month-old girl), the mayor took the stage. "Many San Franciscans aren't aware of what we're doing in their own city," he... Continue reading
Posted Nov 25, 2009 at Turning Green