Archive for Green Building

Taco Bell Rocks Pop Up From Portable Storage Units at SXSW

Reusing portable storage units is not a new idea. In the last decade we’ve seen them used for trendy urban apartments, coffee shops, even a museum. But Taco Bell is on the verge of taking the concept mainstream. The company unveiled a restaurant built from portable storage units this week in Austin, Texas, home of the growing South by Southwest music festival.

The restaurant, which has half the footprint of a traditional Taco Bell, was built in three days and can be easily taken down and relocated. This flexibility and speed could be the key to meeting the restaurant chain’s plans of adding 2,000 new locations over the next 7 years. One Taco Bell representative said in a press release that they are likely to “explore dropping this type of asset in different locations, which will ultimately give us the ability to show up in unexpected places for our consumers.”

Of course we are big fans of modular construction and the strategic reuse of buildings. We just hope one pops up near us.

Sustainable Architecture Takes On Urban Agriculture

Sustainable building in New YorkArchitects are coming up with some innovative ways to make sustainable buildings. Many of these sustainable projects are still in the concept phase. Among them, two proposed projects recently caught our eye as both aspire to integrate large areas for farming in urban settings.

Here’s how these proposed projects may take urban architecture and agriculture to new heights… Literally.

Belgian architect Vincent Callebaut designed a 132-floor urban farm concept for Roosevelt Island in New York City. The proposed “Dragonfly” development would rely on Read more

Growing Bricks Creates New Opportunities for Sustainable Building

sustainable building materialsThe search for sustainable building materials has technology firms and construction companies looking in some surprising places. One such firm, bioMason, found a way to create construction-grade bricks from, believe it or not, bacteria — bacterial byproducts to be specific.

From Bacteria to Bricks

Bacteria create natural cement (similar to coral) in as little as five days. This cement is combined with sand to form bricks capable of holding up to the pressures of residential and commercial construction. Essentially, the bioMason brick is Read more

LEED vs. Green Globes: The Battle for Sustainable Building Supremacy

LEED vs Green Globes The Battle for Sustainable BuildingThere’s a new kid on the green construction standard block. The Green Globes rating system is being touted as a less-expensive method of rating the sustainability of construction projects. Until recently, LEED was the leading certification program that offered ratings for green architectural design and development, construction and maintenance. Now, LEED is facing competition from Portland, Oregon-based Green Globes, causing controversy and competition throughout the green building industry.

Differences & Similarities

Both LEED and the Green Globes provide national/state/local certification for sustainable building projects; however, there are quite a few ways in which these two systems differ.

  • LEED is based on a system of 110 points whereas the Green Globes utilizes a 1,000 point system.  Each requires a minimum of points in order to be certified. Read more

Essential Design Factors of Net Zero Energy Buildings

Net Zero Energy BuildingsNet zero energy buildings are structures, either site-built or modular, that produce as much energy as they consume, resulting in zero additional energy required from outside sources. While defining the parameters of what makes a building net zero certified had previously been a bit hazy, the Living Building Challenge recently developed more defined criteria. With this in mind, let’s take a look at the essential design factors in every net zero energy building.

Good Design Dictates Lower Energy Needs

Good design is the start of every net zero energy building. Before considering renewable Read more

Greening the Future: Designing Plants into Modular Buildings

Bosco Verticale, the modular vertical forest under construction in Milan by Stefano Boeri Architetti

Photo courtesy of Stefano Boeri Architetti

We know that modular construction is a greener solution for building or expanding. Some architects are building on the benefits of modular with a more literal approach to green building. Their answer: incorporating plants into modular designs.

Plants and trees produce oxygen and humidity, reduce pollution and radiation, absorb harmful carbon dioxide, and help with cooling. Incorporating self-contained ecosystems into new buildings also creates a sense of peace and relaxation for occupants.

Here are three examples of modular projects that give “green building” new meaning. Read more

Is Blue Infrastructure the Cure for Ailing Detroit?

Is Blue Infrastructure the Cure for Ailing Detroit?Detroit’s recent bankruptcy filing has pushed city leaders and residents to find new ways to manage its financial, human and natural resources. After several years in the red, some Detroit decision-makers are now looking to take the Motor City into the blue… as in blue infrastructure.

What is Blue Infrastructure?

Blue infrastructure refers to the redirection of rain water from sewers to ponds and other storage facilities. The same runoff is then Read more

Middle East Cities Emerge as Global Leaders in Sustainability

masdar city abu dhabiWhile it’s the U.S. Green Building Council that sets the standard for LEED certification, two cities in the Middle East are quickly emerging as the world leaders in sustainable cities, or cities with a goal of net zero energy and waste. That means they produce as much energy, resources and waste as they consume.

Population and economic growth due to the Middle East’s oil reserves are the primary drivers in its aggressive push toward sustainability. With population expected to grow exponentially in the next 25 years, sustainable cities can offset the gradual depletion of the natural resources and with them, the region’s primary export and profit center. Here’s a look at innovative projects currently evolving in the region.

Read more

Sustainable and Modular Construction Still Hot for 2013

Sustainable and Modular Construction Still Hot for 2013A recent article on Construction Digital indicates that both sustainable building and modular construction remain trends with traction. Four months into 2013, these trends are two of the driving forces behind the improving construction industry.

Green and Natural

The use of sustainable building materials and construction techniques Read more

5 Ways Modular Construction is Greener

Modular Construction is GreenerAs we pause to celebrate Earth Day today, many of us may stop to consider what we can do to help the environment. Selfishly, we hope your considerations lead you to waste reduction through modular construction.

At nearly 25 percent, construction waste is the largest contributor to our waste stream. Cutting it would have a measurable impact on landfills, air pollution and our consumption of natural resources.

The US Green Building Council agrees. That’s why modular construction is worth additional points for Read more