Tag Archive for environment

How Will the Polar Vortex Affect Construction Through 2014?

polar vortex11 300x225 How Will the Polar Vortex Affect Construction Through 2014?Something’s wrong when a term like “polar vortex” is trending on Twitter. Since early December bone-chilling cold and record snow have gripped the much of the nation. For the construction industry, now is the time of year when construction is heating up. But with many states still packed in snow, meeting existing deadlines and starting new construction is a monumental challenge.

It’s not for lack of effort. Hard-as-nails construction crews forge on through bitter cold, driving projects closer to completion. Despite their fortitude, countless construction sites have been shut down for the safety of workers. They’re all to be commended for their dedication.

Can Construction Rebound?

The situation gives way to several possible scenarios, all of which raise the question as Read more

Growing Bricks Creates New Opportunities for Sustainable Building

bioMason Brick Growing Bricks Creates New Opportunities for Sustainable BuildingThe 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

greenbuilding 300x274 LEED vs. Green Globes: The Battle for Sustainable Building SupremacyThere’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

Creative Containers: Architects Transform Portable Storage Units into Sustainable Structures

Portable storage containers are commonly used by construction firms and retail stores to keep materials, equipment and inventory safe from the elements and theft. But around the world, architects, community planners and entrepreneurs are finding new, inventive ways to use portable storage units to create visually stunning places for people to work, eat and live.

Here are some great examples of how storage containers have been reinvented around the world.

Container Cities

1024px Cmglee Container City 2 300x200 Creative Containers: Architects Transform Portable Storage Units into Sustainable Structures

Photo: CMGLee

1024px Cmglee Container City Studio 12 300x200 Creative Containers: Architects Transform Portable Storage Units into Sustainable Structures

Photo: CMGLee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 2001, Container City I was built in London’s Trinity Buoy Wharf by Urban Space Management. The project transformed 40’ storage containers into affordable housing and office space in just four days.

The following year, the firm expanded the development with the creatively named Container City II, adding more offices and several colorful bridges that connect it to Container City I.

Ice Cream Parlor in a Can

In San Francisco’s Hayes Valley, Smitten Ice Cream put a new spin on the traditional ice cream parlor using a 40’ storage container. Builders sliced the container in half and Read more

Why Smart Cities Are the Cure for America’s Aging Power Grid

smart cities 3 Why Smart Cities Are the Cure for America’s Aging Power GridSmart cities are all the rage with urban planners. But does this mean that the smart city design is right for every city? And what about the United States — will it fall behind and never catch up? Here are some of the questions city planners are asking.

What is a Smart City?

The term smart city applies to cities aiming to improve quality of life for citizens by updating infrastructure with smart power grids fueled by renewable energy. Smart cities can reduce traffic congestion, cut CO2 emissions and reduce operating Read more

Essential Design Factors of Net Zero Energy Buildings

NetZeroLeaf Essential Design Factors of 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

The Pros and Cons of Energy Usage Disclosure

Lightbulb 300x225 The Pros and Cons of Energy Usage DisclosureAs global green initiatives continue to increase and energy efficiency remains a priority, the question of energy usage disclosure has become a highly contested issue. As its name suggests, energy usage disclosure is the requirement that building managers report the total energy consumption rates of their respective properties.

Much of the country already complies with such informational reporting (specifically Northeastern states), however California, due to state law AB 1103, and Chicago now require that commercial building owners disclose their energy use. Other major cities, including New York, Austin, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. are Read more

The Latest Tech Innovations in Construction

CarbonDioxideBricks 300x199 The Latest Tech Innovations in ConstructionConstruction is going high tech. The latest innovations focus on greener materials, worker safety, and heavy equipment automation. As you prepare for your next project, here are some new products that may interest you.

CO2 Bricks

Carbon Dioxide, or CO2, is a naturally occurring gas that can be harmful or fatal in large quantities. Australia’s University of Newcastle, chemical company Orica, and carbon innovations company GreenMag Group spent six years Read more

The Next Generation of Architects Find Innovation in Modular

Some of the most innovative young minds in architecture are finding inspiration in modular construction. That’s one lesson learned from U.S. and China Solar Decathalons, where the winners used the power of modular to bring their projects to life.

Two Competitions, One Solution

China Solar Decathalon Winner from Australlia 300x168 The Next Generation of Architects Find Innovation in Modular

In China’s first-ever Solar Decathlon, Asia-Pacific teams placed first and second over 19 competitors by applying modular construction to solar applications. The first-place team (from Australia’s University of Wollongong) used off-the-shelf solutions for the exterior of their solar-powered home. The second-place students (from South China University of Technology) used native materials like sugar cane and bamboo to create insulated wall panels. Read more

Greening the Future: Designing Plants into Modular Buildings

01 Bosco verticale 300x225 Greening the Future: Designing Plants into Modular Buildings

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