Architects must encourage real progress on green building, not ‘greenwash’

Buildings are the biggest source of emissions and energy consumption in Canada.

They play a major role in the environmentally unfriendly trends projecting energy consumption to increase by 37 per cent and greenhouses gases by 36 per cent over the next 20 years in North America alone. Add to that that these buildings are interconnected by a series of roads and highways and you begin to see the magnitude of the issue.

There was an estimated $30-billion worth of building-construction plans in architects’ offices in cities across Canada as 2007 began. Once completed, these more than three million new buildings will have a lifespan of between 50 to 100 years – during which time they will consume energy in the form of electricity, and generate greenhouse gases by burning fuel oil, natural gas or liquid propane. Enter the role of the architect

Read more @ the Source:  Daily Commercial NewsArchitects must encourage real progress on green building, not ‘greenwash’ by Kiyoshi Matsuzaki, FRAIC

Sustainable Urbanization in the Information Age

The Sustainable Urbanization in conference addresses the global challenges posed by rapid urbanization and its impact on global warming and the natural environment – from poverty and inequality to natural and manmade disasters – by calling for better sustainable planning for urban growth.

The conference will be held during Earth Week and start on April 23
United Nations Headquarters
First Avenue at 46th Street ECOSOC Chamber
New York, NY, 10017 United States

Sustainable Urbanization in the Information Age

Source: Dexigner

Urban agriculture exploding in Vancouver

As our cities grew and our housing settlements changed, we began to separate the places where we live from the places where food is grown. The average North American food item now travels 1,500 kilometres to reach the grocery store shelves.

The quest for a more sustainable way of living is taking aim at this separation of people and food with a commitment to urban agriculture. There are few places in North America where urban agriculture is exploding as fast as it is in the Vancouver area.

The urban agricultural movement promises a new vision where people are living in harmony with the lands and ecosystems around them. Urban agriculture invites food production back into our communities through innovative planning and design.

Source – Vancouver Sun – Urban agriculture exploding in Vancouver by Bob Ransford

The push to greener housing – Canada

“Once people become more aware of green issues, they recognize the advantages,” he says. “If a house, because it is well-insulated and has an efficient heating system, costs $300 less a month to maintain than a similar neighbouring house, that house is worth more.”

An Eco Home survey conducted by Royal LePage Real Estate suggests Canadians are looking for greener homes and are ready to put their real estate dollars on the line for these purchases. Almost three quarters (72 per cent) of the 1,266 people surveyed said they would look for an environmentally improved property when buying their next home, and 63 per cent said they would pay more for an eco-friendly home.

Source: The push to greener housing.

Can eco-density be beautiful? – Crosscut Seattle

Can eco-density be beautiful? By Adele Weder

Vancouver, B.C. wrestles with how to make new buildings and greater density produce better, less uniform architecture. It turns out nobody has a very clear image of what that would look like.

…..Nobody has a clue what an eco-dense city will actually look like — or even what we want it to look like. New York? Shanghai? Disneyland?

At this and other eco-density public hearings, presenter and star eco-densifier Peter Busby has brandished a freshly produced, beautiful little booklet entitled mdash; what else? mdash; “Busby on Eco-Density,” as he offered an impassioned manifesto. The booklet contains clear and attractive illustrations of what Vancouver might “look like” under varying degrees of eco-density mdash; but in the abstract.

Source: Crosscut Seattle – Can eco-density be beautiful?.

Editors Note: The article is well written and well worth the read

UIC release Sustainable Urbanism Guide

The University of Illinois at Chicago’s City Design Center has produced a 96-page electronic publication illustrating ideas for green development in Garfield Park as a case study for use by Chicago neighborhoods and individuals.

“Green Schemes: Sustainable Urbanism for Garfield Park” presents 80 concepts such as filtration gardens, narrowed roadways, and an elevated bikeway adjacent to the Green Line tracks. Graduate students and faculty in urban planning, architecture and landscape architecture conceived the schemes in five studios taught at UIC’s City Design Center.

Their designs for urban agriculture, public ways, building technology, manufacturing, transportation and other planning elements address four scales of development: building, street, neighborhood, and the two-square-mile community.

“Green Schemes” shows that planners, architects and landscape architects can make green design feasible by collaborating, said Susanne Schnell, research assistant professor in the City Design Center.

Twenty concepts from “Green Schemes” will be on view through April 20 in “Green Architecture,” an exhibition at the Lubeznik Center for the Arts in Michigan City, Ind., said Dan Wheeler, associate professor of architecture and a member of the steering committee.

Source: UIC News Release.

How Sustainable is your office printer?

As landscape architects and design professionals we try our hardest to be green in our designs with water sensitive design, plants from the local ecology and materials from close to the project. And we also try to bring that green environment to our offices and work places with recycling bins, energy efficient lighting and providing bike racks for staff. But we often forget about the things that we have over the years become more and more reliant on – our computers and printers.

Over the last few years we have swapped our energy sucking CRT monitors for LCD panels and changed to digital format of pdf and dwf. However we always use the printers day in and day out and now Xerox has created the Sustainability Calculator to help us truly find out how green our office is by calculating all our office printers – Energy, Greenhouse Gas and Solid Waste use.

Xerox have also provided a few tips on how your office could be greener.

Source: Xerox North America


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