Critics say new green rating hurts affordable housing – Mlive.com

The U.S. Green Building Council’s new rating system for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design in neighborhood development, known as LEED-ND, is coming under fire for not putting a greater emphasis on affordable housing.

Critics say LEED-ND, in its current draft, discourages participating developers from alloting dollars into expensive energy-efficient affordable housing if their payback is, at most, four points out of a possible 106. They worry the point system, and any resulting developer disincentives, will get ingrained in municipal law books if local governments continue to adopt LEED standards at unprecedented rates — all at a time, they add, when the growing gap between wages and mortgages is creating an affordable housing crisis regionally and nationally. 

In a recent study by Cambridge, Mass.-based New Ecology Inc., the cost of building green affordable housing held a nearly 3 percent premium, ranging up to 9 percent on some projects.

read more @ the SOURCE: Mlive.com – Critics say new green rating hurts affordable housing.

Ed: Although an interesting article however the article doesn’t mention the savings that low-income families will gain with lower energy bills.
More education of the public in relation to LEED is needed (eg initial construction cost vs long-term running costs and reduced environmental costs). Urban Planning also becomes more important including density of housing.

Inhabitat » Calgary’s new green skyscraper by Foster + Partners

What does one of the largest independently owned oil and gas companies do to turn over a more sustainable leaf? Well, in this case, EnCana hired green-tech architecture firm du jour Foster + Partners to design their new, environmentally sustainable headquarters in Calgary, Canada. Dubbed The Bow, the new tower’s namesake comes from its overall shape, as well as the breathtaking views it offers inhabitants of the Bow River. As expected from a Foster + Partners design, the form of this sustainable skyscraper follows some very green function.

SOURCE: Inhabitat » Calgary’s new green skyscraper by Foster + Partners.

City veggie gardens flourish

Forget budget furniture or do-it-yourself interior design – New Yorkers are switching to homegrown dining in an effort to cut costs as the economy flounders.

The number of green-thumbed residents using the city’s vegetable gardens has increased by the bushel in recent months because of soaring prices in the food aisles.

“We have had a huge increase in our participation this year,” said Jennifer Plewka, who manages Drew Gardens in the Bronx, where membership doubled from 25 to 50 in the last year.

Read more @ the SOURCE: NYDailynews.com – City veggie gardens flourish.

Landscaping wait grows – Leader Post

Reginans who want their yards landscaped can thank the current boom in the housing industry for longer-than-normal wait times.

Landscaping architects and contractors alike are struggling to keep up with a higher-than-normal demand for their services.

“Like all the other aspects of the construction industry, the landscape side is certainly booming,” agreed Cam Patterson, senior landscape architect for Stantec Consulting Ltd. and past-president of the Saskatchewan Association of Landscape Architects.

The increase in demand for landscaping services is translating into longer wait times for customers. “Projects are definitely taking longer to get built,” Patterson said. “Our biggest problem is finding people to do the work from the design side. We’re looking to hire,” Patterson said.

SOURCE: LeaderPost – easier.com – Landscaping wait grows 

Outdoor living areas all the rage : Home & Garden : The Rocky Mountain News

The days of spending six digits to remodel that kitchen are over.

Landscape architects are seeing a change in the way people are using their hard-earned money: In the coming decade, they’ll spend their cash (and their time) on the outdoor “great room.”

Erase the image of a simple patio with a few potted plants scattered around. Today, outdoor living is less about communing with nature and more about cooking, entertaining and relaxing outside with family and friends.

Read more @ the SOURCE: The Rocky Mountain NewsOutdoor living areas all the rage : Home & Garden :

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