Author Archive

Never One Way Alone

Walnut preparing for winter.

In Nature there is seldom one solution or one way of being that works for all circumstances.  The same is true when developing sustainable strategies for your building projects or business plans.  This walnut is shutting down for the change of seasons.  If trees behaved like it was always summer they would perish.  Human endeavors have seasons too.  When we learn how to make appropriate shifts in strategy with changing conditions we come closer to operating sustainably.

Posted by on November 12th, 2008 No Comments

The Real Winner at the Water Cube

Forget that so many world records were broken in the water at the Water Cube. There is another gold medal that should be hung around someones neck.  The real winner from this venue was WATER and ENERGY.

The Cube collects rain water that falls on the outer surface and roof facade.  One engineering estimate is that the building will collect 10,000 tons of rain water, 70,000 tons of clean water and 60,000 tons of swimming pool water on an annual basis.  That’s not a drop in the bucket.

And the LED lighting reduces the electrical needs by somewhere around 60% over conventional lighting.  As a bonus LEDs don’t contain mercury, emit no or little ultraviolet light and produce almost no heat that needs to be overcome with air conditioning.

Add the high visibility of the project and you have a poster child for good design.  I would have to dig deeper into the specifics of the project but on the surface I give them a gold medal for good design.

Posted by on September 3rd, 2008 No Comments

Need Rain?

It’s late August and many of the landscapes are at the point where they are either extremely dry and unsightly or soaking up water from irrigation systems.  But those aren’t the only two options.  A carefully planned landscape design can do a number of things to assist the sustainability of a project.  Appropriate landscape designs can:

  • reduce the need for potable water used for irrigation by 50% to 100%
  • reduce the heat-island effects of the built environment
  • decrease the quantity of site run-off water
  • increase the quality of site run-off water
  • lower annual average heating and cooling costs
  • improve worker productivity and employee retention
  • improve the quality of the site ecology
  • reduce the need for frequent mowing that requires fossil fuels
  • improve air quality

Add the value of all of these services together and it’s clear that landscape design is one critical component of sustainable planning.  Does your project team include someone that can optimize that potential?

Posted by on August 27th, 2008 No Comments