Design & Architecture

By on September 15th, 2008

Here’s an invention that manages to be environmentally conscious and ridiculous at the same time.

Figure 1, above, may look like a lovely work of art meant to evoke little wavelets formed by raindrops on a serene body of water.  But actually it’s the Eco-Drop shower floor.  You turn on the shower and step in, the concentric circles gently massaging your feet and helping make the surface non-slip.

But the floor is made of a special expanding material, and the longer you stay in the shower, the more pronounced the droplet designs get.  It’s not too long before, as you can see in Figure 4, they become downright uncomfortable on your feet and you have to get out!  Voila — no one takes very long showers!

Still, there must be a better way.  I’m picturing a bunch of angry people with sore feet and sudsy hair returning this thing to their local hardware store.

By on July 26th, 2008

The first solar powered community of North America is located in the town of Okotoks, Alberta, Canada. They call it the Drake Landing Solar Community. There are 800 solar panels located throughout the community on garage roofs, and they produce 1.5 mega-watts of thermal power during a summer day and supply heat to the district heating system. The whole system meets 90% of the annual heating and hot water needs of the homes.

For more on the subject visit

By on June 12th, 2008

As the environment continues to show its wear and tear, “eco-community” will likely become a household name. Yesterday CNN featured a sneak peak at some of the up and coming regions racing to become the world’s first zero emissions zone. At the front of the race is Dockside Green in Canada’s own Victoria, BC, which has already opened its first phase of residential suites. A quick look at the plans and one will see that the builders of Dockside Green are going much further than energy efficient light bulbs and energy saver washers. They also guarantee residents 100% fresh air inside the buildings and are committed to reusing at least 90% of their construction waste. Go Victoria!

By on May 6th, 2008

Green Vehicles. What are they? Well they can be hybrid vehicles or full electric vehicles. But can they be horse powered? Well this one can. An Iranian engineer based in Dubai has come up with something truly different. Abdolhadi Mirhejazi has built the Naturmobil (previously, the Naturcar). The Naturmobil is 1 HP. That is the truth. It’s literally powered by one horse. The Naturmobil is a six wheeled, polycarbonate framed buggy with a top speed of 50mph although typical cruising velocity is closer to 12mph.

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By on April 30th, 2008

The Water + Life Museums complex in Hemet, California, has just become the first museum to break the LEED Platinum barrier. The building constructed by LA based Michael Lehrer Architects is worth $40 million and is 72,000 square feet big. Situated in the desert the building brought some challenges going from freezing in the winter to more than 100 degrees in the summer but the architects were able to keep a light footprint.

The roof is topped with one of the largest solar installations of its kind, a 540 watt, 3000 panel solar array that produces nearly half of the complex’s power needs while shading the interior from the scorching desert sun. Additional shading is provided via translucent panels that hang over 8,000 square feet of the structure’s heat blocking glass. The interior makes use of abundant day-lighting and features radiant flooring backed by a sophisticated HVAC system. The terraced gardens are

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fed through a drip irrigation system that uses reclaimed water. Lehrer stated “We are gratified to receive the Platinum rating, but even more proud that the Water+Life Museums will effectively conserve water and electricity for generations to come.”

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By on April 14th, 2008

This beautiful and colorful building is the parking garage of the Santa Monica Civic Center. This building is on its way to becoming the first LEED certified parking garage in the United States. In fact, the building meets and in some cases exceeds many of the . With it” roof covered with solar photovoltaic panels to provide shade to the top level, it generates clean and renewable energy.

The parking building will provide 900 parking spaces with it”s six aboce ground levels including an 1/2 below ground level. To be noted, only 14 parking spaces are devoted to electric vehicles. There’s also free bicycle storage available to “encourage alternate transportation modes.

By on April 14th, 2008

GREEN DEETS 016: Ben Harper 01 from George Spyros on Vimeo.

This is the first episode of a four-part series by TreeHugger. It shows singer Ben Harper in conversation with TreeHugger founder Graham Hill.

The Pearl Street Triangle, which could accommodate about two dozen cars,

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was transformed due to an idea of a group of Pratt Institute graduate students.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s PlaNYC 2030 plan for environmental sustainability calls for adding 800 acres of new public space by 2030.

This was the

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first of about 31 plaza projects to be completed by 2009.

The Dumbo Improvement District contributed $25,000 to the project, and the city $20,000.

via:: and TreeHugger

By on April 10th, 2008

People could live in glass houses and look at the world through rose-tinted windows while reducing their carbon emissions by 50% thanks to QUT Institute of Sustainable Resources (ISR) research.

Professor John Bell said QUT had worked with a Canberra-based company Dyesol, which is developing transparent solar cells that act as both windows and energy generators in houses or commercial buildings.

He said the solar cell glass would make a significant difference to home and building owners’ energy costs and could, in fact, generate excess energy that could be stored or sold.

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