Archive for the ‘Consulting’ Category

BillMcDonoughA new report by DesignIntelligence surveyed architects about their interest in sustainable design. Their 2009 Sustainable Design Survey drew data from architecture and design firms throughout the US.

Here are the Top 5 Individuals cited as role models of green and sustainable design:
1. William McDonough
2. Ed Mazria
3. Bob Berkebile
4. Amory Lovins
5. Barack Obama

The list of Top 5 Firms cited as role models of green and sustainable design includes many of the architecture firms we partner with:
1. HOK
2. Perkins + Will
4. Kieran Timberlake
5. (tie) Arup
5. (tie) Mithun
5. (tie) William McDonough + Partners

It’s encouraging to know that even in tough economic times, the push for sustainability goes on, and that these successful architecture firms recognize the importance of partnering with sustainable engineering companies like Sherwood Design Engineers.


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  • As trees that were killed during Hurricane Katrina decay, they are contributing large volumes of carbon dioxide to the environment. With more large storms likely in the future, we could be hit hard by not only loosing trees as a carbon sink, but having the dead trees turn into a carbon source at the same time.
  • Rising water levels don’t just affect countries like Bangladesh. Holland has been dealing with rising floods for centuries, and they have developed a new method to deal with them – don’t fight the water and let it go where it wants.
  • The Carbon Disclosure Project, a British nonprofit organization that focuses on aiding businesses in climate change, coordinated the Supply Chain Leadership Collaboration. The collaboration includes eleven major companies, and they will work with thousand of suppliers to see if they can curb greenhouse gas emissions.
  • A significant rise in fuel prices has made farming and food transportation more expensive around the world. The increased demand for biofuels has also reduced the amount of land available for growing food, as well as for cooking oils for use in many of the countries where the oils are produced.
  • How applicable is the LEE-ND rating for projects in New York City, when so much of the public transportation infrastructure is present prior to creation of a new project?
  • Caltrans will be required to treat significantly more storm water pollution from its highways, with new pollution controls in place by 2011 to reduce pollution by 20% from 1994 levels.
  • Israel gets behind electric cars, with the goal of making them cheaper to consumers than gasoline powered cars with substantial tax breaks through at least 2015. The cars will be made by Renault and Nissan. For a country about the size of New Jersey, this makes a lot of sense since people are probably not driving beyond the range of an electric car on a regular basis.
  • River restoration may be misguided since it all depends on what state you are trying to restore. Much of the eastern US has been dramatically altered since colonialism, so restoring to 100 years ago might not do much to restore to pre-colonial conditions.
  • Whole Foods announced that they will stop giving out plastic bags at their stores by Earth Day, April 22 2008.
  • The new Apple iPods have gotten even harder to repair since they are soldered together. Does this mean that Apple isn’t as green as they claim to be?
  • One of the projects in our office is considering a living wall on one of the buildings, so this discussion caught my eye. (via re-nest)

Photo of the layer of sediment that has formed since 1770 due to a mill and upriver deforestation from NPR.org

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Ok, facts of the matter are that cars are bad for the environment, and that it will be a long time before we will be rid of them.

Early in my career I was at odds with my chosen profession because I perceived it as contributing to the continued spread of the urban landform, which in turn contributed to a world that was consuming natural resources beyond its means.

At the time, my treasured mentor Rohan Ogier told me that perhaps I could reduce this impact by making every road that I design more efficient. Then he pointed out the discrepancy in fuel consumption rates for cars in city driving versus an open road condition.

Every car manufacturer provides this information for their new models, and the bottom line is that cars consume more fuel when they stop and start all the time rather than in a free flowing condition. Agreed.

Roundabouts Vs. Four-Way Stops

Roundabouts are used internationally as a way of distributing traffic at multiple converging roads. They are round in shape and they… okay, you all know what they are, but here is something to think about:

How much additional fuel is burned by coming to a complete stop at an intersection and then accelerating away? What if we could eliminate this? Is there a better solution? Definitely.

But what about the:
… people speeding through?
Roundabouts are designed to have a deflection angle to actually slow and re-direct the entering vehicles. The idea is to deter fast motorists from the straight-line route.
… pedestrian safety?
Generally in roundabouts, motorists are more alert to pedestrians because they are not looking for other vehicular traffic and mentally tallying who stopped first etc. At roundabouts you are only attentive to traffic already circulating and pedestrians in front of you. Reduced speed. Elimination of head-on collision potential.

The cherry on top is that the inner island can be planted with native landscaping to process some of the C02 produced by the cars… some of the fuel that has been burned in the past from stopping and starting – genius!

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Week of Dec 3 – 9, 2007.

Networking and Panel Discussion from USGBC NY Chapter:
Spec It Green: The Contractor’s Advantage
Tuesday Dec 4. Great Hall of Cooper Union (7 East 7th St. @ 3rd Ave)
Exploring Opportunities for Green Rehabs and Renovations. Networking, products, and panel discussion by architects, investors and green suppliers. (via Greenlinks)

HOLIDAY SEASON: Free Marin Community Event – Sustainable Business and the Art of Giving.
Tuesday, Dec 4 6:30pm-9:30pm. By Green Fusion Design Center and www.EcoNowUSA.com at 14 Greenfield Ave. San Anselmo, CA 94960.
The event begins with a presentation delivered by Mike Hannigan, followed by Q&A. You will have the opportunity to introduce yourself and your interests, before networking, to facilitate the connections you want to make. Through networking you will be able to share your thoughts, learn from others, brainstorm, develop partnerships, and more.

Online Presentation: Preparing for a Carbon-Constrained World
Wednesday Dec 5, 2007. 9:30 – 10:30am
Are you prepared for peak oil, the point at which we’ve used half of the easy-to-get oil and prices rise dramatically? This forty-five minute live Executive Briefing addresses the most important elements of climate change, peak oil and how they affect each other. It includes a fifteen-minute Q&A period at the end with the presenter.

San Francisco Green Drinks – First Wednesday of the month
Wednesday, Dec 5. 5:30-7:30 p.m. Varnish. 77 Natoma St, Nr Howard
The monthly social gathering of environmental folks….

Film & Party: “The Story of Stuff”
Dec 6. Downtown Berkeley. Info here
This short film offers a fast-paced, fact-filled look at the dark underbelly of our materials economy. It’ll teach you something. It’ll make you laugh. And it just may change the way you look at all the stuff in your life forever. 7:30 show is SOLD OUT! So come at 9pm for the party and then join us for a second showing at 10pm. In conjunction with GAIA ( Global Anti-Incinerator Alliance) and a host of other environmental organizations. (via The Ecology Center)

Friday Dec 7th, 6-9pm and Saturday Dec 8th, 2-6pm.
427 Bryant Street (just off 2nd street), SF 94107
“We’re having a little holiday open house and hope you’ll bless us with your cheery selves 🙂 We’ll have food and drink and lots of cool art and other items we’ve made that are going to be for sale. Great gifts!!”

Heads Up Next Week:

Eco-Build Conference: Dec 10 -13 in Washington D.C.

Have a Great Week!

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The Chartwell School, a progressive school in Seaside, California, was recently awarded a LEED Platinum rating! Sherwood served as the civil engineer on the project, and were responsible for the design of the stormwater management and rainwater harvesting tank (shown above), among other aspects of the design.
Photo from EHDD/The Chartwell School

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To drive home how important a large portion of the work we at Sherwood do, MIT is suing Frank Gehry for $300 million because of flaws in the drainage design of the building. (via Archinect)

Image via Wikipedia

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October 8 – 14

What Makes a Window Energy Efficient?

Sustainability Workshops: Economic Summit 2007 presented by Cal State East Bay SBDC
Tues, Oct 9. 12:30 – 7pm Session Three: Contracting Opportunities
Take part in workshops and interactive panel discussions that focus on critical sustainable business issues. Session 4: Technology and Innovation, is Thurs, Nov 8.

Green Developer Speaker Series
Tues, Oct 9th.
6 – 8pm
Financing Green Building with Scott Muldavin helps you find financing that accurately reflects the environmental, social and economic benefits of your green development project.

USGBC’s Carbon Reduction Webinar Series
can help you achieve “zero emissions” for your company or your building projects, for only $80 a session. Taught by experts from Pew Center on Global Climate Change
Oct 10. 10:00am-12:00pm: Climate Change 101
Oct 24. Carbon Inventory and Reduction Process

SF Sustainable Business Happy Hour: Green Business Drinks at Elixir Bar on 16th St. @ Guerrero.
Thu, Oct 11. 5:30 – 6:30pm

Free Seminar by SF Design Solutions on: Energy-Efficient Windows for Residential Customers.
Sat, Oct 13. 10am – 12pm.

Waldorf School Grand Opening Gala: Eric Corey Freed will give a brief talk about green building and the importance of the green features of the new Waldorf School.
Sat, Oct 13. 1:00pm – 5:00pm

Have a great week!

Next Week:
Book signing and Discussion at The Commonwealth Club:
Jason F. McLennan, Founding President and CEO, Ecotone Publishing will discuss “The Future of Architecture: Living Buildings and Living Communities.”
Monday Oct, 15. 5:00 – 7:00pm

Photo Courtesy of EnergyStar

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