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Archive for the ‘Greenbuilding’ Category

West Coast Green is this week in San Francisco, and I am honored to be among the distinguished list of speakers at the event. I will be co-presenting a panel on Integrated Water Systems with Paul Kephart from Rana Creek and Andy Mannle this Friday, October 2, at 11am. The panel we did last year, “The Sexiest Large Scale Water Design Applications We Have Ever Seen”, was S.R.O. So they’re bringing us back for an update, which we’re calling (somewhat less racily) “The Whole Pitcher.”







Also at West Coast Green, Sherwood will be participating in the “Greening Fort Mason Design Slam.” The event was created to brainstorm design strategies and practical ideas for the continued evolution of Fort Mason Center as a leading environmentally sustainable destination. I will be facilitating this charette this Friday October 2 at 12:30pm along with a number of great minds from WRT, The Grove Consulting, Van Meter Williams Pollack, Solutions and PEC. You can read more about it here and register to attend the conference here.

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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
3. BNIM
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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livablecontestheader2

Check out these awesome street ‘redesigns’ from the GOOD Livable Street Contest. There’s lots of ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures of how people would redesign their streets to make them more walkable, breathable, and permeable. While some of them would likely face technical challenges, they represent a good slice of the ideas out there for making better streets.

The contest is closed now, but due to the overwhelming volume of responses, they’ve given the judge an extra week to pick a winner. Check back May 18th for an announcement……

zerofootprint-competition

Treehugger brings word of the new Z-Competition: Re-skin old buildings to make them zerofootprint. Or at least, come up with scalable designs for retrofitting older, energy-inefficient buildings to reduce their consumption and improve functionality.

The competition will be judged on the aesthetics, energy efficiency, smart technology, return on investment and potential as a solution for a large number of buildings.

Like the X-Prize, this isn’t just a design competition. Five finalists will be chosen, their designs implemented and monitored over three years. The Z-Prize ca$h will be given to the building that has most reduced the energy per square foot.

Retrofitting existing buildings is one of our most pressing global challenges. It’s the most bang for the buck, the most quickly implemented, and with billions and billions of square feet of building stock out there, could represent a serious dent in carbon emissions.

The competition welcomes teams from all over the world.The deadline for the submission of designs is September 1, 2009.

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Greetings –

This is the first in a series of regular updates I will be writing about what we have been working on at Sherwood Design Engineers. I’m excited to share information about these projects with you.

Guangzhou, China

Over the past month, we’ve gotten started with a transformative project in Guangzhou in the heart of China’s manufacturing region. We are working with Hargreaves and SOM to conceptualize the regeneration of a major portion of this city of 6-12 million people, which is 75 miles north of Hong Kong. The project entails transforming polluted land via green technology and enterprise in a 36 square kilometer area of the city in a very important region.

Sherwood Institute

Over the last 3 years Sherwood Design Engineers has invested over a quarter million dollars in research and pro-bono activities to develop a proven, project-driven model for improving and accelerating the availability and energy efficiency of fresh water around the world.  We have taken this effort to the next level with the formal founding of a non-profit. Building on the expertise we’ve accrued tackling challenging sustainability problems around the world, we’ve come up with the following mission for the Sherwood Institute:

Safeguard and extend the availability and energy efficiency of threatened fresh water resources in the 6 developed continents by:
• Improving design and practices that will minimize the water-related carbon footprint and maximize water resource use efficiency.
• Transforming policy roadblocks into opportunities for action.
• “Influencing the influencers” of water practices to change ways that people produce, access and use fresh water resources.
• Improving access for people in poverty to clean drinking water in the developing world.

7×7 Magazine Profile

Closer to home, the latest issue of 7×7 Magazine to hit the newsstand has a full page profile on what we are up to on page 25. It’s a very complimentary and well written article, the details are mostly right (you can see the piece for yourself in the News section of our site).

Valladolid

I just returned from visiting my mom’s permaculture education project in Valladolid, Mexico, in the Yucatan. She’s converted an 300 year old colonial home into a living and breathing building with rainwater harvesting and tropical food production. We’ll post some images here soon.

That’s all for now, in future editions of this letter I will keep you updated on these and other projects. I welcome your feedback and would love to know what you’d like to hear more in the comments section below. Thank you for reading.

Best,
Bry Sarte
President, Sherwood Design Engineers

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aia-top-ten-toast
The AIA  is toasting their Top 10 Green Projects in SF tonight, including Chartwell School. This is the 13th year of the Top Ten Green Projects program, and included contributions of more than 9,000 AIA Committee on the Environment (COTE) members and 65 state and local chapters.

We are very excited that Chartwell School was chosen as one of this year’s Top Ten, and we hope it continues to be an inspiring model as both a Green Building, and a Higher Performing School.

The evening will include remarks from guest Bob Ivy, editor-in-chief of Architectural Record and VP/ editorial director of McGraw-Hill Construction Publications, including GreenSource. Toasts will be led by special guest and Cote founding chair, Bob Berkebile, FAIA, and will feature a tribute to Cote leaders Gail Lindsey, FAIA, and Greg Franta, FAIA.

Congratulations to everyone who helped Chartwell make the list, and to all the students and staff at Chartwell school!

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110 Embarcadero. Courtesy of Pelli Clarke Pelli

110 Embarcadero. Courtesy of Pelli Clarke Pelli

Writer Allison Arieff’s most recent By Design column for the New York Times – “Blue is the New Green” – discusses the importance of water, and mentions the panel we gave at this year’s West Coast Green conference:

Although 70 percent of the earth is covered with water, just 3 percent of that water is fit for human consumption. This isn’t going to improve anytime soon. Failures in water-related infrastructure result in lost biodiversity, higher temperatures, increased flooding, massive impact on energy and unsafe, unsanitary water.

But important advances have been made in water resource management — and they are far more compelling than the term “water resource management” would suggest. (Earlier this year, a panel at the sustainability conference West Coast Green was titled “The Sexiest Large Scale Design Applications We Have Ever Seen.”)

On the panel, Bry Sarte joined Paul Kephart of Rana Creek to bring some sex appeal to “Water Resource Management” and “Water-Related Infrastructure,” terms which may not exactly role off the tongue or come up often in cocktail chatter, but are increasingly becoming critical concerns for everybody.

In her column, Arieff discusses several issues that we covered on the panel, and routinely deal with in our work, including:

  • Treating water as a resource instead of a waste.
  • Building multiple uses for water into our designs.
  • Recognizing that Water=Energy, and balancing the two.

She also lists several strategies to accomplish these goals including Living Roofs, Living Walls, Greywater Reuse, and Rainwater Harvesting. The photographs demonstrate that these designs can be both beautiful and practical.

In discussing his work designing the Living Roof for the Academy of Science, Paul Kephart noted that, “We have 42 acres of impervious surface in San Francisco. With 29 acres of roofs we could solve forever the runoff issues.” This would not only save water, but energy and money as well; while improving the health of the city.

Fortunately, this type of thinking is catching on. The California Public Utilities Commission is exploring water-energy efficiency programs:

The CPUC’s Water Action Plan calls for strengthening water conservation programs to a level comparable to the energy efficiency achieved by energy utilities. The Water Action Plan specifically calls for a 10 percent reduction in energy consumption by water utilities, emphasizes the importance of reducing the amount of energy needed by water utilities for water pumping, purification systems, and other water processes such as desalination, and encourages programs to reduce energy waste by water utilities from causes such as system leaks, poorly maintained equipment, defective meters, unused machines left idling, and improperly operated systems.

And it’s not just government agencies and designers that are finding the “sex appeal” in water design. As the dozens and dozens of thoughtful comments to Ms. Arieff’s column indicate – people all across the country are interested in making “Blue the New Green.”

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  • Amtrak is getting record ridership as fuel costs on planes and for cars continue to rise, but it will be hard to keep up with increased demand since the infrastructure to build new cars isn’t able to ramp up quickly since its been deteriorating.
  • LEED homes are now the latest trend and bragging right from the rich and famous out in California. But their green homes probably aren’t as small as most peoples.
  • Cheap air lines have lead to dramatically increased air travel within Europe, mostly to coastal towns with a resort industry springing up near the airports. But this is causing global warming issues that will take a long time to undo.
  • Families are actually using the Xebra electric car for neighborhood errands, spending $10/month to charge the car. But it will be hard to avoid attracting notice in one of them.
  • Jim Rogers, the CEO of Duke Energy, sees himself as an environmentalist. If he can only get the other environmentalists to see his side.
  • Obama supports ethanol as a way to help national security by decreasing revenues to oil rich but hostile nations.
  • EPA may reduce the required ethanol yields to ease corn and other crop prices, as a significant amount of farm land has been harmed, destroying this years crops, along the Mississippi.
  • The state of Florida is going to buy US Sugar, with the intention of using their land to help restore the Everglades, creating the largest ecological restoration project in the country.
  • A never ending stream of plastic trash is inundating areas like northern Alaska or some islands in Hawaii. And cleanup isn’t going to solve the problems – the only way to fix the situation is to stop allowing trash into the oceans in the first place.
  • Another power strip has been developed that hooks up to your computer monitor via USB so that you can manage the power controls of each of your outlets on the strip. See how much power you’re saving as well.
  • The New York Times writes an overview of the science behind stream restoration and what has and hasn’t worked.
  • More coverage of the downswing of suburbia as a 1-hr commute each way and the cost of heating a large home start to add up.
  • The Supreme Court ruled to cut punitive damages against Exxon for the Valdez oil spill to $500 million from $5 billion, since the compensatory damages totaled ~$500 million and punitive damages are generally on the same order.
  • Zipcar has a promotion in Chicago called Low Car Diet where if you agree to forgo using a car for one month this summer, they will give you a free 1-yr membership, a transit pass and driving credit. Maybe this plan will spread to other cities?
  • California plans to ramp up programs to cut greenhouse gas emissions, with the goal of reaching 1990 levels in 12 years. Stipulations include utilities required to generate 1/3 of electricity from renewable resources and building high speed rail lines.
  • Hawaii has passed a law requiring all new homes to have solar water heaters, with a few exceptions based on site feasibility.
  • New York City passed a law that goes into effect on January 1st, 2009 to provide a property tax credit of up to $100,000 for homeowners who install green roofs on at least 50% of their available rooftop.
  • The Bureau of Land Management has put a freeze on building new solar energy plants on their land, which is some of the most suitable land for such projects with huge tracts of land in the desert in the southwest.
  • Bird, a mini-chain of boutiques in Brooklyn, is in the process of building a new shop. The owner has been documenting the process, which this week includes the breakdown on demolition quantities as they try for LEED certification.
  • Home Depot will start recycling CFL light bulbs at all stores. Its been in place at their Canadian stores since November of last year.

A photo of the sorted demolition piles at Bird.

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