Saturday, August 28, 2010

--Bilyeu Homes builds a Passive House people would buy!

Bilyeu Homes of Oregon has just completed a Passivhaus that the average consumer would actually buy. Read the homeowner's blog to learn about the construction process. Jetson Green has a full overview.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

--From Treehugger: Royal Institute of British Architects to Focus on Vernacular Architecure

This is fabulous news: the Royal Institute of British Architects will hold a lecture series featuring numerous architects from around the world who have conscientiously incorporated vernacular architecture into their design portfolio.

Vernacular architecture represents the fusion of past and future technologies. It recognizes that traditional means for coping with climate demands are often less energy-intensive and therefore both cheaper and more environmentally friendly than many present methods.

"It is fascinating to see how local, vernacular architecture can be adapted to modern-day needs. The same principles that were behind the initial design of so-called "primitive" buildings can be modified for present day use, using cheap locally sourced materials. And these guys should know, because they have all done it in their own countries."

Keep Reading...

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

--From Treehugger: "Natural Temperature Conditioning with Courtyards"

"People 4,500 years ago managed to keep their homes appropriately warm and cool without high technology -- and without wasting energy. How did they do it?

"Traditional courtyard homes developed between 3,000 or 2,000 BC "incorporate a variety of appropriately designed inward-looking habitable rooms and spaces at different floor levels around a planted courtyard to suit different seasons and to enhance privacy," according to an exhibit at the Science Museum of London that shows a model of one such house in Baghdad. These "naturally conditioned homes" are still found in many places, from Beijing to southeast Turkey, and likely beyond..."

Keep Reading...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

--"Beyond Green Building"

Encouraging report circulating in the office today. Even developers are starting to see the fiscal--rather than ethical--impetus for sustainable design.

Read all of "Beyond Green Building"

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

--"Towards a Critical Regionalism of Architecture"

"The transition towards a mediocre civilization makes homogeneous the various cultures of the world problematizing the new growth of 'underdeveloped' cultures. The cultural past is put into question in the move towards modernization. "

Keep Reading...

Sunday, December 6, 2009

--An important editorial from the the New York Times

Jared Diamond--author of Guns, Germs, and Steel--has written an important editorial for the New York Times. He argues that environmental stewardship makes good business sense. This blog agrees. Businesses have historically increased profits through environmental consciousness. As energy prices increase, green consciousness will benefit the home builders and home owners dramatically.

A Must Read

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

--From Treehugger: On Daylighting

"A hundred years ago there were all kinds of sophisticated technologies to manage, direct and control natural light. Cheap electricity made such variable and hard-to-manage sources unnecessary; just throw in a couple of fluorescent fixtures and it didn't matter how far you were from a window. But electricity isn't so cheap any more, and daylighting is making a comeback. Add some computers and controls and you get the new world of daylight management, where shading devices, heliostats and skylights are integrated with interior lighting systems to get the best and cheapest light possible."

Read it all.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

--From the Today Show: "High Tech Homes of the Future"

As part of NBC Universal's annual "Green Week," the Today Show this morning profiled High Tech Homes of the Future (ht AGFH). Once again, the public is subjected to a barrage of laughable ecoboxes that no significant market share of homeowner will want to spend forty years paying off. When will architects learn that building these monstrosities is reducing rather than stimulating demand for precisely the type of environmentally-friendly homes that America desperately needs?

Monday, November 16, 2009

--From the Wall Street Journal: "Builders Downsize the Dream Home"

"'There's a lot more that comes with those McMansions,' said Mr. Easley. 'There's a lot more cleaning. There's a lot more heating, a lot more cooling.'

"Wieland believes the market downshift reflects 'a fundamental change in the way people are going to want to live,' and not just a reaction to scarce credit and insecure jobs, said F. David Durham, senior vice president. 'We're not waiting for things to return to the way they were.'"

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--From the NYTimes "Yemen Finds Dreamland of Architecture

"Architects rediscovering the Old City soon found there was more than beauty at stake. The traditional houses were also more durable and effective than concrete-based modern houses, and better suited to the climate.

"'The traditional houses have many environmental advantages,' said Abdulla Zaid Ayssa, the director of the government office that oversees all building and renovation in the Old City.

"The traditional plaster, joss, does not erode stones over time the way cement does, Mr. Ayssa said, and is more durable. Qadad, a stone-based insulation material used in roofs and bathrooms, is much stronger than modern equivalents. The old stones and insulation techniques are calibrated to the sharp temperature shifts of night and day in Sana’s desert climate, so that the sun’s warmth fully penetrates a house’s walls only at day’s end, and is then retained through the night and no longer, Mr. Ayssa said. They are also much more soundproof and private than concrete.

"'They experimented for hundreds of years to find these techniques,' Mr. Ayssa said. 'By comparison, nowadays we are building houses with a very stupid concept.”'"

Read it all