Campuses continue to show it can be done. The latest to take home a top LEED rating? Binghamton University’s Science and Engineering building.
Forgotten about green building during the economic swoon of the last two years? Rising energy costs and static incomes make it more important than ever as consumers look for added value and long-term energy savings.
Check out these top green residential projects from across the U.S., which demonstrate that green living is no longer just for the wealthy few.
1 – Postgreen’s 100K House in South Philly sets the mark for in-city affordability
Postgreen, a sustainable building and design company, wanted to address a demographic that was not being served in Philadelphia: Urban dwellers who want to live in a green property, but do not want to move to the suburbs or spend the money, typically $500,000 and up, for most builder’s green creations.
So the team set out to build its inaugural projects, the $100K and $120K infill homes in the sleekest, greenest, low-waste designs they could muster, while resisting the “bells and whistles” that drive prices up. They wanted the 100K home to come in at a building cost under $100 per square foot, so they had to work extra hard at efficiencies in all aspects of construction. The result: Two two-story loft homes with two bedrooms each priced at between $200,000 and $250,000, both on commute-free city lots, walking distance to subway and bus stops.
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced a new “LEED for Neighborhood Development” rating system today that aims to reward communities that try to reduce urban sprawl, increase walkability and transportation options, and decrease automobile dependence.
The new certification, developed with the Congress for the New Urbanism and the Natural Resources Defense Council, hopes to encourage development within or near existing communities and public infrastructure to reduce the impact of sprawl. It is the seventh rating system for the USGBC, which certifies residential, commercial and other properties based on their environmental footprint.
Once again, California is leading the way toward greener cities. Today, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed legislation that addresses sprawl concretely (and one hopes that’s concrete mixed with recycled fly ash).
Many states and cities have talked about the need to shorten commutes and to connect work centers with fuel-saving public transportation. These talks have sometimes yielded more commuter rail lines, bike paths and awards for urban renewal projects. But just as often, they’ve produced more talk.
Dealing holistically with sprawl has seemed beyond the grip of many large cities where the citizenry and leadership have long equated bigger with better. (Need we name these Sunbelt perpetrators?)
Now California may help break the impasse. The bill, SB 375, signed today puts some green on the table – to push the issue beyond talk. It will link federal transportation funding to climate change goals, offering incentives to builders to keep their projects closer to city hubs and to build more affordable housing projects within major metro areas.
Denser urban population growth will mean shorter, fewer commutes, translating to lower fuel consumption, preserved agricultural land and cleaner air. Neat how those things all go hand in hand, huh? The re-direct will help the state meet its goal of reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.
Critics were miffed that during machinations, the building lobby won some exemptions from some other environmental requirements for those pursuing these incentives. But as we’ve seen in Congress, even crisis legislation can crack and falter if compromises aren’t made.
Copyright © 2008 | Distributed by Noofangle Media
Want to stay at a verifiably green hotel for your next vacation? Soon you’ll be able to choose from among dozens of hotel and resort projects, in various stages of construction or remodeling, that have registered with the US Green Building Council, aiming to achieve silver, gold or platinum LEED certification.
But so far only a handful of resorts, hotels and lodges, 14 at last count, have completed the LEED certification process.