Compromise and Cost: Building Green

Compromise and Cost: Building Green

No dilemma more clearly demonstrates the compromises that cannot be avoided when trying to think about building green than the decisions involved in choosing insulation. A quick assessment shows the trade-off may lie between materials that require huge amounts of energy to produce as opposed to the energy they save in their lifetimes. Examples are found in rockwool and fiberglass—each requires a great degree of heat to produce, even though they may become inert and environmentally safe. However, is the tiny amount of risky chemicals in polyiso and its petrochemical source more than…Read more
Greening Manhattan: A Dialogue

Greening Manhattan: A Dialogue

GreenStreet Inc. isn’t your ordinary General Contractor. Our team of LEED APs, LEED Green Associates and Certified Sustainable Building Advisors, brings a level of sophistication needed to complete green building projects successfully. Acting as general contractor, we manage a team of subcontractors, ensuring that green building standards are met. Sounds foolproof, right? Not exactly. Although green projects bring a level of high-performance building​, the relationship between a contractor and client remains no less essential. What follows is a breakdown, into particular elements, of a dialogue regarding Client and Contractor with Abel B'Hahn, Co-Owner of…Read more
Biomimicry and Solar Ivy

Biomimicry and Solar Ivy

An approach toward achieving sustainable, fully realized solutions to human challenges by mirroring natural methods, Biomimicry is a crucial philosophy ensuring that we live better lives. As a practical methodology, it seeks to develop products, processes and policies that yield new ways of conducting ourselves in the world itself. What this accomplishes, in the long run, is a life cycle more finely in tune with the biology of the earth. In the most basic constructive sense, biomimicry looks to the environment for building solutions (the fossil record provides us with examples of failures).…Read more

LEEDing Product Transparency and Market Change

The Living Building Challenge, Materials Petal, calls for Red List-compliant materials, which we detailed in a previous entry. However, as a refresher: Red List guides sustainable building teams in choosing the right products for healthy buildings, taking both inhabitants and environmental protection into consideration. Each material purchased for a job-site contains a material safety data sheet (MSDS), and, on the MSDS, we find the Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) numbers associated with each chemical contained in that specific product. Our team has been diligent in making sure all products chosen do not contain any…Read more

Retrofits Using EnerPHit

Passive House goals can be achieved for retrofits under the EnerPHit certification. Meeting Passive levels may become trickier when retrofitting, but the retrofit standard is ambitious and achievable. Passive House Institute Founder, Dr Wolfgang Feis launched the EnerPHit standard at the Passive House Conference, and pointed out that the energy consumption of old buildings can’t usually be brought to the level of new build Passive House standard, precisely because of those unavoidable thermal bridges. “But,” he notes: “The same components as for new Passive House buildings can be used, and the building substance…Read more

Building WELL

Greenstreet, along with everyone in the environmentally conscious design community, strives to create a better-built environment. So, in principle, we welcome the International Well Building Institute’s recent announcement of the WELL Building Standard as a way of providing additional guidelines. IWBI was launched by Delos in 2013, following a Clinton Global Initiative commitment by Delos Founder Paul Scialla, to improve the way people live by developing spaces that enhance occupant health and quality of life by sharing the WELL Building Standard globally. However, the forthcoming WELL Accredited Professional Program seems to offer more…Read more

The Benefits of Deconstruction

“Deconstruction”: the word itself succinctly distinguishes the process from “demolition” by containing the word “construction.” With demolition, unwanted, hazardous materials are removed, the building is knocked down, and subsequently, crunched into useless landfill. Deconstruction, by contrast, is “unbuilding”: a building is taken apart, often in reverse order of its construction, to preserve the greatest amount of materials for re-purposing. Less energy is used, creating less pollution and engendering greater recycling potential at each step. Another building is sure to take shape—meaning future construction, recovery and rebirth, as much as green disassembly. Through deconstruction,…Read more

Platinum Performance, Green Building

The LEED 2009 Green Building Rating System, which provides performance standards to certify the built environment—whether commercial, institutional and high-rise residential buildings, public and private—seeks to insure healthy, affordable, and eco-friendly structures. Viridian Future is working to meet these criteria by building a uniquely livable, beautiful, green home. LEED outlines seven topics in its prerequisites and credits for new construction and major renovations: Sustainable Sites (SS) Water Efficiency (WE) Energy and Atmosphere (EA) Materials and Resources (MR) Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) Innovation in Design (ID) Regional Priority (RP) With certifications awarded according to…Read more

Viridian Future Tackles The Living Building Challenge

“Who would want to live in a world which is just not quite fatal?” —Rachel Carson, Silent Spring The Living Building Challenge, put forth by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI), is one of the most important green building strategies yet proposed. The ILFI’s ambitious, global challenge encompasses seven performance areas, or “petals”: Place Water Energy Health and Happiness Materials Equity Beauty Viridian Future’s primary focus remains the “Materials” petal of the LBC, which requires the proper vetting of each piece of material being used in our projects. This includes small-scale items such as…Read more

SunDrum’s Solar Boost; A Better Solar Panel

PV SunDrum Solar, the world leader in today’s hybrid solar systems, provides a unique thermal collector that is thin and flat. Its lightweight design, attaching to the underside of a standard PV, creates a hybrid module that Viridian Future proudly looks forward to utilizing as a means to discharge excess heat in its project home. The conventional solar panel is inefficient in converting solar energy to electricity, with a yield of approximately 18%— 20%, typically 195 watts of total power—with the remainder heat gains escaping into the atmosphere. However, by contrast, SunDrum increases…Read more
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