Sustainable design blog for progressive architecture

The Sustainable Design Blog

For the love of beauty, functionality, and the planet Earth

How to Get Your Energy Efficient building With new Light bulbs


Reinventing the first BRIGHT idea:

Thomas Edison’s 19th century invention of the incandescent light, which has an electric current running through a wire filament and heating it until it starts to glow, has been phased out by federal legislation.

So, what's the right answer for YOUR business? Is it CFLs? LEDs?

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Topics: Energy Efficiency, Commercial Architecture

Net Zero Building Design is Going to be the Standard Sooner than Later

Change is coming:

If you do not yet sense an urgency for change, you will soon.

Sure, there's market resistance, and there will continue to be, and so far, it doesn't seem to have moved very fast. But that's because the market will only transform so fast without a crisis.

The sweet spot for now may be where both sides are angry:  The market is uncomfortable with the required rate of change, and those that understand the current and pending risks are angry that change is not happening fast enough.  

The question today: Why do something different?  We are all pretty good at what we do, so why change?

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Topics: renewable energy, Sustainable Design, Energy Efficiency

Does the Cost of Solar energy outweigh the benefits?


How much does it cost to turn the sun into electricity, and is it worth it for my Florida building?

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, a typical residential system should lower your electric bills by 25% to 50%. The a verage household pays about $110 a month for electricity, according to the Energy Department, so a solar-panel system should save you between $300 and $600 a year.

Not bad....

Finding such savings and a shorter payback time than I expected when I first started looking into the subject, led me to doing further research on the use of solar panels for residential energy in sunny Florida.

However, doing so opened a can of political worms I was hoping to avoid, because it turns out that our laws are tilting the scales in ways people don't realize.

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Topics: solar, Sustainable Building

17 Powerful Quotes about Sustainability & Loving Our Planet

We have to build the new, sustainable world together

When I go to professional conferences, I love to gather inspiring, fun, informative, interesting, and just plain funny quotes from the keynote speakers and educational sessions. I go to a lot of green building related conferences.

The best ones combine education about green building examples and technology, but also spend time on the spirit and purpose of doing what we do. I was recently in attendance at the International Living Future Institute’s (ILFI) Living Futures 2016 conference in Seattle the week of May 9, 2016, and it was fertile ground for great quotes.

It is a challenging time now. Our buildings must get a lot better, and they must make the transition incrementally, but quickly. We also need to recharge our creative energy on a regular basis to accelerate the process. We also need to remember to have fun and celebrate with each other.

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Topics: Sustainable, Sustainable Design

How we're going to meet the 2030 challenge


I was in attendance at the International Living Futures Institute’s (ILFI) Living Futures 2016 conference in Seattle the week of May 9, 2016.  It was an amazing gathering of leaders in sustainability.  

One of the keynote addresses was given by Ed Mazria, Founder and CEO of 2030 Architecture and of the 2030 Challenge. The imperative that he spoke about is that we reach zero net carbon emissions for all new buildings by 2030 and for ALL buildings by 2050.  He spoke about how not only is it important, but it's an absolutely necessity for the survival of our species.

Many see it as a bold plan, because it simply won't accept business as usual in the built environment, but not us, because we know for a fact that these goals are attainable, and they're just the things that motivate us every single day.

This got me thinking:  What do we need to be doing, as architects in Florida, to stay on track to meet the 2030 Challenge? 

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Topics: LEED Certified Building, Sustainable Building, Green Design, Energy Efficiency

Why Would I Need NEED a Green Building Consultant?

Well... Do you want to be green, or do you want to be GREEN?

A green building consultant specializes in sustainable design and LEED certified projects. They may also have expertise in other green building rating systems and Energy Star.

For inexperienced project teams, the consultant can lead the entire team through the entire process. For more experienced teams the consultant may assist with any aspect of the project; from establishing sustainability goals at a project kick off meeting to documentation in the LEED online system when construction is completed.

Basically, a green building consultant will either make or break your project.

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Topics: Green build, Eco Charrette, consulting, Green Design

How this year's presidential election may impact climate change

How green is your favorite candidate?

This year's election is proving to be quite the dramatic showdown. Trump just all but sealed the Republican nomination, and Sanders and Clinton are brawling for every last delegate on the table.

There are a lot of hot button issues too - from building walls across national borders (what an architectural feat that would be), to freedom of religious expression, to our economy, to the dichotomy of lower income earners and the top 1%

But let's not also forget about the climate. Yes, this too has been somewhat of a contentious debate, and the outcome may reshape everything we know about our future, since the President will be leading policy change and very likely decided 4 new Supreme Court Justices if they make it two terms.

That's a pretty big deal for us greenies... and anybody who enjoys living on this rock we call Earth.

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Topics: Climate Change Facts, Climate change

More Green Building Materials You Probably Don't Know About

What are some green building materials that many builders are unaware of?

We could probably spend this and several more blogs discussing what green materials actually are, but I will let you decide that, and get on with some of the materials we have been using over the past 15 years in our sustainable design work.

This comes after receiving a lot of great direct feedback from posting this article by Peter Hortsman on the same subject (Must-Have Construction Material Made from Recyclables by Carlson Studio Architecture).

Building materials are constantly being improved or replaced with better materials, and because the modern sustainable building industry in the United States has been around for a couple of decades now, we have great materials that are already proven, and I'm going to share some of those that are a little less commonly known but very good for our planet.

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Topics: Green build, Building Materials, Construction

How to Pitch a Green Commercial Building Design to Your Board


What important components should one use to sell Their BOD on a green Commercial building design ?

So, you find yourself in an organization that needs to build facilities, and you have heard about green buildings or you already understand the benefits a green facility can provide, but you need to convince those higher up in your organization to consider the idea.  


                              What do you do?


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Topics: Green Design, Commercial Architecture

How to Choose a Solar Power System for your home or business

What are some systems for solar power generation that I should consider?

People come to our firm for green design because it's a very personal mission of ours to contribute to the sustainability of our planet and the preservation of our species. We also design beautiful buildings, if I do say so myself...

So, it's not all that uncommon to get questions about how to include solar power, our abundant and clean resource, in the overall design.

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Topics: Sustainable Design, solar, Sustainable Building, Green Design


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