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Being Green - Celebrate!

Hi Folks:

Happy Friday!  End of the week and time for the ‘Being Green‘ post.  It’s going to be a short post this week, mostly because it’s too beautiful outside to invest too much time in front of a computer.  So, in honour of today’s beautiful weather and in honour of summer in general, I thought I’d just offer a couple of links to things that are worth celebrating (from a ‘green’ perspective):

First is a development I recently heard about in Germany called ‘Solarsiedlung (Solar Village)‘, which has the main building (Sonnenschiff (Solar Ship)) at its heart.  This community  incorporates many ‘green’ standards, including rooftop gardens, rainwater collection, passive solar orientation, a woodchip boiler for winter heating and Passivhaus standards for construction, but the reason for the ‘Solar Village’ moniker is the huge number of solar panels in use in the project.  Not only does their use make the project ‘net-zero’, it actually produces more energy than it uses.  Four times more energy… which definitely makes it energy positive.  The designer of the Solar Village project is Rolf Disch.  You can find out more about this and other projects on his website; he also has a site on what he terms ‘PlusEnergy‘.  In a time when people are wondering what they can do to help reduce their energy costs, this development proves that it’s possible to go far beyond that, in a practical way.

Second, Cree Lighting and Habitat for Humanity have begun construction on the first Habitat house that will incorporate all LED lighting.  According to the Cree website, lighting is the single biggest energy user in the average home, at 22% of energy use.  I did a blog post on lighting a while back, and while LEDs do have some disadvantages, at the moment they’re the most efficient and most environmentally friendly lighting technology.  Continued development can only make them better.

Next, a little fun with a story about three swimming pools on Park Avenue in New York city.  The project was done by the development company Macro Sea, in cooperation with the city of New York.  Each pool is made from a converted dumpster, and completely portable.  Drop it off the back of a truck, fill it with water, plug in the filter and have fun!  The pools opened at 7:00 a.m. daily, and from the images I’ve seen there was no shortage of participants!  Given the heat islands presented by most cities, this is a great idea.

And finally, for now, also from New York, the office tower at One Bryant Park has become the first office tower to achieve LEED Platinum certification.  That’s something that’s definitely worth celebrating!!

Okay, the links for this week include:

Okay, that’s it for now. Have a great week!
Mike.

P.S. Looking for something to do with your summer? How about making some giant soap bubbles? (YouTube video) We’ve had a lot of fun with ours over the years – we even had them at our wedding reception!! You can get them here: BubbleThing The ingredients are non-toxic, and they really are a lot of fun for kids of all ages.

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