Being Green – Finding Inspiration

Hi Folks:

One of the amazing things about the internet is the ability to connect people in ways that simply wasn’t possible before.  The ‘net of course isn’t a ‘place’ in itself, but an international network that showcases information on every subject imaginable.  I often turn to specific sites as a way of finding inspiration for whatever project I’m working on and I recently came across a few that relate to the ‘green’ field.

The first is ‘The Designers Accord‘.  “The Designers Accord is a global coalition of designers, educators, and business leaders working together to create positive environmental and social impact.” One of the initiatives of the Designers Accord is a series of 17 videos put forth by the people at Core77.  Called the ‘Sustainability in 7‘ series, each short video profiles one person who is working in the area of sustainable design.  My personal favourite is Bill McDonough (he’s my hero) but each one has their own merit.  You can either watch the videos all at once or pick one every day for a short burst of inspiration.  All of the people featured are designers and all of them speak to various areas of design, so you may be thinking that if you’re not a designer these videos aren’t for you.  That’s not true, really.  Each of us, in our own way is the designer of our own lives.  The choices that we make, the items we purchase (and those we don’t) and more each contribute to the impact we make on our present and our future, both individually and collectively.  There’s a lot more than videos to the Designers Accord site; it’s well worth checking out.

The second is the new POV section of the Herman Miller website.  This site profiles the work of five different architects (so far) and gives some insight into how they create the buildings they design.

The third is that the folks at Environmental Design + Construction magazine and Sustainable Facility magazine have completely redesigned their websites.  There’s a wealth of articles, podcasts, webinars and more available.  Worth checking out!

Wherever you are in the world, take a moment to find some inspiration today.  It could be a bird call, the shape of a cloud or someone’s smile… easy to find if you look for it!

Hugs,
Mike.

Being Green – Good News?!?!?!

Hi Folks:  Well, Friday has come around once again and that means it’s ‘green day’ here for us.  Without question the biggest news in the world this week is the aftermath following the earthquake in Haiti.  If you’re interested you can find links to disaster relief sites here.  It’s events like this that bring the words ‘climate change’ into real focus.  It’s wonderful that so many millions of dollars and thousands of hours of effort have been offered in assisting the people of Haiti deal with what’s happened on their island; as Marcia said to me though, where were the funds to help them upgrade their infrastructure BEFORE this happened?

Ah well.  The title of this blog post is ‘Good News’ and all evidence to the contrary, there is good news to be found.  Last week’s post focused on what I see as the somewhat bewildering plethora of green building standards and certifications, but even that is good news in a way.  It wasn’t that many years ago that none of this existed.  One article I came across this week is titled ‘A Very Brief History of Sustainability‘.  These ideas continue to spread beyond building construction as well.  On the Sustainable Sites Initiative website you can find information on “The Sustainable Sites Initiative: Guidelines and Performance Benchmarks 2009” (.pdf), which includes “all stages of the site development process from site selection to landscape maintenance”.  There’s also a companion guide called “The Case for Sustainable Landscapes” (.pdf)  It brings a different slant to the idea of being ‘green’.  Another site I came across talks about greening up building operations and maintenance.  In the US these guidelines fall under the USGBC LEED for Existing Buildings – Operations and Maintenance Guide.  The article I read is titled, “LEED Cleaning – Why Not?”  Consider for a moment the wide range of chemicals used in traditional cleaning products and their effects on both the people using them and everyone else occupying the building after their use.  I certainly applaud less toxic alternatives!  Continue Reading →