Wednesday, September 30, 2009

IDEAbuilder at GABreport

An article on our Lake Tahoe proof-of-concept project is now online at the GABreport website. The editor, Mignon O'Young is a green architect and the editor of the GABreport - a great online resource for the green building community.

Thank you Mignon! We look forward to seeing you at West Coast Green and keeping up with you at your website and at cleantech and green building events.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

IDEAbuilder at West Coast Green

We will have a booth at West Coast Green in the innovation pipeline area. Please do stop by and visit us.

We will have demos to show and will be ready to answer your questions about the future of building, 3D design, robotic fabrication, sustainability and green building in Europe, etc.

Looking forward to a great event!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Green building - simply requiring LEED certification doesn't work

The New York Times coverage of LEED certified buildings that are not actually very green is great coverate of a growing problem. Simply installing bamboo floors and bike racks may get a building more LEED points but it doesn't make the building very green. Even a USGBC commissioned study shows how easy it is to "game the system" and get a high rating using the least expensive, point-winning features.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Obsolete Building Codes and Amory Lovins Changing the world

When I was up in Seattle a couple of weeks ago I met with some of the writers from I really like their site, support their work, and believe, as does Amory Lovins, of the Rocky Mountain Instititute, that" building codes are obsolete before the ink is dry."

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Europe leads the U.S. in Green Building?

Here's the link and I agree. Real green building requires "systems thinking" and the integration of multiple systems and iterative design. Good ideas happen everywhere and integrating them quickly into new designs is the real innovation.

Here is an article from 2007 by New York Times architecture critic, Nicolai Ouroussoff, asking "Why Are They Greener Than We Are?" Much has change since 2007 but than Europeans have also passed a lot of new legislation mandating zero energy buildings AND moved further ahead in adopting advanced computer-aided-manufacturing technologies.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Five Green Products from Holland

Five companies introduced at the green-in-the-Netherlands event today

Jaga Heaters - design radiators and more
Thermocushion from Tonzon - thermal insulation
Green Amazons - liaison between the U.S. and EU, especially the Netherlands
Capzo - phase change materials
iDo Technology - home automation

Martin Eberhard: How blogs helped build the Tesla Roadster

Inspirational blog post on the importance of blogging, transparency, and being open and real.

Green Urban Planning and building in the Netherlands

Inspirational work by the Dutch being shown here at the AIASF office. Low energy houses are already the required standard and they are moving toward passive house standards. Here is a link to the an innovative architect working in Holland at Atelier Kempe Thill. Architect Oliver Thill is showing some great projects with prefab construction that are not only very energy efficient but also architecturally compelling.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Cleantech Venture Capital

A thought-provoking slide show on cleantech investing.

Cleantech Venture Capital Presentation - Get more Business Documents

Sustainable Urban Planning and Green Building in the Netherlands

I will be attending this event in the AIA SF office on June 25th. I have always enjoyed the innovative architecture coming out of the Netherlands and recently watched an amazing presentation on new buildings in Rotterdam.

If only we didn't have earthquakes in California making it so difficult for Renzo Piano to design buildings like this one in Rotterdam - although we do have his great California Academy of Science building.

There has also been a lot of talk recently about the Amsterdam Smart City program. It will be interesting to learn how they mash-up technology and green. Watch a great introductory video here.

A quick slide show introduction to passive houses.
Passive House In Depth for Professionals

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Greentech Media Green Building Summit

I will be at the Greentech Media summit tomorrow. If you are going to be there please ping me so that we can share a real-time review. I am a regular reader of greentech media and have attended a couple of their events and was impressed with the speakers and presentations. However, after reading the agenda a few weeks ago I was very disappointed to discover how few builders will be presenting at a green building summit ????? so I contacted the organization and ended up speaking with Editor in Chief, Michael Kanellos. I was informed that they had difficulty finding appropriate builders. (full disclosure - I share office space with Zeta communities and Marc Porat is giving the afternoon keynote). I saw Michael at a great Smart Grid conference last week organized by the incredible organization, Innovation Center Denmark, and hope to speak with him at length about green building and technology in the near future.

Companies from the Cleantech Open will be pitching so I look forward to seeing some familiar faces and old friends.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Michelle Kaufmann shuts down - Lessons Learned

With all the media attention and ongoing discussion regarding MKD shifting markets, the time is right for a longer discussion on what went wrong beyond attributing the problems exclusively to the state of the larger housing market.

a much longer post is in the works.

The Future of Green Building

Here is a great article by Eric Corey Freed, the Organic Architect, in Natural Home magazine on the next 10 years in green building. (I know Eric from multiple meetings and see him frequently at events in the office we share with Architecture for Humanity.)

Michelle Kaufmann, Sarah Susanka, and other well-known luminaries from the green building community share their views on green and the current housing market. As a strong advocate of integrated design, manufacturing and building systems, I was encouraged by Pliny Fisk's reference to the need for DfM, "From an industry standpoint it needs to be Designed for Manufacturing (DfM), and industry protocol that forces you to think from the start about how you are going to make something—what the tools are, the manufacturing technique." After reading the article I immediately called "The Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems" in Austin where Pliny is the co-director to request information on what they believe defines DfM. Will they send references to BIM and CAM/CNC production, or advocate exclusively less technical building systems such as straw bale and rammed earth systems? I will post appropriately.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Economist magazine on international housing markets

Here is a great chart from the current issue of my favorite news magazine, the Economist. Take a look at the Irish, UK, and Spanish markets. The states isn't so bad in comparison.

Switzerland is not only one of the few appreciating markets, it stands out for its lack of volatility and stability over decades and centuries. This is both a blessing and a curse for the architects and builders in that market. It is also hyper-competitive with over 400 very advanced computer-aided manufacturers in a country of only 7.7 million people. My Swiss friends continually tell me about it. We have a lot to learn from Switzerland. They also have about 10,000 buildings certified to their Minergie standard (somewhat similar to the Passiv Haus standards).

Take a look at one of the best builders in Switzerland, Hector Egger (in German). Be sure to look at the live webcam feed - remember the time difference.

$571 billion green building market by 2013?

Will the green building materials market really be worth $571 billion by 2013. Here is the report. It really depends on how you slice the data and qualify products as green

Google's Larry Page building green in Palo Alto

Green meets a really techie smart house. Larry's new 6,000 foot back yard cabana will be a green showcase, although I don't suspect he is planning on hosting an open house for the public.

And he does need a building to install another google power meter. I wonder if he will make the data public?

Question: When is Larry going to call us so that we can help build the virtual and physical homes and integrate all kinds of green materials, systems, and tech toys? This kind of project would make for a perfect proof-of-concept house - and no worries about Larry missing any payments.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Michelle Kaufmann Designs Shuts Down

One of the pioneers in the contemporary prefab space calls it quits. Michelle Kaufmann Designs shuts down. It is both a problem of the housing market as well as the relationship with the manufacturer. Here is the full article.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Metaverse U at Stanford

I am attending another Metaverse event. About 100 people are in attendance. Live video feed here. Looking for the architects and builders of the metaverse.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Energy Plus Homes using German technologies

Weberhaus is another great company continually innovating and using technology to produce high performance buildings. A zero energy house is old news for this company - their Energy Plus homes are the new standard. Take a look at a video here to learn more.

For passive houses built using prefab production, the weberhaus is a great example.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Energy Plus Home in Denmark

The Danes do it again. When will we get an energy plus home in California?

Read the full article here.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A video from the future

A very thought-provoking video that demonstrates a real world of possibilities. I am going to guess 2022 as the year it will be technically possible to "experience" something similar. It won't be described as virtual reality, augmented reality, and many will criticize it as a synthetic experience, but as the metaverse gets built out and the digital-to-physical divide becomes harder and harder to define it will make for an enjoyable singularity experience. Imagine the possibilities.