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.