Implementing Rules and Regulation for Green Infrastructure
The Implementing Rules and Regulation, Part 1 (IRR-1) for Green Infrastructures in pursuant to Section 24 of SP 1917 S-2009 - "An Ordinance Requiring the Design, Construction or Retrofitting of Buildings, Other Structures and Movable Properties to Meet Minimum Standards of a Green Infrastructure, Providing Incentives thereof and for Other Purposes" also known as the "Green Building Ordinance of 2009". (click on the links below for full text)
LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is redefining the way we think about the places where we live, work and learn. As an internationally recognized mark of excellence, LEED provides building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions.
With nearly 9 billion square feet of building space participating in the suite of rating systems and 1.6 million feet certifying per day around the world, LEED is transforming the way built environments are designed, constructed, and operated --- from individual buildings and homes, to entire neighborhoods and communities. Comprehensive and flexible, LEED works throughout a building's life cycle.
LEED certification provides independent, third-party verification that a building, home or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at achieving high performance in key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.
Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in 2000, the LEED rating systems are developed through an open, consensus-based process led by LEED committees. The next update of the LEED rating system, coined LEED 2012, is the next step in the continuous improvement process and on-going development cycle of LEED.
Architect Michael Reynolds wants to save the world and believes he can do this through ‘self-heating, self-regulating’ houses. The film is a welcome breath of fresh air in a climate that collocates any discussion about alternative approaches to the environment with pointless schemes such as ‘offsetting’ your carbon footprint or scratchy handwriting that appeals to tweedy, green-wellied middle Englanders.
Garbage Warrior begins with Michael Reynolds digging in the middle of the desert, packing mud into a tyre. This is one of the methods he has come up with for harnessing one of the central concepts in the film: thermal mass. Reynolds believes that by mastering it, he can set himself and others free. He builds houses using beer cans, empty petrol cans, tyres and borrowed trucks. In the middle of the desert, he has created a collection of quirky houses, each an improvement on the last.
There is no reason for Reynolds’ vision to be limited to hippies – which is a recurring concern, when his major point is so pertinent. As I write, the papers are filled with bleak forecasts about the housing shortage, about the property boom coming to an end, about young people not being able to get on to the ladder, about the possibility of people losing their homes. Most of us have nothing to do with the economic forces that determine our livelihoods. It is largely accepted that faceless traders, brokers and other businessmen create – or at least stimulate – the conditions in which the rest of us must survive. The question Garbage Warrior is asking is ‘why should I be tied to this system?’
EcoBlocks EcoBlocks aim to be mass replicable, economically viable, and nearly entirely resource self-sufficient communities. EcoBlocks are an alternative way to meet the huge and growing demand for urban space in China, currently filled by inefficient and wasteful apartment blocks. The EcoBlock concept is still a only a concept, but it’s creator Harrison Fraker, former dean of the UC Berkeley School of Architecture, has worked with Arup to prove the concept and is in talks with various Chinese cities to build an EcoBlock. The slide show below is Professor Fraker’s full introduction to the concept, and I will focus on a few key slides in my post today.
Harrison Fraker- EcoBlocks
Whole Systems Design Professor Fraker has done a masterful job of using whole systems thinking to design the EcoBlock. As the schematic below shows, the EcoBlock considers the many interactions between the energy, water, and waste systems. The anaerobic digester is a prime example: water used to flush the toilets goes into the septic tank as waste, which then goes through the digester where it is turned into energy. This is an interesting example of “waste equals food”, a concept Will McDonough and Michael Bruangart champion in Cradle to Cradle.
The upshot of this whole systems thinking is a development that is almost entirely self-sufficient from a resource perspective. As the chart below shows, thanks to significant energy efficiency measures and on-site generation, EcoBlocks is a net-zero energy community and doesn’t need to be connected to the grid.
An Earthship is a type of passive solar home made of natural and recycled materials. Designed and marketed by Earthship Biotecture of Taos, New Mexico, the homes are primarily constructed to work autonomously and are generally made of earth-filled tires, using thermal mass construction to naturally regulate indoor temperature. They also usually have their own special natural ventilation system. Earthships are generally Off-the-grid homes, minimizing their reliance on public utilities and fossil fuels.
The original Earthships' designs were at first very experimental, but with practice and evolution the houses began looking attractive.
Earthships are built to utilize the available local resources, especially energy from the Sun. For example, windows on sun-facing walls admit lighting and heating, and the buildings are often horseshoe-shaped to maximize natural light and solar-gain during winter months. The thick, dense inner walls provide thermal mass that naturally regulates the interior temperature during both cold and hot outside temperatures.
Internal, non-load-bearing walls are often made of a honeycomb of recycled cans joined by concrete and are referred to as tin can walls. These walls are usually thickly plastered with stucco.
The roof of an Earthship is heavily insulated – often with earth or adobe – for added energy efficiency.
The Earthship, as it exists today, began to take shape in the 1970s. Mike Reynolds, founder of Earthship Biotecture, a company that specializes in designing and building Earthships, wanted to create a home that would do three things; first, it would be sustainable, using material indigenous to the entire planet as well as recycled materials wherever possible. Second, the homes would rely on natural energy sources and be independent from the “grid”, therefore being less susceptible to natural disasters and free from the electrical and water lines that Reynolds considered unsightly and wasteful. Finally, it would be economically feasible for the average person with no specialized construction skills to be able to create.
Eventually, Reynolds' vision took the form of the common U-shaped earth-filled tire homes seen today. As a concept, the Earthship was not limited to tires – any dense material with a potential for thermal mass, such as concrete, adobe, or stone could theoretically be used to create an Earthship. However, the earth-rammed tire version of the Earthship is now the most common design, and is usually the only structure referred to as “Earthship”.
Earthships are made of Earth-rammed tires, bottles and cans
Unlike other materials, rammed-earth tires are more accessible to the average person. Scrap tires are ubiquitous around the world and easy to come by; there are an estimated 2 billion tires throughout the United States. As of 1996, as many as 253 million scrap tires were being generated each year in the United States, with 70% being reclaimed by the scrap tire market (leaving perhaps 75 million scrap tires available for reuse as whole tires). In addition to the availability of scrap tires, the method by which they are converted into usable "bricks", the ramming of the earth, is simple and affordable.
Earthship Book: 'Comfort in Any Climate' 30 pages. Covers how an Earthship stays warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Details the solar / thermal dynamics of the 'heating and cooling systems' of an Earthship.
The 'engine' of the Earthship:
All aspects of the Earthship concept, the catch water and waste water treatment systems and the solar/wind power systems, are tuned to your climate and your local codes as well.
All systems are in addition to and do not replace conventional systems, where available.
Earthship Book: 'Water from the Sky' Takes its readers from problem to solution. It addresses the water shortage in New Mexico, the United States, and around the world. Step by step, the book outlines how to solve the problem of water shortage through catching, storing, using, reusing and treating water.
What is your plan? Do you have one?
There are a lot of options... Do you want to have a private residence? Do you want to have a demo workshop as part of a larger building for some other use?
You can also apply the 6 principles of Earthship Biotecture to an existing building. This is called retrofitting.
Another option is to send your local builders to an Earthship workshops in the USA or around the world.
Earthship Biotecture is a concept - not limited to tires - it is a building that will take care of you by encountering and interacting with the biology and physics of the earth.
'BALLPARK' COSTS OF AN EARTHSHIP HOME ARE AS FOLLOWS... 40% LABOR 40% MATERIALS 20% SYSTEMS AND SUBCONTRACTORS
BASE THE ABOVE ON ABOUT $200 PER SF
These prices reflect the fact that you are building your utility systems as well as your shelter. Conventional housing provides only shelter and you pay monthly for your utilities.
LABOR PERCENTAGES OF THE COST FACTOR CHANGE IF YOU BUILD IT YOURSELF.
YOU WILL FIND THESE COSTS TO BE SIMILAR TO CONVENTIONAL CONSTRUCTION - BUT THE DIFFERENCE IS THESE EARTHSHIP HOMES HAVE LITTLE OR NO UTILITY BILLS SO THE OVERALL MONTHLY LIVING EXPENSE (mortgage payment plus utility bills) IS LESS IN AN EARTHSHIP - NOT TO MENTION THE SECURITY OF HAVING YOUR OWN UTILITIES.
This is not a rigid thing - it is a concept that we help you apply to your specific situation. SECURITY, COMFORT AND "MINIMAL-TO-NO" MONTHLY UTILITY BILLS AS WELL AS USE IN ALL CLIMATES IS POSSIBLE WITH THIS CONCEPT.
If you are ready to begin the Earthship Experience, following are starting points that can help you decide what you want to do and how to prepare and actually begin your project.
You are some or all of the following:
new to the Earthship
heard about it, and want to know more beyond exploring earthship.com
love Earthships, want to live in one and don't know where to start
on a romantic vacation
from any type of school or educational facility
Visit Us Earthship World Headquarters located in Taos, New Mexico. For $5 you may take a self-guided tour of this Earthship Visitor's Center. There is always someone available to answer questions. The tour includes a viewing of the Earthship 101 video/DVD: An 11 minute introduction to the Earthship concept and is a quick and concise way to learn the basics of Earthship Biotecture. The video is also an effective way to familiarize your builder or your friends with the concept.
At the conclusion of your tour, you may want to purchase our Complete Library set, a selection of Earthship products providing a solid basis of understanding to move forward with whatever project you have in mind. The set consists of: Earthship Volumes I, II, & III , Water From the Sky, Comfort in any Climate, the Earthships 101 video, and your choice of "From the Ground Up" DVD or "The Hut" DVD, and the Earthship Photo CD.
You may even want to arrange for a Consultation with Michael Reynolds. This is a good first step toward learning more about Earthships. We will tap all of our 40 years of experience and resources to provide you with the best answers for your situation (minimum one hour).
Earthship nightly and weekly rentals. Experience living in an Earthship. Nightly rentals are available in Taos, NM at the Earthship World Headquarters. Fully furnished Earthships with all modern amenities are available, including high speed wireless internet access, digital satellite tv, kitchens, etc. Weekly rates and group rates are available.
Earthship Seminars Earthship Biotecture offers exciting workshops which will give you hands-on experience building Earthships.
The weekend begins with dinner and a slide show and discussion of the concepts and history of Earthships. The following day begins with a morning lecture; the afternoon is devoted to on-site tire pounding, mudding, and building can walls. Sunday is split between additional lectures and touring a variety of completed Earthships in The Greater World Community, including the Phoenix. The lecture series includes explanation and demonstration of the systems packages, and addressing individual participant's questions. Reviewing the Earthship books and videos prior to the seminar will help you get the most out of this experience.
You are some or all of the following:
Know what you want to build
Have a good idea of what it will take to build a building
Have information about permitting and regulations
Have local climate data prepared for Earthship Biotects
Have the money it takes to build a building
Prepared to support a 12 person crew
Host a demonstration project $2500 to start * We stage an educational/building workshop over 2 - 6 weeks, to build a demonstration room that can be replicated by local builders while providing a basic education as to the principles and concepts of the Earthship structures.
What you get: The beginning of your Earthship that you can easily finish. The building is made of local, recycled materials that will catch clean water, harvest its own power, contain and treat its own sewage and provide strong, quick shelter.
Private Residential Earthships $2500 to start * Contract Earthship Biotecture to build your home, anywhere on the planet. We can build your Earthship turn-key or you can provide hands-on help.
Analysis of Local Climate, occupancy use
Floor Plan: based on climate, budget, planned occupancy use
Project Plan: team build, local crew, intern program
Cost Estimates to move forward to phase II
* $2500 to start is your first step, getting your sustainable, independent green home is not cheap. $2500 is an initial retainer.
An Open Letter to Classicist and Traditional Architects
This essay first appeared on the TradArch list-server at the University of Miami, October 2002.
My Dear Colleagues,
In the last few weeks I have been reading many contributions to the TradArch listserv. I have not said anything, up until now, because I have simply been enjoying the community, the joy expressed in ancient things, and ancient wisdom, the renewal of the right to be careful with buildings and to take pains with details of buildings. Above all, I have enjoyed seeing the way many of you talk to each other, respect each other, and try, genuinely, to talk.
However, I have been truly puzzled by one thing -- enough for me to want to speak about it, or at least mention it. So here are my thoughts.
Some of you take seriously the idea of Classicism (not merely Classicism in the sense of something "classic" - a different use of the word) in a sense that is anchored in the architecture of ancient Greece and Rome, the Florentine Renaissance, and the English and European styles from the 17th to the 19th century, that specifically used these details: Greek column orders, egg and dart, Palladian windows, and so on) as a model for our building activities in the 21st century.
This became clear in recent TradArch discussions about Classicism versus Gothic, whether Gothic could be admitted to "the canon," and the idea that Byzantine, anyway, could not.
The point of paying serious attention to traditional architecture is something very much larger, is it not? All traditional architecture - that is, almost all the architecture built in Indonesia, Japan, Russia, Africa, Turkey, Iran, India, China - this dazzling wealth of forms, representing building, and art, and design for several millennia, is our heritage; and it is important because, regardless of its particular style, nearly all these buildings exemplify, in one way or another, a deeper thing: the presence of living structure. It is this living quality which inspires us, and which we, rightfully, must consider as our heritage and our great teacher. It is great, and it is a great teacher, because it shows us the existence of a fund of living architecture and asks us and inspires us to emulate that fund, in our own way, and to become part of it with our own buildings, in our own time.
Note: This paper was originally presented in the symposium, "New Instruments of Design," at the Inaugural Conference at the Technical University, Delft, and a slightly different version appears in the proceedings of the conference.
I want to give you a report on some recent ideas in urban coding that we have begun to explore with the pioneering architect Christopher Alexander, and with the UK government and others. But before I do, I want to give you some of the theoretical backdrop for this work, and why we think it’s such an important and promising area for exploration.
By way of a setup let me share a very interesting quote from Rem Koolhas, who was to have spoken here this evening. He says:
Modernism's alchemistic promise – to transform quantity into quality through abstraction and repetition – has been a failure, a hoax: magic that didn't work. Its ideas, aesthetics, strategies are finished. Together, all attempts to make a new beginning have only discredited the idea of a new beginning. A collective shame in the wake of this fiasco has left a massive crater in our understanding of modernity and modernization.
- Rem Koolhaas, Whatever Happened to Urbanism (in S,M,L,XL)
I would certainly agree that there is today a massive crater in our understanding of modernity – that we are mired in a mechanical understanding of nature that still largely guides our acts of planning and building. But the fascinating and hopeful thing for us is that the most recent science shows us a path out of that crater – a path that holds intriguing and exciting possibilities. And that’s the idea that I want to develop with you today.
TOWARDS A BIOLOGICAL UNDERSTANDING OF ARCHITECTURE AND URBANISM:
LESSONS FROM STEVEN PINKER
Nikos A. Salingaros
Department of Applied Mathematics, University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas 78249, USA.
Architecture is indeed linked to biology. This observation is intuitively true from a structural perspective, since human beings perceive a kinship between the different processes -- natural and artificial -- that generate form. Nevertheless, the broadness of the claim might appear surprising, considering that it comes from architects holding radically different ideas about what buildings ought to look like. The idea of a biological connection has been used in turn by traditional architects, modernists, postmodernists, deconstructivists, and naturally, the "organic form" architects. One might say that architecture's proposed link to biology is used to support any architectural style whatsoever. When it is applied so generally, then the biological connection loses its value, or at least becomes so confused as to be meaningless. Is there a way to clear up the resulting contradiction and confusion?
Up until now, architects and those scientists interested in architecture have focussed on the morphological imitation of nature. Sometimes explicitly, more often implicitly, natural forms, including biological forms, have inspired the constructions of human beings. (This topic is being studied by the architect and author Lucien Steil in a major project now underway). Nevertheless, I believe that an understanding of the biological roots of architecture and urbanism requires another component that is independent of structural imitation. This more elusive aspect of the problem is concerned with how we connect and perceive form to begin with. As such, it has more to do with our own internal structure as human beings than with more general biological structures. The answers are to be found in cognitive processes, perception, and neurophysiology.