GreenDesignCollective

building a sustainable and resilient community

1 month and 3 days

When I first launched this website in 2009, I did so in conjunction with my graduate thesis, which I spent studying ways to encourage people to save energy. I did this because of global warming and because I believed that we could fight it. I set up the entire HTML page, and I put a […]

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Living Building Challenge IRL

Last week was our penultimate topic week in the Sustainable Buildings class, and it was an important one:  we covered the Living Building Challenge, one of the “deepest green” sustainable building standards in the world.  It was even more appropriate a topic when you consider that it was started in our own backyard in conjunction […]

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Architecture 2030 and Net Zero Energy Buildings

Today in class we talked about Architecture 2030, which is a private organization started by Edward Mazria to, in their words, “achieve a dramatic reduction in the climate-change-causing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of the Building Sector by changing the way buildings and developments are planned, designed and constructed.”  Architecture 2030 is effectively trying to change […]

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Shopping second-hand is easy on the planet and your wallet

How many times have you had a themed party to go to or simply needed a very – shall we say – “specific” wardrobe item, and you decided that going to Goodwill was your best option?  If you’re like me, then you’ve had that internal conversation a lot.  (Although, granted, most people might not like […]

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Possibly the world’s most excellent water bottle

Behold:  the Water Bobble. Who among us doesn’t now feel a little tinge of guilt when we are confronted with the prospect of drinking from a disposable water bottle?  At the conference I attended a few weeks ago, I went through three in three days, which made me feel awful and basically doubled my total […]

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Bundling up your house

I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about insulation lately.  Part of that is because of HOME STAR, which provides incentives for homeowners if they choose to upgrade the insulation in their house, among other things.  My explanation of HOME STAR inevitably leads to explaining some of the measures available for incentives, and insulation […]

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Living on a giant crusty earthen raft

So, there’s been a lot of earthquakes lately.  Haiti back in January; Chile, last weekend; Japan, back in February; California, constantly for about the past month; and Taiwan yesterday.   I know many scientists will say “these events are not related”, but, as I reminded my friends yesterday, people act like we don’t live on a […]

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Outstanding.

Tonight on the Daily Show, Jon Stewart interviewed William Kamkwamba, a young man from Malawi, Africa, who built a windmill in front of his family’s home after quitting school because of the famine in his country.  William visited the library in his village – which was sponsored by the U.S., by the way – and […]

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Do-It-Yourself projects are good for the environment

Lately I’ve been on a big Discovery Channel kick (it’s hard NOT to watch when Bear Grylls is on the TV), and I wanted to briefly mention one of their partner companies, called Planet Green.  Hopefully many of you have the Planet Green channel on your cable because it is full of great environmentally friendly-programming, […]

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How do you recycle a car?

Tucked away in Wednesday’s edition of All Things Considered on NPR was a short bit where they discussed listener letters, and they answered one letter that was sent in after a report on the Federal Government’s “Cash for Clunkers” program.  Specifically the listener wanted to know “what happens to the ‘clunker’ after it is turned […]

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