Monday, August 23, 2010

On the Shore of Chesapeake Bay, A "Green" Headquarters Building

Back in 1997, green building was not mainstream and environmentally-friendly materials were hard to come by. But the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) - an organization that is dedicated to preserving and protecting the Chesapeake Bay and its tributary rivers - needed a new headquarters and did not want to create any pollution by building it. It wanted a "green" building. The result was the Philip Merrill Environmental Center, which opened in 2001. It continues to be one of the world’s most energy-efficient buildings, incorporating natural elements into a fully functional workplace which has minimal impact on its Bay- and creek-front surroundings. Using photovoltaics, rainwater collection, composting toilets and a host of other measures, the building is cost effective and operates in harmony with the land, natural resources, and the Chesapeake Bay. The building incorporates many sustainable features such as siding made from recycled metals, rainwater collection and a 30 percent reduction in energy use. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

One Person's Trash Becomes Another's Art

It's a smallish house a block off a main drag in Ellensburg, Washington, home of Central Washington University. Dick and Jane's Spot was begun about 30 years ago by artists Jane Orleman and Dick Elliott (who died in 2008). They have created a yardful of sculpture and decoration out of junk - old bottles, cans, bottle caps, hub caps, bicycle wheels and especially reflectors. Thousands of reflectors form colorful patterns on fences surrounding the property. Scrap metal is shaped into animals or people or unique figures. Whimsical and cheery, the home seems a fun way to display and reuse old stuff that might otherwise be left in a landfill.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Nine-Foot Cube Provides a Compact Home

The Micro Compact Home, in use and available throughout Europe, combines techniques for high quality compact 'living' spaces deployed in aircraft, yachts, cars, and micro apartments. It has a timber frame structure with anodized aluminum external cladding, insulated with polyurethane and fitted with aluminum frame double glazed windows and front door with security double lock. The Home measures about 9’ x 9’ x 9’ with a ceiling height of six-and-a-half feet. The entire unit weighs about 2 tons. The Micro Compact Home contains two double beds, storage space, a sliding table for dining for up to five people, a flat screen TV, a shower and toilet cubicle and a kitchen area.