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Sustainability: Transcending Politics

Posted by Sara Gutterman

Dec 15, 2016 12:18:26 PM

In preparing for our upcoming Sustainability Symposium 2017: Ready for Anything, I’ve had the opportunity to speak with a wide spectrum of professionals in the sustainability, energy efficiency, renewable energy, smart tech, and green building sectors from both sides of the aisle. Their overriding message: progress will continue.

One of the most exciting aspects of planning a big event is the opportunity to speak ahead of time with presenters and participants about the issues that are top of mind.  In planning for the Sustainability Symposium 2017: Ready for Anything, taking place on January 9 at the Dr. Phillips Center for Performing Arts in Orlando, I’ve had the good fortune to speak with some of today’s visionary leaders and most passionate professionals in the sustainability sector.

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Orlando, A Sustainable Beacon

Posted by Jay Egg

Dec 13, 2016 2:47:11 PM

NO MATTER WHAT SIDE OF THE FENCE WE'RE ON WITH CLIMATE CHANGE, the definition of “Sustainable Development” speaks to our collective hearts:

“Sustainable Development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”

What are the needs of the present and the future? When speaking of sustainable buildings, we need:

  • Buildings in which we can work, live and play
  • Buildings that are energy efficient with cost effective measures throughout
  • Buildings and systems that are long lasting
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Trends in Green Buildings from 2016

Posted by Megan Wild, Guest Columnist

Dec 13, 2016 2:39:56 PM

Here were a few of the popular trends in residential green homes this year.

Green building is booming, and this sector of the construction industry is outpacing traditional building and creating millions of jobs. As the average consumer’s awareness of climate change increases, buyers are actively seeking to make responsible purchases that will decrease their carbon footprints.

Home building is no exception to this trend, and every year there are more ways than ever before to green up your building. Whether you are looking to build a home from the ground up that incorporates the latest green technology or you’re considering retrofitting your existing home to make it a little more eco-friendly, here are the biggest green building trends to look out for from 2016.

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Trump’s Pick for EPA Head Deals Crippling Blow to the Environment

Posted by Sara Gutterman

Dec 8, 2016 10:45:44 AM

Sustainability professionals held out hope that the Trump administration wouldn’t be as bad for the planet as the campaign rhetoric promised. Unfortunately, the President-elect’s selection of Scott Pruitt, renowned climate change denier, for EPA head points to a grim and dirty future.

The verdict was still out about the Trump administration’s stance on climate change and environmental protection.  Trump told the New York Times in a recent interview that he was keeping an “open mind” to the Paris Agreement. He affirmed his belief that clean air and water are essential to maintaining our quality of life.  He even met with Al Gore earlier this week to discuss the topic of climate action.

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Peace Is in the Details of Home Design and Construction

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Dec 7, 2016 10:16:32 AM

By designing our homes as sustainable “havens,” we can create a ripple effect.

Few people of any political disposition would disagree with the idea that self-sufficiency, moderation and reduced waste are desirable benchmarks. Fortunately, when we talk about home design and construction, we can lean heavily on the facts of building science—not emotion—to achieve those goals.

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Six-Term Republican Mayor James Brainard Takes Climate Change Seriously, Just Like Presidents Reagan, Nixon and Ford Did

Posted by Green Builder Staff

Dec 6, 2016 11:52:24 AM

Once chosen as one of only four republicans on President Obama's 26-member task force on Climate Change, Brainard continues to challenge the GOP party line.

At a time when every day seems to bring more bad news about the impacts of global warming, James Brainard, the mayor of Carmel, Indiana, offers a serious, science-based perspective, in an atmosphere of politically motivated Climate Denial. Unlike most of his fellow republicans, Brainard sees Climate Change as a simple scientific fact, not a conspiracy or a subject of debatable inquiry.

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Sustainability Growth Starts in School

Posted by Joan-Carles Ambrojo, Guest Columnist

Dec 6, 2016 9:58:12 AM

How can we prepare students for the environmental challenges ahead?

One way is to show younger generations the path towards the smart cities of the future

Do young people know what a smart city is? Do they care about saving energy and preserving the Earth’s resources? “Rooting sustainability starts on the benches of schools,” affirmed UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova at the recent UN Climate Change Conference (COP22) in Marrakech, Morocco.

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A Smart City Means an Inclusive City

Posted by Chiara Cecchi, Guest Columnist

Dec 5, 2016 5:38:54 PM

An intelligent city should promote equitable and affordable social infrastructure for all, including people with disabilities.

Like every year, December 3 will be a United Nations sanctioned International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD). The aim is to increase public awareness of the conditions of disabled people and, at the same time, to celebrate their achievements and contributions. IDPwD has been supported by the Australian Government since 1996 and today it’s celebrated all around the world.

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The Arc House: A Resilient Prototype

Posted by Juliet Grable

Dec 2, 2016 6:06:46 PM

From urban-infill residence to off-the-grid retreat, The Arc House is at home anywhere.

JIM GREGORY, FOUNDER of Shelter Dynamics, likes to call The Arc House a “demonstration of a direction” in housing. Its small footprint, independence from the grid and versatile design make it an ideal solution for urban, suburban and rural settings. The Arc House can serve as a primary residence for a single person or a couple, or it can be used as a retreat, vacation home or “mother-in-law” unit. Clusters of Arc Houses can create small communities, based on the cooperative housing model, in which each household enjoys private space but also shares common areas such as courtyards and gardens.

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Tracking of Song Birds Shows Influences in Choice of Gardens

Posted by Green Builder Staff

Dec 1, 2016 10:30:03 AM

Birds prefer to fly between the gardens of leafy suburban neighbourhoods to visit bird feeders than city terraces or new-build estates, a ground-breaking study tracking the behaviour of hundreds of garden birds has found.

A year-long study into the behaviour of over 450 blue tits and great tits found that a suburban neighbourhood with trees, shrubs and hedges between properties attract far more birds to their feeders than a Victorian urban terrace or manicured, modern housing estate.

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Sustainability Symposium: Final Day for Early Bird Discount

Posted by Ron Jones

Nov 30, 2016 4:56:30 PM

There is more to Orlando than theme parks and trade shows. Our upcoming Sustainability Symposium on January 9, 2017 provides an opportunity to be a part of the solution.

Hardly a week passes when I don’t receive one or more promotional messages inviting me to sign up for some industry event or another that promises groundbreaking opportunities to join my peers and “learn from the experts”. 

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RESNET Goal: Bring Water/Energy Efficiency Ratings to More New Homes

Posted by RESNET

Nov 29, 2016 2:53:33 PM

A new set of goals and priorities has been adopted by RESNET board of directors this month.

RESNET Goals to Achieve RESNET Mission by 2020:

  • Through education, marketing and market demand, 50% of all new homes will be HERS Rated.
  • Through education, marketing and market demand, the average HERS Index Score on new homes will meet the target energy rating Index Scores of the 2015 IECC.
  • Through education, marketing and market demand, 25% of all HERS Rated homes are WER Rated.  
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Could Homes Made with Natural Materials Act as Carbon Sinks?

Posted by Luigi Serenelli, Guest Columnist

Nov 29, 2016 11:12:40 AM

Houses built with bio-based materials act as CO2 banks. Experts explain how citizens can become custodians of atmospheric carbon dioxide

DOMESTIC EFFORTS play an important role in curbing global warming. Besides producing and using renewables, homes can also act as banks that store CO2. This innovative building model exploits bio-based materials, such as timber, straw and hemp, which act as “carbon sequestrators.”

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