October 03, 2012
The South by Southwest Eco conference begins today in Austin, TX. The city's motto is "Keep Austin Weird" and this quirky, creative town has transformed itself into a haven for eco-mided enthusiasts, advocates and industry leaders. The three day event is chock full of panels, discussions and events aimed at creating fresh answers to today's sustainability questions. Want in on the action? You can watch keynote speakers live, on the SXSWEco site
One of the highlights of the conference is the Startup Showcase
, a chance for innovators and entrepreneurs to present their ideas for creating a more eco-friendly world. We are so proud to be presenting at this year's Showcase, and are really looking forward to hearing the amazing things our fellow presenters have been up to. Among the semifinalists are:
Since we're in Texas, we thought it would be a great chance to stop by and see our friends at the Habitat for Humanity ReStores in Dallas
. It's so interesting and inspiring to see how different cities around the country have embraced the Habitat
mission. Both cities do a fantastic job of getting the word out about their services and the positive impact their organization has on their local communities.
We think these signs in the Austin ReStore are visually stunning and really drive home the importance of their continued efforts to create decent housing for those in need. And the fact that Dallas is the largest builder of single family homes in the city? Impressive, to say the least. Needless to say, these cities are definitely living up to the saying of "everything is bigger in Texas" - in this case, their commitment to the cause.
It's events like South by Southwest Eco, and the chance to visit ReStores, that lights a fire under us for the future of sustainability. We have a lot of work to do, and a long way to go, but with people like this leading the charge, we're surely heading in the right direction.
September 01, 2010
To Advance Sustainable Building and LEED Credits, PlanetReuse Partners with GreenWizard to Provide Comprehensive Online Source for Reclaimed, FSC, & Excess New Building Materials
Charleston, SC – September 1, 2010 – GreenWizard, Inc., the largest collection of green building product data for intelligent material selection, and PlanetReuse, a consulting-and-brokering company focused on reclaimed, FSC, and excess new building materials, have formed a new alliance that makes reclaimed building materials even more accessible to architects, engineers, and contractors (AEC) focused on LEED credits and green-and-sustainable building.
Initially, PlanetReuse will list 20+ categories of reclaimed and excess new building products in GreenWizard’s database. A product specifier can request a product by category (e.g. wood, flooring, furniture, doors, etc.), and enter in their project location. With that information, the team at PlanetReuse will source the product from its regional inventory or actively search for the desired product in current demolition and salvage projects. The quality and quantity of the reclaimed products are assured by PlanetReuse.
PlanetReuse prefers to engage AEC firms, owners, and contractors during the design-and-preconstruction phases, because that’s the way to maximize LEED credits through local use, which takes advanced planning. PlanetReuse works at no cost to the design team during the design phase on projects, and its minimal brokering fee is included when materials are delivered to the new project, so PlanetReuse’s service is essentially free-of-charge. With planning, PlanetReuse clients typically obtain reused products for less than the cost of new.
“Only 6 to 8% of LEED-certified projects have ever obtained the LEED Materials Reuse credits, MRc3.1 or MRc3.2, which require that 5%-10% of materials have been installed previously,” explains Nathan Benjamin, PlanetReuse’s Principal + Founder. “We believe we can drive that number significantly higher. After all, it’s a relatively easy LEED credit to obtain when working through the process with partners like PlanetReuse and Green Wizard.”
“AEC firms are not adverse to using reclaimed materials, if they are quality- and quantity-assured,” explains GreenWizard’s Adam Bernholz. “Now, with PlanetReuse, those firms finally have a viable alternative materials source.”
If you make using reclaimed material reuse easier, more people will do it. This simple but revolutionary goal drove the founders of PlanetReuse to create a new kind of company. Frustrated by the time and resources it took to track down salvaged materials for their own commercial projects, the PlanetReuse team took an entrepreneurial leap to uncover a solution for the entire built industry.
Initially an internet-based e-commerce material website, PlanetReuse has evolved into a consulting-and-brokering company focused on providing the insight, experience, and materials its clients need. With a well-defined and efficient process, PlanetReuse expertly matches materials with designers, builders, and owners to save projects money, serve LEED efforts, and sustain the planet. Under the leadership of founder Nathan Benjamin, the company has grown 300 percent in the last year. Learn more: www.PlanetReuse.com
GreenWizard Inc. is a technology company offering the most comprehensive web-based software platform for green building materials from thousands of manufacturers. GreenWizard’s WORKflow Pro software is the only data-driven workflow solution helping the design and construction community by putting search, compare, purchase, and LEED documentation capabilities at their fingertips. MARKET Pro software is the only data-driven marketing solution that brings green building products face to face with decision makers in the design and construction community actively engaged in projects. The Company employs a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) software model delivered over the Internet for its process automation tool, communication center, business analytics, and interactive marketplace. Combined, this platform allows project participants to efficiently navigate the most comprehensive and up-to-date database of green building products, utilizing the most advanced analytical tools and information available in the market. The Charleston, SC-based company was founded in 2008. More info: www.GreenWizard.com
July 13, 2010
So far this summer season has had no shortage of notable, worldwide design events which have all in some way or another accentuated the importance of sustainability. One intriguing concept came from the London Festival of Architecture
, that took place for nearly a month from June 19th through July 4th. This year's LFA brought artists, architects, gardeners and scientists together to create an orchard that was anything but normal.
The Union Street Urban Orchard was designed by Heather Ring of the Wayward Plant Registry
for The Architecture Foundation
. This temporary community gem was once a vacant urban London lot which found a new life from June through September as a public garden complete with apple trees and a timber pavilion. A zero-carbon modular sustainable living pod can be found on the site as well called the "LivingARK." To demonstrate it's livability, volunteers inhabited the residence during the course of the festival.
Design students of the Finnish Institute were also able to participate in the design & build of the Urban Orchard with their timber pavilion creation titled "The Nest." Other highlights of this site included the skip turned ping-pong table created by Oliver Bishop-Young and the The Identikit Urban Playground from Thomas Kendall and Tamsin Hanke. For the next few months this temporary community haven will host several events and workshops. In September when the Urban Orchard is dismantled, the trees and greenery will be donated to local estates and gardens. To find out more about this exciting urban infill project created sustainably to bring a community together specifically for the London Festival of Architecture and summertime, check out their website here
January 13, 2010
In the "What is 'Industrial Design?'"
article, Tucker Veimester examines an industry that is not fully understood: Industrial Design. He chose to follow his father's publication projet that is today the magazine known as 'I.D.'
It began in 1943 as a section titled, "Industrial Design," in the magazine called, "Interiors." At this time, it focused on how the new industry would address a post-war America. Then, the section was demo-ed and its' own full publication in 1947 titled, "Industrial Design," was born. Later re-titled to, "I.D. Magazine," the magazine content began to morph when the covered trends began to involve, "more scientific processes and theories." Since the magazine was covering a more international basis, from that point forth, the publication's initials would no longer stand for Industrial Design. It would be more suitable as International Design (I.D.) Magazine. What originally had began as a section devoted specifically to the industry now had been turned into a broader base of several industries, thus, blurring the boundaries of what Industrial Design is. Here to set the record straight on what Industrial (Product) Design is, the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA)
"Industrial Design(ID) is the professional service of creating and developing concepts and specifications that optimize the function, value and appearance of products and systems for the mutual benefit of both user and manufacturer. Industrial designers develop these concepts and specifications through collection, analysis and synthesis of data guided by the special requirements of the client or manufacturer. They are trained to prepare clear and concise recommendations through drawings, models and verbal descriptions."
In a field that began in the plastic-less, electronic-less year of 1938, Industrial (Product) Design has grown to have 27 local chapters throughout the United States. Today, this field is facing the same problems other design industries are facing with the, "go green," initiative: coming up with innovative ways to solve a problem while still remaining earth-friendly. Below are five product designs that are some of the most innovative ways to sustain-ably solve problems at-hand.
Designer: Doha Chebib for Loyal Loot Collective
"Each bowl is handmade using only locally reclaimed trees of all varieties (fallen or cut down due to infrastructure, re-landscaping, droughts, or stormy weather). The trees are hand selected, gathered, turned and finished by Loyal Loot Collective and local crafts people."Hughie Sink.
Designer: Hughie Products Pty Ltd
"Capturing water which would normally go down the drain, when washing hands, cleaning the veges, or even the warm up water in the shower. Submerge in the bath and this water can also be reused to water the garden."
Designer: Maruja Fuentes
"Green pockets are ceramic tiles which fuse nature with the interior space improving both air quality and health...The tiles, made from recycled materials, serve as planters and their unique shape allows them to interlock, thereby creating different patterns depending on the vegetation planted."The Green PC.
Designer: Design Hara
"Depending on customer preference, the side wood panels are selectable between cypress wood from Italy and Canadian rose wood. The front natural sheep leather (lamb) cover is optional as well."
Sparks Exterior Lighting.
Designer: Daniel Becker
"The lighting elements are based on low-energy led modules, all pieces are connected by simple screw-type joints which don't need any technical expertise."
January 09, 2010
Nathan Benjamin of PlanetReuse will travel to Kansas State University Sustainability Conference on January 30th to serve as a guest speaker. Along with Benjamin will be Stephen Hardy of BNIM Architects
, Bill Hanlon of Flint Hills Technical College
, and KSU College of Architecture, Planning and Design professor Gary Coates
. Moderating the session will be Casey Cassias, also of BNIM Architects
. Here is a little bit of information about this year's focus of the conference.
"This year's sustainability conference at K-State will focus on sharing ideas and building new networks across Kansas in the higher education community. Sustainability has become a very important word in the life of universities, but we need effective partnerships to bring meaning to that word. In the overlap between environmental stewardship, smart planning, and saving money on resource costs, universities have a responsibility to serve their own needs and those of society. They can bring action on their own campuses that radiates outward through our partnerships and outreach."
Those to attend this event include university faculty, students, and non-university professionals and a copy of the presentations will be posted to K-State Research Exchange.