In 2002, more than a dozen structures and countless trees were scorched in the course of the Biscuit Fire, which took down roughly 500,000 acres in southern Oregon. Now a Dayton-area winery with a history of green innovation – Stoller Family Estate – has put a number of those trees to use in its new tasting room, along with a whole lot of solar power.
This wood comes courtesy of the “standing dead,” i.e., trees that were killed by the fire but were left standing, often in excellent shape for those willing to make use of salvaged wood. Stoller put that wood to work in constructing its new tasting room, which features mostly reclaimed wood. Wood from the Biscuit fire was used in the building’s rolling ceiling, while the tasting room’s large support columns were upcycled from an old Portland warehouse. Keep reading →
How successful has the U.S. Green Building Council‘s (USGBC) LEED program been in bringing green building to the commercial sector? Exactly two billion square feet of successful, according to a recent announcement [PDF] – with seven billion more coming down the pike.
A number of factors converge in LEED’s popularity with the commercial sector – among them, energy efficiency and publicity. Because commercial buildings leave the lights on longer and require more of their HVAC systems than residential structures, green building systems can pay for themselves in short order (and serve to lower operating expenses thereafter). Also, that lovely glass plaque announcing a building’s LEED status to the world has proven attractive to many companies looking to build a brand and gain favor with green-minded customers. Keep reading →
You can add green building advocates to the list of people who have a gripe with the National Defense Authorization Act, which President Barack Obama signed into law on New Year’s Eve (despite his own reservations). The US Department of Defense (DOD) funding bill has come under scathing criticism from civil liberties and human rights organizations for its provisions concerning the detention of military combatants, but it also contains a provision that makes it more complicated – although not impossible – for the military to pursue high-level LEED certifications for its buildings.
As noted by the Federal Times, a section of the law states, “No funds authorized to be appropriated by this Act or otherwise made available for the Department of Defense for fiscal year 2012 may be obligated or expended for achieving any LEED gold or platinum certification.” But a clause to that provision does allow such certifications “if achieving such certification imposes no additional cost to the Department of Defense.” And the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), which runs the LEED programs, thinks that’s a loophole the military can drive a Humvee through, albeit with some careful navigation. Keep reading →