First Blood

April 30th, 2008

During the deconstruction process and the de-nailing and re-appropriating of the lath from the walls I managed to puncture my hand quite well (if this is something that can be done well).

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More “airtime”

April 24th, 2008

Jetson Green did a great write up on our project, thanks much to Preston.

GreenFab also did a very nice write up, thanks much to Johhny.

FSC vs. SFI

April 24th, 2008

A nice 2001 case study by Yale comparing the Forrest Steward Council (FSC) and the American Forest & Paper Association’s Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI). Reading the summary of findings makes it all too clear that the SFI certification falls well short of being sustainable. Even Google seems to back this up – the number one result, when searching “SFI certification”, being dontbuysfi.com.

Seeing Red…

April 24th, 2008

One of the biggest prerequisites of the Living Building Challenge is the Materials Red List – materials that are deemed toxic, persistent (in the environment) and otherwise unsavory to all involved and cannot be used on a Living Building. Upon first blush I didn’t assume this to be too difficult, but, to put it bluntly (my friends expect nothing else), it’s damn hard.

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Blogs taking notice

April 20th, 2008

The commons project made it onto a couple of blogs recently – one, Portland Architecture, was pretty neat to see – I’ve frequently lurked on that blog; we’re flattered. It was funny to note how everyone has reacted to our “dirt” floors – the Oregonian reported them as such, even though they’re more accurately described as earthen floors, more akin to a natural concrete than dirt.

The other blog to give us notice is GreenStrides.

Here’s to hoping we can continue to be noticed and spread the idea that sustainability is note only in vogue, but necessary to our survival as a species and as a planet.

No more baby steps

April 20th, 2008

After lots of coffee and many miles driven (we wish a craigslist rideshare could have materialized or the train schedule could have meshed with ours) Garrett and I have made our pilgrimage to the Living Future Unconference in Vancouver, BC and back to Portland. Jason McLennan, the CEO of the Cascadia Green Building Council, delivered a great opening talk on our, the building industry’s and society’s, need to shift from the current status quo way of living and building. He stated that people resist change big or small – the process of change is difficult for most people. He said that often when people try to change the status quo they do so in baby steps, hoping to make it more palatable for people, but since people don’t like change, even in baby steps, they resist and push back. So the baby step is met with resistance and subsequently the path towards the goal is modified. This process happens ad nauseam, affecting the trajectory away from the goal (see doodle below). With this paradigm in mind, Jason said it was time to make a radical change, no more baby steps. We couldn’t agree more – I’ve been telling people this for quite a while. The other analogy that I like, in this regard, is from Daniel Quinn – he says society is like an airplane, everybody thinks we’re flying, nobody notices that we’re actually in free fall…

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Tiger Woods and sleeping in cars

April 20th, 2008

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way.” – Charles Dickens, Tale of Two Cities

It was the best of times, it was… the best of times? We’ve had a great week. The house made the front page of the front page of the Oregonian on Friday, right under a picture of Tiger Woods. You know you’ve hit it big when you’re right under Tiger.

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* LEED has done a wonderful job of transforming the building industry and bringing focus to more environmentally sound building practices.

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