Man builds ultra-efficient green home as a love letter to the environment

September 26, 2017 by  
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Many people may be in love with our beautiful earth, but Maryland resident, Ed Gaddy is straight up infatuated. Recently featured in the Baltimore Sun , the eco-warrior has spent seven years fulfilling his dream of building an ultra-efficient home. Designed in collaboration with friend and architect Miche Booz , the home’s many sustainable features were hand picked by Gaddy to reflect his fervent commitment to environmental preservation , creating an architectural “love letter to the environment” in the process. Gaddy first purchased the 1.22-acre lot located in Clarksville, Maryland in 2010. The property is just a mere 10-minute walk to his office, eliminating the need for a car. Gaddy told the Baltimore Sun that his initial objective was to build a beautiful three-bedroom home that was self-sustaining . Before breaking ground however, he and Booz decided to shoot for the impressive goal of achieving all three of the major sustainability certifications: LEED , Living Building Challenge , and Passive House . Related: This stunning passive home in Seattle is 51% more energy-efficient than its neighbors “The three certifications reflects his commitment and passion for this particular subject,” Booz said. “I would say it bordered on a fixation, and a good one. It’s his way of contributing to what he considers a crisis on the planet. He was all in — financially, emotionally and intellectually.” To start the project, the home had to be orientated to take advantage of optimal sunlight during the day, warming the interior in the winter months and shading the interior during the summer heat. High-efficiency windows were installed throughout the home to avoid air loss. All of the construction materials in the design were selected for their zero or low Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). Additional finishings like paint and tiles, along with the flooring, were chosen for their durability or potential for future recycling such as the kitchen’s stainless steel countertops. The appliances in the kitchen and bathroom are the highest rated in terms of efficiency. For water conservation , the bathrooms were equipped with toilets that use less than a gallon per flush and waterless urinals were also installed. Point-of-use water heaters in both the bathrooms and the kitchen reduce the time it takes to run hot water to the faucets. As far as energy generation, the home is equipped with a solar array and there’s a heat recovery ventilator that transfers heat and cold throughout. According to Gaddy, they also installed top-of-the-line heat pumps, but the structure’s 18-inch thick, three-layer insulation ensures they are rarely necessary. Outside, almost as much detail was put into landscaping as was the home design itself. The lot was landscaped to reduce runoff and a collection system directs rain to a large underground cistern for greywater use . Native plants were planted in the raised garden beds, and they put in a vegetable garden, along with cherry, apple, walnut and peach trees. Thanks to this amazing sustainable profile , Gaddy’s dream home has achieved two of the three green certifications so far. It has been certified as LEED Platinum, as well as a Net Zero Energy Building by the International Living Future Institute. They expect to receive the Living Building Challenge certification soon. The Passive House classification has been denied to Gaddy due to a small hitch concerning a failed airtightness test. Gaddy is currently working on fixing the issue and will hopefully achieve that certification soon. So, what is your love letter to the environment? + Miche Booz Via Baltimore Sun Photography by Algerina Perna via Baltimore Sun  

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Man builds ultra-efficient green home as a love letter to the environment

Birds that escape from captivity teach wild birds how to speak (and swear) in English

September 26, 2017 by  
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If you listen carefully, you might hear a variety of nonsensical conversations emerging from the treetops of certain regions of Australia . The voices don’t belong to a mysterious, hidden tribe, however. Rather, they belong to birds. According to Australian Geographic, pet birds like parrots and cockatoos that have escaped from captivity are inadvertently teaching wild birds the words they learned in their human homes. And some of them are rather naughty. According to Jaynia Sladek, an ornithologist from the Australian Museum , some birds are natural mimickers. When they hear words in repetition or are surrounded by an assortment of noises, they will begin picking up on the cues. Because many (but not all) species of birds perceive a correlation between genetic fitness and mimicking ability, it is likely the pet birds flaunted their new vocabulary upon being released to the wild. “It’s a part of their language ,” said Sladek. For some species, it’s like advertising ‘I am very fit because I can learn a lot of different birds’ [calls]’.” Wild birds are able to quickly learn from the chatty ex-pets and as a result, start picking up new words and sounds. The remnants of the language are often passed down to offspring. “There’s no reason why, if one comes into the flock with words, [then] another member of the flock wouldn’t pick it up as well,” Sladek told  Australian Geographic . Related: 98-year-old man donates $2 million in stock for 395-acre wildlife refuge The aforementioned phenomenon has been previously witnessed with the lyebird. Found in Victoria, Australia, lyebirds have the uncanny ability to recreate the sounds of saws, axes, and old-fashioned cameras  — tools that haven’t been used in the region for years. When the best singers have their photos taken by the photographers, they quickly learn the sounds of the camera noises. Those same noises are then taught to their offspring. The report says the most common word the wild birds have picked up is “Hello, cockie.” The birds have also added a wide range of expletives to their vocabulary. Via Australian Geographic , TreeHugger Images via Pixabay

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Birds that escape from captivity teach wild birds how to speak (and swear) in English

Pittsburghs net-zero Frick Environmental Center is designed to meet the worlds toughest green standards

August 3, 2016 by  
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Created as a joint venture between the City of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy , the FEC is a welcome facility, education center, and gateway to the 644-acre Frick Park. The center will serve as a “living laboratory” offering hands-on environmental education to a projected 20,000 K-12 students along with hundreds of thousands of expected visitors each year. Its fully equipped classrooms, galleries, offices, and public spaces will help carry out the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy’s award-winning programs that include the restoration of the park’s ecological and historical landscape. Related: Pittsburgh’s Net-Zero Energy Center for Sustainable Landscapes Blows Fracking Out of the Water The FEC boasts an impressive array of sustainable features and will achieve net zero energy and water thanks to efficient systems such as ground-source heat pumps, radiant floors, a photovoltaic array , and a reclaimed water system that will capture and filter stormwater for reuse in irrigation and other non-potable uses. All the building materials came from a 1,200-mile radius of the site to minimize the FEC’s carbon footprint. To support the local economy, subcontractors and tradespeople were hired in the Allegheny County-Western Pennsylvania region. The FEC will host their first public celebration on Saturday, September 10. The building will be free and open to the public during park hours. The Living Building Challenge certification is targeted for Spring 2018. + Frick Environmental Center + Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

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Pittsburghs net-zero Frick Environmental Center is designed to meet the worlds toughest green standards

Ford to transform Dearborn HQ into a healthier and greener campus committed to sustainability

April 13, 2016 by  
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Phipps Center for Sustainable Landscapes achieves Living Building Challenge certification

March 18, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of Phipps Center for Sustainable Landscapes achieves Living Building Challenge certification Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “geothermal technology” , former brownfield , Four Stars Sustainable SITES Initiative , geothermal wells , green architecture , green buildings , green roof , leed platinum buildings , Living Building Challenge , Living Building Challenge Certification , net-zero architecture , net-zero energy , pennsylvania , phipps center for sustainable landscapes , Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens , pittsburgh , rain gardens , rainwater harvesting , renewable energy , Rooftop Energy Recovery Unit , solar panels , Solar Power , Well building platinum certified , Well certified buildings , wind turbines

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Phipps Center for Sustainable Landscapes achieves Living Building Challenge certification

CBF’s Brock Environmental Center Will Soon Be the Most Sustainable Building in Virginia

October 7, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of CBF’s Brock Environmental Center Will Soon Be the Most Sustainable Building in Virginia Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Brock Environmental Center , chesapeake bay foundation , Climate Change , Hampton Roads , LEED platinum , Living Building Challenge , net zero , Sustainable Building , virginia beach

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TGH Architects Gives a LEED Platinum Upgrade to Hupomone Ranch in California

October 7, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of TGH Architects Gives a LEED Platinum Upgrade to Hupomone Ranch in California Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: eco design , green design , Hupomone Ranch , Leed Platinum Farmhouse , passive heating and cooling , Petaluma California , photovoltaic panels , sustainable design , Turnbill Griffin Haesloop Architects

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TGH Architects Gives a LEED Platinum Upgrade to Hupomone Ranch in California

HOK Unveils Plans for Biomimetic Barack Obama Presidential Library in Chicago

June 25, 2014 by  
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International architecture and engineering firm HOK recently unveiled a proposal for the Barack Obama Presidential Library and Museum located in Bronzeville, Chicago. Developed in collaboration with the President Obama Library, the Museum Campus Foundation, and over two dozen community groups, the design bid is situated in the historic Chicago neighborhood of Bronzeville in honor of Obama’s start in politics. The design highlights the area’s history as the city’s original African-American neighborhood and aims to create a space that will catalyze economic growth and investment. Read the rest of HOK Unveils Plans for Biomimetic Barack Obama Presidential Library in Chicago Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: barack Obama presidential library , barack Obama presidential library and museum , biomimetic , bronzevill , carbon neutrality , chicago , HOK , Living Building Challenge , museum campus foundation , presidential library , regenerative design , south side

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Australia’s Retrofitted Illawarra Flame House Takes Slight Lead in Solar Decathlon China

August 7, 2013 by  
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Read the rest of Australia’s Retrofitted Illawarra Flame House Takes Slight Lead in Solar Decathlon China Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: 2013 solar decathlon , australia , Department of Energy solar decathlon , eco design , green design , green renovations , Illawarra Flame House , Living Building Challenge , net zero energy homes , Prefab Housing , prefab PODS for retrofitting old homes , solar decathlon china , solar powered homes , sustainable design , team israel , team UOW from Australia        

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Australia’s Retrofitted Illawarra Flame House Takes Slight Lead in Solar Decathlon China

Method Homes Unveils Net-Zero Prefab Paradigm Series at Greenbuild in San Francisco

November 16, 2012 by  
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Read the rest of Method Homes Unveils Net-Zero Prefab Paradigm Series at Greenbuild in San Francisco Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “energy efficiency” , “energy star” , adaptable furniture , bogue trondowski , Corten steel , fsc certified wood , LEED platinum , Living Building Challenge , Method Homes , mini split hvac , net zero-water , net-zero energy , open plan house , Prefab Housing , rainwater collection , resource furniture , San Francisco , Solar Power , urban gardening , us greenbuild , usgbc , water recycling

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