Thursday, April 10, 2008

Green Things

I enjoyed Steve Glenn's presentation on the design and creative aspects involved with being more ecologically responsible this morning. At heart I’m really a design guy; I love when things work well and look nice. I believe that there doesn’t need to be a tradeoff between performance, functionality, aesthetics, and the environment. As we saw with LivingHomes, these aspects can come together to create beautiful products.

As I was checking the news tonight, I came across a nice piece in Business Week about some popular green products. What really got me to the site was that the Macbook Air was the first product mentioned. When the Air was announced back at Macworld, a lot of emphasis was put on its design and how it is less intensive on the environment. Some examples include: LED backlighting (no fluorescents or mercury in the display) and 50% less packaging (Apple packaging is an art in itself).

There are other nice products listed in the piece (Umbra compostable trash can, I’m looking at you) and a smart power meter for your home. We’ll learn a lot about DSM next week, but a substantial savings in energy (and money) can be achieved by knowing when electricity is more expensive to generate. These are just a few products and examples. Check it out!


Jason Cullen said...

I agree with David about the design side of Steve's presentation but I was a bit irritated with cost of Living Homes houses. At $215 per sq foot Steve's houses are out of range for all but a few Californians who seems to enjoy paying almost triple the cost of a normal house. For the rest of us it would have been more useful to see a presentation on green design that's affordable.

Jrod said...

I was intrigued with Steve Glenn's presentation. It's funny, but I saw a show on either Discover or the History channel not too long ago about prefabricating house sections. What most interested me was the enormous reduction of construction waste. Like Mr. Glenn said during his presentation, almost half of all materials used for building a normal house end up as trash. It's easier and cheaper for a construction company to throw this stuff away than pay someone to sort it and recycle it.

According to, the following materials are recyclable:
Appliances and fixtures
Brush and Trees
Cardboard and Paper
Lumber and Plywood (in reusable form)
Masonry (in reusable form or as fill)
Plastics - numbered containers, bags and sheeting
Roofing (in reusable form)
Windows and Doors

But once again there is little incentive for construction companies to make the extra effort to recycle these materials. As of now the only incentive I see is that people can choose to hire companies that do recycle. Let's hope that the public opinion on the environment continues to gain steam so that companies will have to start recycling more.

The prefabricated buildings, like those from LivingHomes, provide many benefits, but at the cost they are now I don't see them becoming as significantly widespread as I would wish.