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Pittsburgh's "breathing" building by Gensler aims to be the world's greenest skyscraper

Pittsburgh's "breathing" building by Gensler aims to be the world's greenest skyscraper | Sustainable Real Estate | Scoop.it

The PNC Financial Services Group hopes to exceed LEED Platinum requirements while promoting a healthy workplace with a recent development – the Tower at PNC Plaza. Located in downtown Pittsburgh, the building will be 800,00 sq.ft (74,322 sq.mt) with a construction budget of approximately US $240 million.


The "breathing" design created by architecture firm Gensler moves away from the traditional closed air-conditioned environment and has the lofty aim of becoming the greenest skyscraper in the world.


Employees in the 33 floor glass tower will access daylight and fresh air. The PNC Tower design recognizes that the Pittsburgh climate can provide increased levels of natural light onto the floorspace along with improved regulation of temperatures for much of the year without using traditional, energy-intensive HVAC systems. The Tower hopes to achieve this with a double-skin facade of two panes of glass separated by an enclosed cavity, allowing external air inside. The facade features operable doors and windows that admit fresh air into the building during optimal conditions, while a solar chimney is another passive system- it pulls air in through the open windows, the air then travels across the floors, is heated and exhaled through the roof shaft.


The Tower will consume less than 50 percent of the energy a typical office building uses and will save PNC at least 30 percent on its energy costs...


Via Lauren Moss
Norm Miller's insight:

Tall buildings have been historically less efficient than smaller squarer buildings to operate, but now with new technologies we are seeing rapid improvements in the taller buildings and FINALLY we are seeing things like operable ventilation once again.

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Society for College and University Planning (SCUP)'s curator insight, February 1, 2013 9:25 AM

SCUP–49, the Society for College and University Planning's 49th annual conference, will be held in Pittsburgh in July 2014.

Sustainable Real Estate
Sustainable Design, Building, Management and Operations
Curated by Norm Miller
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WeberHaus :: Home

WeberHaus :: Home | Sustainable Real Estate | Scoop.it
WeberHaus prefabricated houses stand for environmentally-friendly construction an is one of Germanys leading house builders for over 55 years. We use all materials efficiently, avoid hazardous substances and conserve natural resources, providing a safe and healthy living environment. These principles are at the heart of all our homes.
Norm Miller's insight:

Weberhaus is a factory based home builder.  They can build 3 homes a day in a factory and set one up on site in one day.  The key is that they build entire wall systems with electrical and plumbing all pre-inserted.  Secondly the homes are super efficient with huge thick walls of 30 centimeters with materials they have developed, lightweight wood particles and dense interior styrofoam.  Then they use passive solar design, with appropriate overhangs, triple glazed windows, solar panels on roofs and you have a home that requires very little energy.  Such homes are built to much more precise standards than typical stick built homes but THEY WOULD NOT PASS US Building Codes since we have an antiquated system forcing construction in stages with inspections.  Such a firm is needed in the US because it is more efficient as a builder and produces a much better product than the typical US residential builder.  Time for some disruption in the US home building system which has changed little in three decades?

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France decrees new rooftops must be covered in plants or solar panels

France decrees new rooftops must be covered in plants or solar panels | Sustainable Real Estate | Scoop.it
All new buildings in commercial zones across the country must comply with new environmental legislation
Norm Miller's insight:
I'm not sure I like the idea of mandating a specific technology. Why not just mandate some efficiency level or consumption max at peak? This would be like saying you must have fluorescent lights when LEDs might be just around the corner. This is why the government should not interfere with specifics into the energy market.
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The US Could Run Exclusively on Renewable Energy By 2050

The US Could Run Exclusively on Renewable Energy By 2050 | Sustainable Real Estate | Scoop.it
There are many things holding up the US’s move towards renewable energy, but one of those things is not science: We already have all the technology we need to make this happen. A new study claims that a completely clean energy future is possible by 2050, and it plots roadmaps for all 50 states to achieve this goal.
Clarence | MSRE, LEED GA's insight:

Impressive roadmap to get the US to run on 100% renewable energy by 2050. Sources would include wave + tidal, onshore wind, offshore wind, utility-scale solar and rooftop solar.  

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Can these giant, high-altitude kites power the world?

Can these giant, high-altitude kites power the world? | Sustainable Real Estate | Scoop.it
“KiteGen may be able to harness energy from high-altitude winds by using giant kites.”
Via MIPIM World
Norm Miller's insight:
There is a lot of natural energy out there, now how to harness it without interfering with planes is the question, when you go this high to the jet streams. Maybe a kite farm would work.
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Why Japan’s Bullet Train Will Finally Bring High-Speed Rail to America

Why Japan’s Bullet Train Will Finally Bring High-Speed Rail to America | Sustainable Real Estate | Scoop.it
High-speed trains—which can hit 300 miles per hour or more—are the ultimate example of how futuristic engineering can solve real-world transportation problems. In the past several decades, dozens of safe, sustainable high-speed train systems have started racing across the planet. And the place that does high-speed rail best is where it all started over 50 years ago: Japan.
Clarence | MSRE, LEED GA's insight:

It would be amazing to see a Japanese bullet tran, or 'shinkansen', in Houston or Dallas.  Texas Central Railway is working to make this happen. 

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Tesla’s new pop-up shipping container store fits on a flatbed truck

Tesla’s new pop-up shipping container store fits on a flatbed truck | Sustainable Real Estate | Scoop.it
Tesla is taking its stores to the road - and one might be near you soon.
Clarence | MSRE, LEED GA's insight:

'Telsa mobile container stores' may allow the company to skirt around laws in states that prohibit direct sales.  It'll be interesting to see how these states respond. 

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Prologis Taps Geostellar to Bring Affordable Solar Energy to Employees

Prologis Taps Geostellar to Bring Affordable Solar Energy to Employees | Sustainable Real Estate | Scoop.it

"Geostellar, America's first and largest online solar marketplace, today announced that Prologis, Inc., the global leader in industrial real estate, will offer Prologis employees easy online access to solar power for their homes at steeply discounted rates."

Clarence | MSRE, LEED GA's insight:

ProLogis employees will be able to install solar panels for their homes at a discounted rate with Geostellar.  This is a great company perk as it encourages employees to help reduce their carbon footprint at home while also saving them money. 

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It’s Getting Hot in Here

It’s Getting Hot in Here | Sustainable Real Estate | Scoop.it
Addressing climate change with a sense of urgency isn’t a matter of morality, two economists argue. It’s about managing risk.
Norm Miller's insight:

New book spells trouble for humans in quantified terms.

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Americans are using more energy, but green tech is softening the blow

Americans are using more energy, but green tech is softening the blow | Sustainable Real Estate | Scoop.it

"It may be tough to satisfy the US' seemingly never-ending thirst for energy, but clean power sources are at least helping to soften the impact."

Clarence | MSRE, LEED GA's insight:

With more tech gadgets, electric cars and Internet/Cloud-based services being used, it's no surprise that energy consumption is going up. The good news is that as we continue to implement clean energy sources like solar and wind power, it will help offset carbon emissions. 

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The Future of California: Australia

The Future of California: Australia | Sustainable Real Estate | Scoop.it
To deal with its drought, the state will have to look Down Under.
Norm Miller's insight:

The market can help solve water problems and ration water better than regulation.  In Australia they allow transfers of water rights.  In California we need to allow a several tier pricing system that encourages conservation but does not strictly require it. 

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Could this be the world's most efficient solar electricity system?

Could this be the world's most efficient solar electricity system? | Sustainable Real Estate | Scoop.it
Using military technology and a zero-emission engine invented by a 19th-century Scot, Swedish firm seeks to revolutionise solar energy production
Clarence | MSRE, LEED GA's insight:

Besides solar panels, we might also be using huge solar dishes in the future like the one described in this article to supplement renewable energy. What's unique is that these dishes constantly move with the sun to maximize solar energy capture. 

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New York's getting 500 solar-powered food carts this summer

New York's getting 500 solar-powered food carts this summer | Sustainable Real Estate | Scoop.it
Street food is an celebrated (and inescapable) facet of New York City culture but many of those gas-fired mobile food stalls aren't exactly environmental
Clarence | MSRE, LEED GA's insight:

There are already electric cars, electric bikes, etc. so why not electric food carts?  Well, they are rolling out to New York starting Memorial Day.  Great to see progress on the retail front for sustainability. 

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Eco-Luxury Redefined: The Remarkable Portable Hotel Suite

Eco-Luxury Redefined: The Remarkable Portable Hotel Suite | Sustainable Real Estate | Scoop.it

"The DROP eco-hotel is a removable modular hotel room and will quickly become one of the most unique travel experiences ever. It is a concept that fits between a caravan and a permanent room in a traditional building."

Clarence | MSRE, LEED GA's insight:

Check out this portable and sustainable hotel room in the shape of a cylindrical tube.  It features skylights, photovoltaic solar films and a rainwater harvesting system. 

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Austin-Based TreeHouse Green Home Improvement Goes National

Austin-Based TreeHouse Green Home Improvement Goes National | Sustainable Real Estate | Scoop.it
Austin-based TreeHouse green home improvement store preps for national expansion.
Norm Miller's insight:

Like an Organic Home Depot.  Good business idea.

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The Untapped Potential Of Unused Capacities

The Untapped Potential Of Unused Capacities | Sustainable Real Estate | Scoop.it

Companies can benefit from the trend toward “collaborative consumption” through creative new approaches to defining and distributing their offerings.


Via Clarence | MSRE, LEED GA
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Clarence | MSRE, LEED GA's curator insight, June 1, 7:33 PM

As the SF per employee continues to shrink, open/collaborative workspaces and telecommuting options are becoming more popular, creating demand for hoteling, or reservation-based unassigned seating of corporate office space. 

 

LiquidSpace, a service that connects corporate real estate owners with temporary renters who want to lease excess office space on a short-term basis, has been dubbed the 'Airbnb of work spaces'.  These types of services will help maximum the office space utilization rate. 

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The total area of solar panels it would take to power the world, Europe, and Germany

The total area of solar panels it would take to power the world, Europe, and Germany | Sustainable Real Estate | Scoop.it

"The red squares represent the area that would be enough for solar power plants to produce a quantity of electricity consumed by the world today, in Europe (EU-25) and Germany (De)."

Clarence | MSRE, LEED GA's insight:

Here's an interesting graphic of the total area of solar panels needed to power the entire world.  Surprisingly, the total area needed is relatively small compared to the world's land area.  

 

As battery storage technology improves and the cost of solar panels goes down, we can transition to solar power as a primary source of energy. 

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IKEA pledges 1 billion euros to fight climate change

IKEA pledges 1 billion euros to fight climate change | Sustainable Real Estate | Scoop.it
IKEA has pledged 1 billion euros toward stalling climate change through powering their stores worldwide with renewable energy and implementing programs in developing countries.
Clarence | MSRE, LEED GA's insight:

IKEA has committed a billion euros to completely power their worldwide showrooms with sustainable energy from solar and wind power.  This is a commendable and ambitious initiative.  Hopefully other retailers follow suit. 

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The Ingenious Plan for the Ocean to Clean Itself Is Led By a 20-Year-Old

The Ingenious Plan for the Ocean to Clean Itself Is Led By a 20-Year-Old | Sustainable Real Estate | Scoop.it
A Dutch man barely out of his teens is leading one of the most ambitious ocean cleanup efforts ever: to halve the amount of plastic debris floating in the Pacific within a decade.
Clarence | MSRE, LEED GA's insight:

If this project is successful, it'll be an environmental milestone.  Imagine being able to clean up 7.25 million tons of plastic from the ocean in 5 years and selling the plastic for over $500 million to more than offset the project cost. Check out video at the bottom of the page from gizmodo.

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Hyperloop is getting a test track in California

Hyperloop is getting a test track in California | Sustainable Real Estate | Scoop.it
Hyperloop would transport passengers in floating pods inside low-pressure tubes at speeds of more than 750 mph.
Clarence | MSRE, LEED GA's insight:

Could the Hyperloop replace the high-speed train?  Hyperloop Transportation Technologies is developing a $100M 5-mile track to test Hyperloop passenger transport pods, so if all goes well, we could be one step closer. 

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Desalination: the quest to quench the world's thirst for water

Desalination: the quest to quench the world's thirst for water | Sustainable Real Estate | Scoop.it
Technological advances have made removing salt from seawater and waste water less energy-intensive, but will they simply encourage us to use more?
Norm Miller's insight:

Desalination is feasible and practical.  We have no water shortage, merely a lack of conservation as prices are too low and if tiered prices were higher we could desalinate.  This article reviews some of the methods and how they are becoming more efficient.

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Rethinking the water cycle | McKinsey & Company

Rethinking the water cycle | McKinsey & Company | Sustainable Real Estate | Scoop.it
How moving to a circular economy can preserve our most vital resource. A McKinsey & Company article.
Norm Miller's insight:

Great discussion on water

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‘Disaster after disaster’ hits Marshall Islands as climate change kicks in | Al Jazeera America

‘Disaster after disaster’ hits Marshall Islands as climate change kicks in | Al Jazeera America | Sustainable Real Estate | Scoop.it
Low-lying coral atolls face existential threat from rising seas caused by global warming
Norm Miller's insight:

These are the kinds of stories we will see more of in the near future.  The reality is that there are several island nations in jeopardy and many will require wholesale population resettlement.  The question will be who will take the population and will they be guests or have some localized political autonomy.  Australia will get the most requests from the Pacific but so will others.  

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This $250 wifi sprinkler can cut lawn water use 30%

This $250 wifi sprinkler can cut lawn water use 30% | Sustainable Real Estate | Scoop.it
A Denver-based startup has a wireless sprinkler system that can read the weather -- and cut water usage 30%.
Clarence | MSRE, LEED GA's insight:

This smart sprinkler, which is linked to weather reports, can reduce water usage by 30% for landscaping.  It's wifi controlled and even adjusts watering times based on the season.

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Tesla's huge new batteries will store power for Amazon, Target, and others

Tesla's huge new batteries will store power for Amazon, Target, and others | Sustainable Real Estate | Scoop.it

"Elon Musk only announced Tesla's new Powerpack system tonight, but the company has already done deals with some of America's biggest companies to supply them with the new technology."

Clarence | MSRE, LEED GA's insight:

Telsa's new PowerPack system is an exciting advancement for not only businesses like Amazon and Target, but also for utility companies to store captured renewable energy from solar, wind etc. for later use during peak times. 

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The first solar bike path is producing more energy than expected

The first solar bike path is producing more energy than expected | Sustainable Real Estate | Scoop.it
Back in November, SolaRoad launched a test bike path that generates energy through solar cells embedded in the concrete.  The company has revealed that its road has generated much more energy than expected -- it produced 3,000kWh of electricity in the space of just six months, or enough to power a single person's home for a year. 
Clarence | MSRE, LEED GA's insight:

Who ever thought that riding your bike could help generate enough energy to power someone's home? SolaRoad has already test piloted a bike path with built-in solar cells that generates energy when bicyclists ride on it.  Imagine all the energy we could generate from solar sidewalks, bike trails and roads in the not-so-distant future. 

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