Sunday, December 31, 2006

Recycling product samples


The Houston AIA Committee On The Environment (COTE) and the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) are constantly looking for ways to recycle and protect the environment. Architectural and Interior Design offices, as well as our product vendors, are continually updating their product libraries and product lines. Rather than these excess and outdated materials going straight to a landfill, we propose to collect and distribute these materials to schools for student art projects. Product samples may consist of the following:

Carpet samples (books and large samples)
Fabric samples
Wall covering samples
Flooring samples (VCT, ceramic, vinyl, linoleum, wood, cork, etc.)
Plastic Laminate samples
Paint samples
Other appropriate samples
We are coordinating this effort with the Region 4 Education Service Center which provides assistance to 54 School Districts (1,210 campuses) in our area. Region 4 has agreed to distribute the materials collected to these schools. In the near future we hope to be able to structure this program to collect samples 3 times a year.

Please drop off your samples on:

Tuesday, January 16, 2006

8:00 AM to 2:00 PM

Collection locations are the AIA office downtown, and at a yet to be determined location in the Galleria area. Please let your venders and other associates know of this program as we will be sending more information after the first of the year. Thank you.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Recycling your tree

Hope everyone had a fabulous christmas and holiday season!
Now what to do with that tree....?

Over 33 million real Christmas trees sold in North America every year. Christmas tree recycling is an important way to give a renewable, recyclable resource back to the environment.

Find a drop-off sites near you to recycle your Christmas tree

Below are just 2 of the many i found near me within 10 miles:

City of Houston Christmas Tree Recycling Event
5900 Westpark
Phone: (713) 837-0311
Days/Hours: Monday to Saturday 9am to 5pm and Sunday 1pm to 5pm
Beginning Date: Dec 27, 2006
Ending Date: Jan 08, 2007

Web Link:

Location Notes: This event will take place at the Westpark Consumer Recycling Center. Please note that this site will not be opened on January 1. Please remove tinsel, plastic bags, plastic tree stands, and plastic water bowls from your Christmas tree before recycling. This event will not accept flocked trees.

7300 Memorial Drive
Phone: (713) 837-0311
Days/Hours: Monday to Saturday 9am to 5pm and Sunday 1pm to 5pm
Beginning Date: Dec 27, 2006
Ending Date: Jan 08, 2007

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Port of Houston signs Direct Energy utility deal

via Houston Business Journal - 12:11 PM CST Wednesday

"The Port of Houston Authority is going a little green. The entity signed a three-year agreement with Direct Energy for retail electric service that will make five percent of the Port's 129 million kilowatt-hours wind power-generated electricity....

The port is the first announced commercial renewable customer for Direct Energy, which has signed long-term power purchase agreements from three west Texas wind farms -- Buffalo Gap, Buffalo Gap 2 and the Sand Bluff Wind Farm.

Direct Energy has contracted for a renewable energy supply equal to approximately 10 percent of its peak load."

Read more via Houston Business Journal

"Going ons" about town

What:The Rice Design Alliance and The Menil Collection are co-sponsoring a lecture by Marcel Franciscono. The lecture, "Paul Klee and The Bauhaus,"

WHEN: Wednesday, November 29, at 7 p.m.
WHERE: The Menil Collection, 1515 Sul Ross. Admission is free and open to the public.

Mr. Franciscono is the author of Paul Klee: His Work and Thought, a historical and critical study published in 1991. He teaches art history at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

For more information about the lecture, visit :
For more information about the exhibition at The Menil, please see the web page at:

WHAT: Rich Levy and James Adams Reading at Brazos
WHERE:Thursday, November 30, 7 PM

James Adams:
Noble Savage is the debut poetry collection of Houston poet James Adams.
Noble Savage has been nominated for a 2006 Pulitzer Prize.

Rich Levy:
Rich Levy is a poet and (since 1995) executive director of Inprint, a nonprofit literary arts organization that serves the needs and passions of readers and writers in Houston.

Sunday, November 26, 2006


Turn your garden and kitchen scraps into gardening "gold" by composting. Compost improves both the physical condition and the fertility of the soil when added to the landscape or garden.

Composting can also reduce yard waste by 50 to 75% that would otherwise be hauled to the dump.

Composting involves mixing yard and household organic waste in a pile or bin and providing conditions that encourage decomposition.

1) Position your bin or pile in an area with good air circulation. Placing your compost next to your home or other wooden structures is NOT a good may cause the wood to rot.

2) Some shade is a good so that your compost doesn't get overheated.

3) Make sure the spot of land where you place your heap gets good drainage.

4) pile should be no smaller than 3'x3'x3'

5) your compost should be moist. Not soaking and not dry to maintain the microbes. A good rule of thumb is the more green material (cut grass, weeds, leaves) you put in, the less water you'll need to add.

6) Aerate your pile by turning or mixing. Oxygen is also required to maintain the microbes

+ On Composting bins

+ Build your own bin

+ More tips


Hope everyone enjoyed the holidays! Do you have any ripe pumpkins lying around and are not composting?

Pumpkins make great face masks and body scrubs. High in Vitamin A (skin healing), C (anti-oxidant) and Zinc, the pumpkin soothes, moisturizes and acts as a carrier, assisting the other mask ingredients to absorb deeper into the skin and intensifying the results.

2 teaspoons cooked or canned pumpkin, pureed
one-half teaspoon honey (humectant, regenerative) one-quarter teaspoon milk (or soymilk)(alpha hydroxyl acid, enzymes digest skin cells)

add some brown sugar to exfoliate.

For Oily Skin
one-quarter teaspoon apple cider (tonic action promotes skin circulation; alpha hydroxyl acid; regulates pH).
one-quarter teaspoon cranberry juice (high in antioxidants critically important to the utilization of essential fatty acids to maintain balanced, nourished skin.

Found via

Thursday, November 16, 2006

UH, HARC work on landing Texas wind research center

[via Houston business journal]

"The University of Houston and The Houston Advanced Research Center are part of a coalition that is trying to help Texas win a nationwide race for a giant new U.S. Department of Energy-backed wind turbine research and development center.

The Lone Star Wind Alliance, a Texas-led coalition of universities, government agencies, and corporate partners, submitted a proposal for the project to the federal government Nov. 13."

read more

Other sources:
+ Texas Wind Energy Resources
+ Wind Energy Maps
+ The Texas RPS-via-renewable energy world

Monday, November 06, 2006

Tax Credits for Consumers

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 offers consumers a tax credit for replacing old appliances and home products with energy efficient models, including windows and skylights.

Read more on window replacement credits.

Just file the appropriate tax form and submit with your Federal taxes.

Remember, these items must be placed in service after Dec. 31, 2005 and before Jan. 1, 2008.

To learn more about tax credits for other ENERGY STAR products please visit

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Guidance Notices . It is not intended as legal advice, and you should consult a tax professional with specific questions.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

WWF- Living Planet Report

Established in 1961, WWF operates in more than 100 countries working for a future in which humans live in harmony with nature. They are currently funding around 2,000 conservation projects and employ almost 4,000 people across the planet.

The Living Planet Report is WWF's periodic update on the state of our world's ecosystems.It describes the changing state of global biodiversity and the pressure on the biosphere arising from human consumption of natural resources.

The report is developed around two indicators:
+ the Living Planet Index, which reflects the health of the planet’s ecosystems; and

+ the Ecological Footprint, which shows the extent of human demand on these ecosystems.

These measures are tracked over several decades to reveal past trends, then three scenarios explore what might lie ahead.

+ Read more
+ Read Report

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Solar power at Home Depot

In California, the Home Depot, which has partnered with BP Solar, has already begun marketing a solar system and installation program to the mainstream by offering its customers the ability to sign-up online for free, in-home consultations.

State and utility incentives now available cut thousands of dollars off the cost, making solar power more affordable than ever. For a comprehensive review of available incentives visit the Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIRE) website.

watch BP's Solar Home Solution®. video

+Home Depot
+BP Solar

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Charity Fundraiser at DWR

An evening of cabaret and celebration for a good cause at DWR

DWR, Bacardi, Miller Light and Butter Catering are hosting Modern Carnivale, an evening that promises tantalizing performances by the Concrete Rose Cabaret girls and DWR furniture from the time period.

A silent auction will be held, including everything from original artwork to celebrity sports memorabilia, with all proceeds going to Casa de Esperanza, a local nonprofit that has been providing loving homes and medical attention for abused and neglected children since 1982. All donations are tax deductible. Suggested donations of $20 in advance ($25 at the door).

RSVP to by October 27

Modern Carnivale
Thursday, November 2, 7–11pm
DWR Houston Studio
1956 West Gray
Houston, TX 77019

Monday, October 23, 2006

Path Concept Homes

"On October 18, 2006, HUD Assistant Secretary Darlene Williams, Regional HUD Director Macie Houston, Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey, and Builder Fernando Pages broke ground for the first PATH Concept Home and unveiled revised plans for a 2,000 square foot vernacular farm house."

The Concept Home uses innovative building technologies to enhance a home's flexibility and make it more efficient to build and maintain.

Six principles create the foundation for incorporating innovative systems into the Concept Home. PATH has prepared a series of reports which explore technologies and systems that support each principle.

Principle #1: Flexible Floor Plans

Principle #2: Organized and Accessible Systems

Principle #3:Concept Home Principles - Improved Production Processes

Principle #4: Alternative Basic Materials

Principle #5: Standardization of Measurements and Component Interfaces

Principle #6: Integrated Functions

Friday, October 20, 2006

Induction Cooktops

Want to cook faster, using less energy, with more control? Magnetic induction cooking uses electricity to produce a magnetic field that sends currents into iron atoms that react by movement which causes friction and heat in a metal vessel.
Unlike conventional cooktops that create heat below a pot, the magnetic induction process makes the pot into the heating element. Food is heated more quickly and to precise temperatures.

Operational Cost
Cooking with magnetic induction is 90 percent efficient, as compared to resistance electric at approximately 65-percent efficiency, and open-flamed gas which measures in the 55-percent efficiency range. Magnetic induction cooktops also feature sensors that adjust the energy setting to the pot size and a broader range of settings than traditional cooktops.

Initial Cost
A magnetic induction cooktop costs three to four times more than an electric cook top. A magnetic induction cooktop with four elements ranges in price from $1800 to $4000, dependent upon the manufacturer and features.

Read more

related articles: 37th Annual Report on Cooking Appliances

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Worldchanging: A User's Guide for the 21st Century

from Smart Mobsby Gerrit Visser:
"Alex Steffin, Worldchanging editor and chief is releasing their first book: Worldchanging: a users guide for the 21st century.

Packed with the information, resources, reviews, and ideas that give readers the tools they need to make a difference. With an intoduction by Al Gore.

Read more about it.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Bayou City Arts Festival

WHEN:October 14 & 15, 2006
10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

WHERE: The festival is showcased in front of City Hall and around Hermann Square on the streets of Walker, Bagby, and McKinney, as well as Sam Houston Park.

The annual, juried, fine art event boasts a stress-free outdoor gallery brimming with 300 artists working in 19 artistic media.

Adding to the festive outdoor gallery are wine cafés, an interactive Creative Zone for children, restaurants, Broadway in Houston’s Broadway Café, and a performing arts stage with on-going multicultural musical and dance entertainment presented by the Cultural Arts Council of Houston | Harris County.

Admission is $8 for adults and free for children 12 and under.

For more information about the Bayou City Art Festival Downtown, please contact the Art Colony Association.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Improve your "archi-speak"

Basically, while the students felt confident of their work they lacked the confidence and knowledge on how to verbally express their ideas....thus came about... Architecture on Air,which is put on by the College of Architecture at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

The interview series via podcasts is "meant to focus on helping students build a more nuanced and attentive language with which to describe the built environment and their own work (as opposed to fixating on images). The series covers architecture, history, theory, industrial design, urbanism, allied professions, social discourse and the role of architects in contemporary culture."

Interviews :
Danny Forster - "Dizzy Heights" Mark Morris 9/15/06 Danny Forster is host of "Extreme Engineering" on the Discovery Channel. As many newspapers and magazines have recounted, Forster got his current job answering an on-line want ad featured on Craig's List while a graduate architecture student at Harvard. An amateur video shot by his girlfriend in his living room (an act of procrastination to avoid finishing essays) was enough to get him to the auditions alongside actors, engineers and weight-lifting models.

Steven Connor: Castles in the Air - "Transdisciplinarity, Space and Rem Koolhaas" Mark Morris 9/14/06 Steven Connor is Academic Director of the London Consortium, Professor of Modern Literature and Theory and Birkbeck College Orator. An advocate for interdisciplinary studies and alternative research methodologies, Steve has lectured widely (particularly to architecture audiences) and been a contributor to several radio programs. His research interests are diverse: sound, space, literary studies, skin, atmospheres and broadcasts. He has written extensively on Michel Serres, Dickens and Beckett. His books include Dumbstruck: A Cultural History of Ventriloquism (Oxford Press, 2000) and The Book of Skin (Reaktion Books, 2004). He has recently completed a book entitled Fly (Reaktion, 2006) on the history of the fly in poetry, painting, religion and science. His current research is on the air.

Iain Borden - "Skateboarding to Architecture" 38:33 Mark Morris 8/16/06 Dr. Iain Borden is Director of the School of Architecture, Director of Architectural History and Theory and Professor of Architecture and Urban Culture at the Bartlett School of Architecture. Educated at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UCL, University of London and UCLA, Iain is an architectural historian and urban commentator.

Monday, October 09, 2006

WaterSaver Technologies Aqus Uses Sink Greywater for Toilet


The Aqua catches the water flowing down your sink drain, filters and disinfects it, and stores it ready for the next toilet flush. It is designed to be easily retrofit into existing fixtures and boasts low maintenance....The system retails for about $200, and has a lifespan of 10-12 years, with a payback of about 4 years, depending on local water and sewage costs.
The primary market will be home building professionals, but the company will also sell the units over their website WaterSaver Technologies.

Read more via

Friday, October 06, 2006

80's "Super Heros" Strike Back


Hulk Hogan Seeks Tougher Animal Fighting Law
"The Miami Beach resident sent a video message Thursday to all 435 members of the House of Representatives. In it, he says laws against dog fighting and cockfighting aren't tough enough.
The Hulk slips into wrestling terminology in his message, saying offenders should be hit with a "felonious legdrop."

View Video HERE

Mr. T is promoting his new reality show “I Pity the Fool” where he motivates procrastinators and revs up slackers.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Wind Energy in Texas Gets $10 Billion Boost

Dallas, Texas []
Texas Governor Rick Perry announced a major public-private initiative this week that could increase wind-generated energy in the Lone Star State by approximately 7,000 megawatts. Eight companies have committed to invest a combined $10 billion-plus in new wind projects -- as long as the state's Public Utility Commission constructs the necessary transmission lines.

Read the whole story HERE

The Lorax and Cat Stevens

Dr. Seuss, speaking through his character the Lorax, warned against mindless progress and the danger it posed to the earth. The Lorax by Dr. Seuss is an ecological warning that still rings true today amidst the dangers of clear-cutting, pollution, and disregard for the earth's environment. Great book.

Check out the video (below) someone did a great job of putting the Lorax together with a song by Cat Stevens.


Tuesday, October 03, 2006


The first lecture in the RDA fall lecture series: Resurfacing the City, will begin Wednesday, October 4th at 7 pm in the Brown Auditorium at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

In addition there will be a pre- lecture wine reception from 6 pm to 6:45 pm, upstairs in the museum lobby.

Charles Waldheim is Director of the Landscape Architecture Program at the University of Toronto, and will kick-off the series on the 4th.

Read more on this Lecture Series

Series Tickets:
$20 - RDA, MFAH members
$15 - Senior citizens 65 and older
$10 - Students with identification
$30 - Others

Single Tickets (upon availability):
$7 - RDA, MFAH members
$5 - Senior citizens 65 and older
$3 - Students with identification
$10 - Others

Isabella Court Apartments

My favorite example of what housing can be in Houston.

Isabella Court Apartments have a covered yet open air 2-tiered courtyard (it has an open-air clere-story) . Letting in natural light and fresh air.

Also several apartments are split levels-usually enter into the living/kitchen area, with bedroom and bath on the upper level, about 5-6 steps up. The split level successfully separates the private and public areas in small apartments and makes for a pretty dynamic space.


A reflection on cities of the future

Excerpts from artcile published on 28 Sep 2006 by Energy Bulletin.
by James Howard Kunstler

"....As the industrial age gained traction in the early 19th century, so did the demographic trend of people increasingly moving from the farms and villages to the big cities. Industrial production was centralized in the cities and recruited armies of workers insatiably. Meanwhile, mechanized farming required fewer farmers to feed more people. The railroad, by its nature, favored centralization. By 1900, cities such as London and New York had evolved into mega-urbanisms of multiple millions of people. Around the same time, electrification was generally complete and with it came skyscrapers serviced by elevators. Over the next twenty years, oil moved ahead of coal as the primary fuel for transport and, especially in the US where oil was cheap and abundant, led to mass automobile ownership. That, in turn, sparked the decanting of households into massive new suburban hinterlands, and to the extreme separation of activities by zoning law there, which climaxed – with interruptions for depression and war – in the evolution of the late 20th century car-dependent metroplexes like Los Angeles, Houston, Phoenix, and Atlanta. That is where things stand now."

"...So, on top of the sheer distortions and perversities of the glut in bad mortgage paper, America will be faced with the accelerating worthlessness of the collateral – the houses, Jiffy Lubes, and office parks –
as gasoline prices go up, and long commutes become untenable, and jobs along with incomes are lost, and the cost of heating houses larger than 1500 square feet becomes an insuperable burden."

Read the whole article

Monday, October 02, 2006

Rain Gardens: Improve Stormwater Management in Your Yard

Rain gardens are depressed or “bowl-shaped” landscaped areas that function as miniature wetlands. Typically planted with wildflowers and other native vegetation, a rain garden provides a place for stormwater to infiltrate, allowing approximately 30% more water to soak into the ground.

A simple rain garden can be planted in most landscapes with little or no modification to existing conditions. It is easiest to plant the garden based upon natural drainage flows (look for low spots where water ponds following a heavy rain).

Because the depth of a rain garden can be as little as six inches, heavy machinery is not necessarily required. Even sites with heavy clay or compacted soils can be conducive to rain gardens. For clay or hardpan soils, some excavation and replacement of soil may be necessary. When replacing soil, a mix of 50-60% sand, 20-30% topsoil, and 20-30% compost is recommended. Compacted, hardpan soils should be loosened, for drainage and root growth, to two feet deep. Ideally, the rain garden should be planted with native or locally adapted plant species. This provides for ease of care and maintenance as well as habitat for local, often beneficial, wildlife.

Sources: DC greenworks
View and detail drawings of example raingarden

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Boston turns taxis green

image courtesy of lambdamu

"As part of the city's long-term plan to implement sustainable public transportation, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino kicked off Boston CleanAir Cabs on Friday, an initiative to replace Boston's old taxis with hybrid electric or alternative-fuel vehicles."

Read the full story

via cnet news

Sunday, September 24, 2006

"Going ons" about town

ONLINE REGISTRATION CLOSES at 5pm on Monday, September 25th.

Benjamin Ball and Gaston Nogues: Rip Curl Canyon at the Rice Gallery
21 September – 29 October 2006

"Winners of ID Magazine's 2006 design award for Environments, Benjamin Ball and Gaston Nogues have created a new installation, Rip Curl Canyon, for Rice Gallery. Rip Curl Canyon evokes a mythical location in the American West where land and water collide."

Get Your War On
Rude Mechanicals
September 21 - 23, 2006, 8pm
September 28 - 30, 2006, 8pm
September 29 & 30, 10pm

"Get Your War On is directed by Shawn Sides and adapted by Kirk Lynn from the internet comic by David Rees. David Rees was working a crummy magazine job when Operation: Enduring Freedom inspired him to make his cartoon, Get Your War On. The satire about the war on terrorism became an internet phenomenon. Get Your War On now appears in every issue of Rolling Stone. Sales of the two GYWO books have raised almost $100,000 for land mine removal in western Afghanistan."

Friday, September 22, 2006

Will Ferrell - Bush on Global Warming

Sorry I thought this was hilarious. click on image to see the video

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

design:e2 the "Green Apple episode"

Design:e2 is a new six part PBS series that introduces us to the inventive leaders and technologies driving sustainable practices in the buildings where we live, work and play.
Design:e2 also presents a series fo video podcasts of these episodes. The first episode begins in NYC.
Watch it below....OR Subscribe to the audio and video podcasts

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Freecycle Houston

Freecycle is a grassroots environmental movement whose goal is to recycle and reduce waste and landfill space by connecting people who are throwing away unwanted items with others who are seeking the same items.

No item is too big or too small; but since this is a FREEcycle list, ALL items must be 100% free.
No bartering, trading, buying or selling is allowed.

This has worked out great for me, trying to get rid of an old desktop, that still works great, but has been replaced by a laptop. 10 people responded right away and a lady that wanted it for her gradeschool child offer to picked it up right away. I was also looking for a bike and posted this on there and a lady offered me one of 2 bikes she had just sitting around, with just a little bit of work to be done on them.

This is good stuff! Try it and make some room in that cluttered attic, closet, and/or garage. ;) ITS FREE!

+ Houston Freecycle
+ "Freecyle" in other areas

Monday, September 11, 2006

Electric Super Cars

The X1 Prototype
"Wrightspeed builds extreme performance electric supercars. With advanced electric drive train technology, their cars raise the performance driving experience to a new level – while still returning 3 times better energy efficiency than the most efficient cars available.

Wrightspeed is building the X1, demonstrable today in a street-legal prototype, using lithium-ion batteries and a 3-phase electric motor. It has already raced against and beaten some of the world’s fastest production cars, while at the same time being 10 times more energy efficient than the cars it outperformed.

It meets its design specs of 0-60 in 3 seconds, 170 mpg equivalent; and at 1536 lbs, is only 36 lbs over the design target of 1500.

No clutch, no shifting, precise and immediate control of torque in drive and braking, perfect traction control…first gear takes you to 112mph…"

Pretty cool!

Watch it beat a ferrari and a porche!

Plugin America

Green Gold WTC

via Architectural Record

"...architects Norman Foster, Richard Rogers, and Fumihiko Maki unveiled designs for three towers that will rise along the eastern edge of the World Trade Center site. Following a clockwise spiral from the Freedom Tower, each of the buildings steps down in height, gradually descending to the WTC memorial....

All three towers will seek LEED gold ratings, and are scheduled for completion by 2012. "

read more here

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Indoor air filter


The four-story biofilter is a jungle of ferns, ivy and other plants, collaborating to emit microbes that break down harmful airborne contaminants into water and CO2. This wall is self-cleaning- the pollutants are not absorbed into the plants, but broken down.

The biofilter was developed by biological researchers at the University of Guelph, including Alan Darlington, who now heads his own company, Air Quality Solutions, Ltd., to sell the living walls commercially.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Rudolf Diesel developed the idea for the diesel engine and obtained the German patent for it in 1892. His goal was to create an engine with high efficiency. Gasoline engines had been invented in 1876 and, at that time, not very efficient.

Diesel hoped that his engine would provide a way for the smaller industries, farmers, and "commonfolk" a means of competing with the monopolizing industries, which controlled all energy production at that time, as well as serve as an alternative for the inefficient fuel consumption of the steam engine.

Rudolf Diesel demonstrated it in the 1900 Exposition Universelle (World's Fair) using peanut oil (see biodiesel).As a result of Diesel's vision, compression ignited engines were powered by a biomass fuel, vegetable oil, until the 1920's and are being powered again, today, by biodiesel.

The main differences between the gasoline engine and the diesel engine are:
+ A gasoline engine intakes a mixture of gas and air, compresses it and ignites the mixture with a spark.
+ A diesel engine takes in just air, compresses it and then injects fuel into the compressed air. The heat of the compressed air (at a substantially higher compression ratio than a gasoline engine) lights the fuel spontaneously once it is injected into the super-heated compressed air.
+ A gasoline engine compresses at a ratio of 8:1 to 12:1, while a diesel engine compresses at a ratio of 14:1 to as high as 25:1. The higher compression ratio of the diesel engine leads to better efficiency.
+ Gasoline engines generally use either carburetion, in which the air and fuel is mixed long before the air enters the cylinder, or port fuel injection, in which the fuel is injected just prior to the intake stroke (outside the cylinder). Diesel engines use direct fuel injection -- the diesel fuel is injected directly into the cylinder.

Today there are even companies that will convert your diesel powered vehicle to run on 100% vegetable oil (new or waste), Biodiesel, and/or regular diesel, in any combination....see Lovecraft Biofuels

See also DHlovelife's biodiesel Vlog.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Toyata Green Turfs


"Toyota Roof Garden (subsidiary of the car company) is now taking orders for its modular grass tiles...
Individual mats are twenty inches square, and about two inches thick. The mats are planted with a special brand of Korean velvet grass - it only needs to be cut once per year. The mats are irrigation system-ready; water can flow through tubes to channels in the mats, providing moisture to roots.

The price? Just $43 per square yard."


Saturday, September 02, 2006

North Houston Developements

I took this photo flying into Houston about to land at Intercontinental... These previously forested areas are being replaced by "barnacale-like" developements. (Notice the line of forest behind the developement.)

These developements are not keeping ANY of the original trees....and if you look really really hard you can see a tiny twig planted in each front yard. How long till those little sprigs can offer the shade that an existing tree could have provided?


What is Carbon Offsetting?

A carbon offset is a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from a third party, aimed at cancelling out (offsetting) the emissions arising from a particular activity. The aim is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and thereby combat global warming. Proponents claim that all emissions can be offset and made "carbon neutral".
Carbon offsets can be purchased by individuals, businesses and governments from a variety of commercial and non-commercial organizations.

There are three main types of projects that produce offsets: projects that prevent the release of CO2, projects that reduce non-CO2 greenhouse gases, and projects that sequester carbon in vegetation or soil. A company could achieve the first two goals by purchasing an energy-efficient heating system for a school, for example, thus reducing the school’s CO2 emissions. A company could accomplish the third goal by reforesting an area, sequestering carbon in trees and soil.

More on Carbon offsets:
Carbon Emission Offset Directory via ecobusiness links
more info via Climate Biz

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Upcoming Event: August 30th

The Rice Design Alliance is pleased to announce a lecture by David Lake and Ted Flato, of the San Antonio firm of Lake | Flato. The architects will present their new work and their new publication, Buildings & Landscapes on August 30, 7 pm, at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Lake|Flato Architects, begun by David Lake and Ted Flato in San Antonio in 1984, is one of the most outstanding architecture practices in Texas. In 2004 it received the National Firm Award from the American Institute of Architects, the highest award the AIA bestows on an American architectural firm. Lake|Flato is also the recipient of numerous design awards.

For more information, please go to