Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Event Reminder

2006 Environmental Summit
Theme: “Make Houston a Model Environmental City”


An “environmental summit” hosted by the City of Houston Solid Waste Management Department, Keep Houston Beautiful, and the Mayor’s Office of Health Policy will be held tomorrow, Thursday, June 1. Mayor Bill White has proclaimed a plan to “Make Houston a Model Environmental City,” and that is the theme of the conference. The event will begin with a General Session in the morning from 9 - 11:30 am, followed by a luncheon during which an Environmental Excellence Award presentation and a “Recycled Fashion Show” will occur. Following lunch, from 2:00 - 4:30 pm, there will be sessions covering a range of topics including: energy issues, sustainable development, pollution reduction and community involvement. For more information call Gary Readore (713.837.9137) or Ed Zilton (713.837.9139). http://www.houstontx.gov/solidwaste/2006envirosummit.html

WHEN:Thursday, June 1 (tomorrow)
WHERE: Marriott Westchase, 2900 Briarpark Dr.
The Google Maps Team has teamed up with The Earth Day Network to create a Google Maps mashup aimed at pointing tourists in the US toward "environmentally friendly activities, attractions and amenities." Dubbed "Summer of Green", the site features audio and video tours of 5 US cities (Houston not on there....YET), creating a local map for each. The info-windows for each attraction appear to be mashing up video clips from Google Video and display. The site incorporates Google Maps' directions feature and also a way to search Maps for other locations.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Renewable Fuels Standard...TEXAS?

Dark green marks the states with enacted RFS and light green the state in the legislative process.

The Iowa House on Wednesday passed by a vote of 97–1 a Renewable Fuels measure that will require that 25% of motor fuel sold in Iowa by 2020 come from renewable sources. The bill—which creates the most aggressive Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) in the country—now goes to Governor Tom Vilsack for signature.If signed by the governor, the bill will make Iowa the fifth state with its own RFS.

The House bill, HF 2754, and its companion appropriation bill, HF 2759, create:

A renewable fuels standard (RFS) starting at 10% in 2009 and increasing to 25% by 2019.

A new ethanol promotion tax credit for each gallon of ethanol blended into gasoline (replaces existing tax credit beginning in 2009). This incentive is linked to a retailer dealer’s achievement of the RFS schedule. The tax credit increases from 2.5 cents per gallon (c/g) for retailers within 4% of the RFS schedule to 6.5 c/g for retailers meeting or exceeding the RFS schedule.

A retail tax credit for E85 of 25 c/g (phases out by 2020).

A retail tax credit for biodiesel blends of 3 c/g (for retailers who sell more than 50% biodiesel blends.

$13 million over three year to expand an infrastructure program designed to help retailers and wholesalers offset the cost of bringing E85 and biodiesel blends to consumers.

The RFS does not mandate a specific blend percentage, but allows gasoline retailers flexibility in meeting the standard through the sale of E10, E85, and biodiesel blends.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Brad Pitt goes Sustainable


Call for entries:

Of the many ways Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, none is clearer than the storms assault on the citys neighborhoods. Eight months after the disaster, more than half of New Orleans remains empty, mile after mile of abandoned houses, shops, offices, schools, and churches. The promise of federal aid remains largely that a promise, and local and state authorities are struggling to produce plans for the citys future.

Competition sponsors Global Green and Brad Pitt have as their goal the generation of ideas for sustainable redevelopment in New Orleans.......... http://www.globalgreen.org/competition/

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Who owns ethanol?

While most of us are excited that the debate on America's energy future has finally taken a serious turn towards alternative sources of fuel, like ethanol, some may never be happy enough.

An interesting proposal by Sen. Hillary Clinton to achieve energy independence though shifts towards ethanol was met with a divisive tone by Sen. Charles Grassley from Iowa.

Grassley stated, "I say to Senator Clinton, 'welcome to the club.' We'll be happy to update her on the pro-ethanol laws we've enacted without her vote. If Senator Clinton is a born-again ethanol supporter, let's hope she has the zeal of a convert as she begins promoting ethanol and other renewable fuels."

Sour grapes perhaps? Let's worry about saving the country first before we bicker about pride of ownership. How about that, Senator Grassley?

(via Hotlineblog)

Panel Systems

"Design and Construction of an Innovative Panel System for Affordable, Safe, Energy Efficient Housing"

Dr. Joseph Colaco discussed the development of Foam Based Single Family Housing Systems. Conventional homes are built with wood, using "stick-built" ballroom framing. But several builders are using foam to build homes.

Dr. Colaco presented results from wind and seismic tests, and calculations on energy savings on the FAS/CLEAN home.

For example:
Microstone - Foam with fiber reinforced shins
FAS/CLEAN - Uses SIPS panels made by Thermasave
HCI - AmHome - Uses concrete columns and beams within the foam.

Corn-Based Ethanol

Ethanol has been used as an automotive fuel for over a century. Henry Ford designed his Model T in 1908 to run on an ethanol/gasoline mixture.

The article by Charles Stillman via CLEAN.org titled "Corn-Based Ethanol: The Energy Answer?" examines the history of ethanol. Currently there is only one E85 pump in the whole state of Texas (in San Antonio). Yet there are plans ahead: "This summer, Kroger supermarkets plan to install E85 pumps at 10 filling stations in Houston. Dallas area residents will be able to fill up at eight of their local Kroger stores."

Stillman also points out a slight drawback to Ethanol such as the fact that E85 gas provides about 30 percent less energy than unleaded gasoline, translating into 5 -15 percent decreased efficiency in miles per gallon.

Yet, corn-based ethanol actually requires less fossil energy (i.e. energy derived from diesel fuel, natural gas or coal) for its production than does gasoline.

Texas’ first ethanol plants are currently being built in the state’s panhandle. Panhandle Energies of Dumas, LP is the first to begin construction. Company officials estimate the plant will produce at least 30 million gallons of ethanol a year.

Stillman also offers up other solutions such as Cellulosic ethanol which requires considerably less fertilizers, provides a greater yield per acre, possesses a higher energy content, and has significantly lower emissions than ethanol produced from corn.
Read the whole article via CLEAN.org

Urban Farm Needs Help

This is a great example and model of an urban farm. I believe they said its the largest urban farm in the U.S. and has been around for 14 years. Unfortunately the city has other plans for it TODAY.



Help save this farm by going to southcentralfarmers.com

Monday, May 22, 2006

2006 Hurricane Forecast

+NOAA PREDICTS VERY ACTIVE 2006 NORTH ATLANTIC HURRICANE SEASON

NOAA’s 2006 Atlantic hurricane season outlook indicates an 80% chance of an above-normal hurricane season, a 15% chance of a near-normal season, and only a 5% chance of a below-normal season. READ MORE ON ATLANTIC FORECAST


+NOAA Expects Below Average 2006 East Pacific Hurricane Season

An average east Pacific hurricane season features 15 to 16 tropical storms, with nine becoming hurricanes, including four to five major hurricanes.

2006 east Pacific hurricane season outlook — predicting a below average season with 12 to 16 tropical storms, of which six to eight could become hurricanes, including one to three major hurricanes of category 3 strength or greater. READ MORE ON PACIFIC FORECAST

Rebuild the Gulf Coast

Summer Volunteer Opportunity with Architecture for Humanity

They're working with the East Biloxi Relief and Redevelopment Agency and the Gulf Coast Community Design Studio to re-hab 100 houses over the course of the next year and need all the hands we can get.

Work includes gutting, de-molding and rehabbing the interiors of homes damaged by Hurricane Katrina as well as helping the Gulf Coast Community Design Studio in everything from developing re-hab standards and planning to helping families make small improvements to the layout of their homes as they repair them.

If you are interested in spending some time rebuilding, email Beth Orser.

University Design Build

Also, AFH is working with Hands On and the Gulf Coast Community Design studio to set up design build programs with universities in the fall and spring. If you are a faculty member or a student of a university and want to get involved in the rebuilding effort in a larger way, we'd be happy to help identify projects for semester long design studios. Students would stay with Hands On and spend part of their time assisting in construction and home repair and rehabilitation and the rest of their time engaged in design with the Gulf Coast Community Design Center. Housing will be provided by Hands-On. We're happy to work with you to create a program to meet your curriculum needs. Email email Beth Orser to develop a program.

EVENT: LIVABLE HOUSTON INITIATIVE



WHEN: Wednesday, May 24, 2006 , noon-1:30 pm

WHERE: Houston-Galveston Area Council, 3555 Timmons, second floor.

WHAT: The latest findings of the Houston Area Survey will be presented by Dr. Stephen Klineberg, Rice Professor of Sociology, on Wednesday May 24. This historic study has followed Harris County residents’ demographic patterns, life experiences, attitudes, and beliefs for 25 years.

Bring your lunch. For more information call 713-523-5757. http://www.gulfcoastinstitute.org

The Gulf Coast Institute and the Houston-Galveston Area Council host Livable Houston/Smart Growth bring-your-own-lunch meetings that are open to the public on the fourth Wednesday of every month.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Permaculture Project in Jordanian Desert

Last night's meeting of the Austin Sustainable Building Coalition featured a presentation on a permaculture project in the desert of Jordan. The project was managed by Geoff Lawton, who narrates a very interesting video about it.

Click here for more information about the project and to view the video.
Or click play on video below.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Business of Green: NYTimes

The New York Times today has a special GREEN Buisness section worth checking out. Full of ideas and collaborators for greening of the economy.

A few of their headlines:

Companies and Critics Try Collaboration
By CLAUDIA H. DEUTSCH
If politics makes for strange bedfellows, global warming, endangered forests, dwindling water supplies and scary new technologies have made for even stranger ones.

What's Kind to Nature Can Be Kind to Profits
By MATTHEW L. WALD
Most of the green technologies that make money now are profitable only because of government tax incentives or subsidies. Send in the lobbyists!


Shaping Restaurants to Be Models of Efficiency
By LAURA NOVAK
Here's food for thought: The restaurant business wastes more energy than any other industry in America. Enter the Food Service Technology Center.

Chicago Center for Green Technology

The Chicago Center for Green Technology is:

A model for the nation. Chicago Green Tech is only the third building in the United States to be designed using the highest standards of green technology available. It is the only one of the three that is a renovation of an existing building and the only one accessible by public transportation.

Home to organizations and businesses committed to the environment. Tenants who occupy Chicago Green Tech provide environmental products and services. Greencorps Chicago, the city's community landscaping and job training program, Spire Solar Chicago, a manufacturer of solar panels and WRD Environmental, an urban landscape company, all have offices at Chicago Green Tech.

A place to learn. Chicago Green Tech's building and campus are open for visitors to explore and to learn how green buildings are good for people and good for the environment. Visitors leave knowing how to incorporate environmentally friendly and cost saving features into their home or business.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

DH LOVE LIFE

Some may have heard...(i guess i had but just hadn't payed attention) Daryl Hannah has a "green" video blog covering issues dealing with sustainability/green design.



Check out her Green Building "Vlog" Just press play. Its actually pretty neat to see some of these homes "live" and they give you resources at the end of the video.

invisible' solar panels?

Now that solar panels aren't the ugly ducklings of architecture, home developers are touting solar energy as the latest feature in new homes.

Twelve developers in California have kicked off plans in recent weeks to integrate solar tiles from PowerLight into hundreds of new homes over the next few years. PowerLight's SunTile solar tiles are integrated into the roof, making them far less obtrusive than conventional solar panels, which are perched in a frame that sits atop a roof.

Read the whole story

Other Stories: Solar panel shortage to continue through 2006

D.I.Y. Solar

Did you know....there's a Do It Yourself Network?
They even include Solar Solutions

The Episode which has also been layed out in a readable format Includes:

+ Solar Thermal Water Heater: Energy Savings

+ Solar Thermal Water Heater: Solar Panel and Exterior Pipe Installation

+ Solar Thermal Water Heater: Installing the Water Heater and Interior Pipes

They also include a good list of resources

Summer Window Opens at Rice Gallery

Lisa Hoke: Light My Fire

19 May – 31 August 2006

Gallery Talk and Opening Luncheon
Friday, 19 May at noon
Gallery talk by Lisa Hoke
Complimentary light lunch

Monday, May 15, 2006

"Green" Structural Components + Tips

SIPs (Structural insulated panels)
OSB sandwiching an insulating foam core. Quick to assemble and provide superb energy performance. SIPs are manufactured in a range of thicknesses providing different R-values. In response to problems with insects burrowing in SIP foam cores, look for products that incorporate borate compounds. SIP buildings can be quickly assembled, particualarly when panels are factory-cut, including door and window openings.

ICFs Insulating Concrete Forms:
Foam insulation formwork for reiniforce concrete walls.These permanent forms stay in place after teh initial pouring of the concrete core, providing insulation, fnish attachment surfaces, and a chase for utilities.

Engineered Lumber:
Utilizes fast-growing, small-diameter trees effeciently.
Plywood sheathing has been replaced by OSB sheathing.

Floors made with engineered lumber joists or with finger jointed or gangnailed trusses, have many advantages in addition to their green attributes. By allowing ductowork and piping to run through them, they encourage the practice of keeping ducts and pipes inside the conditioned envelope.

TIPS:
Increase wall stud spacing to 24” O.C.
Space Floor joists and roof rafters at 24”

Design homes on 2’ modules

Using 2-stud corner framing instead of 3 studs, and replacing 2 and 3 stud backing fro drywall attatchments at wall “T” intersections with inexpensive drywall clips or scrap lumber

Eliminating headers in nonloadbearing walls.

Substitue 2x6 for conventional 2x4 framing. 2x6 framing at 24” oncenter uses roughly the same amount of board-feet of lumber as 2x4 lumber at 16” On-center, while leaving a larger wall cavity for increased insulation levels. Once framing crews have gained experience, these techniques can save money by using fewer pieces and being faster to assemble.

Sources:
Green Builder. com
Green Building Guidlines
The Green Spec Guide to Residential Building Materials

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Looking for a hybrid?

Whether it’s for love of the planet or money saved at the gas pump, check out zerofootprint.net's Hybrid Buying Guide.

[ Hybrid fever by Lorraine Gauthier]

"Read, Share and Receive"

You can help save trees and the environment by sharing and exchanging books.

America's BookShelf is the Internet's first full-service book club that supports a community of readers. The BookShelf is proud to be a certified member with Co-op America.org, as well as being listed on their Green Pages.Read their environmental business philosophy.

As a member of America's BookShelf, you can order and exchange books from the comfort of your home. The books are delivered to your door in about 7 to 12 business days! There are no late fees and no due dates. Memberships are $12 annually which is only $1 per month. Read more about America's BookShelf

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Plug-In Austin

Send Automakers a Message


[via Austin Energy. com]

Under the direction of the Austin City Council, the City of Austin and Austin Energy are leading a national campaign to demonstrate to automakers that a market exists today for plug-in hybrids. You can participate by signing the Plug-In Partners Petition indicating that you would seriously consider purchasing a PHEV if the cars are manufactured. Businesses can do the same thing through “soft” fleet orders.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Effects of Airlines

After the events of September 11th, the Federal Aviation Administration shut down all U.S. commercial air traffic for 3 days. This enabled scientists to a unique opportunity and study the influence of high-flying aircraft on Earth's climate.

One way that aircraft may affect climate is through their cloud like contrails, which appear behind jets flying at high altitude.

In a series of photos taken Sept. 12, individual cloud trails of high-flying military aircraft stand out clearly in a nearly cloud-free region west of Washington, D.C. In just a few hours, six contrails—each of which started out a few meters wide—spread to cover more than 20,000 square kilometers.

David J. Travis, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and his colleagues looked at the average diurnal temperature range (DTR)—the difference between the day's high and low temperatures. Their findings contend that contrails can significantly affect climate.

Read the rest of the Article

Ecological Footprint Quiz

Ever wondered how much "nature" your lifestyle requires? Find out.

The Ecological Footprint Quiz estimates how much productive land and water you need to support what you use and what you discard. After answering 15 easy questions you'll be able to compare your Ecological Footprint to what other people use and to what is available on this planet.

Houston Facts:

Population
Total (2004):2,012,626
Metro area (Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown):5,280,752

Climate

Houston's climate is classified as humid subtropical. The city is located in the gulf coastal plains biome, and its vegetation is classified as temperate grassland

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Solar Water Heating

[Green Building Guidlines-4th edition]

Water heating ranks as the 2nd largest household energy expense. To minimize this big energy user consider installing a solar domestic hot water (DHW) system. A typical solar DHW system is sized to provide up to 70% of the annual water heating load. Most water heaters operate by preheating water for a standard water heater that, when needed operates as a backup to increase the water temperature. Thus the temperature and availability of hot water is not afffected and energy is saved.

There are 2 categories of DHW systems: indirect and direct systems. Direct systems are generally only suitable for nonfreezing climates.

Systems range in cost from $1500 to over $5000.

Some Systems: Thermosyphon, Direct Circulation, Drain Back, Closed Loop, Batch/integral Collector Storage Systems

Rules of Thumb
+For maximum year-round collection the collectors should be1) tilted from the horizontal at an angle within 20 degrees of the latitude and 2) an an orientation within 45 degrees to the east or west of true south

+Collectors for any type of solar water heater should be located as close as possible to the water heater tank to minimize the amount of connecting pipe

+where freezing is possible indirect closed loop or drain-back systems are often most approriate.

+Consider pre-plumbing homes to accomodate a future solar water heating system installation.
Install pre-plumbing if the home meets the following criteria:1) the home's roof can support solar panels within 45 degrees of due south and 2) there is space for plumbing between the roof adn the utility room or other location where you might locate a solar water storage tank.

The cost of approximately $250 will save homeowners who later install such a system a lot of time and expense. To install pre-plumbing, run two 3/4" type M copper lines and 24V control wire down an interior wall from the highest point of the roof that will hold the solar panels to the utility room or location of the future solar tank. Be sure to insulate the copper lines to a minimum of R-6 and to solder all joints with lead free solder.

Web resources:
American Solar Energy Society
Solar Energy Industries Association
U.S. Department of Energy: Solar water Heating
Solar Energy International
Northeast Sustainable Energy Association: Solar Water Heating

Mercury:what, where and why?

[via treehugger.com]
You might have picked up pieces of info about high levels in fish but still are floundering a bit in the "how?" and "why?" "so what?" departments.The video below helps fill in those blanks and info on how to take action.
Also check out their Guide to Healthy Seafood

Monday, May 08, 2006

Do green roofs remove pollutants from rainfall?

This photo illustrates some of the renovation power of plants.

Austin Energy Excels as #1 Green Energy Electricity Utility in America

[via Alternative Energy Blog]

The U.S. Department of Energy said Austin Energy's Green Choice program sold more than 334 million hours of renewable energy last year.

More than 350 businesses in Austin get their power from renewable sources as an alternative to fossil fuels.

Austin Energy uses electricity from 61 West Texas wind turbines, Land Fill Gas, Small Hydro - 435 MWh/year

Green Providers in Texas

Austin Energy News article

Austin, Texas Mayor Will Wynn whose city leads the nationwide plug-in campaign

Coalition Calls for Post Office Fleet Transition to Plug-in Hybrids
6 May 2006 [via Green Car Congress]
The Plug-in Partners coalition has called on Congress to provide incentives sufficient to transition the US Post Office fleet to plug-in hybrid vehicles.

"Transitioning the Postal fleet to plug-ins would serve as a springboard for the commercial production of delivery vehicles that could be extended to a wide variety of delivery services across America.

The commercial market would also provide the economic certainty needed by automakers to make the production investments necessary for the mass production of plug-ins.

The plug-in technology is available right now and represents a realistic near-term solution to the serious problems of over-reliance on foreign oil, out of control gasoline prices as well as greenhouse emissions."

—Mayor Will Wynn

The Postal Service is a good target for plug-in applications. Its fleet consists of approximately 210,000 vehicles from Class 8 trucks down to carrier route vehicles that travel 1.2 billion miles a year consuming an estimated 106.8 million gallons of gasoline and 21 million gallons of diesel.

Read the complete article [via Green Car Congress]

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Houston home prices on upswing after period of small annual gains

Area may avoid market slowdowns seen elsewhere
By NANCY SARNOFF
Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle

Driven by a strong economy, the median price per square foot for a home rose 3.8 percent last year, up from less than 1 percent in 2004, according to a study by Evert Crawford of Crawford Realty Advisors in conjunction with the University of Houston's Institute for Regional Forecasting. The median price indicates half the homes sold for more and half for less.

Although the overall increase was well below the 13 percent rise nationally in the median home price, Houston's slower pace may help this market avoid the sort of slowdown already seen in some other cities that registered tremendous gains in recent years.

The median price in Houston for 2005 was $70.04 per square foot, which would mean a 2,000-square-foot house would cost $140,080.

Real estate agents, economists and analysts attribute the improved market to strong job growth thanks to the climb in oil prices that has driven the rapid expansion of local energy companies.

Population growth

Experts said 75,000 new jobs created in the region last year underscore the strong market for homes, as does a population that could double in the next 25 years.

Read the complete article from the Houston Chronicle

Related articles:
+ Compact Communities
+ 2035 Forecast

Texas City BP plant top U.S. polluter

By DINA CAPPIELLO
Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle

BP's Texas City refinery, which already has been fined for safety violations that led to a deadly March 2005 explosion, is now investigating whether it has been accurately reporting pollution to the federal government....

The increase in emissions at BP was so large it distorted the data for refineries nationwide, according to the EPA. The Texas City plant accounted for the bulk of a 15 percent increase in emissions in 2004 that drove refinery pollution to its worst level since 2000, based on the agency's data....

Cleanup ramifications
But the pollution review also could have ramifications for the Houston region's efforts to clean up smog, plans based, in part, on emission estimates provided by companies to the government. If BP's estimate to the EPA turns out to be correct, the additional and previously undocumented pollution could be enough to influence the state's plan to reduce the region's smog, experts said.

Erroneous estimates of pollution from the industry are not new. In 2000, as part of the Texas Air Quality Study, researchers found that companies in the Houston area were underreporting emissions of certain chemicals by as much as three to 10 times. That finding prompted the state to rethink how it planned to address the region's smog problem, requiring deeper cuts of those underestimated compounds.

Read the whole article from the Houston Chronicle

Saturday, May 06, 2006

DaySwitch™ Reduces Lighting Energy By Up to 30%

[via treehugger.com]

Scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Lighting Research Center (LRC) have developed a simple, cost-effective, energy-saving device designed to harvest daylight automatically. The DaySwitch™ was designed as an alternative to traditional dimming ballast systems that adjust light levels by reducing the lamp current.

How the DaySwitch™ works
The DaySwitch™ eliminates wasted or unwanted electric light by sensing when sufficient daylight is available to take the place of electric light, and then responds by turning off the fixture. When daylight decreases, the device turns the light back on.

A built-in microcontroller automatically calibrates the DaySwitch™, allowing for self-commissioning and easy installation and maintenance. The design also includes a light-to-frequency photodiode that, together with the microcontroller, provides accuracy over a wide range of light levels (1 to 12,000 lux).

According to the LRC research team, commercial customers can expect a two- to five-year payback in retrofit applications and a one- to three-year payback when the DaySwitch™ is built into fixtures installed in new construction.

For a brochure on the design, download this pdf file.

Compact communities fight climate change.

[via worldchanging.com]

What can we learn from these maps? Our personal transportation choices can and do impact greenhouse gas emissions and global climate change. Households in the city have easier access to public transportation systems, drive less often or shorter distances, and walk or bike to their destinations. With continued investment in public transit and in walking- and biking-friendly neighborhoods, cities can further reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve local air quality.

Of course, density in and of itself is not neccessarily better. The point is not how close together the houses are, but rather what that compactness -- when combined with other livability measures, smart growth, transit and walkshed technologies -- can let us create: brighter, greener cities.

Read more about the Regional Emissions Maps

Friday, May 05, 2006

STUDY QUANTIFIES STORMWATER BENEFITS OF GREEN ROOFS

The Penn State Center for Green Roof Research has been conducting studies of extensive green roof systems. One of the first studies is part of a master’s thesis project by Julia DeNardo Hunt. Her research quantified the importance of green roofs in reducing stormwater runoff.

According to Dr. Albert Jarrett, DeNardo’s major advisor and a Penn State professor of Agricultural Engineering, “The benefits of green roofs in attenuating stormwater runoff are largest if one looks at four things: 1) runoff volume reduction, 2) peak runoff rate-reducing, 3) overall runoff delay, and 4) peak runoff delay in these systems.”

Key findings from DeNardo’s study were: 1) green roofs retained on average 6.5 mm (.26 in) or approximately 45 percent of local rainfall during the period of study (two months), 2) peak runoff rates averaged 2.4 mm/hr (.09 in/hr) or 56 percent of the peak rainfall intensity, and 3) runoff from green roofs was delayed an average of 5.7 hours.

Other studies have followed and helped answer other critical research questions. Center Director Dr. Robert Berghage and Dr. David Beattie, associate professor of Horticulture, were interested in media depths and how different green roof plants might respond in these systems with varying drought situations. Last September, the Center received additional funding from American Hydrotech that has enabled the Center to effectively double its data gathering capacity.
BioCycle, Mar 06, p 37, by Drew Mather.
Hortweb.cas.psu.edu

We get rain too....

Developers in San Francisco say they've built the greenest pad in San Francisco. Lots of high end green goodies including a system that catches up to 20K gallons of annual rainfall. - via SF Gate

The 2,600-square-foot house on Clipper Street showcases every high-end Earth-friendly feature that Lorax Development partners Mike Kerwin, Joel Micucci and Pat Loughran could find a way to incorporate, including the city's first approved rooftop rain catchment system. The system, by Mount Shasta's Wonderwater Inc., collects an average of 18,000 to 20,000 gallons of annual rainfall, cleans it and stores it in tanks below the house to be used to flush toilets, wash clothes and water gardens.....

The architect of this project, John Maniscalco, situated the four-bedroom, four-bathroom layout to maximize air and light flow, keeping the personal spaces on the small side but opening the main living space, downstairs family room and upstairs master bedroom to the scenic rear views. Then the Lorax fellows did their thing. Among the features they researched, embraced and now tout as "green":

-- Solar panels
-- Ultra Touch Natural Cotton Fiber Insulation
-- Trex composite decking material trimmed with forest-certified ipe railings
-- A mix of 40 percent fly ash, a hard-to-dispose-of power plant byproduct, strengthens the concrete foundation and slab.

and lots lots more....read the whole article via SF Gate.com

Events-Fresh Forum & Modern Market

FreshForum3
RDA Partners Get Fresh!

Wednesday, May 10th, 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Kirksey, 6909 Portwest Drive

Join them for an exhibition and party celebrating RDA Partners and their fresh work! To submit work, please see the above Call for Entries and contact Valerie Bugayong at valerieb@kirksey.com

Modern Market

Benefit Preview Party, Friday, May 5th, 2006
6pm - 9pm, $25 per person for Lawndale members & $35 for non- members. For tickets, please contact Lawndale through their web site or call 713 528-5858.

Free Public Lecture, Wednesday, May 3, 2006, Shaping Fashion: The Enduring Influence of Cristóbal Balenciaga
Presented by Kate Betts, Editor, TIME Style & Design, 7pm.

Market Weekend, Saturday and Sunday, May 6 & 7,2006, 10am - 5pm both days, $5 general admission.

Dealers: CENTURY MODERN; COOL STUFF INC; Don Browne; era; 5ifty5ifty Mod; Metro Modern LLC; Jason Fitzgerald; Mid-Century Modern Furniture; Mid- Century Pavilion; Retro Relics; The Robin Cook Collection; Retropolitan Ballroom