Friday, November 02, 2007

Sustainable Energy and Green Building Consumer Expo

Gulf Coast Green and the City of Houston are proud to inaugurate the first Sustainable Energy and Green Building Consumer Expo exclusively featuring certified green products and building materials, renewable energy, energy efficiency tips, and green vehicles. It will be free and open to the public on April 5 and 6, 2008 at Reliant Park. Gulf Coast Green is the leading green building conference on the Texas Gulf Coast.

An estimated 15,000 consumers from Houston and the Gulf Coast Region are expected to take advantage of the opportunity to learn about green, energy efficient products and services in a hands-on atmosphere free of green misinformation. An innovative set of Green Guidelines will govern the types of products and services exhibited at the event.
With rising energy costs and global climate concerns, we have the opportunity to make a real difference, both financially and environmentally, for ourselves, our families, and our city. The City of Houston has taken aggressive steps towards a greener, more energy efficient region including the purchase of 30MW to date of renewable energy, partnering with the Clinton Climate Initiative to retrofit city facilities, and replacing traffic lights with energy efficient LEDs. “We want to make Houston not only the energy capital of the world but also the energy conservation capital” says Mayor Bill White. “This event gives each of us the opportunity to take steps to make a difference” adds the Mayor.

The Sustainable Energy and Green Building Consumer Expo will anchor several civic expressions of the importance of sustainable growth. Declared Gulf Coast Green week by the City of Houston, the 2008 Gulf Coast Green Symposium will kick off the festivities with two days of lectures targeted to design and construction professionals, green building tours, and a student competition on Thursday, April 3 and Friday, April 4 at Reliant Park. Mayor Bill White, Pulitzer Prize author Jared Diamond, internationally renowned architect Dr. Ken Yeang, and Clinton Climate Initiative chair Ira Magaziner will deliver keynote addresses at the event. On Saturday, April 5, Mayor Bill White will launch the Sustainable Energy and Green Building Consumer Expo with a plenary session, promoting opportunities for energy efficiency and renewable energy already available in the Gulf Coast region.
The expo will feature four topic areas showcasing product booths, government and non-profit initiatives, and educational presentations running throughout the two-day event. The Expo’s focus areas – renewable energy, energy efficiency, green buildings, and alternative transportation – address strategies and technologies critical to Houston’s and the Gulf Coast region’s future.
A youth event will offer a glimpse of Houston’s future as a sustainable community. Students from across the metropolitan region will exhibit their vision of Houston in 2030.
Gulf Coast Green is organized by the Houston Chapter of the American Institute of Architects Committee on the Environment. The City of Houston Sustainable Energy initiative is a project of the Mayor’s Office.

For more information about Gulf Coast Green and the Sustainable Energy and Green Building Consumer Expo, please visit

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The pollution next door


"A mother wonders if hazardous chemicals in the air in her neighborhood contributed to her son's contracting leukemia.

A Rice University study released in 2006 showed that Houston has a higher concentration of benzene and 1-3 butadiene than anywhere else in the United States. The annual average of 1-3 butadiene, a carcinogen, was at least 20 times higher than any other city in America.

Tom McGarity, a professor of environmental law at the University of Texas, believes such conditions are allowed to persist because 90 percent of the people who call the ship channel home are Hispanic and many of them are poor."

***Watch Video***

Read More

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Next meeting: Wednesday, October 24

Growing Cooler-The evidence on urban development and climate change
Speaker: David Goldberg, Communications Director, Smart Growth America

In "Growing Cooler: The Evidence on Urban Development and Climate Change," a comprehensive review of dozens of studies, published by the Urban Land Institute, the researchers conclude that urban development is both a key contributor to climate change and an essential factor in combating it. The researchers document how key changes in land development patterns could help reduce vehicle greenhouse gas emissions. They warn that if sprawling development continues to fuel growth in driving, the projected 59 percent increase in the total miles driven between 2005 and 2030 will overwhelm expected gains from vehicle efficiency and low-carbon fuels. Even with projected efficiency improvements, vehicle emissions of carbon dioxide would be 41 percent above today’s levels, rather than well below 1990 levels as required for climate stabilization by 2050, according to Growing Cooler. “The research shows that one of the best ways to reduce vehicle travel is to build places where people can accomplish more with less driving,” says lead author Reid Ewing.

The report is available at

The meeting is at noon on Wednesday, October 24, at the Houston-Galveston Area Council, 3555 Timmons, second floor. Bring your lunch. For more information call 713-523-5757. 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.

Please RSVP to

Monday, October 15, 2007

ABC news featuring UH green roof

Click on video to Play

ABC news reported on green roofs and global warming and how UH's Green roof is the first slanted green roof....Just like residential roofs.

"I think this is a new system, particularly for residential use," said Mashburn. "I think it will become more popular as people realize the enormous cost of utilities."

Read More

Thursday, October 04, 2007

VOTE NO! to change of Zoning

click on images to enlarge
This online petition is in regard to the Galveston City Council's vote to change the Zoning of approximately 1,100 acres of Beach to Bay property, potentially, the largest developed tract on the Texas Gulf Coast from single family to recreational.

If the change of zoning is approved for the Marquette development, ironically called "The Preserve", it will mean the developers will circumvent the process of the city's planning department and have an open ticket to do what they want with the property without the City's oversight.

A bevy of attorneys are working on a development agreement that should 'iron out' all the inconviences for the city and 'hold the developer's feet to the fire', but the truth is the City of Galveston is giving up a huge chunk of their little remaining opening space to a group that has
never developed south of Chicago and thinks the planning process is too contentious and will drag things out.

Please sign the online petition and forward to others that are opposed to changing from single-family zoning to recreational zoning by going online:


Reasons for Voting “No” to Recreational Zoning regarding Marquette Dev.

* If city council allows re-zoning, citizens of Galveston will NOT have the ability to preserve and maintain the quality of life within their single-family neighborhoods

* Family residences could be living next door to retail businesses of unknown origin

* The island and the type of lifestyle we have become accustomed to could be completely controlled by developers with no way for citizens to have a choice in the type of community in which they want to live – except to move to the mainland

* Recreational zoning does NOT require the city’s approval regarding future development projects

* A very dangerous precedent will be in place that could affect the whole island if recreational zoning is allowed

* If the largest parcel of land to be developed on the island can be zoned for recreational use, it is a strong possibility that city council could approve recreational zoning for other parts of the island as well

That is why VOTING NO for Recreational Zoning by our City Council is Crucial!!!

Our government is based on citizens’ input. We elect leaders to protect and serve with our best interests in mind. Constituents’ welfare is being denied if City Council votes for changing a single-family zoning area to recreational zoning in order to accommodate Marquette Development.

* Beach to bay preserve

* See who's signed the Petition


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Upper Kirby

As Kirby Drive -between US 59 and Westheimer- is torn up for new stormwater drains, a plan to rebuild it as a wider street also means a smaller pedestrian realm.

This widening necessitates removing about 200 trees. Many citizens at an Upper Kirby District TIRZ meeting wanting to save the trees were also vehement about wanting better and safer walkability - and slower cars.

No one opposed construction of a 72-inch storm sewer under Kirby to improve area drainage.

The concerns centered on plans to add a 14-foot median and widen the three lanes of Kirby, now about 9 1/2 feet wide, to 11 feet to comply with city of Houston requirements.

The result — narrower sidewalks and fewer mature trees on both sides of the street — met strong opposition.

Mack Fowler, president of the board of Trees for Houston, maintained that the drainage project could be accomplished without widening Kirby.

City Councilman Peter Brown, who attended Saturday's meeting, said he supports the latest efforts to improve drainage along Kirby.

Before leaving home for the meeting, however, Brown said his granddaughter told him: "You have to do something to save the trees."

Read more:
*Houston Strategies
* Houston Chronicle
*Citizens Transportation Commission
* Upper Kirby District

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

UH Greenroof Updates!

(click on images to enlarge)

SEPTEMBER 19, 2007

Last Friday, the data collection equipment for monitoring the green roof was handed to Alex Alexander, Director of Plant Operations. The equipment was purchased with a generous RDA grant for students to track humidity levels, temperature and rainfall on the green roof, with continued opportunities for sustainable research in architecture.

There is a small portion of remaining grant funds for the purchase of more plants, if our time has not expired for using the funds. The Mexican Feathergrass that arrived last week from the Big Thicket was purchased also with the RDA funds. It really is going to be a fine addition to the Keeland Building.

Mr Alexander said his office would look over the installation plans of the data collectors and get with Geoffe Brune to discuss placement and installation.

equipment is for the East 3 bays, only.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

RDA LECTURE - Wed. September 19

The second lecture of the fall lecture series, Design Activism: Agents of Change, this Wednesday, September 19th at 7 pm in the Brown Auditorium at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

In addition, thanks to our generous underwriter Debner + Company,
please join us upstairs in the museum lobby for a pre-lecture wine
reception from 6 pm to 6:45 pm.

Bryan Bell is the director of Design Corps, out of Raleigh, NC and
author of Good Deeds, Good Design (which will be available on
Wednesday evening for purchase and for a brief booksigning following
the lecture).

For more information about this series and our upcoming programming, please visit

To purchase tickets in advance, please call 713-348-4876. There is no guaranteed seating after 7 pm.

Series Tickets:
$25 - RDA, MFAH members
$20 - Senior citizens 65 and older
$10 - Students with identification
$40 - Others

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

Monday, September 10, 2007

No Mow Grasses

Did you know that a lawn mower running for one hour emits the same amount of pollution as 40 new automobiles running for one hour?

Did you know that over 13 million gallons (49,210,353.4 litres) are spilled annually when filling up lawn mowers, trimmers and other landscaping power tools? That is 2 million gallons (7,570,9823.6 litres) more than was spilled from the Exxon Valdez!

Low-growing grasses such as fescue turf grasses save gas, water and fertilizer. "No Mow" grasses are usually a specially designed blend of slow-growing, fine fescue turf grasses that will: -grow to form a dense turf, -thrive in full sun or partial shade, -require little, if any, watering or fertilizing, -choke out weeds, once turf is established, -reduce mowing to once or twice a year.

There seem to be quite a few companies that sell varying "mixes" of no mow or low growing grasses. Below are a few where you can read more about their products and even order on line.


* Prairy Nursuries

* Wild Flower Farm

Other sources:

- OC register

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Slow Home

Neat Idea. (watch video)
Created as an alternative to instant neighborhoods and cookie cutter homes,
Slow Home derrived its name from the Slow Food movement and encourages to become involved in improving our lives and taking control of the places in which we live.

From their site:
"These big businesses build for profit instead of people. The result is a standardized cookie cutter world that is boring, wasteful and, all too often, just plain ugly. We have become a land of home buyers instead of home makers and we find ourselves trapped in a situation that seems to have no escape. Marketing images promise us a place that will meet our broader emotional and social expectations of home. The reality, however, is only a shallow version of the original sales pitch. This dissatisfaction breeds desire and before too long we are once again trying to quench our deep yearning for a real home with the purchase of yet another, albeit larger and fancier, commodified house.

See also their interviews with architects and designers and their designs such as:

Kevin Angstad's Chiskey House

Evergreen Gardens by Drew Mandell

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Galveston Texas: In harms Way?

MSNBC Nightly news Aug. 20:
"With low elevation, high erosion and just one way off the island, Galveston, Texas, is vulnerable to big storms, and yet it is among the nation's hottest real estate markets for vacation homes."

An "interesting" quote from Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas, referring to building on the eroding beaches and bays on Galveston Island:

"They understand the risks and they build very expensive houses here and they're well insured. The people, that's the way they want it, and we're happy to help them get it."

View video

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Rice University to chop down live oaks

Via KHOU - 11 news
17 live oaks have already been cut down....:(
I don't understand how that other treeless lot was "too far away"...Other dorms are farther and they get free shuttles.

Click to Watch the Video

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Product Sample Recycling

On April 18th - 20th of this year AIA Houston COTE held a product sample recycling collection. Samples were dropped off at the Houston AIA office and at McCOY Workplace Solutions by local architectural firms and product venders. From these firms we collected:

Approximately 280 Cubic Feet and 3,000 Pounds of product samples that were diverted from landfills and provided free art materials for local students and children.

These materials were picked up by Houston ISD, Galena Park ISD, Houston Children’s Museum, and the Glassell School of Art.

Thanks to AIA Houston and McCOY for the use of their facilities as collection points, Anchor Box Company for their donation of collection boxes, A&E The Graphics Complex for picking up donations, and Satterfield & Pontikes as our distribution location.
Our next recycling event will be September 12th through the 14th.
Start saving those samples.
Details to Follow.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


Gulf Coast Green 2008 Symposium -

Presentation Proposal Deadline September 17, 2007
Notification of Selection Status November 15, 2007
Presenter Acceptance Deadline November 29, 2007
Presentation Submittal Deadline March 19, 2008
Conference April 3-6, 2008 - Reliant Park, Houston, Texas

Conference Theme - Innovations in Building for Hot and Humid Climates.
This conference is geared toward attendees with an intermediate to high level of knowledge about building sustainability issues. We seek presentations relevant to the session tracks listed below and to hot/humid climates that focus on high and low tech innovative building systems, recent technologies, cutting-edge research, or case studies.
To submit proposals, review proposal guidelines and read thorough track descriptions go to and follow speaker link. Meeting the Carbon Neutral Challenge: This track will address the topic of energy efficiency in hot-humid climates through the lens of the AIA 2030
Challenge targeting carbon-neutrality for all new construction by 2030.

Ecological Design: This track will focus on low-tech, low cost solutions to green building design challenges. Sustainable Land Use and Development: This track will explore the opportunities and challenges associated with urban planning and land use along the Gulf Coast.

Innovations in Sustainable Design:
This track will highlight the latest breakthrough developments in green building.

With over 600 attendees in 2006 and 800+ predicted for 2008, the Gulf Coast Green Symposium has proven to be the leading green building conference along the Gulf Coast region. In 2008 a two-day symposium on sustainable building targeted toward design and construction professionals will precede a two-day consumer Expo inaugurating Texas' first green building consumer expo featuring certified green building
products & materials.

Registration for attendees opens in September of 2007. Visit to sign up for our newsletter or email for more information on sponsorship or
exhibiting your certified product.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Environmental Friendly Staple-less

Actually, according to ecofabulous, we would save 120 tons of steel if every office worker used one less staple a day for a year.

They come in a variety of colors and only cost $7.95. Put a few papers in the slot - not diagonally, but horizontally - mash on the top, and the gadget will cut and fold a tidy tab that will secure your papers as well as a staple. for all the details.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Energy Conservation Happy Hour- TODAY

"Energy Fans,

Where does electricity come from? If you live in Oak Ridge North, a small just north of Houston, it comes from chickens. For the last few months, biodiesel generators there have been producing up to five an hour of chicken-fired power for the city, and what they don't use to the rest of us.

Yes, biodiesel is more famously made from vegetable oils, but around here fats are far more plentiful. It takes about 2230 chickens to a megawatt-hour of electricity from the Oak Ridge North plant.
That's 2230 x 5MW x 24hrs = 267,600 chickens a day. Of course, biodiesel uses the chicken fat. The rest of the (now presumably very lean) is still used for food.

How much of this chicken energy do we use in Houston? That's hard to say. But one way to avoid doing so is to make smarter use of air during peak-usage hours, late on summer afternoons. Instead of rushing home after work each day to your own private of (possibly chicken fired) cool air, why not stop on your way spend some time with friends, where there's plenty of shared -- and therefore cheaper -- cool air to go around?

That's the idea behind our get-together this Thursday, August 2nd, at the Onion Creek Coffee House, 3106 White Oak -- just off Studemont, a block north of I-10. We'll be there from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., meeting and making friends, and discussing the energy demands of our own days in a safe, friendly, mostly poultry-free environment. Please join us. Do it for the chickens."

-Larry Albert

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Architectural Exhibition

Houston Mod's third annual architectural exhibition:

"Hugo V. Neuhaus, Jr.: Residential Architecture, 1948-1966"

Opening reception, Thursday August 2, 5:30-7:30 PM

Architecture Center, Houston, 315 Capitol, Suite 120

Free and open to the public, refreshments will be served.

We hope to see you there.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007



Dear 2007 Master Classers,

Time is creeping on and bookings are filling up for the third New Zealand Architecture Master Class at the beautiful Awaroa Lodge with Ian Athfield,Richard Leplastrier and Peter Stutchbury.

'The Warren Trust' has agreed to become the major sponsor.

Details and application form on the web at

Dates - 16-22 September (missing the school holidays and crucial World Cup rugby matches)

Fee - NZ$2,950 (AUS2,700) for 5 share lodge accommodation
and $3,300 (AUS$3,000) for twin share.


Inquiries to:

Monday, July 16, 2007

SolCool- cooling with pv's


"The basic SolCool system
has the same output capacity to a two ton air conditioning system but uses 85% less energy than equivalent high efficiency air conditioners;
and the dual battery/solar powered system enables the unit to run 24 hours a day, even during the most overcast of days or when blackouts occur.
One of the most unique attributes of the Millennia 4.0
is that it’s powered on a direct current (DC) which allows for the most efficient use of solar energy. The use of DC also allows the Millennia 4.0 to have integrated attachments such as water purification systems,
lights, and even ceiling fans. The latest version can also heat a room. All of which SolCool believes will help make-up for the $20,000 to $40,000 cost (before subsidies) of installing solar panels on the average household’s roof. SolCool’s unit is a way of stepping into the solar powered world without committing all at once, by integrating solar power efficiently forsmaller applications."

EcoVantage Energy Inc.

Contact: Samuel Little

Phone: (817) 304-0661


Weatherford, TX 76087
Service Area: Texas

Friday, July 06, 2007

RDA Civic Forum: EcoCities, July 11, 7pm

Everybody in Houston is talking "green".  But what, exactly, does this mean? What is an EcoCity? Does the European Union's EcoCity Project set the global standards? Are there exemplary local projects and initiatives, or does the term EcoCity only serve to point to Houston's role as a leading U.S. carbon producer?

Many Houstonians express a passionate interest in preserving and even increasing their city's green space. Are the strategies that seem to be productive in Europe and Asia, where many nations are working together to plan a sustainable future, applicable for us?

On Wednesday, July 11, 2007 at 7 p.m., the Rice Design Alliance (RDA) will hold a forum to begin to answer these questions.

Brown Auditorium, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
1001 Bissonnet (Enter via the Main Street door)

Admission is free and open to the public.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Gulf Coast Green- Symposium on Building

The Houston Chapter of AIA's Committee on the Environment (COTE) third green building symposium and expo will take place April 3-6, 2008 at Reliant Park, Houston, Texas.

This year, GCG 2008 will focus on both professionals and the public: Four educational tracks offering various skill levels for the
design and construction professional will be offered at the two-day seminar, while we will all be encouraged to become familiar with the
latest in certified green building products and innovations at the Consumer Expo, new to GCG this year.

The theme of the 2008 conference is Innovations in Building for Hot and Humid Climates. The conference's specific focus is green or sustainable building along the Gulf Coast Region, but the content includes broader issues such as sustainable land use and global warming.
Educational tracks will be: Meeting the Carbon Neutral Challenge; Ecological Design; Sustainable Land Use & Development; and Innovations in Sustainable Design.

The Houston chapter of the American Institute of Architects Committee on the Environment (AIA COTE) hosts Gulf Coast Green 2008 in partnership with the Greater Houston Area Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the Houston District Council of The Urban Land Institute

Call for Proposals opens August 2007.
Registration for attendees opens in September of 2007.
Visit to sign up for our newsletter or email for more information on sponsorship,exhibiting your certified product, or speaking at the event.

Monday, July 02, 2007

The Formation and Future of the Upper Texas Coast

Letter-to-the-editor from Professor John Anderson (RICE U.), author of the very latest May 2007 book by Texas A & M Press:
(Click on images to enlarge)

"I was one of the three authors of the Geohazards Map that has raised so much attention in recent months. I am bit miffed by the apparent misunderstanding of the map by Galveston City officials. It is really not that complicated. It is based on island elevation, existing habitats and future habitats. The first two are fairly simple, the elevation of the island controls storm impact, the distribution of modern habitats and the rate at which these habitats will change as sea level rises and the land surface subsides. The third ingredient sounds complicated, but it is based on careful monitoring of the rate of Gulf shoreline and bay shoreline migration over the past several decades. If anything these rates will increase in the next several decades, so beaches, dunes and wetlands will need to have room to migrate landward.

The Geohazards map is color coded, with red designating areas that are of imminent geohazard potential and orange designating areas with high geohazard potential. Existing wetlands fall within the red zone and areas that will become wetlands in the next few decades occur within the orange zone. The proposed Marguette Development has significant overlap with both red and orange areas. It is estimated that 75 acres of wetlands will be lost.

During the June 19 meeting of the Galveston Planning Commission, Commissioner Listowski stated that he was not concerned about the wetlands because the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will serve as the watchdog agency to assure that the wetlands are protected. Mr. Listowski clearly misunderstands the Corps responsibility and their track record. He needs to drive the far west end of the island to observe how the Corps failed to consider wetlands migration in at the Cintex Development. So, if the Corps of Engineers is not watching out for the wetlands, who is guarding them? When the Geohazards map was submitted to City Council two years ago it was our hope that the City would assume responsibility for safeguarding the island environment. They are the ones who issue the permits for development on the island.

I am not apposed to development on the Island and fully appreciate the city’s desire to raise new tax dollars. But, the attitude of the commission seems to be that wetlands have no economic value, and they clearly are not concerned about the next generation of citizens who will have to clean up after our mistakes. City officials now have the information needed to assess the impact new development will have on the island and its fringing waters over the life span of the project, not just on the day of ground breaking. It is no longer acceptable to simply ignore these impacts are try to assure us that someone else is guarding the hen house. If city officials have problems with the current Geohazards map, we need to work on these problems in order to come up with a map that can be used to preserve the island environment for all of its inhabitants, including those who will inherit it."

Friday, June 29, 2007

Galveston developement threaten wetlands

"The site of the United States' most deadly natural disaster, the 1900 Hurricane, Galveston Island is one of the most vulnerable targets for a deadly storm strike. The city hangs on the northwest lip of the Gulf of Mexico, with only one major escape route to the mainland and subject to fast-developing cyclones that leave little time for evacuations.

Yet as city planners consider a proposal for the biggest single development of homes, hotels and marinas in the island's history, they are resisting using a $50,000 geological hazard map the city commissioned to help plan safe and sustainable development."

City commission members John Listowski, Kelley Sullivan, Willy Gonzalez and Craig Brown voted to approve a preliminary plat and zone change for the huge new Marquette development project on Galveston’s West End....only three members of the commission — Chula Ross Sanchez, Janice Stanton and Elizabeth Beeton — voted against the project.

On of the members states that "1,000 acres of open ranch land reaching 3 miles down the island from beach to bay, 8 mile road to 11 mile road on Galveston Island is in jeopardy of being smothered in 4,900 units, 2 high rises on the beach, a marina in the wetlands and uplands, a golf course, filling in 74 acres of wetlands for weekend homes. All this in an area cited as a fragile geohazard zone by the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas."

Dolph Tillotson, publisher's column sunday June 24

Chronicle editorial, June 11, 2007

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Gigacrete- Concrete alternative

via Treehugger and Materialicious
Gigacrete, which has no portland cement but a "proprietary non-toxic binder" made from "a different cementitious binder consisting of commonly found nontoxic elements available from many locations throughout the world."

Up to 80% of the volume of the material is fillers:These fillers include waste bottom ash from coal fired power generation stations, not just the marketable fly ash currently used in Portland-based concrete. Other potential filler materials that could be implemented include waste paper, recycled cardboard, recycled plastics, recycled polystyrene, agricultural waste fibers, and paper sludge.

All of the above materials become fireproof when mixed with the GigaCrete™ binder and can be made very lightweight with strengths close to, and even exceeding, traditional concrete. The new composites have virtually no shrinking or cracking like concrete and can be demolded within eight hours."


- Less carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are produced from the
manufacture of the GigaCrete™ cement binder than compared to the
manufacture of Portland cement.

- Energy savings can be achieved with the GigaCrete™ PanelSystem due
to the high thermal efficiency and insulating value of the panel
material. According to the “Structural Insulated Panel Association in
Partnership with Oakridge National Labs,” structural paneled homes can
achieve energy savings of up to 70%.

- The GigaCrete™ cement binder is 100% nontoxic.

- GigaCrete™ products use approximately two-thirds less water than conventional Portland-based cement products.

- High resistance to mold, mildew, insects, and vermin facilitates cleaner living environments.

- Reduction of waste materials is achieved due to efficient
manufacturing methods and a building system design that reduces
“on-the-job” waste.

-All GigaCrete™ ash-based products are totally noncombustible and all GigaCrete™ sand-based products will not support flame - thereby reducing the potential for hazardous off-gases
associated with structure fires.

- Eco Friendly StuccoMax-E (environmental) contains 80% (by volume)recycled bottom ash filler material - and is the only stucco product on the market that utilizes bottom ash in such high content.

- Eco Friendly GigaFoam utilizes 100% waste ash as a filler material and is the only waste ash foam on the market.

Read more about them on the Gigacrete site

Friday, May 25, 2007

Designer Emulation Kits

The Designer Emulation Kits (DEK's) by Mark McKenna are a sincere homage to some of the greatest modern designers.

A typical 9 volt cell will power a DEK for well over 160 hours. It is normal for the light to be quite bright when first plugged in, and get progressively dimmer as the battery weakens.
The DEK’s use an LED (Light Emitting Diode) to turn the battery’s energy into visible light. Under normal conditions, it will last about 50,000 hours, or over five and a half years of continuous operation. Naturally, you will go through quite a few batteries in that time.
Available through his website:
or at the Contemporary Art Museum Houston

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Matchstick Garden

Tear out a matcchstick, plant it and voila! You have a flower or herb garden growing. Seeds are mixed on tip of each matchstick. Two styles available- herbs or wild flower mix. Great party favor.

Available at the Houston Contemporary Arts Museum Store


Wednesday, May 09, 2007

UH Green Roof Updates

"Here are some photos from up on the Keeland roof at the installation of
the Hydrotech Green roof system. A HUGE crane dropped TONS of engineered
soil in the 7 bays on the south lower roof. So very exciting. After the drainage system and soil were in place, the erosion mat of coconut fibers
was laid down, tucked in and staked with what appeared to be clear plastic stakes, but were made of corn starch that will disentegrate. We have about a 6 week window to plant!"


Friday, May 04, 2007

2007 Air Quality Report

Two types of air pollution are especially dangerous to breathe—ozone (smog) and particle pollution (soot). The American Lung Association State of the Air 2007 report grades communities across the nation based on the number of days they have unhealthful levels of air pollution. The grades come from the color-coded alert system called the Air Quality Index, which may be familiar from newspaper, radio, television and on-line weather forecasts.

Read more about Harris County OR Pick another county and see which have the higher air quality scores. (Brewster and Webb counties seem to have the only "A's" in Texas.)

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

A little "Joule reminder"

The Home Joule is an energy data display device that tells you how the price of electricity is changing, hour by hour. Plug this neat little device into any outlet and it displays a constang flow of data that includes your power usage, its price and even current weather conditions. The Home Joule is available in NY now, contact them if you're in another city.

ConsumerPowerline analyzes energy price and usage data to create signals that are meaningful to consumers, and then sends those signals to Ambient uses its patented technology to match up those signals with particular Home Joule devices and broadcasts the signals on a pager network. Just as messages to specific pagers go only to those users, so do the energy signals find their way to the right Joules.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Green - vegetarian cuisine & coffee

When in San Antonio this week for the AIA Convention 2007 , be sure to visit green vegetarian cuisine & coffee. Located on North Flores street...just a hop from downtown.
The 1896 building, that it occupies, is located in an area of town that is undergoing revitalization. It has an energy efficient thermal roof barrier, offers a recyling dumpster for cardboard, uses biodegradable packaging when possible and lots more. So whether you go for the great coffee/teas, many vegetarian plates or just to hang're bound to love it. Enjoy!!!

Monday, April 30, 2007

AIA Convention 2007

The AIA 2007 National Convention and Design Exposition, held in San Antonio, is the premier event for design and building industry professionals. From thought-provoking education programs to informal meetings with peers, you'll have access to hundreds of opportunities that increase your knowledge, improve your projects, and help you better serve your clients.
This year's convention theme is 'Growing Beyond Green' and spotlights sustainable design—how you can green your projects, educate your clients, and reduce the impact buildings have on the environment.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Solar panels ...

Solar panels on gas station canopy
...on a gas station canopy in Lisbon, Portugal. We can do this in Houston, can't we?

Have a great weekend!

Monday, April 23, 2007

METRO goes green.

I'm a little behind on posting this, but for those who weren't aware:

METRO is rolling out 10 new hybrid buses, the first of 30 local buses to take to the streets of Houston. The rest of these environmentally-friendly buses are expected in May.

The 40-foot buses run on diesel and electricity, and are expected to post a fuel savings of 30 percent or more. The hybrid technology reduces nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by more than 50 percent and greatly reduces particulate hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide emissions. The buses are also quieter, provide a smoother ride and require less maintenance, reducing METRO’s operating costs.

Read more

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Get Crafty

Make your own sun jar. (a solar powered night light of sorts)

Not Martha has a great step by step tutorial based on the Sun Jar design by Tobias Wong.

List of materials:
- Ikea Slom jar, smallest size, about $3
- single Malibu brand solar garden light, about $10, from Lowes (see notes below for pictures of the specific one as there are a few variables)
- glass frosting spray
- some Blue Tak or sticky stuff

Not too crazy about working with electronics? You can also buy a similar version/nightlight from the Geek Gear Store.

They also have great ideas, if your so inclined, for recycling those floppy disks you feel so bad about throwing away.