green building

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Biomimicry in the Bathroom

Posted by on 27 May 2009 | Tagged as: biomimicry, green building

I enjoyed a full day board meeting with the Biomimicry Institute today and was reminded of two biomimetic products I’ve considered in my house remodel:
The first, pictured above is the Vesi Chanel faucet by Brizo:
Seeking to capture the appearance, feel and sound of a babbling brook, the channel design remains functional while creating an indulging and unique sensory experience.
Another product range that caught my eye is Pure Stone from Villeroy & Boch
Stone is an embodiment of calm and permanence. PURE STONE takes this as its cue to create a unique collection for the bathroom – sensuous, high-quality, cosy. The design of the washbasin was inspired by pebbles smoothed by the flow of river water. Water flows from the specially designed outlet as if from a natural spring.

Fresh Ideas from Janine Benyus on How We Can Learn from Nature

Posted by on 12 May 2009 | Tagged as: biomimicry, green building

World Changing Logo

Sarah Kuck over at World Changing interviews Janine Benyus:

Smart Materials
JB: One of my favorite ideas is embedding our materials with sensors so they can sense when they are damaged, and perhaps can heal themselves. It’s a new way toward durability, which, when appropriate, is sustainability.

Continued at World Changing…

Google Gets Behind Smart Meters & Monitoring

Posted by on 10 Feb 2009 | Tagged as: energy efficiency, green building

Smart meters and energy monitors have been around for years, but Google wants to bring this empowering technology to a much larger audience. Count me in!

Google’s mission is to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” and we believe consumers have a right to detailed information about their home electricity use. We’re tackling the challenge on several fronts, from policy advocacy to developing consumer tools, and even investing in smart grid companies.

Continued at The Official Google Blog… to Provide Biological Design Information, Enabling More Sustainable Design

Posted by on 17 Nov 2008 | Tagged as: biomimicry, events, green building

I’m headed to Boston tomorrow for the annual GreenBuild conference and expo. I have two agendas, first to find a few more innovative solutions for our home project, and second to be on hand for the launch of the Biomimicry Institute’s “AskNature” database/portal:

Autodesk, a leader in design innovation technologies, has announced the sponsorship of, the world’s first biomimicry database, featuring biology-inspired design strategies. Architects, designers and engineers can access and harness nature’s billions of years of evolution through this free, online public-domain library, filled with some of nature’s best strategies, organized by function and explained with illustrations and in language relevant to designers. Continued…

And if you’re attending GreenBuild, let me know and lets connect!

More Monitoring

Posted by on 31 May 2008 | Tagged as: energy efficiency, green building


A few weeks ago I wrote about Agilewaves, and today CNet has a great overview of more than a dozen ‘dashboard’ technologies ranging from simple wall plug adapters that offer a kw reading for individual devices, to a half dozen startups competing in the whole-house market – including Greenbox which was founded by the co-creators of Flash. (My background is in software distribution and Internet publishing, so its great to see former compatriots leveraging their tech skills into sustainability. Some others switchers are noted in this listing of 25 who “ditched infotech for cleantech.”)

San Jose Home Show Gets Greener

Posted by on 27 Apr 2008 | Tagged as: events, green building

Joshua Foss

It was a relatively small event in downtown San Jose, but still a number of green products on show, and a great daily one hour introduction to green building and remodeling by Joshua Foss of Thrive Design Studio – check out his blog that goes by the name “Metro Hippie“.

Home Comfort Zones

Posted by on 21 Apr 2008 | Tagged as: energy efficiency, green building

Cleve Reeves from Home Comfort Zones called by the new house today to demonstrate their solution indoor climate control.

Nothing impacts your comfort at home more than maintaining the proper temperature. Unfortunately most homes don’t have the control to ensure every room is the temperature you want it to be. Home Comfort Zones provides a room-by-room temperature control and energy management system that guarantees you’ll always be comfortable in every room of your home….

…No more cold or hot spots and uneven temperatures upstairs or downstairs; just perfect temperature control … and that’s just the beginning. The MyTemp™ temperature control system is “zoning” taken to the next level. Simple to use yet powerful and flexible, it can provide energy savings of up to 40%.

Builders are a fairly skeptical bunch when it comes to new fangled devices, but my (green) builder was nodding in agreement as Cleeve presented his solution. Its not inexpensive, but when you add up the energy savings plus the increased comfort…seems like a smart choice. Check it out at Home Comfort Zones.

New Wave Monitoring

Posted by on 18 Apr 2008 | Tagged as: energy efficiency, green building

Energy and water monitoring systems were once the exclusive purview of facilities managers responsible for industrial buildings and large office blocks. More recently some high-end green buildings have adopted the technology to showcase the impact of efficiency and alternative energy sources. Earlier today I talked with the founder/CEO of Agilewaves about a new system that is scaling down to the residential home level and I think they have a winning product.

Agilewaves’ flagship product, the Resource Monitor, constantly monitors electric, gas, and water consumption of a home or office and reports consumption and carbon footprint through a built-in touchscreen interface or a password protected web page.

The system measures the ecological footprint of a property in real time. It monitors each electrical circuit, water line, and the main gas line, as well as temperature in key locations throughout the building. In addition to the overall footprint, it tracks the performance of major appliances and calculates the resource consumption by room or floor. Current and time-series information is displayed and stored for future reference, allowing the user to compare data with any past period. More at

You’ll find a good picture of the dashboard over at CNet. This looks like a comprehensive solution that will be ideal for my new home. More as I dig deeper…

Picture Credit: Agilewaves

Wind in the City

Posted by on 16 Apr 2008 | Tagged as: green building

Cnet reports that San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom recently toured the ‘Sunset Idea House’, talked with some “green” bloggers, and announced a “strike force” of business and government leaders to discuss ways of encouraging more homeowners to install wind turbines.

Wind turbine

Video via Cnet/ZDNet…

Here’s hoping they have more success than with the currently stalled Solar Incentive Program, which of course I hope to tap. Its said to be a ‘tax break for the rich’ which in a way it is, but the $4k rebate represents a tiny fraction of the property tax I’ll be paying (tax basis for house quadrupled with change of ownership), so come on SF, get with the program!

Photo Credit: CNet.

Green Theme Abounds At KBIS 2008

Posted by on 13 Apr 2008 | Tagged as: events, green building

I’m just back from the annual Kitchen and Bathroom Industry Show and I’m pleased to report that green was the theme. Of course much of it is ‘light green’, but many of the exhibiting companies are taking the work seriously.

More signs of the time:

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