Does wind power increase carbon emissions? That was the question I asked in a recent post after seeing a analysis by Stanley Rhodes of Scientific Certification Systems, a major testing and certification agency for green building products, among other things.

Michelle Moore, a senior vice president of the USGBC, recently spent a day in our offices. Speculating on the shapes of things to come both near and far, she said something that stuck with me: "We're entering the year of greenwash." As if it wasn't already bad enough.
Peter Yost gave a presentation at the NAHB National Green Building Conference in New Orleans last week. Nation's Building News ("The Official Online Weekly Newspaper of NAHB") has a nice piece on it. Excerpted: In 1999, people didn't talk about carbon-neutral or zero-energy homes, and the American public was largely unconcerned about global warming. There were only 7,000 Energy Star-certified homes. Now, Yost said, there are more than 800,000.

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I love people that make, rather than assemble. The old-world built environment had a character of imperfection, a dose of wabi sabi, odd and lumpy bits that represent a connection that's both human and natural.

I have a huge amount of appreciation and respect for (and some jealousy of) people plying artisan trades, and had a couple good conversations with AIA'08 exhibitors offering that sort of thing. John Canning & Company goes beyond artisan; check out the featured projects on their website. In my capacity as poster boy for the A Little Knowledge Club, we chatted a bit about lime plaster and mortar while I stood in awe of their portfolio.

Michael Wentz being interviewed after the presentation

"I kinda liked the expo this year. There seemed to be a lot of stuff." —a guy to another guy

A piece of it. Just a piece.
An unexpected tower in the hallway... A foundation of the Society for Design Administration (SDA), Canstruction is a design/build competition currently held in cities throughout North America. Teams of architects, engineers, and students mentored by these professionals, compete to design and build giant structures made entirely from full cans of food.

Sunlight gives us light at no charge, which we can harness in our buildings to reduce our reliance on electrical lighting, while providing a more enjoyable indoor environment. Leave it to an engineer to tell us how much that sunlight actually costs us. Lumens per watt (lpw) is the measure of lighting efficacy, telling us how much light (lumens) we get out for how much power (watts) we put in. The chart below shows typical efficacies of different lighting technologies, including incandescent (14), LED (30–50), T-5 fluorescent tube (95), and more.

"Using case studies of recent high performance architecture, this session will identify key strategies required to increase sustainable methods to achieve zero carbon goals by the year 2030.
Nadav Malin and Scot Horst offered up a great, head-twisting presentation about product certifications called "It's Certified Green But What Does That Mean?" to about 500 people.
I'm no fan of vinyl, but someone (actually a lot of someones) keep buying lots of it, year after year. Why? A recent article, "Vinyl makers push for New Urbanism market," in New Urban News looks at the benefits. Since vinyl is pretty much Evil (I picture it as the smoldering stuff in the toaster oven in "Time Bandits") in the environmental world, I thought this article was pretty fun.

Now, having made that snarky comment about white guys in a previous post (for the record, I'm a white guy), I should say that the conference itself has a very nicely diverse attendance. Walking the trade show floor, you're surrounded by a range of ages, what seems like an almost even mix of sexes, and a good variety of ancestries. And not everybody is dressed in fashionable black with high-tone glasses.