Smith & Fong's bamboo plywood panels are now available with FSC-certified bamboo.

One summer day a few years ago I was standing on the rim of the Grand Canyon expecting to look down and across at light and shadows melding with multicolored layers of bedrock, the whitewater from the Colorado River calmly glistening a mile below as it carves through rock and time itself... etc etc. Instead, I found my gaze drawn to a line of gray clouds blowing in from the west. They didn't look like rain clouds, and it wasn't long before I discovered it was smog carried on the wind all the way from Los Angeles.

Brent is the products and materials specialist at BuildingGreen, where he researches and writes about green building products, materials, and their health and environmental impacts. He also leads a team of editors who select industry-leading products for the company’s green building product database.

Last week was great for learning about positive approaches to solving our collective climate change problems. First, I attended the MassImpact: Cities and Climate Change symposium at MIT on Friday (March 28, 2008). Then I got to see Michael Singer present some of his work at the down2earth event in Boston on Saturday. Pretty jam-packed.

"Can a four-level house with a three-car garage and a kitchen full of energy-hungry Sub-Zero and Wolf appliances truly qualify as a model of environmental responsibility? Photo by Douglas Healey

for The New York Times

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A beta version of the Energy Design Plugin for Google SketchUp has been released by the Department of Energy. From the Energy Design Plugin website:
Down To Earth Building Bee (Vancouver, BC, Canada) had a shake test on a half-scale model of a cob structure done at the UBC Earthquake Engineering Research Facility. It happened a while ago, but they just posted video:

The spread of Wal-Mart stores across the United States, from 1962 to 2007 Wal-Mart in BuildingGreen Suite: Wal-Mart: Every Day Low... Impact? Higher Expectations
The 96th annual meeting of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) starts today in Houston, TX, and continues for the next three days. Chances are good that you're not there. Neither am I. However, the conference proceedings — a tome titled Seeking the City: Visionaries on the Margins — is available. Now. To anybody. All 976 pages. Free.

"Instead of waiting for green roofs to come to the Twin Cities [St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota] as a product for mass consumption, RoofBloom was created to empower individuals with the knowledge and materials needed to install green roofs themselves.

Like BYOBlue for Earth Day, Earth Hour — which is this Saturday, March 29, beginning at 8 p.m. — has a two-pronged thrust: it's an easy doorway into larger changes we can make in our daily choices, and it sends a larger message. It starts by simply turning out the lights for an hour. From the Earth Hour website:

The Riverdale NetZero Project in Alberta, one of Canada's first net zero energy houses (and it's a duplex, too), has a website. And on this website, there's a large (10MB), 98-slide presentation chock full of enlightening and thought-provoking stuff ranging from what "net zero energy" means, to how they did it.

Twice each month, BuildingGreen publishes an email news bulletin with current news and product information briefs. Sign up here — it's free. We will never share or sell your email address, and you may unsubscribe at any time.

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