The USGBC, American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), and The Network of the Hospitality Industry (NEWH) together announced the winner of the first ever Sustainable Suite Design Competition.  The purpose of the competition was to showcase the best hospitality design strategies that boast environmental responsibility while enhancing the guest experience.  Out of 65 professional design entries, WATG and IDEO took the top prize for their suite, Haptik. 

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This is the Idea House by Broadway Malyan for Sime Darby Property, one of the largest property developers in Malaysia.  The home was designed as an attempt to become the first carbon zero residence in South East Asia.  The home would be prefabricated in modules to save on labor costs, speed up the construction process, and make deconstruction of the home easy at the end of its useful life.  Some other green aspects of the home design include:

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About a week ago, the Rocky Mountain Institute launched Green Footstep, a free online carbon calculator for reducing emissions in building construction and retrofit projects.  The website also features three case studies together with an explanation of the Green Footstep methodology.  With the tool, you can:

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There's been a lot of talk of the i-House ever since Clayton Homes announced its launch in about January of this year.  The home is contemporary, affordable, and energy efficient.  Landowners Bob and Melinda bought a 37-acre swath of land in 2006, hoping to someday build a home on it and live the good country life.  They're 95 miles from Louisville in western Kentucky and had an i-House delivered just about a month ago. 

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This is a beautiful LEED Platinum building located at the corner of East Burnside Street and 11th Avenue in Portland, Oregon.  Dubbed Burnside Rocket, the building is probably most recognizable not for its red dress but for the twenty-four operable art panels — each of which was painted by a different emerging artist — that shade the interior spaces.  Since completion on April 2007, the popular building has been fully occupied. 

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Ann Arbor, Michigan architectural firm A3C has turned its building into a showcase for a number of green building components, and managed to produce a LEED-CI Gold renovation of the existing two-story building while they were at it.  The firm wanted to have a showcase for a variety of green building options, as well as providing themselves with firsthand experience with a number of different systems.

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According to a new study by Booz Allen Hamilton and the USGBC, green building will support 7.9 million jobs and pour $554 billion into the American economy over the next four years.  Of that, $396 billion will be attributable to wage growth in green building jobs.  Green construction spending currently supports 2 million American jobs, so we're talking about growth of nearly 400%!

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It's time to follow up on a project a cool project, the Zero Energy Idea House, that we mentioned at ground breaking in July 2008.  Located at Bass Cove near Bellevue, Washington, the 1,630 square-foot, two-bedroom Zero Energy Idea House was designed by Clinkston Brunner Architects and built by Shirey Contracting.  Overlooking Lake Sammamish, the home is planted into the hill as a demonstration of energy efficiency — the goal is to show that it generates as much energy as it uses.  

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Stormwater design and control is a huge aspect of green building, especially with LEED credits provided for reducing impervious cover, increasing on-site filtration, and reducing pollution from stormwater runoff and eliminating contaminants.  We've mentioned a company previously makes recycled content pavers, Vast Pavers, but I thought I would also mention another company that's been making news in the industry, Xeripave.  Xeripave makes permeable pavers in various colors that have a flow through rate of up to 1.5 gallons per second per square foot.  Watch how the paver works:

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Recently, Knibb Design let us know about their new endeavor to modularize landscape design with a new site: Knibb Modular Garden.  Knibb Modular lets you create a custom residential or commercial garden online in about four steps.  When you're done, you'll have an estimated total cost of all the materials, which should be about $12-$16 per square foot.  Unless you install the garden yourself, installation will run about $4-$6 extra per square foot.  So all in, a modular garden like this will cost about $16-$22 per square foot, sans land preparation costs.  

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The latest Dwell has an article by Geoff Manaugh on the Dwell Home II.  After four years in "home design and permitting," homeowners Glen Martin and Claudia Plasencia have broken ground.  They're moving forward with construction.  The homeowners are building this design from Escher GuneWardena Architecture, which they chose because sustainability was presented as "an integrated system," as opposed to as an afterthought.  Here are a few of the home's green elements:

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The Wall Street Journal asked four architects to draw up plans for the most energy-efficient, environmentally sustainable house they could imagine.  Moreover, the Journal asked them to do it without thinking about cost, technology, aesthetics, or the way people habitually live.   The plans were published yesterday.  What do you think about these green houses?

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Green building is bursting at the seams in New York, and if you don’t believe me, just read Green Buildings NYC.  The REDD Group shot us an email of a project they’re working on in Brooklyn (or more specifically, Vinegar Hill and Dumbo) called 100 Gold.  They tell us 100 Gold is one of the first green residential developments in the area, which is surprising considering all the activity I read about on gbNYC.  The 10-unit, condo building will open a model apartment on Earth Day, April 22, 2009.  Here is what to expect from 100 Gold:

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These days, we're seeing all sorts of companies take a leadership position with regard to sustainability.  One of the ways they're distinguishing themselves is in obtained LEED or some other green building certification for corporate facilities and real estate.  Wrigley, for instance, just received LEED Gold certification for their Global Innovation Center (GIC) in Chicago, Illinois.  The building opened in May 2005 and is used to create consumer-driven products, packaging, and processes.  GIC features some of the following green elements and strategies:

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William McDonough* has always been a beacon and true voice of environmental leadership, despite what a recent magazine article may be trying to say.  Case in point, just last week he warned of a lop-sided focus on carbon during his keynote speech at the ParkCity conference in London (organized by Cabe and Natural England).  If you've ever listened to Mr. McDonough, you know his speeches are captivating — there's always a lot worth remembering — but in this most recent keynote, one particular sound bite has been making the internet rounds.  He likened buildings to "killing machines:"

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The Shelton Group just published results of a January 2009 telephone survey of 500 people, and the basic idea is this: Consumers are more interested in saving money than they are in saving the planet.  When asked why they would consider buying energy-efficient products, 71% said they would do it to save money, 55% to save the environment, and 49% to protect the quality of life for future generations.  With the economy as it is, the results aren't surprising, but in prior years, consumers actually said they were primarily interested in saving the environment. 

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This exciting new line of prefab houses comes to us from Bensonwood Homes, based out of Walpole, New Hampshire.  Their Unity House, a Unity2 model built for the president of Unity College, has achieved a LEED platinum rating, making it one of a select group of homes around the country to reach such a lofty goal.  And the small design-build company debuts not one, two, or even three, but four stunning models to the sustainable housing market.  Reasonably priced and quickly assembled, all homes in the series are designed to be net-zero energy.  The design aesthetic seems to lean towards the classic single family American home, while the high tech materials and features thrust towards the future of home building.  The list of sustainable features is long to be sure, but here are a few key elements.

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There's a conundrum in the green building world that a lot of people are working on.  They're trying to figure out how to building homes that are both sustainable and affordable — homes that most of us can approach.  I could rattle off a list of folks working on this, and Habitat for Humanity would certainly be at the top.  We just mentioned how a Michigan branch of Habitat for Humanity designed and built a LEED Platinum affordable home; and now according to The Oregonian, two Habitat homes in Portland are seeking LEED Platinum certification.  The goal with these homes, like the Michigan home, was to test out various green strategies and technology for affordability.  Here's a little more background:

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It was a day full of talks, and I really enjoyed being able to spend the whole day just absorbing the presentations. Here are some highlights from today's events:

    Ian Wright gave an interesting talk about the history of functional plant ecology. Basically, covering where trait ecology has been and where we are now. It is really amazing to see the truly large scale analysis and collaborations currently driving modern trait analysis. In another overview type talk, Gerlinde De Deyn, talked about carbon sequestration in soils. I'm sure to many ecosystem ecologists this maybe well known, but I found it fascinating. Did you know that tundra ecosystem have as much soil carbon as tropical rain forests? The reason is that tundra has very slow process rates (cold) while rain forests have fast production rates. In fertilization experiments, soil carbon is reduced, so in order to manipulate soil carbon stores one must understand the interaction between plant traits and soil organisms. Finally, Kyle Dexter, in a great field survey of Inga tree species in a region of Peru, showed that different functional diversity metrics show differing patterns of over - and under-dispersion. For example, phylogenetic diversity tends to be under-dispersed for Inga assemblages, while chemical and anti-herbivory traits are over dispersed and leaf size measures are under-dispersed.
Also, there was the annual general meeting, which was rather somber as three obituaries were read aloud. The three deceased, John Harper, Bob Jefferies and Simon Thirgood, were all superb ecologists who absences were obviously felt. Harper (my Master's advisor's advisor) and Jefferies (my colleague at Toronto) were both eminent ecologists with long and distinguished careers, while Thirgood (a fellow Senior Editor at the Journal of Applied Ecology) was in the prime of his very successful career.

Taken from:evol-eco.blogspot. com

I'm in Hatfield, outside of London, for the British Ecological Society (BES) meeting, and I'll be blogging thoughts, happenings, etc. I posted several observations from the American equivalent (ESA) last month, and one thing is readily apparent, even though talks do not start until tomorrow.

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After a horrendous year of canceled job searches and a barren landscape lacking many opportunities for academic-track job seekers, the jobs posted this season seem to be a stark contrast. In a previous post, I blogged about the best ecology job wiki, and when you look through last year's job postings you notice that the 'updates' column contains a multitude that had their searches canceled.

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There has been a persistent debate in the plant invasions literature about whether exotic plant invasions are a major threat to native plant persistence. While there are clear examples of animal invasions resulting in large scale extinction - e.

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This year's Tansley Lecture at the BES meeting was a superb presentation given by Ian Baldwin from the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology. He was enjoyable to watch as his folksy, mid-western American style disarmed the listener and leaving them unprepared for his ascorbic wit and, at times, controversial message.

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Predicting the effects of global warming on biological systems is of critical importance for informing proactive policy decisions. Most research so far has been on trying to predict shifts in species distributions and changes in interactions within local habitats.

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Ever since Darwin, we often think of organisms as being in a constant battle against other organisms and local environments. Thus natural selection and the resulting arms race results in organisms highly adapted to local conditions and against local antagonists.

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(sorry for reiterating what you may have already seen) Science in a web-base universe now has the potential to link vast numbers of researchers together and be communicated to the global citizenry. Exploring the power of the web in science is the fourth annual Science Online 2010 conference, which will be held from Jan.

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A colleague once said at a bar that she didn't believe in "conservation genetics". I'm not quite sure which aspect she was disputing, but one certain conflict is between gearing research toward conservation, while watching chemicals and consumables go into the waste stream.

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At almost any spot on the globe, there are species present that are not native to that locale, having been transported by human activities. Whether and how exotic species impact communities is a multifaceted problem that requires understanding the multitude of direct and indirect species interactions that occur.

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Researchers live busy lives. Either you are spending your waking hours writing grant proposals, running experiments, analyzing data, writing papers, preparing lectures, supervising students, attending committee meetings, and not to mention taking care of your personal life.

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With the availability of open access (OA) journals, academics now have a choice to make when deciding where to send their manuscripts. The idealistic version of OA journals represents a 'win-win' for researchers.

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Mycorrhizal networks – fungal mycelium that colonize and connect roots of one or more plant species – are a very intriguing type of fungal-plant association. There is evidence of substantial facilitation between plant individuals via these fungal networks.

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As news of the latest Nobel prizes in physics and medicine were announced, science became a central story for many news outlets. Numerous stories and interviews were held about the discoveries that earned the laureates their just rewards.

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As researchers, we all have incredible demands on our time. These demands can quickly snowball, leaving us feeling like things are out of control.

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Some of the earliest ecologists, like Eugen Warming and Christen Raunkiaer, were enthralled with the minutia of the differences in plant life forms and how these differences determined where plants lived. They realized that differences in plant growth forms corresponded to how different plants made their way in the world.

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I don't know about other researchers, but I get inundated with e-mails about upcoming conferences from organizations I've never heard of, on topics that, at best, only tangentially relate to my work. I think that most of these are put on by for-profit groups that try to cash in on hot topics.

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I have been a hardcore composter for a few years now and it is one habit that makes me feel really virtuous. Pretty soon, though, composting won’t be a way for me to earn my angel wings. Here in San Francisco it will be the law.

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