Who else is excited for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s expansion plans? Recently announced is a huge vertical garden or living wall of native plants expanding the entire block. Not only that, we can also expect:
- The largest public living wall of native plants in San Francisco
- 130,000 sqft of gallery space covering indoor and outdoor exhibits
- 15,000 sqft of free access public space galleries, filled with art
- A new ‘Live Art’ display area with state of the art sound and lighting know as the White Box
- LEED Gold certification for the new building resulting in a 30% reduction in water use, 15% reduction in energy costs and 20% less wastewater produced.
- Expansion of 5th floor rooftop sculpture garden with a new seventh floor outdoor terrace
- New conservation studios to preserve and care for the SFMOMA’s growing collection
Natural gas has been in the spotlight lately as the clean fuel of the future, but what do we know about this clean gas? We already use it in our home furnaces, water heaters, stoves, fireplaces, even some cars (CNG); but it is now becoming the energy of choice to produce our electricity. While it is a cleaner burning alternative to coal, is it our best choice? There are two parts to this question, how it is obtained, and how it is used.
Natural Gas Extraction
Natural gas is a fossil fuel derived from plant and animal matter that was heated and pressurized over time within the earth’s layers. It is a byproduct of oil drilling and for many years was just burned off with flares or re-injected back into the wells (and it still is in many countries). More recently, it has become a resource constituting it’s own development as an energy source. As a result, many oil companies are looking into developing the vast shale gas reserves found throughout the US as a new domestic energy plan competing with renewable energy.
Shale gas extraction is a bit more complicated and requires hydraulic fracturing (fracking) of the fine clay like rock to obtain sufficient amounts of the gas. Chemicals (some which are toxic and unrecoverable) are injected at high pressure into these drilled wells, fracturing and breaking up the shale rocks and thus releasing the natural gas. › Continue reading
I love to come up with creative Do It Yourself (DIY’s) ideas to solve issues, and this one is not only environmentally friendly, but it is also beautiful and beneficial! How we landscape can solve a lot of problems with storm water runoff and drainage, helping to recharge aquafirs, filter toxins and generally reduce pollution of our waterways and oceans.
The main purpose of those rain gutters on your roof are to get the water off your roof and away from the foundation. Similarly, road gutters and storm drains main purpose is to remove the water from the city streets to prevent flooding. As long as you keep that in mind, what you can do with the water before and after it drains is almost limitless. Here are my favorite tips to conserve, recycle and reuse water.
- Rainwater Collection Tubs
- Porous driveways and surfaces
One of the best tools for water conservation and to reduce runoff is to collect rainwater from your roof with a rain barrel collection tub. These have become so mainstream now, you can usually find them at your local hardware store complete with drain faucets at the base and mosquito screens at the top. Place these under your drainage gutters around the house to collect rainwater to use for irrigation during dry periods.
Reducing the amount of impermeable surfaces is another way to decrease runoff and pollution, just think of all the areas around the house this can be done. Driveways, walkways and cement patios all reduce the amount of absorbable surface area, creating more runoff. Green your driveway with alternate materials, or just get rid of the surfaces all together. There are many options for replacing these surfaces with permeable solutions which can perform and look even more beautiful with little to no maintenance.
A perfect example of green re-purposing- turning an aging and abandoned elevated railway into a public greenspace. The High Line Park in New York city is probably my favorite urban walkway (with Seattle’s SAM Sculpture Park not far behind) with it’s architectural elements, art displays, and multi-use abilities.
Originally opened in 1934 to reduce the on-street crossing accidents and deaths, this 1.45 mile stretch of railway runs along the lower west side of Manhattan. The increasing use of trailer trucks to deliver goods eventually shut the tracks down in 1980 and was slated for demolition. It sat unused until re-development began in 2006 and the first section opened in 2009 to the public as a walkable greenspace.
Currently it spans a little more than a mile with another half mile slated for re-development and features all sorts of plants and trees paying homage to the hearty and resilient sproutings of neglect before it was redeveloped. › Continue reading
Blend a sportscar, an SUV, a minivan and drop in a 4 wheel drive zero emission electric drive-train and you have the Model X by Tesla. Production of Model X is scheduled for late 2013, with deliveries expected in early 2014.
2011 has been a great year for green innovations and products and we here at The Chic Ecologist would like to share some of our favorites. This years list includes green electronics, biodegradable stickers and eco-friendly designs all which present innovative solutions to simple environmental problems. You can also find last year’s most popular posts of 2010 for comparison.
A familiar sticker found on fruits and vegetables abound, with a twist. This one will dissolve into a biodegradable fruit wash to clean away pesticides, fertilizer and other gross stuff you may find on fruit. Read More…
A thing of beauty as much for it’s energy savings as for its design, the NEST thermostat is an rethought and redesign of the prevalent household energy brain. Read More…
With the cold and flu season not yet passed, I thought it fitting showcase the wonderful benefits of nature in easing symptoms with common cold and the flu. Simple and easy to find ingredients available at any grocery store to ease your pains. Read More…
You may be shocked to find that most sushi is made from unsustainable and threatened fish, but there are some sushi chefs reshaping the way we look at this delicious food. By harvesting local and sustainable fish, Hajime Sato, the head chef and co-owner of Mashiko Sushi restaurant in Seattle, Washington has pioneered a new diverse menu rotating based on seasonality and availability of sustainable fish. Read More…
A while back, I wrote about Green Driveways and Paths, which ended up being a pretty popular article. I figured that it would be helpful to see your options when it comes to porous surfaces, permeable paths and eco-friendly driveways.
Green driveways not only are more pleasant to look at, they also can reduce urban heat retention, reduce CO2, reduce runoff, improve drainage and aquifer recharging, provide some water filtration and more! They can also be cheaper in the long run over asphault (resurfacing costs and crack repairs) and concrete (repairing cracks, staining) not to mention preventing washouts and pot holes.
Systems already embraced in Europe typically last over 20-30 years, with little to no repairs or maintenance. The main options for green driveways are using some sort of permeable surface along with turf, gravel or ground cover to enhance the beauty and green factor.
› Continue reading
Emceed by Patti Southard, of the King County Green Tools Program, this year’s Annual Green Building Slam! put on by the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild is sure to be interesting.
|What:||Annual Green Building Slam!|
|Where:||Bastyr University Auditorium|
|When:||Saturday, September 10, 2011 from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.|
|Cost:||$20 Advance (before 9/8)/ $30 (after 9/8)|
Hosted by Northwest EcoBuilding Guild’s Seattle Chapter, this event features architects and builders showcasing their green construction projects in a 10 minute, 10 slide presentation.
In celebration of the 100-year anniversary of the International Women’s Day, a number of remarkable projects by top women green building professionals will be highlighted. › Continue reading
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