Free IECC and ASHRAE Standards

November 2, 2010 § 1 Comment

Two important energy standards are now available for free download:

The International Energy Conservation Code forms the basis for many municipal energy codes in the US, including Chicago. The most recent version, for 2009, is available for free at the ICC Store

The ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1-2007, which LEED uses as it’s baseline energy standard, is also available as a free download. Find it at the ASHRAE Bookstore.

Both sites requires user registration, but that seems like a small price to pay for these important works.

LEED is the Worst, Part III: Design Loses Out

October 31, 2010 § 4 Comments

Winston Churchill“…democracy is the worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried…” 1 ~ Winston Churchill

Change a few words and the Prime Minister’s commentary on democracy could easily be applied to LEED. The USGBC’s system is barely ten years old, yet it has been has been remarkably successful in transforming the public’s view of architecture and the market for architectural goods.

But if you are familiar with the system or have tried to get a building certified you know it has some major problems. Although touted as a design tool, one of its biggest problems is that… « Read the rest of this entry »

LEED is the Worst, Part II: the Dirty Little Secret

October 19, 2010 § 13 Comments

Winston Churchill“…democracy is the worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried…” 1 ~ Winston Churchill

Change a few words and the Prime Minister’s commentary on democracy could easily be applied to LEED. The USGBC’s system is barely ten years old, yet it has been has been remarkably successful in transforming the public’s view of architecture and the market for architectural goods.

But if you are familiar with the system or have tried to get a building certified you know it has some major problems. Part II of this rant on LEED addresses a particularly insidious dirty little secret of LEED. « Read the rest of this entry »

LEED is the Worst, Part I: The (now) Obvious

October 18, 2010 § 7 Comments

Winston Churchill“…democracy is the worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried…” 1 ~ Winston Churchill

Change a few words and the Prime Minister’s commentary on democracy could easily be applied to LEED. The USGBC’s system is barely ten years old, yet it has been has been remarkably successful in transforming the public’s view of architecture and the market for architectural goods.

But if you are familiar with the system or have tried to get a building certified you know it has some major problems, some more obvious than others:

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« Read the rest of this entry »

Shooting Yourself in the Permit

November 23, 2008 § Leave a comment

Dear Mayor Daley,

The City of Chicago Green Building Permit program is broken. A national environmental non-profit organization is setting up shop in Chicago. The permitting process for that project would have taken 3 weeks under the functioning program. Instead it took 3 months, and not because of incompetence or sloth, but because the staff has been cut by 75%.

Your budget deficit is massive, but by cutting building department staff, you’re shooting yourself in the permit. Permits lead to buildings which generate tax revenue, jobs, and material sales, and when completed support business development. Cutting staff may reduce direct cost, but it also hits the City’s top line revenue by slowing building-related economic activity City-wide. « Read the rest of this entry »

Sustainability is a Technology

November 19, 2008 § Leave a comment

Whether you’re a business executive, a volunteer or staff in the non-profit sector, helping government to function, or (we hope not) unemployed, you know how tight money is today. It’s difficult it is to find funds when you need them even for the best of causes. Then along come the next hot topic: Sustainability. So suddenly we are all expected, and expect ourselves, to take action. We face big issues: global warming, climate change, energy security, world hunger and poverty, import safety, food security, and many others. But if sustainability is seen as yet another thing you have to do — an extra item on your already full plate — how likely is it to get serious attention or real money? It will become just another charity, engaging us once or twice a year. And that is not going to do the trick. « Read the rest of this entry »

Accidental Sustainability

August 19, 2008 § Leave a comment

Captcha is a security method that asks users to type in a series of numbers and letters that automatic spammers and bots can’t type on on their own — because they’re not human. So millions of real people are typing random characters into computer every day, maybe every hour.

Kind of a waste*…. But what if there was a way to take advantage of all that random typing? « Read the rest of this entry »