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Category Archives: green products

News came last month of Autodesk in the process of acquiring Green Building Studio, an energy modeling application used in conjunction with Revit to perform energy analysis modeling.  Hopefully the acquisition will better implement GBS’s energy modeling tools into Revit making energy modeling more mainstream.  Ideally as architects we should be thinking more and more about energy modeling as part of our design process, as it will become more and more important in the years to come.  Let’s just hope they continue developing the application as while it’s a great tool now, it still has a ways to go.  But my hat goes off to Autodesk for investing in a strong sustainable design application in efforts to get it into the mainstream.

Synergies Benefit Carbon Neutral Design
After nearly 10 years of market changing innovation, Green Building Studio is delighted to announce we have signed an agreement for Autodesk, Inc. to acquire our assets. In other words, our Green Building Studio (GBS) web service will soon join the Autodesk product family. Please be assured that our talented team will continue to sell software and train and support architects as they use our web service to design carbon neutral buildings today and in the future.

“Autodesk is committed to providing technology that makes sustainable design easier and more efficient,” said Jay Bhatt, senior vice president, Autodesk AEC Solutions. “We look forward to adding the Green Building Studio technologies to the Autodesk portfolio and helping our customers more easily leverage the coordinated, reliable data created in the Revit® platform for building information modeling (BIM) to help predict performance and design buildings with reduced environmental impact.”

After closing this deal, Autodesk also plans to continue support for the Green Building Studio web service, carbon neutral building design training, and to strengthen the web service’s integration with its BIM software. The gbXML schema will remain an open industry standard, and the GBS web service will continue to be available to any other BIM software.

“We have partnered with Autodesk for many years, and commend their ongoing support for sustainability,” said John Kennedy, President & CTO, Green Building Studio. “We are eager to contribute our industry expertise in green buildings to drive mainstream adoption of sustainability and accelerate the AEC industry’s transition to carbon neutral buildings.”

We expect to finalize the acquisition in the next few months. In the meanwhile, if you have any questions please feel free to contact us.

[ Green Building Studio: Press Release ]


Starting March 15th All IKEA U.S. Stores will Charge Five Cents for Plastic Bags and Endorse Purchase of Reusable ‘Big Blue’ IKEA Bag.

After last years announcement that their UK stores would be charging for the big blue plastic bags, IKEA finally made it so in their US stores this month. Treehugger reports that IKEA US stores will follow suit and now charge for the big blue bags in an effort to get people to reuse their bags when they go shopping. Another bonus is that IKEA has offered to donate the proceeds from the bag campaign to American Forests, the nation’s oldest non-profit citizens conservation organization, to plant trees to restore forests and offset CO2 emissions.”

Ikea Big Blue BagTo help alter customer behavior and endorse environmentally responsible habits, IKEA will be selling its reusable ‘Big Blue Bag’ for 59 cents, reduced from 99 cents. “We realize that our ‘Bag the Plastic Bag Program’ is a small step. But we know our customers want to help and support the sustainability of our planet – for today – and for the future of our children. This program lets our customers know we have our stake in the ground and are committed to continuing to be an environmentally responsible company,” says Pernille Spiers-Lopez, president of IKEA North America. IKEA projects that the number of plastic bags used by their U.S. customers will be reduced by at least 50% from 70 million to 35 million in the first year. This program was launched in IKEA stores in the UK in late Spring 2006, and reduction has been an impressive 95 percent. Read more about IKEA’s environmental and social reports here, and don’t forget your own bag the next time you go.

IKEA US via CSRwire

[Source:…/ikea_us_to_bag.php ]

With more and more electronics entering the home every year, the world’s energy consumption has skyrocketed. What better way to help save money on your power bill and help reduce energy costs (as well as reduce your carbon footprint) than to take back some of that needlessly wasted power from your idling electronics.

For computers it can be as simple as downloading a free small application called Local Cooling. Local Cooling will automate the power saving profiles on your computer to help power down your screen, hard drives, and computer when the components are not in use, helping save energy and costs associated with “always-on” computers.

Local Cooling… “automatically optimizes your PC’s power consumption by using a more effective power save mode. You will be able to see your savings in real-time translated to more environmental terms such as how many trees and gallons of oil you have saved.”

Treehugger also outlines some methods to start with:

“Greening your electronics is a matter of knowing what tech to get, how to use it best, and what to do with it when its useful life is done.”

Top 10 Tips:
1. Go rechargeable
2. Kill vampire power
3. Buy with energy in mind
4. Treat those batteries right
5. Make it a short circuit
6. Buy used
7. Bright idea: The solar charger
8. Extend use
9. Look for EPEAT
10. Buy a less toxic system

Wanna Do More?
1. Demand product recycling
2. The right tool for the job
3. Offset your energy
4. The digital thermostat
5. USB-it
6. iPod surgery
7. Battery switcheroo

By the Numbers:
1. Of the $250 billion spent per year on powering computers worldwide, only about 15% of that power is spent computing-the rest is wasted idling.
2. Electronics make up 70 percent of all hazardous waste.
3. Making the average PC requires 10 times the weight of the product in chemicals and fossil fuels.
4. 15 billion batteries are produced annually worldwide.
5. 40% of the energy used for electronics in your home is used while these devices are turned off.
6. In the US, energy efficient battery chargers could save American consumers more than 1 billion kilowatt hours of power per year, which would save more than $100 million each year, and prevent the release of more than a million tons of greenhouse gasses.

[Source:…green-your-electronics.php ]

This has to be one of my favorite green products as it goes back to a project I had my first year of design school in fundamentals, to design a cardboard chair. Well here’s a better take at it…

Paper softseating is made entirely from kraft paper, utilizing a flexible honeycomb structure to fan open into stools, benches and loungers. Each of the sizes and types of softseating can compress like a big book for storage. The seating is available in natural, unbleached brown kraft paper and kraft paper that has been dyed a deep black with bamboo charcoal ink to emphasize the geometric pattern of light and shadow. Paper softseating can be used creatively and interchangeably as seating or low tables, and the elements can be stacked playfully as building blocks.Paper softseating is not intended to be disposable or thought of for short-term use. According to the manufacturer, the paper actually improves with age, as the surface texture of the paper edges softens with use over time into a pleasing natural patina. When one sits on the paper stools or loungers, the edges of the paper will gently soften and crush, creating irregular facets that catch the light and form a unique organic pattern within the crisp honeycomb geometry of the structure. As the surface of the paper softens, the stools and loungers maintain their structural integrity, because the honeycomb geometry lends the paper strength and enables this economy of material resources. Paper softseating is flame-retardant treated and 100% recyclable. [via Molo.]

video demonstration of paper softseating may be viewed here:

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Newly released lighting product Evoke by Amerlux Lighting Solutions is a new “green” alternative to the traditional MR16 halogens. Designed by Gensler, a sustainable design leader, the Evoke comes in a 2.9″ downlight in both round and square lenses with numerous different trims avaialable. With the use of metal halide and at only 20 watts (using MM/CDM-Tm, ES16, T4GU6.5, CMHMR16, or PAR20MH lamps) the downlights help conserve energy and prolong the life of the bulbs. A great alternative to the halogen MR16’s if you are looking for a way to decrease energy and help you attain your sustainable design goals for your project.

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