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Archive for green architecture

slow design

As I rush here and there this holiday season, traveling to see family, rushing home from work to wrap gifts, I find myself needing to just stop. To slow down. To actually enjoy the beauty that surrounds me and take the time to be mindful.

There is the slow food movement which is a grassroots organization “linking the pleasure of good food with a commitment to their community and the environment. Slow Food was founded in 1989 to counter the rise of fast food and fast life, the disappearance of local food traditions and people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world.”

There is the slow money movement which suggests “we must bring money back down to earth. Slow Money believes “there is such a thing as money that is too fast, companies that are too big, finance that is too complex. Therefore, we must slow our money down.” Slow Money proposes that “the 21st Century will be the era of nurture capital, built around principles of carrying capacity, care of the commons, sense of place and non-violence. We must connect investors to the places where they live, creating vital relationships and new sources of capital for small food enterprises.”

I would like to introduce the concept of SLOW DESIGN which aims to encourage clients, contractors and architects to participate in making smart choices for a true investment in buildings, the community, and our future. Slow Design is a mindful approach to architecture:

  • Creating spaces that are collaborative efforts between architect, engineers, owner and builder.
  • Making decisions and choices that reflect our impact on the environment.
  • Building homes and schools that are so well-designed they have a minimal carbon footprint.
  • Taking the time to select high quality, durable, and local materials.
  • Investing more money up front to see immediate payback in energy use, our health, and our environment.

photo by tim laman for national geographic

michael hindle will be a speaker at the 2010 passive house conference in portland, oregon

Congratulations to Michael Hindle, cphc who has been asked to speak at the 2010 Passive House Conference held in Portland, Oregon, November 4-7. Michael will be discussing his efforts on creating Baltimore County’s High Performance Homes bill and incorporating the Passive House standard in the process.

Baltimore County’s High Performance Homes Bill offers a property tax credit to homeowners who invest in improving the energy efficiency of their homes. The Bill went into effect June 25, 2010. The amount of the tax credit is a percentage of the total County property tax assessed on the home that is equal to the percentage of increased energy efficiency achieved in the process of renovation or new construction. The tax credit starts at 30% efficiency for three years and increases to a carbon neutral home with a 100% tax credit for five years. Michael and Carri Beer, AIA, LEED ap worked assiduously with Councilman Vince Gardina to make this bill a reality for Baltimore County residents.

alterego post in baltimore’s urbanite

alterego, our friendly environmental building products retailer, has a great little write-up in Baltimore’s Urbanite Home + Design blog.

thanks to brennen for visiting the store!

baltimore county green roof install

brennan + company architects is so thrilled, after years and years of trying, to finally have a green roof installed! Thank you to our great clients for seeing this through. And thanks to Capitol Green Roofs for their fabulous installation job.

Green roofs help with stormwater retention and provide a slow release of this water. They also aid in absorption, transpiration and reducing the heat island effect.

We would love to have a green roof installed on your new project – contact brennan + company architects for full service, earth friendly architecture.

baltimore county high performance homes bill

Baltimore County has just passed the High Performance Homes Bill, which offers a property tax credit to homeowners who invest in improving the energy efficiency of their homes. The Bill went into effect June 25, 2010. The amount of the tax credit is a percentage of the total County property tax assessed on the home that is equal to the percentage of increased energy efficiency achieved in the process of renovation or new construction. The tax credit starts at 30% efficiency for three years and increases to a carbon neutral home with a 100% tax credit for five years. Michael Hindle, CPHC and Carri Beer, AIA, LEED ap worked assiduously with Councilman Vince Gardina to make this bill a reality for Baltimore County residents. Contact us to help make your home more efficient or to design a new carbon neutral home!

certified passive house consultant!

Our own Michael Hindle has received his certification as a Certified Passive House Consultant (CPHC). He is one of only three CPHC’s in the Baltimore area and only a handful in the state of Maryland. Passive House is an energy performance standard which sets a very ambitious goal of 90% energy use reductions for heating and cooling. The Passive House standard and the associated building strategies are supported by 19 years of exhaustive building performance monitoring and building science research. Consultants use highly accurate modeling software to project and determine energy use for all building types.

whitehouse “retrofit ramp-up”

Vice President Biden announced an additional $452 million to ramp up energy retrofit projects. The money has been divided among 25 states and non-profits. The press release states “existing techniques and technologies in energy efficiency retrofitting can reduce energy use by up to 40 percent per home and lower total associated greenhouse gas emissions by up to 160 million metric tons annually.” At Common Ecology, we believe we can do even better than 40% reductions. Drop us a line and schedule a Holistic Home Evaluation to learn more!

obama’s *homestar* energy efficiency program announced!

PRESIDENT OBAMA has announced the homestar energy efficiency program. this program allows for up to $3,000 in rebates for homeowners that reach an energy savings of 20%. FYI, the Common Ecology Home Evaluation can reach savings of 70%! Call or write your Congress-person today so this program becomes law!

mt. washington neighborhood energy challenge ecofair

this weekend (February 27) brennan + company and alterego will be at the 1st annual Mt. Washington Neighborhood Energy Challenge EcoFair, sponsored by the Baltimore Neighborhood Energy Challenge and the Baltimore Office of Sustainability. We will be releasing our amazing Common Ecology Home Evaluation!

common ecology

who we are? common ecology is an environmental educational resource founded and supported by Carri Beer, Rob Brennan + Michael Hindle of Brennan + Company Architects and alterego. We are a group of architects, artists and designers dedicated to creating healthy, cooperative lifestyles.

mission? empower each other through education and inspiration to create healthier communities and sustainable lifestyles.

how are we doing this? We have started the process by creating a Framework for Healthy Communities + Sustainable Lifestyles TM. This is an on-line document that has been developed as an educational tool to be accessed by everyone.  Our hope is that while reading through this information you and your neighbors will be inspired to create a grassroots change to better our environment and way of life.  We are available to present this guide to your community, county, business or organization. Please contact us to arrange a workshop or presentation.

copyright 2007 common ecology. all rights reserved. limited reproduction for individual use is permitted without permission. commercial or multiple reproduction is not allowed. other requests should be directed to info@commonecology.com

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