The Houston Permitting and Green Building Resource Centers are housed within a certified LEED Gold building, which incorporates a large variety of sustainable and low-impact features.
This is a vegetated green roof that spans an area of around 1,720 square feet, and can be enjoyed through the windows of a large meeting room and other spaces. The roof system also serves to collect condensate in its troughs, which is practical in a location such as Houston, where a typically hot and humid climate can produce a great deal of moisture.
Overall, green roofs such as this are considered in credits toward LEED certification, due to their added benefit of minimizing possible building contribution to the heat island effect in urban areas. This involves the concept that dense cities tend to show a localized temperature increase, due to the heavy amount of human and industry activity over a small area.
While rooftop cooling efforts such as this are helping to decrease this effect, they may also serve to better insulate buildings, aid with stormwater runoff, and provide help in other aspects that make them a beneficial addition to many buildings.
On one of our roofs, we maintain this rooftop garden. Not only does it allow for a more efficient use of space, but it also serves to help cool the roof in the summer, as rooftop gardens can provide better insulation than standard tar or gravel use, and help to remove heat from the air.
We recently converted all lighting from the restaurant to LED fixtures, saving us $ 700 per month. However, after finding these other LED filament bulbs- which adapt much better to our style of globes- we could not resist converting them another time.
Despite their retro appearance and high power (they are turned on at a minimum), these bulbs consume only 4 W of electricity, against 7 W from the previous LEDs, and 50 W for the initial halogens.
During the summer, we grow fresh herbs on the roof of the restaurant. Among other items, we grow basil, mint, edible flowers, and tomatoes which, picked the same day, will probably be found in the dish or cocktail you order!
This LEED Platinum home exhibits a large variety of sustainable features, including this notable cork flooring. Cork has excellent properties for such an application, in addition to giving a soft, warm color to the house interior (though other cork flooring can come in many patterns and colors as well).
Due to its highly porous composition, cork is able to better absorb impacts and provides very good acoustic and thermal properties, which are greatly beneficial to a home. It is also a highly renewable material, and exhibits a long list of other excellent aspects, as detailed in the last half of this page (click thumbnail below):
Our camp is thoughtfully designed to take full advantage of available natural light, within our domes. Not only does this serve to save on indoor lighting, it provides for a magnificent outlook on our extraordinary surroundings.
The lodge exhibits a variety of clever construction and building methods. In addition to the guest suites, much of the site areas and buildings are creatively housed within reused shipping containers- though you would never be able to tell from the beautifully designed interiors.
Again, the use of blue jean pants as insulation material is also characteristic of the unique construction. This lodge has created a truly enchanting, admirable, and serene space for all who come to visit.
Skyscraper green wall art in our downtown. It is beautiful, and spans 2,380 square feet.
We noticed these earthships while driving through the state of New Mexico. Earthships are incredibly well designed, innovative, low-impact homes. They generally offer a multitude of sustainable features, are built with sustainable materials, designed for efficient heating and cooling, harvest both energy and water, and utilize a great variety of other friendly practices.
Our apartment complex has recycling bins in community mail areas, encouraging recycling directly at the source, where there is a high potential for mass paper waste. This has been an easy way to help residents responsibly dispose of unneeded letters and other mail that may otherwise be thrown away with regular trash.
This lodge uses an extraordinary amount of reclaimed materials in its construction. Seen here are some of the sample builds, displaying the incorporation of reclaimed barn wood and tin roofs into the base designs. As with many of the other site features, this provides for a wonderfully rustic and raw accent to the grounds.
The lodge actively takes extraordinary measures toward sustainable and low-impact efforts. Much of the site construction, alone, serves as an exhibition of innovative and deeply thoughtful design. These are the lodge’s primary suites, which are not only beautiful, but use creative structure re-use as well.
Each room is made from a single reclaimed shipping container, which can be seen clearly in the last image. Several other buildings at the lodge can be seen using the same feature, as well as utilizing old blue jean pants within the walls as insulation material.
DFW Airport has implemented a parking garage lighting system which serves to visually indicate open parking spaces as they become available. The design helps to minimize unnecessary emissions created by drivers as they search for an open space. Small LED lights at each space in the garage are visible from the ends of aisles, and allow drivers to quickly spot a free space without having to continually circle the garage.
The light sensors also communicate with exterior and aisle signage in real time, letting drivers who enter know which floors have open spots, and preventing further unnecessary driving. As an added benefit, open designated spaces such as accessible and 1-hour parking spaces can also be distinguished by color-coded lights.
This system not only improves the overall efficiency of parking flow and operations, but may serve to provide less opportunity for driving aggravation and accidents within the garage.
My apartment building offers a composting option in addition to the general waste and recycling bins.
In the foregound, we have a buffer tank for our geothermal circuit. Pumps circulate glycol in the mitigated circuit between the heat pumps. In the background, two water heaters are used to power the restaurant. Just like the rest of the building mechanics, everything is controlled by the building-management computer system. The central computer cycles the start-up of various equipment and uses load shedding to reduce the electricity demand peaks as much as possible.
The next image displays an overview of the complexity of the piping. The cabinets at the bottom are water-to-water heat pumps which allow the surplus heat to be sent to the geothermal wells during the air conditioning period, and to draw heat to the restaurant in very cold weather.