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Designing Our Future: Sustainable Landscapes

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The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) presents Designing Our Future: Sustainable Landscapes, 20 case studies that illustrate the transformative effects of sustainable landscape design. Included in this series are 5 animations that are designed to be a basic introduction to sustainable design concepts, created for the general public and students of all ages.

Sustainable landscapes are responsive to the environment, re-generative, and can actively contribute to the development of healthy communities. Sustainable landscapes sequester carbon, clean the air and water, increase energy efficiency, restore habitats, and create value through significant economic, social and, environmental benefits. Through this site, you will learn how landscape architects improve your world through projects ranging from the large-scale sustainable master plans and housing communities to small-scale green streets, parking lots, and private yards. You will also learn how landscape architects, planners, architects, engineers, horticulturalists, and others work in interdisciplinary teams to create innovative models that outline a path to sustainable future practice. Once you’ve explored the projects, learn more about the technical details that landscape architects bring to designing and creating sustainable landscapes. Visit the Sustainable Sites Initiative, a new rating system that will help bring these types of projects to all communities.

studio4llc.com recently previewed one of these vimeo animations, Sustainable Reconstruction – Building a Park Out of Waste and will follow up shortly with another.




Conceptual Energy Analysis in Autodesk Revit Architecture

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One of the arguments being levied today regarding sustainable design is whether appropriate consideration is given to site and energy analysis sooner rather than later. With green building codes being adopted nationally and the draft of LEED 2012 open for public comment, it would appear that this should now be considered a priority for project teams, sooner rather than later. In fact, LEED 2012 rating systems start with a brand new category – Integrated Process, awarding credit for project teams holding charrettes, team meetings and conducting a thorough site assessment. Additionally, the Sustainable Sites category is being split, with a reduction in the type of sites that can be considered and a more focused direction towards urban development and redevelopment.

Many professionals argue the inherent difficulties with assembling a project team as early as the preliminary design phase. Or they believe proper site and energy analysis merely involves proper orientation of the project on the site. Neither of these defenses are valid for sustainable projects. Many sites offer few or no options for site orientation, urban redevelopment being a prime example. With the available engineering options today, such as BIM software, there should be no excuse for not performing early site and energy analysis. Autodesk acquired Revit in 2002 from Revit Technology Corporation. Having purchased Revit prior to the Autodesk acquisition and being a member of Autodesk’s Revit Beta Testing Team, I’ve been witness to the maturation of the Revit family into one of the leading BIM solutions today. In a move to enable architects and engineers to design more sustainable projects, Autodesk acquired Ecotech and Green Building Studio in 2008. Certainly there are other solutions available today than the offerings from Autodesk, the point is there are solutions that allow intelligent site and energy assessment at the preliminary design phase.    

A building’s sustainability is largely determined by key decisions made at the early conceptual design stage. In fact, according to Autodesk, 80 percent of a project’s environmental impact is determined by decisions made in the design phase. Continue Reading →




Green Building Codes, LEED and the Consumer – Part One

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Okay, it’s a new year and with this comes the California 2010 Green Building Standards Code (aka CALGreen), LEED 2012 being released for public comment, and who knows what else. Oh, yeah. USGBC being sued for, well, whatever. 

Aside from the ICC International Green Construction Code, if CALGreen is an example of what we can expect as a trend, in the extreme, with mandatory green building codes, what will be the impact of these new and more stringent green building codes as they find their way across the country? The California 2008 Green Building Standards Code went into effect on August 1, 2009 and was voluntary, unless otherwise adopted by local jurisdictions as mandatory. With the new California 2010 Green Building Standards Code, state compliance is mandatory, having taken effect in January, 2011. 

We saw substantial changes with the migration of LEED v2.2 over to LEED 2009, and the proposed revisions for LEED 2012 appears as if more robust revisions are in the works. Tristan Roberts from BuildingGreen and LEEDuser has published Your Guide to the New Draft of LEED that provides a good analysis of the proposed revisions. Likewise, Joel McKellar at Real Life LEED goes in depth with information he gathered on the LEED 2012 Update from USGBC’s presentation at this year’s Greenbuild convention. From a cursory review of LEED 2012, USGBC seems to be taking a necessary step in addressing many of the inadequacies and inconsistencies in the current rating systems.

It didn’t go unnoticed when USGBC rolled out LEED 2009 and informed us that this upgrade represented a major shift in direction for USGBC. USGBC would prefer to see state and local codes adopt LEED Green Building Rating Systems as a baseline to be modeled into hybrid systems, as determined by the appropriate jurisdiction, while they concentrate on ways to improve the rating systems, and thereby raising the bar. Three documents, found on the California Green Building Blog, illustrate the comparison between CALGreen and LEED. Cover Letter, CALGreen non- residential LEED comparison and CALGreen residential LEED comparison. With more accurate historical data being gathered, new technology being introduced to market, and broader consumer interest, it’s good that USGBC has recognized the fact they need to be more focused on keeping abreast of technological advances. They appear to be embracing a three year Continue Reading →




Sustainable Reconstruction – Building a Park Out of Waste

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In a sustainable reconstruction, building materials are reused or recycled, dramatically reducing waste. For example, a new park can be created out of old building materials. Once the materials have been separated, some are kept at the construction site and reprocessed. Reclaimed soils, concrete rubble, glass, wood, and steel can be reused or recycled to serve new functions, reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the process. With climate change, any new construction methods that help landscape architects avoid producing additional emissions are a major benefit both to the project and society as a whole. In a sustainable landscape, everything old is made new again.

Please visit the Home>Portfolio>Video Gallery to view this video.

To read the entire article and commentary about sustainable landscapes implementing recontruction strategies, visit the American Society of Landscape Architects website.




The Model Architect: Bart Prince

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The Model Architect: An interesting interview in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at the studio and residence of Bart Prince, a world-renowned architect known for enthusiastically unconventional structures. Continue Reading →




Preview of Autodesk Ecotech Analysis 2010

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Autodesk’s Chico Membrano provides a preview of the features and functionality of Autodesk Ecotect Analysis 2010, a comprehensive, concept-to-detail sustainable design analysis tool that provides a wide range of simulation and analysis functionality. Includes energy, water and carbon emission analysis using Autodesk Green Building Studio web-service and detailed environmental studies using powerful visualization tools on the desktop.

Please visit the Home>Portfolio>Video Gallery to view this video.




Introduction to Conceptual Energy Analysis in Revit Architecture

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Creating Settings for Conceptual Energy Analysis in Revit Architecture

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Conducting a Conceptual Energy Analysis in Revit Architecture

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Modifying Masses to Optimize Conceptual Energy Analysis Results in Revit Architecture

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Please visit the Home>Portfolio>Video Gallery to view this video.




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