Saturday, October 31, 2009

This blog picked up by nationwide site

http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blogs is a site run by Taunton Press which also brings us Fine Homebuilding magazine. They have added this blog to their roll. (see the blog roll on the right side of the page) They have a great library of green details worth checking out as well.

An American Architectural Epoch Comes to an End



http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/25/weekinreview/25ouroussoff.html?hpw links to a nice piece on public spaces, museums and parks and the end of an era brought to its conclusion by this recession. The piece addresses freedom: "The problem with freedom, after all, is that it allows for horrifying imaginative failures as well as works of stunning genius. When artists fail, you can ignore their work. When architects fail, you walk by their buildings every morning on your way for coffee shaking your fist." It also addresses what I call the 'two camps:' " They reflect the long battle between those who want to tear down old barriers and those who simply want to replace them with new ones. Solving that conflict will be left to a future epoch." Other issues are addressed as well, but it is up to us to begin that future epoch.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Gordon Matta-Clark Opening at the Pulitzer

Click on the images to enlarge. A sunset picture from the rooftop might not be in order but seeing clear skies moving in is very welcome this week.
The Pulitzer is a fine building and a fine place for this exhibit but I think the point is being over-emphasized to the detriment of Matta-Clark's work. Why not take it a step further and cut a hole in the Ando?
Matta-Clark's work is a visual philosophy statement and a call to mindfulness about the built environment. His cuts into buildings gave a new perspective. I think carrying this perspective in our imaginations and applying it in the field is the directive embodied in the work.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

bundled in the rain




Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009

from Friedman to Gore to Reilly to you

I turned 51 on 10/14 and I have 3 wonderful kids and an awesome daughter in law. Participation in the solution(s) is the key. I still recommend Hot, Flat & Crowded too.


Three Bombs
October 14, 2009

Last week Tom Friedman wrote a great article entitled Our Three Bombs:

“I am a 56-year-old baby boomer, and looking around today it's very clear that my generation had it easy: We grew up in the shadow of just one bomb -- the nuclear bomb. That is, in our day, it seemed as if there was just one big threat that could trigger a nonlinear, 180-degree change in the trajectory of our lives: the Soviets hitting us with a nuke. My girls are not so lucky.""Today's youth are growing up in the shadow of three bombs -- any one of which could go off at any time and set in motion a truly nonlinear, radical change in the trajectory of their lives."
"The first, of course, is still the nuclear threat, which, for my generation, basically came from just one seemingly rational enemy, the Soviet Union, with which we shared a doctrine of mutual assured destruction. Today, the nuclear threat can be delivered by all kinds of states or terrorists, including suicidal jihadists for whom mutual assured destruction is a delight, not a deterrent.""But there are now two other bombs our children have hanging over them: the debt bomb and the climate bomb."
"As we continue to build up carbon in the atmosphere to unprecedented levels, we never know when the next emitted carbon molecule will tip over some ecosystem and trigger a nonlinear climate event -- like melting the Siberian tundra and releasing all of its methane, or drying up the Amazon or melting all the sea ice in the North Pole in summer. And when one ecosystem collapses, it can trigger unpredictable changes in others that could alter our whole world."

Sunday, October 11, 2009

from the Post-Dispatch

Raw sewage spills soil Mo. waterways
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Monday, Oct. 12 2009
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Large amounts of sewage that contribute to sometimes dangerous bacteria levels have spilling into Missouri waterways when rain floods decaying sewer systems or old pipes break. Hundreds of millions of gallons of raw sewage have spilled into Missouri’s waterways in the past year alone, according to data from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. DNR spokesman Travis Ford told The Kansas City Star the agency is conducting an internal investigation into its own procedures because of concerns about the risk to human health. “We consider this to be a serious problem,” Ford said. While the handling of E. coli problems at the Lake of the Ozarks has generated statewide attention, other lakes also have been affected by similar problems as contaminated water from sewage spills and runoff carrying animal waste flows into them. In the past two years, water quality officials have recommended closing state beaches at nine lakes besides the Lake of the Ozarks. The sewage spills have been widespread, occurring in locations from Kansas City in the west to St. Louis in the east. As recently as a couple of weeks ago, 3 million gallons of raw sewage poured into a south Kansas City stream. Leaks can prompt costly penalties, but still they continue. Kathleen Logan Smith, executive director of the Missouri Coalition for the Environment, said no one knows the extent of the problem. “It’s everywhere,” said Smith, whose group has sued over St. Louis sewage overflows. “There are hundreds of occasions E. coli levels have been high, and we don’t even know it.” The state has begun to crack down. Two weeks ago, Gov. Jay Nixon declared a zero-tolerance war on those who spill raw sewage into the Lake of the Ozarks. Since then, the zero-tolerance policy has been expanded to include every water body in Missouri, Ford said. “The department has a very full and extensive range of enforcement authority,” he said. “Our plan is to use that enforcement authority against violators, and by doing that we think we can reduce spills.”

Monday, October 5, 2009

Louis Reilly Studio

http://www.louisreillystudio.com/ is the website belonging to my son. He has a BFA in sculpture and ceramics and is applying to grad school to further pursue his work. He teaches ceramics at the Columbia equivalent of St. Louis' Craft Alliance. Click on the image to enlarge.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

5 LEED Homes plus....

University City Project with Arcturis and Washington University gaining some momentum. See piece in the Post-Dispatch.

assumptions not equations

Thursday, October 1, 2009

from the NY Times

October 1, 2009
E.P.A. Moves to Curtail Greenhouse Gas Emissions
By JOHN M. BRODER

WASHINGTON — Unwilling to wait for Congress to act, the Obama administration announced on Wednesday that it was moving forward on new rules to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from hundreds of power plants and large industrial facilities.
President Obama has said that he prefers a comprehensive legislative approach to regulating emissions and stemming global warming, not a piecemeal application of rules, and that he is deeply committed to passage of a climate bill this year.
But he has authorized the Environmental Protection Agency to begin moving toward regulation, which could goad lawmakers into reaching an agreement. It could also provide evidence of the United States’ seriousness as negotiators prepare for United Nations talks in Copenhagen in December intended to produce an international agreement to combat global warming.
“We are not going to continue with business as usual,” Lisa P. Jackson, the E.P.A. administrator, said Wednesday in a conference call with reporters. “We have the tools and the technology to move forward today, and we are using them.”
The proposed rules, which could take effect as early as 2011, would place the greatest burden on 400 power plants, new ones and those undergoing substantial renovation, by requiring them to prove that they have applied the best available technology to reduce emissions or face penalties.
Ms. Jackson described the proposal as a common-sense rule tailored to apply to only the largest facilities — those that emit at least 25,000 tons of carbon dioxide a year — which are responsible for nearly 70 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.
The rule would not, as critics contend, cover “every cow and Dunkin’ Donuts,” Ms. Jackson said.
The move was timed to come on the same day that two Democratic senators, John F. Kerry of Massachusetts and Barbara Boxer of California, introduced global warming and energy legislation that faces a steep climb to passage this year.
The prospect of E.P.A. regulation of greenhouse gas emissions has generated fear and deep divisions within American industry. Some major utilities, oil companies and other heavy emitters are working closely with Congress to ensure that a climate bill would circumvent E.P.A. regulation by substituting a market-based cap-and-trade system. Others, led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers, have worked against legislation and threatened to sue if the E.P.A. tries to impose controls on emissions of heat-trapping gases.
Ms. Jackson said the proposed rule had been written to exempt small businesses, farms, large office buildings and other relatively small sources of carbon dioxide emissions. But under the rule proposed Wednesday, the E.P.A. would assume authority for the greenhouse gas emissions of 14,000 coal-burning power plants, refineries and big industrial complexes that produce most of the nation’s greenhouse gas pollution.
The proposal will go through several months of drafting and public comment and faces likely litigation from industry and perhaps from environmentalists or citizen groups.
A typical coal-burning power plant emits several million tons of carbon dioxide a year. The 25,000-ton limit is comparable to the emissions from burning 131 rail cars of coal or the annual energy use of about 2,200 homes, according to the Environmental Defense Fund.
Senator James M. Inhofe, Republican of Oklahoma and an opponent of global warming legislation, called the proposed rule “a backdoor energy tax” that circumvents Congress and violates the terms of the Clean Air Act.
Scott Segal, a utility lobbyist with the law firm Bracewell & Giuliani in Washington, said the rule should not be used to rush Congress into passing a poorly drafted bill.
But he also said that the proposal “strengthens the president’s negotiating hand in Copenhagen.”
“Even if the Senate does not act,” Mr. Segal said, “he can legitimately say to other nations, ‘We are taking action on a unilateral basis. What are you doing?’ ”
The proposal, long anticipated and highly controversial, is the government’s first step toward regulating greenhouse gases from stationary sources. The E.P.A. has already proposed an ambitious program to restrict such emissions from cars and trucks. The agency published the proposed vehicle emission rule this month; it is expected to take effect next spring.
Ms. Jackson’s proposal would require facilities emitting at least 25,000 tons of carbon dioxide and five other pollutants a year to obtain construction and operating permits. The other gases are methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride.
The threshold is 100 times higher than that required for other types of pollutants like sulfur dioxide that have more acute health and environmental effects.
Ms. Jackson said that while the proposed rule would affect about 14,000 large sources of carbon dioxide, most were already subject to clean-air permitting requirements because they emit other pollutants.
By raising the standard to 25,000 tons, the new rule exempts millions of smaller sources of carbon dioxide emissions like bakeries, soft drink bottlers, dry cleaners and hospitals.
Industry groups reacted quickly, challenging the E.P.A.’s authority to use the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gases and questioning Ms. Jackson’s power to lower the threshold for regulation.
Charles T. Drevna, president of the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association, said that the emission of greenhouse gases was a global problem and that it was pointless to regulate only some sources.
“This proposal incorrectly assumes that one industry’s greenhouse gas emissions are worse than another’s,” Mr. Drevna said. “E.P.A. lacks the legal authority to categorically exempt sources that exceed the Clean Air Act’s major source threshold from permitting requirements, and this creates a troubling precedent for any agency actions in the future.”
Supporters of the plan said that it was carefully written to affect only the biggest emitters.
“This is a common-sense step toward a cleaner, better world,” said Emily Figdor, federal global warming project director for Environment America.

Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company