zeroHouse

A search over a coffee, starting from Pam’s link (here) led me to zeroHouse.

Now this may be hitting a lot of boxes on the zero list, may be an architects vision or dream, but to call eco (as in ‘eco’ =’home’) and a place to live?

Does this primary school Lego construction have a soul – ie a spiritual dimension. Is it at all aligned to nature – it actually looks as though it has flown in to the location and cant wait to be off again. And just imagine a society, a neighbourhood or development of these. Or even, gulp, an eco-city.

And on the current theme here of usability – has anyone lived in one of these I wonder and feedback comments to designers, or indeed feedforward experiences to the next iterative design.

Saying all that this would be a good design to have within the Second Life International Eco Code Park so visitors can move around, experience its ‘feel’ if only virtually and leave comments on their ‘experience’ (click here to enter into the Park)

are green buildings usable?

It seems we are becoming awash with green buildings, eco homes and eco towns.

There are some great sites out there with green architecture eye candy (check out Mad Architecture for example).

We have some major and significant conferences and events on the horizon – from the international Eco City 2008, Green Build 2008 and West Coast Green, here in the UK Think 08, and more locally the Elevate Exemplar event in September and the Lancs Best Practice Club July event.  All very different and important to their target audiences.

Even in Second Life there are great green and sustainable ‘built environment’ demonstration and education projects

And yet in all the design, conferences, events and working groups I see very little about the usability of green buildings – what is it like to work, live and play in them?  What does the comfort level  within (and around) green building do for health, for productivity and for well being?  What is it really like to be a citizen of a eco-city such as Auroville?

Once again I am convinced its not the building – green or other wise – but the way we use buildings that is paramount importance on the sustainability agenda – as Prof Keith Alexander down at the Center for Facilities Management comments – its about building consumption – not production. 

Time to turn the telescope around?  Is the green / sustainability movement in the built environment stuck in the building production with eye candy design, at the expense of the usability of the buildings?

As a Friday comment – I am throwing down a challenge for comments and evidence – are  Green Buildings usable?

I invite guest posts here and links to sites that discuss this issue.

Modern online communities are the new co-operatives.

The recent speech by Tom Watson MP, Minister for Transformational Governance, Power of Information,  can be found here and is a fascinating overview and history of information management – well worth a read.

Eco town locations revealed – but is it all another greenwash?

The government has released today the short list for Eco Towns, and they are:

Bordon, Hampshire
Coltishall, Norfolk
Curborough, Staffordshire
Elsenham, Essex
Ford, West Sussex
Hanley Grange, Cambridgeshire
Imerys, Cornwall
Leeds city region, West Yorkshire
Manby, Lincolnshire
Marston Vale and New Marston, Bedfordshire
Middle Quinton, Warwickshire
Pennbury, Leicestershire
Rossington, South Yorkshire
Rushcliffe, Nottinghamshire
Weston Otmoor, Oxfordshire
isite has commented on the viability and concept of Eco-Towns on many occasions, and along with many on the blogosphere have suggested the way forward to be within the existing housing stock.  (Search Eco Towns in the search bar above) .
So it is good to see organisations like the FMB’s Brian Berry, Director External Affair,  issueing statements, suggesting the eco town approach is a greenwash:
“Eco –towns sound lovely but are really a red herring to give the Government’s housing plans a stamp of green credibility. The truth is we already know how to create sustainable homes as demonstrated by the BedZed affordable eco-homes in south London and the renewable energy theme park developed by Kiklees Borough Council in Yorkshire”.

“Building brand new eco–towns outside existing settlements is really bad idea when there are 675,000 empty homes in England alone sitting empty, all ripe for refitting with green technologies. Given that demand for housing covers the whole of the UK it makes sense for every village and town to have new housing rather creating brand new settlements.”

See also Marks comments on House2.0   where Mark comments ….  3 million new homes …the case for this is no stronger than it is for a third runway at Heathrow. And no greener.

blog posted from Xda Orbit

UK sustainability events

I seem to be on a conference theme this evening so I should give a plug for two important UK events, (or Phil will be after me)

Think 087 and 8 May 2008

Think08 is a free exhibition and high level conference about thinking through and delivering sustainability in the built environment. With over 100 exhibitors and 80 free seminars, Think provides free content, networking and learning from thought leaders, alongside vibrant social events such as the Think Ball and Regatta.

(and a bloggers convention is promised)

Sustainability Now 1 and 2 June 2008

Sustainability Now is a unique virtual event, highlighting the essential issues that matter right now for those creating a sustainable built environment.

Twitter News: PM helps housebuilders go green

From the 10 Downing Street Twitter feed earlier today:

DowningStreet No10 news: PM helps householders go green: The Prime Minister has said that fighting clim.. http://tinyurl.com/yugre7

and

Green Neighbourhoods initiative will give a “green makeover” to up to 100 neighbourhoods in England with an aim to reduce their carbon footprints by more than 60 per cent.

Green build goes big in San Jose

Over 13000 delegates, 100 speakers and 380 exhibitors are expected at West Coast Green, the world’s largest residential green building conference, in San José this September.

The event, that will be a green zero-waste conference, will also include live blogging, live broadcasting and plenty of pre-conference previews and profiles through the online San Fransisco Chronicle.

From the West Coast Green site:

We live in an exciting time in the green and healthy building movement.  At no other time in history has the profound effect of the built environment gained so much public prominence. Now its time to discover what is emerging, envision the future and take the next bold steps.

isite has highlighted the green build movement in the USA many times, attempting to draw comparisons and lessons for the UK built environment sustainability agendas, and will follow the build up to this one and hopefully relay live blogs and webcasts during the event itself to UK isite readers.