What is it with celebrities and food? And for that matter, celebrities and schools? On the one hand we’ve got Jake Gyllenhaal opening an organic restaurant, along with countless other A-listers, and on the other we’ve got Oprah and Madonna aiming to educate kids by building schools in Africa.
Well, I’m pleased to report that the coolest of all action heroes, Will Smith, has managed to merge the two together. In typical Big Willie Style, Smith has plunked down nearly $1 million to lease a former high school in California so kids can enjoy an organic, sugar-free educational experience with a little Scientology on the side.
If you’re in the market for a cleaner, greener office space or work studio, you have to check out ecospace. In collaboration with London-based architectural practice Idris-Perrineau Town, ecospace has designed a small, green-roofed studio that is built completely from sustainable materials…
Or so they say.
You don’t need to look far to start questioning the green-ness of these tiny abodes; the whole exterior is clad in “sustainable red cedar.” (Perhaps it’s not so rare in England as it is in the U.S.) The inside walls are made of birch, another not-so-replaceable species — and with other more sustainable wall coverings available, I’m not sure why ecospace is using trees. Finally, the floor inside is made of rubber, which will last a long time, but relies on petroleum at some point during its creation.
I’m not one of those people who likes to complain just for the sake of complaining. I’m much more solution oriented than that. So, after railing on the crazy three-wheeled Sidam Xnovo, I feel compelled to follow it up with my opinion of a better choice. And I choose the Vectrix ZEV.
In fact, if all goes according to plan, it will be my next vehicle. Why waste time going to the gas station when you can just plug in this baby and go? Called “the world’s first high-performance electric motorcycle with performance and style” and boasting a clean, efficient, electric motor, this speedy city machine has no noise or pollution and you’ll never need to change the oil.
The one thing I haven’t been able to do in my quest to live “G” is use CFLs. I hate, hate, hate CFLs. I have faith that one day they will achieve beautiful light, but at present, I get a headache just thinking about them.
Luckily for me, the future of LED lighting is bright.
LEDs (light emitting diodes) are moving up in the world. While in the past, they’ve been relegated only to computers and mobile phones, they’re now being bundled together for traffic lights, headlights, flashlights and even Christmas lights.
But what’s even more exciting is that companies are coming up with new high-powered LED bulbs that could be a real replacement for incandescents with all of the efficiency benefits. While at this point, they’re only bright enough for accent, porch lights and parties, researchers are figuring out ways to efficiently poke microscopic holes into the LEDs in order for them to emit more light without using additional energy. Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos
One of the problems in making cities more responsive to 21st century demands is that most areas are built out already – and usually with old, inefficient buildings. The spaces that are left can be undesirable due to location and zoning demands, turning away would-be developers.
That’s where the High Line 23 building in New York’s West Chelsea arts neighborhood is making its mark. Designers had to overcome numerous problems like a small footprint and encroachment from the High Line, New York’s decrepit rail system turned park space.
When Brad Pitt engaged 14 of the world’s leading architects to submit designs for his Make It Right project to rebuild New Orleans, he requested a strict standard of sustainability and practicality.
Mixing local designers from New Orleans with various national and international firms, Pitt aimed to create smart urban planning that incorporated a modern feel while maintaining the spirit of the city’s culturally rich Lower 9th Ward.
From the Make It Right site: “MIR’s goal is to join the history of this tradition with creative new architectural solutions mindful of environmental and personal safety concerns in order to encourage both the evolution of aesthetic distinctiveness and the conscientious awareness of natural surroundings.”
Like any happy homeowner, I’m always on the lookout for fresh ways to green the house. Turning the place into a showroom for enviro-style is good because it (hopefully) inspires others to do the same, and it’s a constant excuse to buy new things. But I’m on the picky side, so not every new design product feels like a giant leap for greenkind. I was, however, excited to discover that two of the industry’s leading manufacturers of window treatments are adding eco-responsible goods to their classic, well trusted line of shades and screens.
Window treatments help us control the amount of solar heat, block visible and UV light, lessen glare and provide adjustable comfort. They also contribute to a design aesthetic which can either tie a room together or provide a funky focal point. And now that MechoShade and Hunter Douglas have come up with products that are fashionable in both design and sustainability, I can be environmentally friendly without compromising my aesthetic statement.
Six years in the making, MechoShade’s EcoVeil™ is a PVC-free solar shade cloth that, according to the company, meets the Cradle To Cradle initiative with its ability to be fully recyclable while maintaining or improving its quality and functionality. MechoShade’s president, Jan Berman, said on their website that the goal was to create a fantastic looking shade cloth that was “safe for people, safe for the environment,” and would “never end up in a landfill.”
His band has been called the world’s dirtiest (and not because of their lyrics), while she’s been under fire for allegedly “forcing her chef to travel 100 miles to prepare a bowl of pasta.” Yet Sting and wife Trudie Styler have both claimed to be eco-warriors.
In what appears to be a standard case of “do as I say and not as I do”, it seems the rock legend and his producer wife have been caught with their eco pants down. “It’s true — we’re hypocrites over our huge carbon footprint,” the UK’s Daily Mail quotes Styler as saying during a recent interview at the Earls Court Real Food Festival after a journalist pointed out that the couple’s footprint “has been estimated as 30 times greater than the average Briton’s.”
Florida’s courting nukes. Maybe you read my article about Bush speaking at the Renewable Energy Conference, calling for a resurgence in nuclear (pronounced noo-klee-ur) technology to solve America’s energy crisis. The good folks in Florida, led Bush boy Jeb, are taking the ball of uranium and running with it.
Two Florida energy companies, Progress Energy and Florida Power and Light have designs in place to install several new plants in the coming years, including one recently approved by the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission. With ever-peaking oil prices and CO2 emissions in sharp focus these days, nuclear energy is making a comeback. Both the feds and state governments are helping with tax breaks and allowing power companies to charge up front for the cost of production.
The aim of brio54 is to offer functional, inspiring and affordable modern design to the masses, and from what I can tell, they’ve succeeded (at least at the concept stage). With a focus on conserving resources and promoting non-toxic living, the emerging development firm has created three designs for your viewing pleasure: the H1 suburban, the H2 urban infill and the H3 high ranch rehab.
And oh, what a pleasure they are to view.
While the company’s website is chock full of information, I found myself way too busy admiring the images and imagining myself there to read any of the text. The H1 is an imposing structure with a great looking deck that most homeowners can only dream about. The sleek and modern house seems ideal for entertaining (which is always my first criteria, whether I actually utilize it or not) and there’s even a basement, something most of us Angelenos never get to experience. And the natural lighting, provided a full side of windows on the main floor and strategically placed 2nd level ones? Out of this world.