Beyond Green Building: Morning Round-Up

Posted on: September 18th, 2007 by Patrice Frey


News to Keep you in the Know...

Could Kyoto Protocol learn from Montreal? ENN. Could the solution to global warming be as simple as a switch of cities

A Little Frightening, a little good news on climate and energy - ENN. Sometimes the news makes you want to crawl under your bed and hide. Other times there’s great hope and I'm ready to dance and cheer. These related stories for the week beginning September 9, 2007:

BMW, Norsk Hydro Among the World's Most Sustainable Companies - In the ninth annual survey of the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes, Norwegian aluminum company Norsk Hydro took the overall top score, while BMW topped the automotive index for the third year running.

Wegmans Reverses Supermarket Supply Chain, Starts Organic Farm - Wegmans, a 71-store supermarket chain based in Rochester, has begun selling produce grown on its own 50-acre organic farm to nearby grocery stores. The farm is in its first year of production, so the land is not yet certified organic, but the company's CEO, Danny Wegman, said the goal is to use the land not just to grow fresh produce for sale, but to help grow the local food market in the area

Carbon Reduction Wins Mega Brand Attention at Conference - At this week's Carbon Footprint Consumer Products Conference and Expo in Chicago, the companies behind the world's biggest brands made it abundantly clear that they are both dedicated to reducing their carbon footprints and to spreading the word about their efforts.

Communicating Climate Change: Getting Beyond the Usual Suspects -- On September 9, the Oregonian headlined its Sunday edition with a story about the Greenland ice sheet melting much faster than scientists had predicted. The well-crafted story found the news "...particularly unsettling because elaborate climate models that scientists use to estimate the effects of global warming did not foresee it."

Finding the Green in Cleaning Products -- It has become clear that the green movement is here to stay. From global warming to sustainability to green buildings, these issues have become a part of our daily lives. It was once the lexicon of environmental groups; today all segments are involved, including mainstream companies such as Wal-Mart and General Electric, who have each committed hundreds of millions of dollars to green their operations.

STATES ARE CLOSER TO TRIMMING AUTOS' CO2 EMISSIONS -- The move by 12 states could coax Congress to pass efficiency limits.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Dairy Farmer Backs Off California State Park

Posted on: September 17th, 2007 by Margaret Foster


Colonel Allensworth State Historic ParkA California state park will remain odor-free for now, thanks to a deal between the state and a farmer who planned a 12,000-head dairy farm near Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park, a town African Americans founded a century ago.

The state agreed on Sept. 11 to pay Samuel Etchegaray $3.5 million for his promise to back off on a dairy farm in Earlimart, Calif., north of Bakersfield.

“I am encouraged by the [Gov. Schwartzenegger] Administration’s full-court press this past week to have a tentative agreement signed; however, I have long stated that the negotiations for the purchase of the development rights and my legislation were separate,” Wilmer Amina Carter (D-Rialto), who wrote a bill to create a 2.5-mile buffer zone around the park, said in a statement. “Now that the immediate threat of the mega dairies next to the park is no longer imminent, I will hold off sending the bill to the Governor’s desk, which will allow time for us to work together to reach a permanent solution for the entire park.”

Former Kentucky slave Allen Allensworth (1842-1914), the U.S. military’s highest-ranking African American, founded the town in 1908, but lack of water emptied most of its buildings in the 1920s. The 1,000-acre state park opened in 1976 and receives more than 10,000 visitors each year.

“This was just a first step in a move to protect the park,” says Victor Carter, president of the nonprofit Friends of Allensworth. “I applaud them for what they did, but I still have hopes that the bill will be signed.”

Meanwhile, in Idaho, Jerome County commissioners will soon vote on a proposal to build a massive feedlot downwind of Minidoka Internment Camp, a former Japanese-American internment camp that is now a National Park.

“The powerful odors created by thousands of animals, plus the dust, pests and potential airborne pathogens, will severely degrade the visitor experience at Minidoka and rob us of the opportunity to explore an important piece of our shared American heritage,” wrote Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, in an Aug. 16 editorial in the Idaho Statesman.

Because of the proposed concentrated animal feeding operation, in June the National Trust named Minidoka one of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Notes from the Field: New Orleans

Posted on: September 17th, 2007 by Walter Gallas


New Orleans WindowsI visited the warehouse operated by our partner the Preservation Resource Center this week to see what kinds of materials are coming in from the selective salvage of buildings which the city had declared an imminent structural threat and slated for demolition. These were buildings which, according to FEMA’s historic preservation staff and the State Historic Preservation Office, still retained features making them contributing buildings in a National Register district.

Materials from a total of 53 houses have been salvaged through Friday, with the contractor telling the PRC warehouse manager that they will begin on another group next week. The materials include numerous mantels, complete windows with casings, decorative brackets, interior doors, front doors, wooden screen doors, French doors, shutters, and some interior and exterior light fixtures. This is already becoming a source for the PRC’s and the Trust’s Home Again projects. We fought long and hard to get FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers (which is in charge of demolition and debris removal through the end of this month) to come up with a plan to at least save some elements of these structures, which otherwise would have been completely lost.

Walter Gallas is director of the New Orleans Field Office.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Beyond Green Building: Morning Round-Up

Posted on: September 17th, 2007 by Patrice Frey


News to Keep you in the Know....

Clean coal to qualify for Kyoto carbon offsets -Reuters. Very efficient coal-fired power plants will be able to sell carbon offsets under the Kyoto Protocol, in an expansion of project eligibility under the carbon trading scheme, U.N. official Jose Miguez said.

Nations ink deal to provide safer atomic power - Reuters. Sixteen nations signed a U.S.-initiated pact on Sunday to help meet soaring world energy demand by developing nuclear technology less prone to being illicitly diverted into making atomic weapons.

N.Y. Group Trying to Eat Only Local Food – ENN. Dick Shave got a duck for dinner. It was firm, fresh and — this is very important when you're only eating food grown within 100 miles — raised nearby.

New fingerprinting method tracks mercury in environment – ENN. With mercury polluting our air, soil and water and becoming concentrated in fish and wildlife as it is passed up the food chain, understanding how the potent nerve toxin travels through the environment is crucial.

U.S. Climate Program Flawed, Threatened by Budget Cuts – ENS. The Bush administration's climate research program has helped scientists clarify some basic facts about global warming, but has done little to provide much-needed information about how society might mitigate or adapt to the changing climate, a National Academy of Sciences committee said today.

What Should We Really Be Doing About Global Warming? A Freakonomics Quorum – NYT. The authors of Freakonomics “thought it would be a good idea to host a Freakonomics Quorum in which we asked a few smart people a very straightforward two-part question: What should the U.S. government be doing about global warming, and what should individuals be doing?”

Safeway Unveils First Solar-Powered Grocery Store - Press Release.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.


Brooklyn’s view (Municipal Art Society of New York)"To get a true feeling of New York's industrial, 19th-century waterfront, you really have to go out to Brooklyn —specifically, Red Hook. … One is privileged to see the little canal, the fishing boats, the warehouses, all as it must have been forever, or at least the past hundred years. The factories and warehouses on the canal have that brilliantly additive, piece-by-piece, higgledy-piggledy look of tropical green stucco alongside corrugated aluminum that Frank Gehry works so hard to achieve." —Phillip Lopate, Waterfront


It wasn't long ago that Brooklyn's East River coastline, from the Newtown Creek on the Queens border to Red Hook, was considered no-man's land, with aging infrastructure and unsightly power stations marring its shores. After their heyday during the early 20th century as the nucleus of the manufacturing and shipping industries in New York City, these riverside areas were largely ignored by developers and city officials. The seven-mile sliver, just a stone's throw from Manhattan, became home to artists and a handful of intrepid, out-of-the-box thinkers.


Then, in the 1990s, real-estate prices in the borough climbed to mesmerizing heights and a debate ensued, no longer over whether the area had potential, but how to extract the most bang for the buck. All along the waterfront, it now feels as if a ship is setting sail and no one wants to be left behind.


"We're headed toward a rapid takeover by everyone who wants a piece [of land] for themselves," says David Sharps, owner of the Waterfront Museum since 1994, housed on a historic barge docked in Red Hook.


Should the historic warehouses and docks, many of which date back to the Civil War, make way for big-box stores (a relatively new trend in Brooklyn), high-rise housing or parks? Should they be repurposed or preserved? The city's answer is a complicated balancing act between the needs for jobs, housing, and preservation.


"There has been a failure to protect the maritime infrastructure," says Lisa Kersavage, historic preservation fellow at the Municipal Art Society of New York. "So much development is happening; historic resources need to be considered." Because of these changes, the National Trust for Historic Preservation in June named Brooklyn's industrial waterfront one of the 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in America.... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Beyond Green Building: Morning Round-Up

Posted on: September 14th, 2007 by Patrice Frey


The Untapped Green Within Graying Buildings An excellent article highlighting the greening of the 80 year old Joseph Vance Building in Seattle by Jonathan Rose Companies LLC. The company launched a $100 million smart growth investment fund in 2006 to green existing buildings. The company explains the impetus behind the fund: “In terms of the building stock, only 1 percent is new construction annually, so it is critical to focus on the existing 99 percent, which are huge consumers of energy.”

The article discusses the company’s climate sensitive approach to heating and cooling, and extensive lighting improvements. The developer’s approach to historic windows is particularly noteworthy. The company “weighed installing new windows against restoring existing windows. Since operability was key for tenant comfort, the company chose to restore the existing wood windows because the sashes of many had been nailed shut. Weather stripping was added, as well as mecco shades and light shelves to the south and west facades for proper interior shading.”

... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.