Michael's blog

Contemplating expansion

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I'm conversing with an architect this morning in advance of a consultation next month about expanding our house. No matter which way we imagine it, we're two rooms short, although we could probably get by with just one more.

ESL (the lightbulb, not the language)

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For several years, LEDs were supposed to be the next big thing in consumer lighting, and they're still coming.

But a post this week at GreenDaily touts Electron Stimulated Luminescence as a quicker comer. They are supposed to be equivalent to CFLs in cost and lifespan, but to overcome two of their shortcomings: They use no mercury, and are dimmable.

The middle men

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I don't often have contact with contractors or subcontractors, other than those I meet at trade shows, and they are often a self-selecting group of activists, presenters, and all-round movers and shakers. But of mainstream builders, I know only a few.

A nature extravaganza

In addition to cycling, animals and plants, farms and gardens, were a major theme.

Sunday, we rode over to Flamig Farm in West Simsbury, which was just around the corner from my family's first Connecticut home, to check out all the sustainable efforts they're taking, which includes a 72-panel solar array, a large-scale composting operation, and organic farming. I didn't bother shooting the panels, but the livestock were kinda photogenic:

Reuse in the landscape

I returned yesterday from a day and a half in Rhode Island, traveling with my brother, sister and their spouses, after spending the weekend with them, my mother and my niece at my brother's in Connecticut. But this photo offering is from our trip the previous week to Maine. (Don't fret, Vermont, we're coming in September.)

Still eating meat

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Another in the series of posts of what we do in our home that is, or isn't, sustainable or otherwise earth friendly.

I've been off red meat for at least a decade, which at the time was more pointed toward easy weight loss, rather than any consideration of sustainability. I saw a friend drop perhaps 20-30 pounds without trying, strictly as the result, he said, of marrying a vegetarian who did all the cooking. I was also influenced by my sister-in-law, Beverly, and her daughters, who are vegetarians.

Rapproachment for AIA, USGBC?

A story I wrote for Architectural Record was posted in the last day or two.

It says that AIA and the US Green Building Council have announced an intention to form a strategic alliance, which may or may not lead, eventually, to AIA's endorsing the LEED system for green buildings. The announcement of the alliance raised the prospect that such an endorsement might be in the offing, but reporting it out weakened that impression.

"Green dictatorship"

Photo by Rolf Oeser for the New York Times

I wrote in June about the German city of Marburg, whose mayor and council voted to require every building to have solar panels. At the time I applauded it, though as is so often true, there is more to it than I grasped at first.

Willing to follow Obama

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For more than a year, I've been basing my enthusiasm for Barack Obama — particularly compared with his craven competitors Clinton and McCain — on his potential, and on his potential willingness, to lead.

Now that he has reversed his position on offshore drilling, I get to see if I'm willing to follow. So far, anyway, I'm in.


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