Drop by Drop Pointers for Water Conservation

Just 1% of the world’s entire water supply is available for human use—the rest is salty or locked up in ice caps and glaciers. Conserving water has a number of positive benefits, including saving money on your utilities.  You can lower your sewer, gas, and electric bills because you’ll be putting less water down the […]

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Building Commissioning: A Key to Building Success

This article is excerpted with permission from a longer article by Nadav Malin in Environmental Building News, Feb 2000, Vol 9: No. 2 Amazing as it may sound, it is not unusual for large and very expensive buildings to be built without any one party having overall responsibility for ensuring that the systems all work […]

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This Building Certainly isn’t “Going to the Dogs”

Thanks to an innovative architect and a committed owner, the Women’s Humane Society animal shelter in Bensalem, PA, near Philadelphia, has been reaping the benefits of a green building for six years.  According to John Foster, the Society’s executive director, the new building has sustained a reduction of 40 percent in energy usage per square […]

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Putting the Flex in Flexible Buildings

Winston Churchill’s insight, “We shape our buildings, and afterwards our buildings shape us,” doesn’t fully apply in our modern world.  According to Stewart Brand, the author of How Buildings Learn:  What Happens to Them After They are Built, we first shape our buildings, then they shape us, then we shape them again and again. To avoid […]

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Green Spotlight on Operations and Maintenance

Q:  What areas of the operations and maintenance of a building have the greatest environmental/health impacts? A:  Approximately eight billion pounds of chemicals are used just to clean the commercial and institutional buildings in the United States each year.  And, for every pound of finished product, there can be 10 times that amount used during the […]

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PA DEP: Learning and Leading the Way

Green building is flourishing from one end of Pennsylvania to the other, with plenty of activity in the middle. Governor Ridge’s Growing Greener Initiative includes a requirement for state buildings, either leased or owned, to meet green guidelines.  The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in Harrisburg has provided a model for this initiative and […]

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Bringing Sprawl to a Crawl

“Opposing sprawl does not mean opposing economic development…  It means guiding development in a manner that maximizes the economic benefits to a community.” How Superstore Sprawl Can Harm Communities A recent report indicated that over the past ten years, 4.3 million acres of prime and unique farmland were lost, amounting to nearly 50 acres every […]

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Getting the Best of Pests

Do you want to get the pests in your house to bug off without using harmful chemicals?  As one knowledgeable person said, “There is no good all-purpose repellent.”  However, there are a variety of useful methods for ridding your abode of specific pests.  We present several here, along with suggestions of where to turn for […]

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Green Spotlight on Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)

Cornerstone speaks to Bob Kobet, AIA Q:  What factors contribute to poor IAQ in buildings? A:  There are several factors that can contribute to poor IAQ, and like buildings themselves, the causes are often complex and interrelated.  Generally, I believe the causes can be grouped into two categories—interior and exterior pollutants.  Exterior pollutants such as transportation and […]

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Power to Make a Difference

“Mercury is one of the most toxic substances on earth.  Only 1/70th of a teaspoon falling into a 25-acre lake could contaminate its fish to the point that they are unsafe to eat.”  Clean Air Council You come home after a hard day’s work, flip on the lights, and turn on some music or the news.  […]

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