University of Wyoming’s Biodiversity Institute Achieves LEED Gold Status

berry center 1

The University of Wyoming’s Berry Biodiversity Conservation Center has been awarded LEED Gold certification for a variety of sustainable building features.

The university is home to Laramie’s only living roof, and is known for sustainable features including locally sourced building materials, native or adapted landscape vegetation, natural air ventilation, and building exhaust energy recovery.

The Berry Center is a 44,000 square foot building located in the northwest corner of campus, housing multiple groups and individuals that study animals, plants, and other organisms. The space contains laboratories, archive facilities, four classrooms, and office space for faculty and grad students.

berry center 2

“It’s fitting that a bunch of scientists interested in biodiversity conservation should work inside a green building, because sustainable building practices support our goal,” says Dorothy Tuthill, building administrator and associate director of the Biodiversity Institute. “We use the Berry Center as a teaching tool. We can show that green building features not only reduce human impacts on the natural world, but that the outdoor space, including our native-prairie green roof, can actually enhance biodiversity in an urban environment.”

A few notable sustainability features include racks to hold 140 bicycles, low-flow showers in changing facilities, low-emitting wood, paints, carpets, adhesives, and sealants, vast use of natural daylight, low-flow faucets and toilets, and the 3,600 square foot green roof.

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Golden Gate Valley Library Reaches LEED Gold Status

Golden Gate Valley Library

When the Golden Gate Valley Library of San Francisco was renovating and updating to accommodate the Americans with Disabilities Act, the organization figured it was also time to green up the space and achieve LEED Silver for Commercial Interiors status. The building has since reached LEED Gold status.

Tom Eliot Fisch and Paulett Taggart Architects worked together on the project, performing a number of eco-friendly upgrades. Rather than adding a ramp or addition to the street-facing exterior, the team used a courtyard on the side of the building for a contemporary style, wheelchair-accessible glass and aluminum elevator.

The team also replaced windows with the most access to sunlight with high-performance glazing to reduce solar heat gain, and restored and cleaned the rest for added efficiency while maintaining the historical structure. They also added in a high efficiency mechanical system and energy efficient lighting to reduce energy use while improving comfort for visitors. Low flow faucets reduce water use, and low VOC paints and finishes improve air quality. Existing furniture was restored, and a photovoltaic rooftop system meets 25% of the energy demand.

To top it all off there is also an improved bike parking area, a new teen area, and improved accessibility for visitors with disabilities. The reservations, completed in 2011, have received several awards for its sustainable preservation of the building, originally built in 1918.

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Excerpt from: Golden Gate Valley Library Reaches LEED Gold Status

Seadrift Residence is a Zero-Energy Home With Natural, Stylish Features

Seadrift Home

This Seadrift Residence home by CCS Architecture in San Francisco may not look out of the ordinary for a modern lakehouse, but this sleek and stylish 1,900 square foot home is as environmentally friendly as it is stylish.

The middle of the living space consists of a rotating fire orb that is designed to distribute warmth equally throughout the room. The generous amount of wood throughout the home gives a natural, inviting look while providing plenty of natural insulation.

Seadrift Home Internal

Some of the environmental benefits of this home include the photovoltaic roof that provides solar energy, smart heating technology that reduces energy consumption, efficient lighting fixtures that are still aesthetically pleasing, and an innovative low-flow water management system. All of these features turn the Seadrift Residence into a zero-energy home that does not sacrifice the environment for style.

For more photos and information on the architects of this beautiful beach home in Stinson Beach, California, visit

Seadrift Home External

Seadrift Home Internal

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BluServ™Plus Brings You Full-Service Homebuilding from Blu® Homes

Blu Homes Breezehouse Rear Elevation

Blu® Homes is now offering “start to finish” project management services so that they can more easily provide customers with precision-engineered, green prefabricated houses. BluServ™ Plus services include design, fixed bid, general contractor, schedule management, project management, and site work.

“Our clients asked us to provide this service, so we built a national team of project managers and architects to assure Blu clients the flexibility to get exactly the project design they want. They also get the simplicity of a single point of contact, the assurance of a reliable and clearly articulated building schedule and the confidence that their projects are being expertly managed by Blu’s team for the duration of the building cycle—from the initial design concept, permitting and site preparation to the final walk-through of a beautifully finished home, ” said Brett Chisholm, Blu Vice President in a recent press release. “Our focus is to create a customer experience for Blu’s clients that is second to none.”

Blu Homes builds its architecturally designed, eco-friendly prefab homes in a 250,000 square foot manufacturaing facility near Vallejo, California. Their proprietary steel framing and building technology results in economical, healthy, low-maintenance houses that are strong, beautiful, and finished on-site. Blu Homes can help make sure that your house achieves LEED certification and work with Energy Star or your local green rating system.

For more information about BluServ Plus (not available in select markets), call 888-228-8081 or visit Like Blu Homes on Facebook or follow them on Twitter @BluHomes.

Altius Architecture’s Bala Park Island Cabin

This gorgeous Bala Park Island cabin designed by Altius Architecture is a 3-bedroom, 2,200 square foot seasonal home located near Lake Muskoka in Ontario, Canada. The home is separated into two sides, consisting of a public and open kitchen, dining and living areas, and a side with private bedrooms. The roof contains clerestory windows, offering views of the nearby ridge, and the Douglas Fir roof joists allow for a clean pattern across the ceiling on the ground floor.

Two of the first energy efficiency strategies put into place for the cabin were orientation and passive solar design. Since it is not intended for use during the cold winter months, the most important factor is to keep it cool in the summer and provide enough heat during the spring and fall to maintain a comfortable temperature.

A Contraflow Masonry Heater is used for heating, which burns over 90% efficiency with radiant heat on demand. Renewable materials and finishes are also used in the design, along with low energy lighting, a solar hot water system, non-toxic materials, and water-efficient appliances.

Additional information and photos are available at

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Viridian Offers FSC Reclaimed Tabletops

Viridian Reclaimed Wood, a company we first mentioned in relation to their shipping pallet flooring, recently introduced a new range of FSC-certified, reclaimed, old-growth Douglas Fir tabletops.  Co-owner Joe Mitchoff said the tabletops come from an inventory of beams reclaimed from abandoned warehouses, decrepit docks, and old gymnasiums.

The company has three versions of these tabletops, which can also be used as wood countertops: Mixed Grain (variety of grain patterns from vertical to flat with edge detail), Rustic Original Beam Face (shows character of life as a structural beam with weathered style), and Vertical Grain (has tight growth rings and nail holes showing the reclaimed heritage).

Viridian offers these tabletops without a finish or with a low-VOC finish and with thicknesses of 1-1/2″ and up, widths of up to 48″, and lengths of up to 12′.

[+] More about FSC-certified tabletops by Viridian Reclaimed Wood.

Credits: David R. Gluns.

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NAHB Green Remodel of the Year 2012

This is one of the NAHB Remodeling Projects of the Year 2012 by Rocking Horse Development out of Phoenix.  Located in the Willo Historic District at 5701 N 10th Street, the home has been certified to the Emerald level by the NAHB. Key achievements for this rehab include improvements to curb appeal and an overall reduction of energy and water consumption by more than 50%.

The existing home was originally built by Ralph Haver in 1952, and Rocking Horse Development improved it with a new bathroom, kitchen, and 600-square-foot master bedroom.

To save energy, Rocking Horse added a new HVAC system, R38 insulation, a new duct system, and Energy Star appliances. For water savings, the home now has WaterSense fixtures, low-flow and automatic irrigation, and non-invasive plants and reduced grass turf consistent with a landscape design by The Ranch Mine (the company who did Castaway House).

Products used include Bosch appliances, a Rinnai tankless water heater, Dunn-Edwards low-VOC paint, Ann Sacks and 3-Form tile, American Standard dual-flush toilets, a Kohler tub, Kraus kitchen sink, Peerless kitchen faucet, Broan exhaust fans, Jeld-wen interior doors, Kohler shower fixtures, and lighting from Tiella, Artemide, NOVA68, and Possini.

The green home has 1,751 square feet, three bedrooms, and two bathrooms. It’s currently listed for sale for $359,900.

Credits: G Street.

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LEED Platinum Neptune Norte in Encinitas

This new home — Neptune Norte — is located in Encintas just a stone’s throw from the beach.  The $6,995,000 beach pad has five bedrooms, five bathrooms, two half bathrooms, and about 5,347 square feet, but with the green features, Neptune Norte is supposed to use about 54% less energy than a new home built to the code.

The home was designed and built by brothers, Jeff Adams of Wave Crest and Steve Adams of Adams Design Associates.  It received LEED Platinum certification with 108 points and is the third custom home in San Diego county to receive the designation.

Neptune Norte has a 5.9 kW solar PV system, vegetated green roof, a 1,700 gallon cistern to use rainwater for irrigation, Azek composite fascia and trim, Trex composite decking, and no- or low-VOC paints, sealants, and adhesives.

For energy efficiency, the home has low-e argon-filled windows (with aluminum exterior clad wood), Eco Seal air sealing, blown-in cellulose insulation, tankless water heaters, high efficiency gas furnaces, sealed ductwork, Energy Star appliances, and Lutron lighting controls, according to Wave Crest.

Neptune Norte is listed under MLS #120029933 with Jo Ann Shannon at Sea Coast Exclusive Properties.

[+] More about Neptune Norte from builder WaveCrest.

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Teragren Grows Strand Bamboo Floor Line

Teragren, one of the largest manufacturers of bamboo materials based in North America, recently expanded the popular Portfolio line of floating, strand bamboo flooring with the addition of “Portfolio Naturals.“  The four new looks — Java, Chestnut, Wheat, and Brindle — have been favorites in other Teragren product lines and expand a Portfolio line that’s quick to install.

Portfolio Naturals are made with a patented, fold-down locking system that installs over a moisture barrier or vapor retarder, depending on the subfloor, and the underlayment in what could be the “easiest to install solid floor on the planet,” according to Teragren.

Also, Teragren president Mike Boshart said the expansion of the Portfolio line is a reflection of the marketplace for stand bamboo product, as compared to traditional bamboo.  “Consumers have gravitated towards a stranded more hardwood-like look,” he said in a statement.

Portfolio Naturals are made in a 5″ plank with an average Janka test reading of 3271.  The flooring is finished with a water-based, solvent-free finish and contributes toward LEED credits as a low-emitting material.  Teragren has more than 4,000 dealers nationwide, in case you are interested in pricing for your project.

[+] More about wide-plank Portfolio Naturals by Teragren.

Photo credit: © 2012 Teragren LLC.

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LEED BeachHaus I Prefab in White Rock

This is BeachHaus I in the White Rock area of British Columbia.  The home (like the neighbor, BeachHaus II) is on the market, should you have an interest in a luxe, modern, prefabricated home with incredible views.  BeachHaus — located at 15611 Columbia Avenue — is waiting for LEED certification from the CAGBC and has three bedrooms, two full bathrooms, two half bathrooms, a two-car garage, and about 2,085 square feet.

BeachHaus is listed for sale at $1,350,000, which includes a clean design by noted architectural firm Pb Elemental, a factory-built structure of four modules by Method Homes, and the full project development by InHaus Development.

To keep energy in check, BeachHaus has dual-pane low-E windows, Control4 home automation, an air-to-water heat exchange system, energy monitoring, soy-based spray foam insulation, an automatic skylight, Bosch appliances, and ultra-efficient laundry with steam dry, etc.

For water conservation, the green prefab includes an integrated rainwater harvesting system, dual-flush Toto toilets, and xeriscape low-maintenance landscaping.  Other green products and materials include FSC-certified wenge cabinetry, carbonized bamboo hardwoods, an open bamboo staircase, and a HEPA-filtered HRV, etc.

To see more of BeachHaus I, check out this video on YouTube.

[+] More about BeachHaus I Prefab by InHaus Development.

Credits courtesy: Pb Elemental.

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