Sunday, November 25, 2012

7 Areas of White House Green Building Approaches Towards Achieving Sustainable Architecture.

One of the hottest topics over the last decade in the field of property development is the concept of sustainable development and green building. In fact, many contractors are now seeking green certification.

Green building is the practice of
(1) increasing the efficiency with which buildings and their sites use energy, water, and materials, and
(2) reducing building impacts on human health and the environment, through better siting, design, construction, operation, maintenance, and removal—the complete building life cycle.

The EPA defines green building as, "the practice of creating structures and using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building's life cycle from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and deconstruction."

So essentially when correctly applied, green building is meant to improve design and construction practices so that the buildings we build last longer, cost less to operate, and facilitate increased productivity and better working environments for workers or residents. But even more than that, it is also about protecting our natural resources and improving the built environment so that the planet's ecosystems, people, enterprises, and communities can live a healthier and more prosperous life.

building green may incur marginally greater upfront costs, in the long run a green home is more affordable and cost effective because the operational costs are lower when compared with conventional buildings. There are various strategies and approaches that can be employed to achieve inexpensive green building. These include reducing waste, optimal value engineering, right-sizing the structure to using solar panels, low-e windows, and energy-saving appliances, and more—all of which can help qualify the project for federal tax credits.

Green building is mainly concerned with how you design and orient your building, site selection, water conservation, energy performance, window location, and so on. However, making smart decisions regarding eco-friendly building materials (e.g., those possessing a high recycled content, low embodied energy, minimal VOCs) is an important aspect of green building, but they are only a small part of the overall equation.

Green buildings are typically more comfortable and healthier than conventional buildings. In fact, one of the chief characteristics of sustainable design is to support the well-being of building occupants by reducing indoor air pollution from exposure to contaminants (e.g., asbestos, radon, and lead), therefore avoiding complaints such as sick building syndrome (SBS) and building-related illness (BRI). This can normally be achieved by selecting materials with low off-gassing potential; proper ventilation strategies; adequate access to daylight and views; and optimum comfort through control of lighting, humidity and temperature levels.

Today, green building materials are more popular than ever and have become much more accessible. Much information—including performance data and contact details—can also be obtained from the various green product directories on the market such as the two comprehensive directories published by BuildingGreen Inc. (GreenSpec® Directory and Green Building Products). According to a recent U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC®) report, in excess of 70% of the green building research is focused on energy and atmosphere research.

Green concepts do not generally inhibit or restrict building design or space usability. Furthermore, all modern techniques that apply to conventional building can be employed when building green. A good example of this is the Condé Nast Building (officially 4 Times Square) located in Midtown Manhattan. The building boasts 48 stories and rises to 809 feet (247 m). It is environmentally friendly with gas-fired absorption chillers, and a high-performing insulating and shading curtain wall, which keeps the building's energy costs down by not requiring heating or cooling for most of the year. In addition, the building uses solar and fuel-cell technology, making it the first project of its size to incorporate these features in construction.

It is not really difficult to convert existing buildings into green/ sustainable buildings. Actually, there are numerous scientific ratings and checklists that builders can use to redesign and realign traditional buildings to meet modern green standards. Likewise, many rating systems, such as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) for existing buildings, Canada's Go Green Plus, and the Japanese CASBEE certification system, all encourage such conversions. To this end, President Obama after becoming president committed his administration to retrofitting 75% of all existing federal buildings. It is important therefore to increase public awareness of how baseless these myths are and to do all that is possible to eliminate them. The LEED Rating System is, in most cases, a totally voluntary program: You pay your fees, follow the LEED guidelines, and ultimately receive a plaque or certificate stating your building has achieved a Silver, Gold, or whichever status.

George W. Bush followed in his father's footsteps and during the eight years of his presidency, greening the White House was taken a little further with the installation of three solar systems, including a thermal setup on the pool cabana to heat water for the pool and showers, and photovoltaic panels to supplement the mansion's electrical supply. The White House greening approaches fit under several main headings:
1.   Building Envelope: Realizing that a significant amount of energy is lost through building elements, such as the roof and windows, an effort was made to analyze these and find solutions to increase their efficiency.
2.    Lighting: Energy-saving light bulbs were used wherever possible and the use of natural light was maximized. Steps were also taken to ensure lights were turned off in empty rooms.
3.    Heating, Ventilation, and Air-Conditioning (HVAC): HVAC measures were used to reduce the amount of energy needed to heat and cool the buildings while simultaneously increasing occupant comfort. Correct ventilation is necessary to help achieve this.
4.    Plug Loads: The installation of energy-saving office equipment and replacement of refrigerators and coolers with more energy-efficient models.
5.    Waste: Initiation of a comprehensive recycling program for aluminum, glass, paper, newsprint, furniture, fluorescent lamps, paint solvents, batteries, laser printer cartridges, and organic yard waste.
6.    Vehicles: A program was initiated to lease vehicles that accept cleaner-burning alternative fuels, and the White House participates in a pilot program to test electric vehicles. Many employees are encouraged to use public transportation to decrease the use of automobiles.
7.   Landscaping: White House upgrades include methods to reduce unnecessary water and pesticide use, and the increased use of organic fertilizers on the grounds of the complex were studied.

The author of the aboved writing:  Sam Kubba


Tuesday, November 6, 2012




1.     Collaborative intention: individuals stay in the Green Zone, maintain an authentic, nondefensive presence, and make a personal commitment to mutual success in their relationships.
2.     Truthfulness: individuals commit to both telling the truth and listening to the truth, and to creating a climate of openness that allows people in the relationship to feel safe enough to discuss concerns, solve problems, and deal directly with difficult issues.
3.     Self-accountability: individuals take responsibility for the circumstances of their lives and the choices they make, either through action or nonaction, and the intended and unintended or unforeseen consequences of their actions. They would rather find a solution than find someone to blame.
4.     Self-awareness and awareness of others: individuals commit to knowing themselves deeply and are willing to explore difficult interpersonal issues. They seek to understand the concerns, intentions, and motivations of others, as well as the culture and context of their circumstances.
5.     Problem-solving and negotiating: individuals use problem-solving methods that promote a collaborative atmosphere. They avoid practices that foster subtle or unconscious competition.
We’ve given you a map of the terrain, five skills, and new insight for navigating your way into more successful collaborative relationships. We hope you practice your new skills along the way. There is no better way to become more skillful at relationships than to jump in and keep practicing. It will take patience and focus, so keep at it. Don’t be in a rush to gain perfection.
These five skills are lifelong tasks, but it is possible to start anew each day. Your power is in choosing not to be overwhelmed, but to ask, “How can I take a few little steps on this journey today?” If you do that, then tomorrow will take care of itself.
So we end with action you can take today to improve your ability to be in a successful relationship.


1.     Tell your truth. Don’t be afraid to let yourself and others know what your personal truth is.
2.     Realize that you choose. Eagerly accept responsibility for what is happening in your life. Accept that you are responsible for your own happiness, and that only you can make yourself whole.
3.     Seek deeper self-awareness. Reflect, read, discuss, meditate, or involve yourself in any activity that aids your awareness of your old programs and deeper levels of being.
4.     Respond emotionally. Allow yourself to “feel.” Have your feelings rather than letting your feelings have you, or numbing out. Realize that all emotions are acceptable, but not all actions are acceptable.
5.     Give up blame and postpone judgment. We’re all trying our best to get by. Seek to understand what is happening and how you contributed to that. Attempt to listen to and clarify one another’s viewpoints and interests before defending yourself or making others wrong.
6.     Seek not to consciously hurt others. Living in the Red Zone causes others pain and takes a severe toll on the quality of our own life. Consciously living in the Green Zone daily and respecting others adds richness to our lives.
7.     Take time to envision yourself as you want to be. Motivate yourself by thinking about your future, rather than letting yourself be shoved through life by your past. Start being whom you want to be  today.
8.     Consciously change your limiting beliefs. Don’t wait for experience to change them for you.
9.     Assert yourself. Be aware of your boundaries and stand up for yourself. If you don’t, who will?
10. Be as sincere and as vulnerable as possible. Explore being “present” rather than being “right.”
11. Be in touch with your body and its wisdom. Seek alignment and connection with the head, heart, and belly. They have much to tell you if you listen.
12. Seek a higher meaning or purpose in your life. Explore ways to collaborate with others by doing something you are passionate about, in the service of others.
13. Treat your personal growth with respect, excitement, and patience, rather than judgment. Personal growth is a lifelong job. It requires commitment and compassion. Focus each day on becoming your best cheerleader rather than your worst critic.
14. Give to give. Give yourself away daily to purpose, people, places, and things you love. Stop waiting for others to love first, accept you, or make it safe for you.
15. Laugh a little. Some things are much too important to be taken seriously.


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