Happy 96th Birthday To The National Park Service!

The National Park Service turns 96 years old today. Their official website invites everyone to visit any of the 397 national parks to help celebrate “the big day” with many locations offering special events.

The National Park Service was signed into existance on August 25, 1916 by President Woodrow Wilson after a successful publicity campaign headed by Stephen Mather.

“Established in 1916, the National Park Service was created to care for all of the national parks throughout the country. Each park represents an important part of our collective identity. Some parks commemorate notable people and achievements, others conserve magnificent landscapes and natural wonders, and all provide a place to have fun and learn.

The extraordinary mission of the National Park Service extends even further than the parks, however. The work of NPS reaches into communities across the country where they work with partners to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities that revitalize neighborhoods and enhance the quality of life.”

We have several National Parks in Florida, including the Big Cypress National Preserve, Biscayne National Park, and the Everglades National Park.

 

EDIT: Unfortunately, celebrations planned for the South Florida National Parks have been cancelled due to approaching Tropical Storm Isaac.

Would You Live Here? Corn Cob House Wins Design Awards

Would you live here? This award winning project from the Archi<20 competition has been characterized as a “corn cob house” and the description does include mention of a “night space” – presumably for sleeping. It seems to me that the word “pavillion” used by ArchDaily is more appropriate. The structure effectively combines the neccessary space for drying the corn cobs with a useful working and resting space for those working in the fields.

photo courtesy of StAndré-Lang Architectes
photo courtesy of StAndré-Lang Architectes

I did like the concept of designing a living space to follow the sun’s movements:

Characterized by the presence of  a light shaft in its middle, the indoor set-up has consequently been chosen according to the Sun’s position and its daily East-to-West cycle. The furniture, consisting of just one block extending around the entire house, integrates the needs of the different daily activities. To the North – the entrance side- a low-ceiling volume (night space) leads to a working one in the Eastern part of the building and to a more generous space in the Southern part, opening up to the sky. On the facade, the rythm of the openings depends on the Sun’s position as well: as a matter of  fact, the design is closely linked to all the natural elements.

Architects: StAndré-Lang Architectes Location: 67600 , Design Team: Bastien Saint-André, Maxime Lang Project Year: 2012 Project Area: 20 sqm Photographs: Courtesy of StAndré-Lang Architectes

Miami Culinary Institute – great food, great fun and green!

Wednesday night’s monthly meeting of the US Green Building Council Miami branch combined virtually all of my passions – urban Miami, real estate, green building, sustainability & environmental consciousness, great food, and bubbly champagne. We met at the Miami Culinary Institute, located at 415 NE 2 AV in downtown Miami, for a short presentation by Chef John Richards, director of MCI. While we sipped our champagne, Chef John talked about the history and purpose of the Miami Culinary Institute.

MCI is part of Miami Dade College’s Wolfson Campus and was designed by Atkins North America. “A model of sustainability and urban stewardship, Miami Dade College’s eight-story Miami Culinary Institute has achieved LEED Gold certification. Atkins’ environmentally conscious approach to the building’s design included unique features such as rainwater harvesting, greywater harvesting from dishwashers, recycled solid composting for the institute’s vegetable gardens, low-consumption plumbing fixtures, and numerous recycled-content material selections—including high-end finishes.”

In addition to programs for degree-seeking MDC students and professional development courses for those in the industry, MCI also offers a wide variety of classes for anyone interested in improving their culinary skills, and that is what we did last night. Breaking into groups of four, each group prepared one course of the dinner that we ultimately enjoyed eating. With much laughter , my group learned how to prepare poached pear with champagne sabayon. Between separating the egg yolks with our hands and having a whisking race to finish the sauce, hilarity was the prime ingredient. (Did I mention we were sipping on champagne?)

With lessons and supervision provided by the ever-patient Chef Travis Jameson Starwalt, we also learned how MCI sources much of their food locally (within 350 miles), as well as minimizing, recycling and/or composting the waste. Many of the greens are grown in MCI’s on-site garden, while the delicious pork tenderloins came from Niman Ranch – described by Chef Travis as “a farm co-op that is raising and treating their animals with the utmost care and respect!”

The Miami Culinary Institute is also home to Tuyo, an award winning fusion restaurant on the top floor overlooking downtown Miami and the bay. Tuyo’ vision statement includes “embracing farm-to-table and sustainability practices that safeguard the health of the people and the planet.”

From the design of the structure to its on-going operation; from the Tuyo restaurant to the chefs teaching classes – the passion driving those involved with the Miami Culinary Institute was neatly expressed by Chef Travis when he told me, “It’s up to our generation to lead the charge in the war against commercialization and convenience.”

The Politics of Clean Energy: Conservative South Carolina Republican Going Nationwide with Clean Energy Plan

The political persuasion of a clean energy advocate shouldn’t matter, but former South Carolina Republican Congressman Bob Inglis says it lost him an election. Here is his plan:


Conservative South Carolina Republican Going Nationwide with Clean Energy Plan (via Clean Technica)

  Eliminate subsidies for developing new clean energy technologies while at the same time adding the cost of pollution, global warming, and wars to the price of fossil fuels. It’s a variation on a theme that’s been voiced by energy experts and a variety of others, including politicians — a “…

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The Next Trend in Green Construction: The Net Zero Building



The Next Trend in Green Construction: The Net Zero Building (via http://greenbuildingelements.com)

It’s an exciting time to be in the renewable energy or green constriction industries. Year after year, new standards bodies are formed and enable all kinds of exciting new building standards and adoption of eco-friendly materials. In 2012, green building trends are moving solidly in the direction…

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Historic Trees Donated to Future Site of Miami’s Museum Park

Gumbo Limbo tree at DeSoto National Monument in Florida (photo credit: Wiki Commons)
Gumbo Limbo tree at DeSoto National Monument in Florida (photo credit: Wiki Commons)

NBC 6 South Florida reports that Swire Properties has donated forty trees from their Brickell CitiCentre site to the future Pérez Art Museum Miami site. The trees, including historic oaks, gumbo limbos and strangler figs, range from 25 to 150 years old.

Arborist Lisa Hammer is overseeing the excavation and the loading the giant trees onto a barge to transport them through the Miami River to the future location of the museum.

Hammer determined the best ways to excavate the trees without causing them harm or shock, Swire Properties said.

“I was responsible for making sure the trees had enough water, no symptoms of stress, and giving the trees treatments that were deemed necessary, such as fertilizer,” said Hammer, who has been practicing for 25 years and has a master’s degree from Florida International University.
She will continue to monitor the maintenance of the trees for one year.

Element Miami International Airport to be LEED Certified

miami urban green
element Miami, 3525 NW 25th Street · Miami, FL 33142

News Release: February, 21 2012 Element Hotels

Element Miami International Airport Opens

“With its own combination of beautiful natural elements and singular style, Miami is a perfect fit for the Element brand,” said Brian McGuinness, Senior Vice President of Specialty Select Brands for Starwood. “Element offers guests a bright, energizing environment that’s conducive to both work and play, all while affording easy access to the city and to the airport.”

The Element brand made history with its 2008 launch. It is the first major hotel brand to mandate that all properties pursue the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification for high-performance buildings. The Element Miami International Airport features all the brand’s signatures, including:

  • Rise, Element’s hearty and healthy complimentary breakfast
  • Motion, a state-of-the-art, 24-hour fitness center
  • Relax, complimentary evening receptions
  • Restore, a gourmet food pantry
  • A 791-square-foot meeting room with modular furnishings, flexible layout and state-of-the-art technology that can be customized to meet and business or social needs
  • ChargePoint electric vehicle charging station
  • Dynamic gathering spaces, from a lobby flooded with natural light to a multi-storied window wall and from an outdoor fire pit, to water features and a barbecue
  • Light filled guest rooms with a fluid design of modular furniture, swiveling flat-screen televisions, large desks with open shelving, and custom-designed closets
  • The signature Heavenly® Bed
  • Spa-inspired bathrooms with an invigorating rain-shower and dual-flush toilet
  • Fully equipped kitchens featuring filtered water, ENERGY STAR-rated appliances and utensils to prepare a gourmet meal

“We’re very excited to bring Element’s fusion of style, personal wellbeing and sustainability to Miami, and we think guests will appreciate having a fresh option so close to MIA,” said Lew Wiens, President of True North Hotel Group, the hotel’s management company. “Our location adjacent to such a key transportation hub makes Element Miami unbeatable for business and leisure travelers alike.”

What is Santa’s Carbon Footprint?

While the song talks about a white Christmas, the good people over at Ethical Ocean having been dreaming of a green Christmas. They decided to take a look at Santa’s carbon footprint, and have even offered some great tips to help Santa have a more environmentally friendly holiday. Enjoy!

Santa's Carbon Footprint Infographic

via Ethical Ocean – eco friendly products, fair trade and vegan shopping.

Would You Live Here? The Bioscleave House in the East Hamptons

Format Gallery

bioscleavehouse

Bioscleave House, also known as the LifeSpan-Extending Villa, was designed by artists Arakawa + Gins, with architects Lawrence Marek and Aryeh Siegel. I think engineers Dewhurst, MacFarlane and Partners deserve  a lion’s share of the credit for figuring out how to build the 3700 square foot home as envisioned.  Completed in 2008, the 3 bedroom, 2 bath house is an example of their “reversible destiny architecture,” the philosophy that the design of a structure can “counteract the usual human destiny of having to die.” The idea is to create a living space that challenges the occupant with physical and mental exercise in order to stay young – sort of a whole body Sudoku.

biosbath

bioskitchen

Cinema Green tonight at Miami Beach Cinematheque

The Environmental Coalition of Miami & the Beaches and Cinematheque on Miami Beach invites you Cinema Green movie night tonight at 7 and 9 pm.  First, “follow the story of Jen and Grant as they accept the challenge of creating no waste for an entire year” in the “The Clean Bin Project.” Then enjoy “One Beach,” a look at the importance of keeping our Florida beaches “Barefoot Friendly.” There will be an introduction by Luiz Rodrigues, Michael Laas and Commissioner Jerry Libbin, plus a question and answer session with One Beach cast members Barbara de Vries and Leigh Emerson, and Ben Clutter from the Surfrider Foundation.

Cinematheque is located at 1130  Washington Ave on Miami Beach. $10 for General Admission, $7 for Cinematheque, Surfirder & ECOMB Members (must present ECOMB Green Card). FREE for Students K – 8, $5 for High School Students (must present ID). Students can now get 2 Community Service Hours for watching Cinema Green Movies! TICKETS SOLD ONLINE OR AT THE DOOR  CLICK HERE TO FOR MORE INFORMATION