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News & Stories That Make a Difference for Your Home


Sun-centered Bend house wins top green construction award (photos)

Ross Chandler/Shelter Studio Sun-centered Bend house wins top green construction award (photos)

“This house was chosen as the best of the best because it perfectly fuses building science and artful design…It’s not only super energy efficient, wildfire resilient and durable, but also just stunning to look at. Great siting, nice views. It checks all the boxes.” 

Matt Power, editor-in-chief of Green Builder Media. “

Designer Jason Offutt of the Shelter Studio in Bend and homeowner Gretchen Rowe, who filled in as the general contractor and interior designer, poured so many environmentally friendly features into the structure that it earned the Home of the Year award from Green Builder Magazine, a publication focused on creative solutions to wasteful construction.

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When Green Infrastructure Is an Anti-Poverty Strategy

In Portland, inspiring stories of how resident leaders — mostly lower-income, non-English-speaking, stay-at-home mothers — push for change in their community.

A Living Cully Walks community bike ride.

NOTE: This content courtesy of nextcity.org. The following is an excerpt from “Resilience for All: Striving for Equity Through Community-Driven Design,” by Barbara Brown Wilson, published by Island Press. In it, the author chronicles examples around the U.S. of community-engaged design led by historically marginalized populations advocating for equitable, positive change. Here, she explains how nonprofit groups in northeastern Portland, Oregon, have fought displacement and pushed for safer streets.

“On the way to the elementary school there is not a pedestrian crossing and no sidewalks. If you want to walk your kids to school, you have to share the road with the cars, and if it rains, it covers the whole edge of the street, and you do not have anywhere to walk besides the shared area with the cars. When I took my son to school, I tried to stay close to the fences where the houses were, because if a car passed it would spray me with water from the puddles. … Also, in a lot of areas there was no lighting. It was really dangerous in the summertime, because there would be gangs that would come at night and be in the dark areas. You would not feel safe to go to the park or go to the schools. In the streets it is safer, but there are lots of potholes and things that could make a stroller fall over.” —Teresa Raigoza Castillo, Cully Neighborhood Leader

Cully, a neighborhood in Northeast Portland, is among the most ethnically diverse in Oregon. It is also marked by poverty, rapid gentrification, and inequitable access to quality public infrastructure. Many green infrastructure project teams flounder when trying to couple social justice with their environmental goals, but in Cully green infrastructure provision is linked explicitly with wealth building and anti-displacement goals through a coalition called Living Cully. Living Cully is the brainchild of Verde, a community-based nonprofit with a mission to “build environmental wealth through Social Enterprise, Outreach, and Advocacy.” Using the momentum and resources in Portland’s EcoDistrict approach, but focused on grassroots, resident leadership to drive urban change, Living Cully is now a robust network of community organizations and resident leaders all working in concert to build local resident capacity, improve local infrastructure, and fight the forces of displacement those improvements might otherwise bring.

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Take a whirl: Portland’s famous rotating tiny house is for rent

Maybe you’ve checked into a tiny house before, but have you ever stayed in a mini modern dwelling that rotates so you can chase the sun or change your view?

Ethan Caughey and Becca Kennedy installed a revolutionary, rentable tiny house in North Portland’s Boise neighborhood.

On one end of their property is the original 1905 Craftsman they restored as their family home. In the middle is a landscaped seating area with a fire pit. And tucked into a corner near the street is the cool, spinnable studio.Portland architect Ben Kaiser sells plans to the tiny, twirling house he designed. Or you can test out the idea at $96 a night.

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Solar Data Project Shows How Sun-Powered Electricity Has Spread Across Oregon

SALEM — Over the past two decades, solar electricity in Oregon has moved beyond residential rooftops, with more and more electricity coming from commercial and industrial projects. Visualizing this rise in renewable solar electricity generated statewide is now easier than ever thanks to a new Oregon Solar Dashboard launched by the Oregon Department of Energy.

The Oregon Solar Dashboard shows the rapid expansion of solar facilities between 1999 and 2018. Nineteen years ago, only a handful of residential arrays were scattered around Oregon. Now, the most current dataset available shows how quickly – and where – residential, commercial, and utility-scale solar facilities have populated throughout the state.

The dashboard also shows the dramatic decrease in solar electricity’s cost per watt (75 percent reduction since 1999!), the increase in the sizes of residential systems over the years, the state’s largest utility-scale projects, and the amount of solar located in each utility’s territory.

The Oregon Department of Energy worked with regional utility, solar industry, and community partners to develop the dashboard as part of a larger effort to quantify trends in the energy sector and make data available to stakeholders in user-friendly formats. The work was made possible in part through a federal grant provided by the U.S. Department of Energy; known regionally as Solar Plus, the project includes partners in Oregon and Washington working together on strategies related to community solar, grid resilience, and energy planning.

ODOE relied on its own data as well as data from Portland General Electric, Pacific Power, Idaho Power, Eugene Water and Electric Board, and Ashland Municipal Electric Utility. Regional partners include Energy Trust of Oregon, Renewable Northwest, Oregon Solar Energy Industries Association, and the Northwest Power and Conservation Council, which supported the project through data sharing and design support.

The dashboard is still a work in progress. ODOE will continue to work with stakeholders to update the data over time and make improvements. If you have comments or suggestions about the project, please send an email to: [email protected].

Portland gives owners of large buildings until May 2020 to report energy use

The Maine Historical Society Building and adjacent Longfellow House are two of the buildings that have until May 2020 to supply the city with a report of their energy use. Michael Kelley / The Forecaster

Sustainability Coordinator Troy Moon believes the data will help the sustainability office “understand how commercial buildings use energy,” and “help us identify buildings that use more energy than similar properties and direct their owners toward resources that can help them make energy-efficient upgrades.”

PORTLAND — In November 2016, the City Council adopted an energy benchmarking ordinance that requires owners of buildings with at least 20,000 square feet of single-tenant floor space to report their energy and water usage to the city’s sustainability office.

Aura on Center Street will be one of close to 200 properties across the city that will be required to benchmark its energy use. Michael Kelley / The Forecaster

The goal was to have that data back to the city by 2019. But the council relaxed that deadline last November. According to Councilor Spencer Thibodeau, chairman of the Sustainability and Transportation Committee, building owners argued they couldn’t get the data from Central Maine Power Co.

On Monday, the council gave the property owners until May 2020 to report the information.

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Clean Energy Solutions Joins Affordable Housing Initiative in L.A. to Alleviate Housing Crisis

Leading Solar Energy Provider Works with City Officials to Create Cost-Effective Accessory Dwelling Units in Effort to Solve Housing Shortage

NEWS PROVIDED BY: Clean Energy Solutions, Jul 08, 2019, 08:32 ET

LOS ANGELES, July 8, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Clean Energy Solutions, one of the fastest-growing solar installers in the U.S., is now taking on Los Angeles and California’s affordable housing shortage with the launch of a solar energy program for accessory dwelling units (ADUs), which are also known as granny flats, in-law units, backyard cottages or garage apartments. Together, Clean Energy Solutions and the City of Los Angeles will combat the growing housing issue in LA that is driving rent costs and spiking property costs statewide.

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The food we throw in the trash could transform the way our kitchens are powered

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Dump the AC, Use These 3 Green Cooling Solutions While Building Your Home!

July 1, 2019 The Better India

Photo by Douglas LeMoine/CC BY-ND 2.0

“Everything we build from now onwards has to be eco-sensitive, energy efficient, cost efficient, people centered and value based. Otherwise we will lose the game,”

Award winning architect G Shankar, sharing solutions that can cool houses without ACs

Summer is in full swing and air conditioning units are working hard to keep people cool. As our planet warms, the demand for space cooling (air conditioning and refrigeration) will rise. With increasing incomes and standards of living, more nations are starting to increase investments in air conditioning to keep their citizens comfortable. Dangerous heat waves may become more prevalent, and people will need to find ways to stay cool and safe as climate change continues.

“It’s not too hard to imagine a vicious cycle in which more hot weather begets more demand for air conditioning ever and thus, even more, need for power. That, in turn, means more [carbon dioxide] emissions and even hotter temperatures. That negative feedback loop exists at a local level too. Air-conditioning units funnel heat outside, exacerbating the so-called ‘urban heat island’ effect, which makes cities warmer than the countryside,”

Bloomberg columnist Chris Bryant.

While our planet is warming, using and producing air conditioning equipment exacerbates climate change. The organic compound Hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) is the primary refrigerant used in air conditioning and refrigeration units. HFCs are a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide and are leaked anywhere from manufacturing air conditioning equipment, to installation, to the disposal of old units. Additionally, air conditioning and refrigeration units run on electricity that relies primarily on fossil fuels to generate power. As the need for cooling rises, so too will the need for electricity. The air conditioning market is facing major growth in the years to come, and According to the International Energy Agency, the number of air-conditioning units will exponentially grow from 1.6 billion to 5.6 billion by 2050 because of increasing urbanization, rising population, higher incomes, and falling AC prices. Fortunately, there are many solutions to keep people cool and comfortable while also reducing climate pressures.

Read on to find out three housing solutions you can adopt as an alternative to using AC to cool your space:

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The Green New Deal could change the way America builds — here’s how

June 24th, 2019Fast Company

[Source Photo: Mischa Keijser/Getty Images]

To meet the goals of the resolution, the design and construction industries will retrofit millions of structures and build many more. In the process, they could create a more just and resilient country

Original Article:  https://www.fastcompany.com 

BY KELSEY CAMPBELL-DOLLAGHAN | Whether or not the U.S. decides to take action on climate change, the shape of the country—its towns, offices, homes, schools, roads, farms, and more—is on the brink of a radical transformation. This transformation could be borne out in two ways. The first is external: Escalating storms, floods, droughts, mass migration, food scarcity, and economic instability could dramatically alter the physical landscape and economy. The other is internal: A national effort to retrofit millions of buildings and rethink the way communities are designed could help Americans withstand the ravages of climate change and make the country more equitable.

The resolution known as the Green New Deal, published by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey in February, wants to bring about the latter. The Green New Deal framework describes the monumental changes needed to decarbonize the American economy by meeting 100% of our energy demands with zero-emission sources in the next decade. It will require overhauling major industries like energy and agriculture, but also transforming America’s buildings and construction sector.

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Summer Living – Deck!

What a great project. We added a cedar deck with wrap-around step (which doesn’t require a railing). The covered area is clear rigid plastic and is waterproof. Which you’d want if you had a soft comfy BED on your deck!