Green Building Template in Hotel Chain’s Future.

Green buildings are so mainstream now, even hotel chains are getting into the act. Marriott International revealed an ambitious green hotel portfolio last week, a plan underpinned by a green hotel prototype that is pre-certified LEED-compliant.

The new hotel design will be available in April 2010, implemented on the Courtyard Settler’s Ridge property in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. As Marriott learns from the prototype’s example, more green hotels will be built as part of a tenfold expansion planned over the next five years.

Marriott claims it can save up to $100,000 in construction expenses, and reduce design time by six months. The green hotels built using the template will use up to a fourth less energy and water compared to the average hotel.  (read more)

Obama, the Green President.

The President of the United States is serious when he says the environment is a top priority of his administration. This week, the President’s walking-the-talk on green issues comes through General Motors, and interestingly enough, the White House.

At a GM plant in Ohio, President Obama hailed the new fuel economy standards that would decrease greenhouse gases and provide clear directions for auto designers.

“For too long,” the president told the autoworkers, “our auto companies faced uncertain and conflicting fuel economy standards. That made it difficult for you to plan down the road. That’s why, today, we are launching—for the first time in history—a new national standard aimed at both increasing gas mileage and decreasing greenhouse gas pollution for all new cars and trucks sold in America. This action will give our auto companies some long-overdue clarity, stability, and predictability.”

(read more)

Earth Savers Go Pedal-Powered.

Green energy be damned, battery powered cars aren’t the only way you can tap energy in an environment-friendly manner. People are getting turned on to the original green energy – the bicycle.

Mother Earth News shows you how you can transform your morning stationary-bike session into an alternative power source – this power-bike can produce 5 to 10 amps of power continuously.

This power-bike’s builder isn’t the only one – David Butcher sells plans for his power-bike, claiming excellent results (both in terms of calories burned, and energy generated):

The Pedal Generator I ride charges batteries, that run an inverter, that produces 110v AC, that powers LED lights, the monitor on my computer, my cell phones, and charges my Roomba as well as many other small battery-powered things. It is the most inspiring workout you can imagine.


(read more)

LEED and Green Buildings: A Big Letdown?

A LEED certification is a must-have for a green building, a mark of excellence that any environmentally-conscious builder can leverage into tax credits and bragging rights.

LEED stands for “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design” – its certifications are overseen by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), a non-profit organization that is now the country’s numero uno watchdog for green and sustainable buildings.

But apparently a “gap between design and construction” is becoming apparent, according to the New York Times’ Mireya Navarro:

(read more)