February 14, 2007 

Mainstream Recognition of Groundwater System in Wisconsin

Pabst Farms is NOT brilliant. It's yet another exurban zone of tacky strip malls and low-grade McMansions. Well, is has a few minor merits - a bit more greenspace than average, for example. But basically it's another tragic waste of... [read on...]

Posted at 09:30 AM | Please feel free to comment (2)

 July 11, 2006 

LA Country Metro Going Solar

LA County has placed solar panels on two key bus depots in the San Fernando valley. The panels should save the system $185k a year in electricity costs. Plus, it's a cool public display of solar potential. For a bigger... [read on...]

Posted at 05:11 PM | Please feel free to comment (0)

 January 19, 2005 


Milwaukee: An astonishing amount of material is landfilled every year from demolition sites. This is not only wasteful and potentially hazardous, it's also an often overlooked business opportunity. A couple in Milwaukee demonstrates that you can avoid the hassel of... [read on...]

Posted at 11:45 PM

 January 13, 2005 

Iceland Goes Oil Free

Reykjavik: Iceland's geothermal riches have made it a leader in alternative energy for years, but now, by tapping deeper into that free energy source, Iceland aims to be completely oil free by 2050. Actually that's a pretty long way off,... [read on...]

Posted at 10:38 AM

 December 03, 2004 


Online: I don't normally post on things that are too far outside the realm of urban planning, but what the heck? Vivavi is a great example of where someone has managed to take eco-consiousness to a fashionable level. Let's be... [read on...]

Posted at 07:13 PM

 November 16, 2004 

Food Scraps Back to the Fields

Los Angeles: In a move that could potentially keep 5 million tons of annual waste out of California landfills, a trend has emerged wherein restaurants collect food waste for use as compost in Central Valley farms. The food scraps in... [read on...]

Posted at 10:05 PM

 September 26, 2004 

My Own Bag

San Francisco: It's hard to work up the discipline to bring your own bag to the grocery, but for small trips, anyone can agree it's emminently sensible. Even if you're not concerned about the environment, who wants yet another... [read on...]

Posted at 04:59 PM

 September 08, 2004 

Subsidised Efficient Light Bulbs

Milwaukee: Imagine a light bulb appearing, cartoon style, above someone's head. Ding! That's basically what Wisconsin did when they slapped a utilities surcharge to pay for subsidised compact flourescents, then sold to consumers at a discount. A whopping 1.3 million... [read on...]

Posted at 02:48 AM

 September 02, 2004 

Sustainability Labeling System

To come: Have you ever been frustrated by misleading labeling stating that a product is recycled, when it really isn't? Or have you ever wondered why labels like "Free trade coffe" can't be expanded to cover more areas? What might... [read on...]

Posted at 09:43 PM | Please feel free to comment (2)

 August 15, 2004 

Creative Sign Recycling

Washington: What to do with old roadsigns? Why not turn them into a funky recycling bin! This one is at the National Building Museum. The only problem is it's not very clearly labled so I imagine a lot of trash... [read on...]

Posted at 09:35 PM | Please feel free to comment (1)

 July 23, 2004 


Santa Monica: Polluted stormwater runoff is a far bigger problem than people realize. The Santa Monica Urban Runoff Recycling Facility is the first project of its kind designed to treat dry weather runoff and return it to the city as... [read on...]

Posted at 03:30 PM

 April 20, 2004 

Solar Batteries for Cell Phones

Phoenix: At Solfest this weekend, I ran into a guy talking on a regular Nokia cell phone with what looked like solar panels on it. Astonished, I asked him about it, and sure enough, the lithium-ion battery had been altered... [read on...]

Posted at 04:42 AM | Please feel free to comment (8)

 April 14, 2004 

Renewable Energy = Jobs

Berkeley: In an article straight from the annals of Natural Capitalism, Berkeley's Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory has issued a report tying job growth directly to the universal adoption of renewable sources for energy. "Because Fuel Cell Capital of the... [read on...]

Posted at 11:58 PM | Please feel free to comment (2)

 April 04, 2004 

Permacultural Simplicity Illustrated

Tucson: The aerial photo above illustrates something both fascinating and incredibly simple. Sometime during the great depression, a works project went out into the desert near Tucson and built a series of swales. They're little more than mounds of dirt... [read on...]

Posted at 06:21 AM | Please feel free to comment (7)

 March 30, 2004 

Permacultural Parking Lots

Tucson:If you can't have a permeable parking lot, then the next best thing is to get rid of curbs and put your water runoff into a useful place. The Sonora Desert Museam, near Tucson, did just that. The lot is... [read on...]

Posted at 02:00 AM | Please feel free to comment (1)

 March 03, 2004 

Waterway Preservation

Scottsdale, AZ: The design of Foothills Academy Prep School, also notable for being one of the largest straw-bale buildings ever constructed, includes a preserved desert wash in front of the school. Typically, small waterways have been buried or lined with... [read on...]

Posted at 04:25 PM

 February 25, 2004 

The Toilet/Sink Combo

Phoenix: Looking for ways to optimize water usage without setting up a costly greywater system? This fabulous toilet attachment not only flushes a super-low 1.5 gallon volume of water, but when it refills itself, it does so via a... [read on...]

Posted at 03:53 AM | Please feel free to comment (15)

 February 18, 2004 

Earthwater Stencils

Your Watershed: I've seen these stencils all over southern California and Florida, the idea being to discourage people from dumping polutants down the drain, but they can obviously be used in any community to raise awareness of the relationship between... [read on...]

Posted at 05:42 PM | Please feel free to comment (1)

 February 04, 2004 

Local Harvest Finder

Your Neighborhood: One of the most important, and often overlooked, things to consider when "buying green" is the distance your food traveled to get to you. You can buy fabulous organic produce, but if it's shipped 1000s of miles (like... [read on...]

Posted at 11:07 PM

 December 11, 2003 

Big Solar Plan in Fresno

Fresno, CA: In what is supposed to cut the city's utility bills by 60 grand a year, Fresno is unveiling a massive solar panels on the roofs of several major city-owned buildings. [article here] The project was made possible by... [read on...]

Posted at 06:10 PM

 November 26, 2003 

Greenest Building of them all?

Santa Monica: Not exactly sure how you rank buildings for their "greenness", but the new headquarters for the NRDC (National Resources Defense Council) achieved the following: "uses 60 to 75 percent less energy than a conventional building of its size,... [read on...]

Posted at 08:24 PM | Please feel free to comment (1)

 November 23, 2003 

Permeable Parking Lots

Erie, PA: Facing requirements to reduce storm water run-off, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Erie chose a permeable-surface for their parking lot, allowing rainwater to soak through the lot instead of directly into nearby waterways. Because of local regulations, this... [read on...]

Posted at 06:21 PM | Please feel free to comment (3)

 November 18, 2003 

Thoughtful Use of Gambling Revenue

Crandon, WI: Legalized gambling really isn't that bad. At least in the hands of thoughtful management. Using some of their massive gaming revenue, two Wisconsin Indian tribes have purchased the land rights to a huge and highly unpopular proposed mine... [read on...]

Posted at 08:21 PM

 July 28, 2003 

More on Green Roofs

Milwaukee: As described in this article in the Journal Sentinel, the sewerage district in Milwaukee is implementing a large scale green roof on its main property "mainly designed to demonstrate how much rainwater and polluted runoff you can keep out... [read on...]

Posted at 10:55 AM

 January 24, 2003 

Greening the Fleet

Boston: The state of Massachusetts has proposed cutting its fleet of SUVs in favor of more environmentally responsible (and cheaper) vehicles. They also propose scrapping some vehicles altogether in favor of using a car sharing scheme known as 'zipcar'. In... [read on...]

Posted at 04:13 PM

 January 08, 2003 

Photovoltaic Investment

San Francisco: The Moscone Center has just unveiled plans to install a massive photovoltaic array on the roof. Despite the fog (though SOMA is one of the sunnier parts of town), the project is expected to pay for itself in... [read on...]

Posted at 07:47 PM

 January 01, 2003 

Wetland Filtration in a Box

Milwaukee: The Alterra coffee house on Milwaukee's lakefront has created a tiny artificial wetland to filter runoff from the shop's parking lot. Water from the lot flows through a variety of plants, and then into a plastic bin full of... [read on...]

Posted at 04:10 PM

 December 20, 2002 

Materials Reuse

San Francisco: Building REsources is a non-profit firm in San Francisco who collect, via donation, used materials and architectural remnants from building and demolition sites. They organize it all, and sell it. Kind of like a junkyard, but with a... [read on...]

Posted at 06:13 PM

 December 16, 2002 

More on Green Roofs

The City: Continuing the discussion on Green Roofs, here is an interesting article from Metropolis mentioning two more interesting benefits that go beyond the building itself: Reduced ambient summer temperature, thus less need for air-conditioning, and in turn less energy... [read on...]

Posted at 02:18 PM | Please feel free to comment (1)

The Smart Car

The Motorway: This is the famous "Smart Car". A miniscule 2 seater that supposedly gets up to 100mpg. I tried one out on Saturday and it's every bit as roomy and capable as a regular car and even accelerates... [read on...]

Posted at 12:41 PM | Please feel free to comment (9)

 December 11, 2002 

Decent Gas Mileage

Europe: This is the Opel Station wagon, don't remember the model, Diesel powered and a completely basic, but quite adequate automobile. I drove around in it for a week in Austria and covered about 1000km, which despite the cost of... [read on...]

Posted at 06:54 PM | Please feel free to comment (1)

 December 05, 2002 

Grass Roofs

Munich: Well, this particular building is not the most attractive grass-roofed structure I've ever seen, but I thought it was a nifty because of how it imbeds itself in the earth, hobbit-like. This kind of building not only let's... [read on...]

Posted at 11:13 AM | Please feel free to comment (8)

 November 01, 2002 

The Human Footprint

EARTH: I just discovered a really remarkable set of maps produced by the Wildlife Conservation Society and Columbia University. They are entitled "The Human Footprint" and basically map out the direct physical impact that Humans have had on the planet.... [read on...]

Posted at 12:39 PM | Please feel free to comment (1)