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Hello COTE Community! In all of the happenings of the month you may have missed this one item. On June 22, 2016, President Obama said “Here in America, folks should have the confidence to know that the laundry detergent we buy isn’t going to make us sick, the mattresses our babies sleep on aren’t going to harm them” and signed the Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act ( LCSA ) into law. This provided, for the first time in decades, a much-needed reform to the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The original Act was meant to have the EPA assure Americans that the products we buy and ...
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Scientists predict that extreme meteorological events are becoming more frequent and destructive. For instance late last year, Typhoon Haiyan, the strongest storm recorded in the world so far, decimated central island cities in the Philippines. Recent data sourced from the Japanese Meteorological Agency indicated extreme weather occurrences across the globe. These pose critical challenges to our current and future rebuilding programs in cities where extreme weather has become the new “benchmark for disaster prevention,” as suggested during a congress meeting in the Philippines by the UN Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation ...
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Read original article here . (Image by SXC) Our bodies are covered in skin that helps protect and regulate our internal temperature levels. In a similar fashion, a building’s envelope protects its internal functions and acts as a transitional space from outside. But unlike our skin, which is predetermined for us by Nature, a building’s facade can be changeable and designed to custom specifications. The challenge for architects is: How do we go beyond the perception that building facades are merely two-dimensional surfaces? Just like our bodies, imagine if buildings had beneficial micro-organisms in their ducts and pipes that could ...
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Reflecting on one of the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) Repositioning themes, “Innovate” inspires ideas on building a better world. It brings to mind a new blog series called “ Building as Unusual ” by Geekie-Award-winning digital media platform Earth 2 Hub . It involves insights that are influencing the discourse of architecture and the built environment: “In an era of rapid scientific and technological advancement, the radical ideas of yesteryear are becoming the reality of the present. 3D printing, adaptive architecture, biomimetics, synthetic biology and living technologies are challenging and driving new aesthetics, ...
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( View original article at the Coverings Blog ) Ceramic tile has been a popular building material for over 4,000 years. It played a prominent role in the history of building construction from the oldest pyramids in Egypt to the tile mosaics of Spain. We have seen century old buildings inlaid with it, proving its longevity and strength. Gruell Parc Trencadis by Antonio Gaudi (image by lloydi.com) Catalan modernist architect Antonio Gaudi leveraged tile in an unconventional method in the Güell Parc project where Trencadis was ubiquitous. Trencadis (or Pique Assiette ) is a mosaic technique that utilizes broken tile chards, which ...
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This Water

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This Wa
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Sustainable architecture is a general term that describes environmentally conscious design techniques in the field of architecture. Sustainable architecture is framed by the larger discussion of sustainability and the pressing economic and political issues of our world. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainable_architect
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(read related article from Inhabitat ) (view original article here ) Kingspan Insulated Panels North America , a global manufacturer of insulated metal panels for building construction, announced today the launch of Generation Kingspan™, a contest for architecture students. The contest encourages U.S. and Canadian students to create an innovative, Net-Zero Energy, and low-impact environmentally designed building using Kingspan’s Insulated Metal Panels (IMPs) and reflecting Kingspan’s sustainable corporate philosophy. The contest starts August 1, 2012, and will culminate with a Grand Prize winner selection in November at the Greenbuild ...
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( read original article here ) by Merwin Videna Coverings — The Ultimate Tile + Stone Experience — has invited Michael P Johnson, Michael P Johnson Design Studio and Lira Luis, AIA, RIBA, LEED AP BD+C, ALLL to be speakers at its annual conference and exposition coming to Orlando, Florida, April 17-20, 2012. Michael and Lira’s session entitled Tile: From Decorative to Sustainable will address ways to achieve a sustainable building by using tile beyond the decorative. About Michael P. Johnson Modern art is modern because it is critical. Michael’s deep care for a solid, modern, ethical architecture is rooted in and ...
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Native Plant stigma

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In California there are many advocates of using native plants for landscaping. California has a diverse and beautiful native plant palette, with many endemics. More frequent use of natives is desirable environmentally due to the need to conserve water, thwart invasive species, and promote native fauna (pollinators, etc.). The suggestion that native plants are ugly may have roots because many natives do poorly in containers and are not favored by nurseries; most natives thrive on neglect and are over-cared receiving too much water and fertilization; many natives respond poorly to trimming. The desire for manicured, controlled landscaping is in conflict with ...
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As a continuation to my previous commentary on the IGCC; this article involves two aspects: a) the effort by a municipality to perform permit-reviews; and, b) the effort by the A/E to prepare documents for permit-submission. a) Getting a building permit in the City of Houston (my hometown jurisdiction – C of H) is a pain. That’s because the C of H utilizes a “thorough-plan-review” system, which gives broad powers to the plans examiners, and less power to the field-inspectors. Unfortunately, the pain increased when the city underfunded its pension obligations, and many experienced plan-examiners / inspectors “retired” to take advantage ...
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To continue my previous blogs: The IGCC is totally unnecessary…there, I said it! 1 – The IGCC is totally unnecessary – It’s a stretch to the meaning of “construction / building codes”, and 2 - The IGCC is totally unnecessary - It costs architects in fees… …As everyone knows, we live in a very litigious society; and, without question, the threat and reality of litigation impacts what we draw, say, and even imply as professionals. Much of the basis for litigation comes from what we “should do” or what we “should have done” – while compared to “what another prudent architect would do, in similar situations, in the ...
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As a follow-up to my previous two blogs “The IGCC is totally unnecessary…” I’ve continued with elaboration on my second point (stated in the blog title)… if you’ve never read the International Green Construction Code (IGCC), I hope the following information will be an eye-opener – helping you to see how the IGCC will cost architects money ( in fees )… To save space on AIA-Knowledge Net, I’ve listed the IGCC inclusions that require documentation and submission to “code authorities” on my blog – “Orange To Green” – click the link: http://greenhermes1.blogspot.com I’ve attempted to list the submission requirements and the “professional” ...
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As a follow-up to my previous blog “ The IGCC is totally unnecessary…there, I said it! ” - I’ve continued with elaboration on my first point (stated in the blog title)…if you’ve never read the International Green Construction Code (IGCC), I hope the following information will be an eye-opener, and you’ll spend time reviewing the nuts and bolts of the IGCC… As lawbrain.com states: “Building codes have been used by governmental units for centuries to ensure that buildings remain safe and sanitary. Early settlements in the United States drafted codes for such purposes as restrictions on the use of wooden chimneys to prevent fire. The early codes were ...
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It’s taken me quite a while to formulate my opinion, but after careful review of the first and second drafts of the International Green Construction Code (IGCC), I keep asking, “ why ?” Don’t get me wrong. I’m a supporter of sustainability – I’m a LEED AP, and I provide LEED consulting services. I believe strongly that buildings should be site-friendly, energy efficient, water stingy, indoor healthy, and materially responsible; however, I don’t believe that the “building code” is the place to mandate such items – and therein, is the basis of my opinion… As the “Jackal” once told his employers, “you just can’t afford to get emotional” – I, ...
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To those who want to exclude "politics" from our discussions should realize that according to a number of dictionaries it is simply dealing with government policy. Without political involvement in our profession we would have no building or zoning codes, no environmental or safety regulations, or any other governmental involvement in our daily practice of architecture. We are inseparably tied to both policy and nature. All that we do is impacted by both and in turn will be effected by us. In this country we have the right and obligation to influence policy thus politics. Some from the left others on the right and a host in the middle need to be involved ...
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"Someone in Beijing must be laughing."- said Fareed Zakaria on his show today, GPS on CNN (airs Sunday mornings)- see link on comment #4. He was talking about how China is going to spend 1.5 trillion dollars to invest in strategic industries. And what about us? What are we doing here in the U.S. to rebuild our aging, inadequate infrastructure? On CNBC’s Squawk Box, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman discussed the need for us to simultaneously balance the budget, reduce the deficit, handle the 2 current wars, execute economic reform, and tackle the need to rebuild America's infrastructure . Here is the link to his (December 3, 2010) ...
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What you wear determines your comfort. With the changing of seasons, so does our clothing change. The same is true for building envelopes. These provide more than enclosures to interior spaces. They act as transitions from the exterior to the interior. Conditions from the outside determine our intended comfort conditions for the inside space. The building skin, just like clothes, play an important role in regulating our comfort level. It is critical for architects and designers to understand how the selection of materials, its life cycle cost, and how it performs with the rest of the systems will impact the operations of a building. The advent of Building ...
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A number of studies from the GSA, the University of San Diego, CB Richard Ellis, and the Technical University of Denmark have investigated the various ways sustainable design and construction strategies impact employee productivity in office environments. There is some evidence to suggest that a narrow approach to sustainable design that only focuses on energy efficiency may actually decrease productivity if indoor air quality and other environmental concerns aren't properly address. Visit the LS3P Knowledge Center to view a more detailed analysis of these studies and their implications .
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Gulf Coast Green 2011 seeks presenters from architecture, interiors, planning, engineering, contracting, education, energy analysis and other building-related professions for its May event relevant to the conference theme: Gulf Coast Green 2011: Leading in a Challenging Climate Location: United Way of Greater Houston 50 Waugh Drive Houston, Texas 77007 ...
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