Archive for the ‘Resource Links’ Category

Resources: Indoor lighting

Saturday, June 3rd, 2006

Here is a list of lighting manufacturers and suppliers. (Does not include manufacturers who make only outdoor or emergency lighting or controls.)

Lamps, ballasts, & controls:

Luminaires & systems:

Other weblists:

Resources: Sustainability guidelines

Thursday, April 20th, 2006

Here is a list of organizations that provide online guidelines and standards for sustainable design. The list is just beginning – I’ll add to it as I learn about other sites.

Resources: Sustainable – Retail

Sunday, February 26th, 2006

I read an article in the New York Times entitled Earth-Friendly Materials Go Mainstream by Ernest Beck (January 5, 2006, page D8. You have to log in to read this article, unfortunately). The author features retail establishments that sell environmentally-friendly building materials and discusses the trend toward sustainable do-it-yourself retail products.

Here is a list, which I’ll add to as I find things, of companies that sell sustainable products to the public. These companies don’t all have on-line sales, but they are interesting because they contain a great deal of information on sustainability in general, list manufacturers of green products, provide detailed descriptions of specific materials, and often give prices. That these sites are appearing shows that environmentally-friendly building materials may be going more mainstream.

  • Eco Depot, a source for environmental and green building products.
  • Environmental Building Supplies focuses on “natural and renewable materials, like FSC-certified wood products, wool carpets, cork and natural paints.”
  • Environmental Construction Outfitters specializes in “environmentally responsible building products and systems.”
  • The Green Fusion Design Center is a “retail store, gallery and education center featuring green building materials and natural home furnishings, a book store, and a marketing galley.”
  • Greenmaker is “a wholesale and retail supplier of smart, efficient, and healthy building materials for commercial, residential, and mixed-use projects.”

I’m seeing more “green” materials in mainstream stores as well, and this is a good trend. Although the term “green” is imprecisely defined and overused as an advertising ploy, it does serve to educate the public on the issue of sustainability – an important step in turning the tide toward a more sustainable economy. It is my hope that all of us will do what we can to support sustainable efforts, even if the steps are small and the “greenness” of the product isn’t perfect.

Sustainable Design I

Monday, January 9th, 2006

Our planet’s health is one of the most important issues of our time. We’ve degraded our resources to the point that much of what we’ve lost can never be regained. We have to start taking this seriously. The statistics on the current environmental state of the world are mindboggling. Take a look at the websites of a few of the leading environmental organizations for a broad look at some of the issues:

  • Environmental Defense is a non-profit organization creating solutions to urgent environmental problems.
  • The Ocean Conservancy supports programs to protect the oceans.
  • Resources for the Future is a think tank that analyzes environmental, energy, and natural resource topics.
  • The World Resources Institute has a wealth of research and information on environmental issues.
  • World Wildlife Fund leads international efforts to protect endangered species and habitats.

    What can we do? Obviously, each of us can make small changes in our lives to create as little environmental damage as possible. We can buy sustainably-produced and low-polluting products, try not to drive too much, bring our groceries home in reusable bags, recycle our trash, support politicians who vote for environmental protection, and so forth, but these efforts don’t seem to make much difference and it’s all too easy to slip back into old routines. Of course, if everyone makes green decisions, it will have an effect, but very few people actually take the time or spend the extra buck to incorporate sustainability into their lives.

    We need better environmental education. Schools must teach children about environment issues from the beginning. Architecture and design schools need to give more than lip service to sustainability. Governments need to make information more readily available and set up programs that go beyond newspaper recycling.

    Government also has to crack down on polluters and provide incentives to corporations that make efforts to produce sustainably. Some argue that forcing corporations to be sustainable will only work until the next administration comes in and reverses the regulations, and I agree, but sometimes government is needed to get things started.

    Among the biggest sources of pollution are corporations and the only way to break the cycle will be to get the corporations on board. William McDonough, an architect and visionary, understands this. His work with the textile industry, Nike, Ford, and others has resulted in some real changes. Once corporations understand that their long-term profitability will be enhanced by sustainable manufacturing practices, they should be eager to move in that direction.

    But what about the building industry? Even though many architects and designers are aware of the need to build sustainably, many buildings continue to be built using conventional, non-sustainable practices. This is due in large part because building owners are in it for short-term profit only and don’t want to take the extra time or spend a bit more up front to create a structure with sustainable systems. But architects and designers have responsibility too. Unfortunately,we are not uniformly educated on sustainability. Despite plenty of press in the design magazines about sustainable design, many in the design community are unaware of the extent of the problems and unversed in the currently-available solutions. We need more education all around.