Green Home Building and Sustainable Architecture

Sustainable architecture is an exciting and important field, with many people reviving traditional methods of building and others creating innovations to established practices. Kelly Hart, webmaster of the popular website www.greenhomebuilding.com, posts text and photos featuring what he discovers from around the world.

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Location: Crestone, Colorado, United States

Kelly Hart has been involved with green building concepts for much of his life. He has also worked in various fields of communication media, including still photography, cinematography, animation, video production and now website development. Kelly has lived in an earthbag/papercrete home that he built and consults about sustainable building design.

August 18, 2010

New Expert Panelist on Green Education

I recently had the pleasure of spending an afternoon with Jenny Pickerill, touring alternative homes and discussing the merits of them. Jenny had contacted me for an interview while she was touring the United States as part of her grant to investigate ecological and economical building techniques. I was so impressed with her knowledge and academic qualifications that I asked her to take over the role of expert panelist on matters related to green education...and she accepted!

Jenny Pickerill (PhD) is a British academic specialising in environmental solutions. She is a Senior Lecturer in Geography at Leicester University. She has been teaching on environmental issues, eco-building, and social change for seven years, is a journal editor, has published three books and more than 20 academic peer-reviewed articles and is also a guest lecturer on the MSc Architecture: Advanced Environmental and Energy Studies course run at The Centre for Alternative Technology, Wales.

She has built her own eco-house in Leicestershire, England from reclaimed materials. It is passive solar, with high thermal mass designed to require minimum heating even in winter. Rainwater is collected from the roof, water heated through solar thermal, and electricity generated by photovoltaic panels.

She has spent over a decade working with environmental activist and social change organisations, most recently with innovative eco-building collectives in Britain such as Lammas, who recently secured planning permission for nine low-impact dwellings in rural Wales. Out of this collaboration emerged a co-edited book on the self-build eco-homes of a number of groups in Britain. She continues to work with such groups to change planning and building regulations to support green building initiatives.

She is currently doing a research project on affordable eco-housing, having been awarded a travelling fellowship by the Winston Churchill Trust to spend eight weeks looking at examples in Britain, Thailand, Spain, Argentina and the USA, in order to improve approaches and practices to affordable eco-building. She is also working on a project with physical scientists exploring how best to help prepare rural communities survive climate change.

She writes the Green Building Blog about low-cost eco-housing, and continues to seek to improve environmental education at Universities, particularly ways in which we can incorporate practical learning into theoretical programmes.

If you have any questions about how we can become better educated in sustainable architecture, especially through academic channels, please visit greenhomebuilding.com to post them and Jenny will happily respond.

August 04, 2010

Day Lighting Schools

Douglas County in Colorado has been pioneering the use of natural daylight for schools with impressive results. Not only do the students perform better, but the school district is saving many thousands of dollars in their electric bill. Some rather simple measures can assure that an entire library receives uniform illumination without harsh sunlight. You can see how they accomplished this by watching this video produced by Douglas County Television:

By The Light of Day from Douglas County Government on Vimeo.