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At 47 Inches Wide, This Is the World's Skinniest House

The world's narrowest building is now under construction in Warsaw, Poland.

In Warsaw, Poland, construction is underway on the world's skinniest house. At just 47 inches wide—and 27 inches at its narrowest point—the "Keret House" is so thin it's not even considered a real building by Polish standards.

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For Greener Hospitals, Start by Doing Less Harm

Hospitals use more energy per square foot than almost any other type of building in America. But experts are thinking about how to change that.


Hospitals use more energy per square foot than almost any other type of building—the only establishments that perform worse are fast-food joints. So architects, designers, and energy professionals are starting to think seriously about how to reduce hospitals’ energy footprint. And the health care industry is realizing that, as sustainable health care design expert Robin Guenther says, “We will not have healthy people on a sick planet.”

New York City’s Pratt Center for Community Development has been gathering leaders like Guenther through its Green Healthcare Forum to discuss how the industry can contribute to a sustainable environment. The opportunity is huge: Hospitals account for 8 percent of the energy consumed by commercial buildings, but occupy just 4 percent of commercial floorspace across the country. Ongoing research from the University of Washington’s Integrated Design Lab has shown that hospitals could reduce energy use by more than 60 percent at a premium of only 1 to 3 percent over current costs.

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A Green Idea Business and Government Agree On: Energy Efficiency

President Obama is announcing that $4 billion will go over the next two years into making government and commercial buildings more energy efficient.


President Obama and former President Clinton announced today $4 billion in investments—a mix of public and private funds—to make government and commercial buildings more energy-efficient. Private companies, universities and health centers have committed to spending half of that total on retrofitting buildings. The other $2 billion will come from federal projects, but at no upfront cost to taxpayers: Private contractors will be paid from the energy savings generated by the upgrades.

The Obama administration and the business community haven’t exactly seen eye-to-eye on environmental initiatives over the past two years, but even the Chamber of Commerce is on board with this efficiency project. Thomas Donohue, the president of the business lobby, toured a building slated for retrofits today alongside President Obama, and he said in a statement that the Chamber has been pushing for public-private energy efficiency partnerships for a decade.

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Thanks to a Corrupt Bureaucracy, California's Schools Would Crumble During an Earthquake

The Field Act is a good piece of legislation that requires California school buildings to meet high inspection standards. Too bad it isn't enforced.


When it comes to earthquakes in California, the question is not if but when the state will be hit by another big one. But just how prepared the state's schools? I wondered that after last month's 9.0 temblor in Japan, and wrote about statewide efforts through The Great California ShakeOut to teach kids what to do during a quake. I even wrote that California's schools are generally structurally sound thanks to "the 1933 Long Beach Earthquake, which resulted in the Field Act being passed, requiring 'schools to be built to higher inspection standards and construction standards.'"

Except, thanks to a major series launched this morning by California Watch, we now know that's not true. Officials in the Division of the State Architect, the chief regulator of construction standards for public schools actually haven't enforced the Field Act. Thousands of schools across the state have serious seismic issues—structural flaws and safety hazards that were reported during construction—and they could put student's lives in danger during a quake.

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