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Could This Be What the World’s First Truly Green City Looks Like?

A new project called OAS1S promises in the near future we’ll all be living in lush, garden communities.

Sure you’ve heard of green architecture, but what about a building made entirely from plants? A new proposal by Dutch experiential designer and architectural manager Raimond de Hullu (MSc), called OAS1S, promises that in the near future we might all be living in our very own garden homes. The project, which aspires to be the first 100 percent truly green building, offers up a vision of structures that are long and thin like trees with rooms stacked for maximum space (Think if government housing projects were modeled on Ferngully). The buildings would each be wrapped in foliage, and live “amongst a woodland within a city”—essentially a tree-based community within a larger metropolis.

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In New Orleans, Net-Zero Energy Homes Go on the Market

More than five years ago, Global Green USA started working to help New Orleans build back greener.


After Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans more than five years ago, the nonprofit Global Green USA started working to help the city build back in a greener way. In 2006, the organization held an open design competition, asking designers to come up with a single-family home that used net-zero energy. The hope was the design contest, along with an initiative to educate homeowners on sustainably building, would help promote green building practices in New Orleans. But the group also built five houses based on the winning design in the Holy Cross neighborhood and the hard-hit Lower Ninth Ward, with the idea of providing affordable housing to a few displaced families.

By 2009, the houses were finished and ready to go on the market. But financing complications delayed, over and over again, the moment when families could move in. Now, the project is finally completing its first stage. Four of the houses went on the market a week ago. Global Green has already received the first offer on one of them.

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Honest Buildings Uses Social Networking to Spur Green Building

The startup is betting that the more information is available about buildings' green features, the more green buildings there will be.


For every need, there’s a social media platform to guide you through the tangle of options. For restaurants, check Yelp. For hotels, Trip Advisor. For that guy you met last night who seemed kind of cool, Facebook. But for that new apartment that had great light but felt a little drafty? Nothing.

Until now. Honest Buildings, which launches today in beta, aims to fill that gap and simultaneously encourage building owners to make greener choices. Search an address in one of 5,570 cities, and ratings on the building's walkability, energy use, and LEED compliance shed light on its green performance. Join the network, and you can review, comment on, or add photos of a building. Members who design, build, and repair buildings can showcase particular projects and link them to the building’s profile page.

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How Cate Blanchett Created One of the World's Greenest Arts Organizations

The Sydney Theater Company is almost finished with an ambitious environmental project.


Last week, actress Cate Blanchett and her husband, playwright Andrew Upton, unveiled the rainwater harvesting system at the Sydney Theater Company, where they serve, jointly, as artistic directors. The rainwater harvesting system is one of the last major pieces of the company’s Greening the Wharf project, an initiative to cut waste, water use, and carbon emissions to make the theater a global leader in sustainability.

Under Blanchett and Upton’s leadership, the theater company has been working towards these sustainability goals for more than three years, showing how much time, planning, and money it can take to build sustainability into an organization. The project also shows how much a celebrity name can help achieve ambitious goals: the $5 million total price tag was funded through many private donations, as well as government grants.

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The Race to Build a Solar House That Anyone Can Afford

The Department of Energy's Solar Decathalon challenges students to make energy-efficient yet affordable homes.


Water splashed from rooftop of the almost-finished house and into the rainwater garden, which soon would have plants but for the moment was just an empty trough. Carly Berger tilted her helmeted head back and called, “What are you doing up there?”

Another head popped out from over the roof’s edge. “I’m cleaning out the gutters!”

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Nine Striking (and Sustainable) Designs for L.A.'s Community Colleges

There's a sustainable building boom happening at Los Angeles Community College District. See the new designs inside.

The Los Angeles Community College District is massive. It serves about 250,000 students annually on nine campuses spread throughout 36 cities in the Los Angeles region—making it one of the most geographically diverse land owners in the city. In 2001, the district announced an ambitious green building plan that would radically change the way LACCD operated, from using renewable materials to championing energy efficiency. Vast improvements were planned for each of the nine campuses, each of which would reinvigorate dense urban neighborhoods and reach some of the most underserved residents in the county.

But such efforts—and the $6 billion in taxpayer funds that paid for them—have not been without controversy. Last week in The Los Angeles Times, LACCD got slammed for a solar-gone-sour project that the Times claimed could have cost the district $10 million. But what the Times doesn't mention at all is the sustainable building boom that's happening right now at LACCD schools—thanks to nine architectural firms who have contributed exciting designs for the nine campuses. The concepts, which were each presented at an event last week named 9x9x9, are currently underway across the city.

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