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Best of 2013: The Future of Off-The-Grid Living Looks Promising

Best Of 2013: Energy-Efficient Buildings That Go Off The Grid

The word "sustainability" in architecture is open to interpretation. In the United States, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system is perhaps the most commonly used framework to measure a building's impact on the environment. While its implementation may make a structure greener, LEED has also been blamed for greenwashing—utilizing practices and products that claim to improve sustainability, when in fact those claims have not been proven and act merely as "green" vanity accessories.

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Can America's Largest Green Business Development Spark a Movement?

An attempt to build the country's largest sustainable shopping center morphed into an experiment in green business development.


In 2006, a green-minded developer proposed converting a hulking former underwear and lamp factory—a landmark for those who have driven the freeway between O’Hare International Airport and downtown Chicago—into one of the country’s first eco-focused shopping centers.

The Green Exchange project has since evolved, stalled, and been revived to house varying types of tenants, all dedicated to sustainability. The building’s green overhaul has been praised, but the project’s true impact may be creating a model for promoting sustainability and green networking among its tenant businesses and their customers.

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Designing Buildings That Battle Obesity

A new handbook produced by New York's design and construction department sets out guidelines for creating buildings that encourage activity.

We talk a lot about designing greener buildings, but how about designing healthier buildings? The NYC Department of Design and Construction has been hard at work establishing guidelines for the relationship between public health and public space. A new handbook they've published, Active Design Guidelines, is focused on not only the green-design principles outlined by LEED certification but also "active design," constructing areas that encourage things like physical activity and interactive play.

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When Brad Pitt showed up to help fix New Orleans’s Lower Ninth Ward, it raised hope—and eyebrows. Is his high-design, low-income green housing project what the neighborhood needs? GOOD investigates.

This article originally appeared in GOOD Issue 020: The New Orleans Issue, on newsstands now. Read more from The New Orleans Issue here.

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