Monday, June 25, 2012

Green Real Estate Case Study - Environmental Futurists Argument for Mega Cities

As the founder for a think tank which happens to operate online, I generally have the final say in who gets to join, and who doesn't. I've been rather alarmed in recent years by the number of folks attempting to join who had taken environmentalism almost as some sort of religion without having all their facts straight. Further, far too many of them have been brainwashed by academia to the point that they don't even really know the true definition of capitalism, and have in mind this nonsense that money is evil, and free markets aren't fair.

Additionally, I am concerned with what happens when groups of like-minded people that do not understand reality get together in group-think designing what they believe to be the future utopia and epitome of human civilizations. They fail to realize their history, or how the real world works, rather they are more interested in talking about some sort of fantasyland, that someone else is going to pay for, and everyone is going to live happily ever after enjoying a heavenly existence. Okay so, let's talk and let me give you a case study and example here.

There was an interesting research paper put out by Deutsche Post DHL, a Futurist type Report on logistics titled; "The World in 2050," the press release appeared on February 27, 2012.
Anyway, the piece had an overview of 5-potential scenarios and in scenario one which is depicted as an; "Untamed Economy," with "Impending Collapse" the article stated;

"The world is characterized by unchecked materialism and mass consumption. This non-sustainable way of life is fed by the relentless exploitation of resources, a development that stokes climate change and causes natural disasters to mount. In a world characterized by tumultuous growth, demand for logistics and transport services climbs sharply. A global transportation supergrid ensures a rapid exchange of goods between centers of consumption. But as climate change advances, supply chains are increasingly disrupted, a development causing additional challenges for logistics companies."

Now then, I am not sure what type of fantasyland these folks are living in but I have some harsh and critical words for all this nonsense and global warming alarmism. You see, when I first heard about this report I was very excited in reading it, because I consider myself a Futurist in many regards, although I am not the type of Futurist who leans towards Plato utopian communistic theory. Further, to criticize consumption, is also to criticize capitalism, abundance, and all that the free-market can deliver.

It seems these utopians want to be free from want, and they want to make sure no one else can have what they want. That everyone should have only what they need to barely to survive, and nothing more, but that isn't what the human animal is about, nor does it take into consideration the innate characteristics of the species. We can't go around predicting the future without understanding the human animal. And we aren't going to be able to change the brain structure or the foundational genetics within to make people happy as minimalists by wishful thinking.

Now then, that's not saying we can't use genetic manipulation, drugs, pharmaceuticals, or future modification of the species to do it. But in that future aren't we really talking about turning human beings into a giant collective or Borg? Oh my gosh, 1984 here we come. As if all this nonsensical thinking wasn't enough, these futurist have to throw in the whole global warming religion issue, claiming there will be dystopia, or we can never reach our goals unless we do it their way, which happens to be destroying our energy infrastructure, changing the economic flows of civilization globally, changing the way we consume, the way we live, and submitting to the ultimate authority, namely their's.

It is interesting that the folks who were involved in this project, and this collaborative futurist work have played their hand, and now we see what they want to do, they want to control every aspect of our lives, tell us what we can and cannot have, hijack our energy infrastructure, and then promise us they will deliver what we need, which is what we will in the future agree to if we adopt their global warming religion. You only have to read between the lines just a little bit to see what's going on here, and it should scare you. If it doesn't scare you, I would submit to you that you are not paying attention.

In fact, most of the challenges we have in our economy, supply chain, and free-market system have to do with the same sorts of folks with their left leaning thinking trying to manipulate the flows of money, labor, production, and capital. It is obvious they want to do this well into the future, and if they aren't allowed to, they claim that we are all going to die because of global warming, that we will live some sort of a terrible existence. Well, I have news for you, all those folks who have promoted a utopian society in the past, trying to create something that will last for 1000 years - well, we've all seen what has happened, and mankind is not the better for their exploits, and exploratory projects with human civilization.

The reality is that when you look at the United States and the free-market system, and as we practice capitalism to our best ability, although we do fall down at times, we have created massive abundance, and it's worked quite well. This is the model we should follow, and anything to destroy this model is a threat to America's future. If those folks want to run their little game plan, and create their little communist nation state, or the folks in Belgium want to create a unified Europe, then let them go try, but as I look out around the world now, I see their projects have failed time and time again. And personally I don't think the United States should be bailing them out, or joining in cahoots with a nonsensical dream, or a new environmental religion.

It is obvious what works, and what hasn't worked. Capitalism has worked, socialism and communism haven't, and therefore we should all take notice and move forward into the future of humankind with that knowledge. We should not dismiss it, deny it, or trample on that truth. The problem with goody-two-shoed environmentalist futurism is that all their theories are flawed, and their foundation is baseless nonsense - it's all a house of cards, and if you fall for it, the Joker of dystopia wins. Please consider all this and think on it.

Lance Winslow has launched a new provocative series of eBooks on Future Concepts. Lance Winslow is a retired Founder of a Nationwide Franchise Chain, and now runs the Online Think Tank;

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Trends in Green Building and Sustainable Construction

"Green Building" is a broad term used to describe the design and construction of sustainable and environmentally conscious buildings.

The driving force behind this is to lower our negative impact on the environment and, at the same time, make the buildings we live and work in safer and healthier for us.

According to the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) statistics, buildings are responsible for all of the following:

39% of US carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions
70% of US electricity consumption
15 trillion gallons of water consumption

Even though there is still some controversy over the effect of greenhouse gases on the environment, the last two statistics are very important for those of us living in urban areas experiencing continuous growth, especially the American Southwest. With our population expansion, aging water and electrical infrastructure, and shrinking landfills, designing and constructing green and sustainable buildings makes practical sense from a utilitarian perspective.

In fact, USGBC data shows that green buildings use 36% less energy, require fewer raw materials, and divert less waste to our landfills. Furthermore, the "increased" cost of green building is only one or two percent more expensive than a conventional building. This minute difference exemplifies the tangible and long-term benefits of sustainable design, primarily due to the fact that green buildings conserve water and electricity. Thus, while they are more expensive to build, green structures will save money by conserving more energy over time.

Another push towards the green build movement is by local governments. More and more municipalities are adopting the USGBC LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) guidelines for new and renovated buildings. In 2006, at the USGBC Greenbuild expo, the Mayor of Denver challenged other major cities to see who can have the most LEED® certified green buildings. They are accomplishing this by offering tax breaks to private corporations and mandating sustainable construction for city-financed projects.

This has led to a dramatic increase in the number of sustainable projects built by LEED® Certified general contractors. However, this growth has not come without challenges. Currently, the following issues are restricting the number of green projects being built:

Increased demand for green products has lead to long lead times
New and unspecified materials are labeled "green" products which are not necessarily certified
Building officials are struggling with a steep learning curve on how to evaluate these new products and sustainable building techniques

Despite these difficulties, the USGBC, sustainability advocates, and green building construction management firms are meeting to overcome these challenges.

The LEED® process is constantly under review and continues to adopt the latest codes and products. This includes Standard 189, a new minimum standard for green building. The USGBC is currently developing LEED® 3.0 and working with national code writers to include new products and techniques.

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has even rolled out a new initiative called "Sustainability 2030," which at its roots, is looking to design all buildings by the year 2030 as carbon neutral. The USGBC has even initiated the Green Advantage Builders Certification for contractors to certify their knowledge in green building techniques.

So what does green building mean at the end of the day? It's simple yet profound: Do the right thing for you, the environment, and the next generation. While most companies are concerned with their bottom line, they ought to embrace the idea that energy and water conservation, green building, and the use of "green materials" in construction stands to increase their savings over time while positioning them as a leader in environmental stewardship.

According to the USGBC, we spend 90% of our time indoors. Due to this fact, scientists have identified an increase in allergies, asthma, absenteeism from school, and even work. There have been numerous studies done on post occupancy productivity levels, which have increased within "green" built facilities. Not only does green adaptation result in less sick days taken, but also shows an increase in productivity, job
satisfaction, and in the case of schools, better grades.

So, as we positively affect the environment around us with sustainable green construction, we eventually create better health for ourselves.

Interested in learning more about the green building trend? A good place to start is the USGBC website or the Adolfson & Peterson library of resources on green construction management.

Matthew Hancock is a LEED® accredited professional, a Green Advantage Certified Builder and a member of the Dallas chapter of the USGBC. He is a project manager for the Dallas office of Adolfson and Peterson Construction and a proponent of the sustainable and green building movements.

Adolfson & Peterson Construction is a 61-year-old company with offices in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Denver, Colorado; Phoenix, Arizona; and Dallas, Texas. A&P provides construction management, design/build, general contracting, LEED® construction capability, Green Advantage® certified personnel, facilities maintenance, and building information modeling for public and private clients.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Green Real Estate - What Makes a House Sustainable

Continuing our discussion in green real estate or eco-friendly houses, we will be discussing how you can make your house more sustainable and self-sufficient. This is one of the best advantages that you can get from green real estates and is the reason why you need to check the house that you are trying to build. We will be starting this article by showing you how a sustainable eco-friendly house works up to how you can have in on your own without spending a lot of money.

Sustainable eco-friendly house refers to a house that is different from an average house. If an average house uses electricity and ordinary paint, eco-friendly houses use less energy and are using paint that can help reduce carbon in the air. When we say sustainable, it means that you will be building a house that can sustain its needs without requiring too much from you. There are a lot of options that you can take, but the easiest is to install solar panels and have it work for you.

Solar panels may cost a lot of money, but you are not required to have enough to support your need for electricity. All you have to do is to install a new one every 6 months to dramatically reduce your electric consumption. These panels are not cheap, but the amount that you can save from these panels will pay-off in the long run, especially if you are going to consider the fact that these panels could last up to 20 years. This will not only keep your house sustainable, but will also help you save more money in the long run. All you have to do is to choose the best type for you and you also need to consider your budget.

Another option that you can do in order to make your house more sustainable is by creating small gardens in your house. There are houses with large space for garden, while some where built with landscapes. But what if you don't have these spaces to build your own garden? The answer is on your roof. If you are still planning your house, it would be better if you are going to create a rooftop where you can place your garden. This is where you will be planting, and build your own landscape. Not only will you be able to make your house more sustainable, but will also give you a place where you can relax.

It is true that there are dozens of things that you can do to make your house more sustainable and eco-friendly, but you need to make sure that it will also be beneficial for you. There are a lot of people who have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to make their house more eco-friendly, but weren't able to get the most out of it, simply because they are sure with what they are doing. It would be better if you are going to consult a professional before you start to implement the things that you want to have.

There are a lot of people who are having problems when it comes to investing in Sacramento CA Real Estate, because they don't have a professional with them. If you want to get the best returns for your investment, then you need to make sure that you have a Sacramento Area Real Estate agent who can help you make the right decisions and close the deal for you.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Construction Trends in Green Real Estate

Green real estate is considered as the most popular type of property that is being constructed nowadays. There are a lot of things that you can get from building these eco-friendly houses, but you still need to make sure that you are updated with the things that were being used to build these houses. In this article, we will be discussing some of the things that you need to include whenever you are planning to build eco-friendly houses. This will help you determine the things that you need to have, and will ensure that you are going to get better results. Read on to find out more about the trends that you can use whenever you are planning to build an eco-friendly house.

The most important part of a house is the roof, but did you know that green real estates are mostly made of solar panel roofs? These panels will allow you to convert the energy of the sun to electricity that will help you maintain the power of your house. This may cost more money on your side, but the amount that can be saved in the long run will be worth more than the amount that you have spent. Aside from this, you will also make your house self-sufficient, allowing you to have worry-free living. Just make sure that you are going to get a professional who will be installing your solar panels, because this will ensure that you will get the most out of your investment.

Another option that is commonly used by a lot of people who are building eco-friendly houses is the eco-friendly paint. There are different types of paint, but if you are planning to build your own green real estate, then it would be better if you are going to use the one that can absorb carbon in the air. This may not be too beneficial for you, personally, but if there are several hundreds of houses that use this kind of paint, the carbon in the air will be a lot less. This may cost more money on your side, but the results that you can get from it are worth more than the money that you are going to spend for the special paint that you will be using for your house.

The latest trend that is being used in most green real estate properties today is the roof garden. There are a lot of houses that have their own garden on their rooftop. Aside from having the ability to grow plants, you will also be able to help the environment by reducing the carbon in the air. This will also be beneficial for you, since you have a place that can provide you with fresh air. You no longer need to look for a property that has a huge lot, because your garden can be placed on top of your roof. This will not only help you save more money, but will provide you with a place that can help you relax.

Real Estate in Sacramento may seem overwhelming for a lot of people, but if you have someone who can provide you with all the information that you need, everything will be easier for you. This is the reason why it is very advisable for someone to get an agent or a realtor who has the capability to close a Real Estate Sacramento transaction for them.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Green Real Estate Tips You Can Easily Implement

Green real estate refers to a house that was made to be eco-friendly. These houses are not only built to minimize carbon emissions but also reduce the carbon in the air. A lot of people are already using eco-friendly houses because they are getting better value for the money that they are spending. Aside from this, you can also play a great role in our fight against global warming. The problem is that it is not very easy for someone to renovate their houses and some would cost thousands of dollars. In this article, we will be discussing some of the things that you can easily implement to make your house eco-friendly.

When building green real estate, the first and easiest thing that you can do is to repaint your house. This is something that we do on a regular basis and all you have to do is to add a small amount to use carbon-absorbing paint. Although this would cost more money, if you are repainting your house regularly, you don't have to spend a lot. Just make sure that you are going to use the right type of paint because this will be your first step towards having an eco-friendly house. You can also seek for professional help whenever you are planning to paint your house to be sure that you are going to get the results that you are expecting.

If your house has a rooftop, then you can start building your own garden on top of your house. You don't have to spend a lot of money on it because you can start building it gradually. Simply add a couple of plants on a monthly basis and you'll be surprised with the results that you have after a year. What most people do is that they are planting vegetables on top of their houses, making their efforts more efficient and productive. This will not only make your house eco-friendly but will also give you produce that can be taken whenever you want to. This is something that not everyone will do, but those who will, can expect great results overtime.

Another very easy tip that you can implement is to start installing solar panels on your house. You don't have to install a lot just to support your need for energy. You can try to install at least 1 every six months to reduce your electric consumption. Once you've started implementing this step, the next thing that you need to do is to start investing in low-power-consuming electronics. This will not only help you fight global warming, but will also help your solar panels to keep up with your electric consumption. This is something that everyone should have, but due to the price of these panels, we cannot expect everyone to have it.

These are some of the most simple tips that you can implement to be successful in making your house more eco-friendly. Keep in mind that you don't have to spend a lot of money, and you are not required to do it immediately.

If you would like to learn more about Real Estate in Sacramento, then you need to check now! We can provide you not only with all the information that you need, but also all the services that will help you succeed. Our experience in Sacramento real estate will ensure that you will always get the best results possible.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

BREEAM - A Good Start Is Half The Job Done

For many development projects achieving a certain BREEAM rating is mandated through a planning requirement. Where in the past the planning requirement was often to achieve a "Very Good" rating, the current trend is for local planning authorities to ask an "Excellent" rating to be achieved. Where careful planning was already necessary to achieve the 55% score required for a "Very Good" rating, BREEAM "Excellent" puts the bar considerably higher at 70%. To avoid significant additional cost, hassle and programme issues it is critical to allow the early consideration of BREEAM and sustainability measures.

This article discusses three good reasons to consider the BREEAM requirements of a project at a very early stage in the project cycle.

One of the core aims of BREEAM is to drive the development and implementation of good and best practices in sustainable design and construction of buildings. Early consideration of BREEAM enables the cost-effective adoption of sustainability measures within the design of a building. During the feasibility study stage and the early design stage full integration of sustainability measures into the total design solution can be achieved. During construction any sustainability improvements will be isolated, add-on measures. The ability to control the cost of design is therefore highest in the early stages of a project and is inversely correlated with the cost of design changes.

BREEAM recognises the importance of early consideration of the sustainability performance of a project and includes a number of incentives to do so. There are a total of 12 credits available only if certain actions have been taken in the early stages of the project, equivalent to the RIBA stage A to C. Half of these credits would require action before adopting the design brief and should therefore be completed at RIBA stage B. These credits can make a significant contribution to the final score and losing the opportunity to achieve these can put a project at a disadvantage right from the start.

Both the BREEAM assessment and the planning application require a number of very similar studies to be carried out during the design and planning stages of the project. These include for instance a flood risk assessment, travel plan, ecology report and a renewable energy feasibility study. The requirements are often slightly different between the two processes. Adequate specification of the study requirements based on both the planning needs and the BREEAM targets can avoid doing the studies twice.

In summary: the benefits of considering BREEAM early in the project cycle are:

1. Allow sustainability measures to be integrated in the whole design
2. Qualify for a greater number of BREEAM credits
3. Align planning studies and BREEAM studies to avoid double work

David McGregor is a sustainability consultant with Planning for Sustainability. His specialisms include BREEAM and environmental impact assessments.