EPA's ENERGY STAR BUILDINGS PROGRAM
To be launched later this year, the EPA's Energy Star Buildings program expands the EPA's Green Lights program to include building mechanical and electrical systems. The Energy Star Buildings program is based on a partnership between the EPA and building owners and facility managers to implement a five-stage incremental upgrade process: Green Lights, Building Tune-Up, HVAC Load Reduction, Fan Systems Upgrades, and HVAC Plant Upgrades. -Building Operating Management, p. 38, March 1995, by Eric Oliver.
MARYLAND'S CFC PHASEOUT PLAN
The State of Maryland's CFC Phaseout Committee, which includes representatives from all state agencies, is proposing a master refrigerant management plan for the state's commercial chillers. The plan would improve containment on all chillers within two years, replace all chillers that are 20 years old within five years, retrofit most R-500 chillers to HFC-134a within a year, and establish a banking system for refrigerant reclaimed from replaced, retired or retrofitted chillers.-Building Operating Management, p. 52, March 1995, by Edward Sullivan.
HIGHWAY ENHANCEMENT UPDATE
The Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) aims to get people out of their cars and into alternative modes of transportation while reducing transportation spending. ISTEA's $119 billion for highway programs includes $36 billion for "enhancements that increase environmental, historical, or aesthetic value of a project". According to Karen-Lee Ryan of the Washington-based Rails-to-Trains Conservancy, "At long last, landscape architects are having a meaningful effect in the transportation field." Yet the program has its challenges-the engineering bias of many state DOTs resists enhancement efforts, and ISTEA regulations can be cumbersome and hard to follow. -Landscape Architecture, March 1995, p. 47, by Edward Gunts.
LIGHTING RESEARCH CENTERS
The need for practical tools to improve lighting and energy efficiency has prompted three institutions to establish laboratories and centers dedicated to lighting research. At Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the Demonstration and Evaluation of Lighting Technologies and Applications (DELTA) program produced a 12-page case study analysis of buildings with successful lighting designs for $12 (518) 276-8716. One focus of The Cascadia Alliance Lighting Group-a joint effort of the universities of British Columbia, Oregon and Washington-is how to enhance daylighting in buildings in the region's rainy, gray weather. And for a fee, architects can use the University of Michigan's Sky Simulator to test daylighting under controlled conditions. -Architecture, March 1995, p. 111, by Justin Henderson.
HABITAT FOR HUMANITY'S JORDON COMMONS
Habitat for Humanity in Homestead, Florida hopes to illustrate a socially-viable sustainable community with their $17 million, 200-home pilot development. With the pro bono guidance of Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, the pedestrian-friendly Jordon Commons will feature visual access to streets, open space, a 10,000 SF recreation center, and communal facilities. House designs at Jordon Commons will feature cross-ventilation, high-efficiency appliances, and low-cost solar water heaters. Treated waste water will irrigate landscaping, and strategically placed trees will shelter buildings. -Solar Today, March/April, p. 21, by Dorothy Adair.
Sacramento's Municipal Utility District (SMUD) operates one of the country's most ambitious tree planting programs to conserve energy and beautify. Since 1990, the Shade Tree Program funded by the utility has planted more than 160,000 trees toward its year 2000 goal of 500,000. Almost 70 utilities across the country signed onto the American Public Power Association's Tree Power Program in 1994. The City of Anaheim, California's tree-planting program will save 98,532 kWh and 246 kW in demand based on five-year old trees. -Home Energy, March/April, p. 11, by Gregory McPherson and James R. Simpson.
CELLULOSE CHALLENGES FIBERGLASS MARKET
The cellulose insulation industry is challenging the fiberglass market on grounds that fiberglass insulation is a skin irritant and possible cause of cancer. Fiberglass currently controls 95% of the insulation market. Cellulose insulation is made of recycled paper and is treated with a fire retardant, although critics say the retardant loses its effectiveness over time. According to some builders, cellulose insulation is superior to fiberglass insulation for steel construction because it is easier to install. Other builders say cellulose sprayed in wall installations requires more labor cost than fiberglass. -The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 26, 1995, p. R01, by Gene Austin.
BIOLOGICAL AIR FILTERING
University of Guelph scientists studying biological air filtering have installed a mini-ecosystem in a 1,700 SF Canada Life Assurance Company meeting room in downtown Toronto. Horticulturalists will study the ecosystem's 8,000 plants, fish, snails, frogs, and other tropical species to measure the biomass' absorption of unhealthy compounds. -Progressive Architecture, March 1995, p. 21.
OUTSIDERS CHALLENGE PHILADELPHIA TO IMAGINE
The Philadelphia Inquirer's Editorial Board invited out-of-towners Neil R. Peirce and Curtis Johnson to participate in the paper's Common Ground project. The project intends "to get the region's residents to shed parochial armor and raise their sights" to think about the region's future. The Peirce Report suggests that the area's hundreds of boroughs, townships and cities do not allow it to think, speak or act as one region. A new focus on function instead of form would help the Philadelphia area's "citistates" tackle bigger issues-preserving the environment, among others. According to the editors, "Most of all, Mr. Peirce and Mr. Johnson are right when they say that what's keeping this region from excellence is not a lack of resources or a surfeit of insoluble problems. It's a failure of imagination and will." -Philadelphia Inquirer, March 26,1995, pp. E04, H09.
LANDSCAPE AWARDS RECOGNIZE COMMUNITY ECOLOGY
The Northern California chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects recognized landscaping efforts aimed at "Building and Restoring Community." The City of Davis won an award for Davis Greenways-a system of parks, greenbelts and bike paths, Guadalupe Gardens for integrating landscaping into a larger context, Chitactac-Adams Heritage County Park for the restoration of a dilapidated roadside rest area, the City of Walnut Creek for urban creek restoration, and the Tenderloin Housing Project for converting a parking lot into a green park for 28 low-income families. -San Francisco Examiner, March 26, 1995, p. E1, by Bradley Inman.