According to the Yale University the much touted eco-cities proposed for outside Shanghai are nothing more than greenwashing on a grand scale.

“Although the project was widely publicized internationally, most locals knew little about it. The political leaders who championed the project were ousted in a corruption scandal, and their successors have allowed construction permits to lapse.”

Even where some eco-houses have been built they fail to meet the lifestyle engineering and social aspects of those they are to house.

“As the magazine Ethical Corporation has reported, cost overruns made the homes unaffordable to many villagers. In other instances, although homes were available, the farmers refused to live in them, complaining that the new yards weren’t large enough to raise animals and sustain a livelihood.”

In many ways these mega projects fail to case study the needs and expectations of the end users.

“big-name foreign architectural and engineering firms who plunged into the projects with little understanding of Chinese politics, culture, and economics — and with little feel for the needs of local residents whom the Utopian communities were designed to serve.”

I’m sure that a end user initated design would be much more traditional, less exciting and hence not the marketing and political champion that government and corporations like to tout to the press. Article


Garrett awards 100th Green Star – Architecture and Design

via greenstar location:australia – Google News on 4/16/09

Garrett awards 100th Green Star
Architecture and Design, Australia
Sustainable design remains “critically important” in the current tough economic times, environment minister Peter Garrett said while awarding the 100 th Green Star rating to Stockland’s Sydney headquarters yesterday. The building is also the first

Spam ‘produces 17m tons of CO2’

via BBC News and Sport Search: energy on 4/16/09

Spam wastes enough energy to power more than 2.4m homes every year, a study finds.

Causes of sea level rise from climate change

via Random graphic of the day: UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library by UNEP/GRID-Arendal <> on 4/17/09

Causes of sea level rise from climate changeA significant sea level rise is one of the major anticipated consequences of climate change. This graphic explains the causes of sea level change according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It explains the IPCC’s A1 scenario family, which consists of three scenarios on future use of fossil energy sources, including scenario A1F1, which involves the use of fossil-intensive energy sources. This resource also includes the graphic ‘Components of Mean Sea Level Rise for the Scenario A1F1’ which shows the projected sea level rise in metres by 2050 and by 2100 for Greenland, glaciers, expansion, the Antarctic, and the total sea level rise.

London Bar Pumps Gin and Tonic Into The Air: Please Breathe Responsibly

via Gizmodo Australia on 4/16/09

Starting today and running through the 25th, A temporary bar dubbed “Alcoholic Architecture” is popping up in London offering a cloud of breathable gin and tonic to it’s patrons.

World’s first solar-powered city planned in Florida

via DVICE by Kevin Hall on 4/15/09

World's first solar-powered city planned in Florida

What better place than the Sunshine State for the world’s first solar-powered city? Called Babcock Ranch, the 17,000-acres-large community will have its energy needs supplied by a $300 million, 75 megawatt solar-powered generator. The city will also integrate a Smart Grid for powering electric vehicles.

While construction won’t begin until later this year, Floridian city planners have some ambitious numbers for the solar community: 19,500 homes, 20,000 permanent jobs, 6 million square feet of retail/industrial space and 8,000 acres reserved for open space and greenways.

The biggest hurdle, though, may come after construction when it comes time to populate Babcock. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of incentives city planners offer — electric vehicles aren’t cheap, after all.

Council in street lamp blackout

via BBC News and Sport Search: energy on 4/15/09

A council agrees to switch off 4,500 street lights during the night in an attempt to save money.

Future-proof homes for a warmer world

via New Scientist – Online News on 4/15/09

See how architects are trying to future-proof homes against the higher sea levels and more frequent hurricanes our changing climate is bringing our way

Biofuel versus fossil fuel

via Random graphic of the day: UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library by UNEP/GRID-Arendal <> on 4/15/09Biofuel versus fossil fuel

About Biofuel versus fossil fuel

The Seven Sins of Greenwashing

via Green Options by Sonya on 4/15/09

A new report claims that the increasing number of ‘all-natural’ and ‘organic’ products on the market may be guilty of “the seven sins of greenwashing”.

TerraChoice Environmental Marketing released its report The Seven Sins of Greenwashing today. The report defines greenwashing as “the act of misleading consumers regarding the environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits of a product or service.”

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Cracking The Green Code

via Green Options by Jennifer Kaplan on 4/15/09

EcoAlign, the group that brought you the research that found that consumers pay attention to the ENERGY STAR label, just released their third report of the Project Energy Code series, Cracking the Green Code. This report, like other EcoAlign research is a provocative and thought-provoking exploration of the “causes and consequences of effective communications in the energy and environmental space.”

The report starts by saying that marketers “are cracking their proverbial heads open trying to figure out new ways to make green behaviors more enticing to the masses.”  While I’m not so sure marketers are trying to make behaviors more enticing (aren’t we trying to make our products and services more enticing to consumers who behave in a relatively predictable way….), I do find consumer reports of “greenness” and the paradoxically non-green behaviors they exhibit perplexing; hence, the “green gap.”  But, in this report EcoAlign suggests that green messaging can be effective for about 75% of the US Population.

In this study, EcoAlign (many of whose clients are utilities) classified utility consumers in four groups and then analyzed three (the forth group was not sufficiently represented in the research group.) Although the report focuses on utility consumers, it seems reasonable to assume the analysis can be extended to all consumers:

  1. The Individualistic Consumer (estimated 30% of U.S. population). These are consumers who are self-centered and primarily concerned with the financial bottom-line.  It is suggested that no-nonsense fiscally responsible products and services that provide a sense of control over energy and energy-related financial expenditures (and all green consumer behavior?) is likely to get their attention if properly messaged.

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