Monday, June 30, 2008

Building Like a Tree

Our guest today, Eric Corey Freed, sculpts innovative buildings that embody ecological and social responsibility. Architect, author, and educator Freed can be contacted through his website
Our show was salted with a variety of topics and ideas! Freed mentioned five most important questions to consider when designing a building.
1. Where does the material come from?
2. What are the by-products as these materials are manufactured?
3. How are the materials delivered and installed?
4. How toxic are these materials?
5. What are we going to do with these materials when we're done with them?

No building system or material will get an A+ in sustainability in all categories. Take one material like bamboo, for example. As incredibly renewable as it is, bamboo still travels all the way from China to the U.S., which increases the carbon footprint.

Eric Freed will be speaking at The West Coast Green conference September 25th-27th. He plans to advise listeners of his "Extremely Unusual Look at Green Building."

Freed told us: If a standard escalator was put on a sensor to start running once someone steps on, and stop when no one is riding, an estimated savings of $6,500 per year and 75% of its total energy use would accumulate. Freed is driven to design buildings that give back. His idea of the zero energy home is a concept in which each home breaks even in its energy use in production, if not producing more energy that it uses. One favorite tip is the idea of the green roof. Planting on roof tops absorbs carbon, produces oxygen, and acts as insulation.

In an average persons home there are some simple changes we can make:
1. Change light bulbs to compact fluorescent.
2. Purchase a programmable thermostat.
3. Place (full) 2 liter water bottles in your toilet tank to displace the same amount of water with every flush.
4. Invest in double pane windows.
5. Our favorite tip involves grey water redistribution with the help of the handy Aqus system, found at

The older system of building is extremely inefficient, but Freed conceives his designs as if they were inspired by nature. His idea of building like a tree treats the structure of the design like an ornament, with all parts relating to the whole. One of the greater ways to build today, is with SIP or Structural Insulated Panel. Visit West Coast Green to learn more and see a demonstration.

Visit Urban to participate in a creative competition making a poster with your vision of the year 2050.

That's it for today!
Happy Monday,

Olana and Deborah

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