News: Bert's Blog
The EcoDistricts Initiative is happening all across the US. The terminology varies, but the common thread is the neighborhood - a very personal unit that we all know. For some, EcoDistricts mean an energy and water district. For others it may mean 100% photovoltaic power or carbon neutrality. All this is important, along with it being a walk-able neighborhood where we can get our groceries, find a coffee shop, take our children to a local park, have a nearby school, and form a community with our neighbors.
In the last 6 months, Mithun has been collaborating with the Portland Sustainability Institute (PoSI), City of Portland, Portland State University, and people in the area, on the EcoDistricts Initiative to develop an assessment protocol for neighborhood sustainability plans.
Perhaps a bit ahead of its time in 2004, the Lloyd Crossing Sustainable Design Plan, commissioned by the (PDC), now has a great opportunity to be realized. Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski moved the project forward with an action to designate the Lloyd Crossing District as an Oregon Solution’s project. This puts organizational leadership and funding in place to begin a stakeholder process aimed at achieving a “Declaration of Cooperation” by July 2009 that will establish the Lloyd Green District.
The legislation to require progressive energy efficiency in all buildings, districts, and neighborhoods in WA state, SB 5854 - ‘Reducing climate pollution in the built environment’, will move to the Governor for signature next week. This means that by 2031 Washington state buildings will need to perform, on average, 70% better than required by today’s energy code, with an additional goal to operate fossil-fuel free. California has similar goals, however aiming for net zero by 2020 for residential, and 2030 for commercial buildings. Achieving 70% better than today’s code (or net zero) means radically different buildings and master plans than we are doing today, such as 40-foot wide commercial and institutional buildings to drive natural cooling, as well as 100% daylight, solar chimneys, geothermal, etc. The WA code revisions will likely first target a 30% reduction below the 2006 WA code, to be initiated somewhere between 2010 and 2012. Prepare for the next era of design. We’re in for some wonderful innovation opportunities and some great places for people.
With the flick of a switch, we can all help the world move toward a positive future. On Saturday, March 28, 8:30-9:30 p.m. local time, people the world over are being asked to turn off their lights. If the planet follows the United States’ model of consumption, global energy demand is on a trajectory to reach 100 Terawatts of supply by 2050, according to MIT’s Daniel Nocera. Today the world uses between 14 to 16 terawatts. Needless to say, we’ve got big challenges ahead, as most of that demand at the moment is based on the consumption of fossil fuels. Here’s a note from Felicity Irwin, the Policy Officer for the C4OCITIES CLIMATE LEADERSHIP GROUP...
What will it take to get Americans out of their cars? What is the role of private business in public transit? How do you provide a variety of transit options? How can we design neighborhoods that are more walkable and encourage public transit?
Bert joined two of the nation’s leading thinkers in 21st century transportation and urban planning in a panel discussion at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC on December 4th, 2008. View a video of the talk with Shelley Poticha, President and CEO of Reconnecting America, and Robin Chase, Co-founder of Zipcar and Founder and CEO of GoLoco, and Bert Gregory, FAIA, President and CEO of Mithun, titled Divorce Your Car, part of the NBM’s series For the Greener Good (01:26:50) on the NBM website and read Bert’s comments on the topic.