Coral Gables Museum Receives Grant to Expand Green City Program

Coral Gables Museum,  285 Aragon Avenue, Coral Gables, FL 33134
Coral Gables Museum, 285 Aragon AV, Coral Gables, FL

The Coral Gables Museum announced that it “has received a $200,000 grant from the State of Florida’s Department of Education to expand its Green City Program and provide it at no cost to all K-12 students in Miami-Dade County.”

The Green City Program is dedicated to the practice and purpose of teaching future generations about designing communities with the principles of environmental sustainability. It introduces students to important disciplines such as architecture, landscape architecture, design, urban planning as well as historic and environmental preservation and sustainable development.

The program curriculum explores everything from what one can do at home to decrease their carbon footprint, to how to design a LEED-certified building or a green city. Students of all ages will learn about environmentally friendly design through presentations and tours. There will also be experiential learning activities that will teach students about the relationship between the built and natural environment and will further their understanding of worldwide environmental threats and how sustainable design can be a solution to those challenges.

“The future of our planet and the cultural, environmental and social vitality of our communities depend on our youth,” said Christine Rupp, Director of the Coral Gables Museum. “Thanks to this grant, the expanded Green City Program will now be a free educational program to K-12 students in Miami, giving them the tools to make important decisions about the design and livability of their communities.”

From its beginning, the Coral Gables Museum has been has been a local green leader.  Using the principle that the greenest building is often the one already built, the Coral Gables Museum restored the historic 1939 Police and Fire Station, using the building’s original materials and the new wings achieved LEED certification. Part of the museum’s mission is to provide an “educational platform for visitors and students to learn about green design and practical solutions for a more sustainable community.” Included in their upcoming events:

  • “Effects of Everglades Restoration on Sea Level Rise Resilience in Urban Miami” panel discussion
  • “Designing the Resilient City” panel discussion
  • “Socio-ecological Vulnerability and Resilience in Miami-Dade” panel discussion
  • Dr. Harold Wanless on Rising Sea Levels
  • Miami 2100: Envisioning a Resilient Second Century – Exhibit

This $200,000 grant will allow the museum to hire experts to teach classes and conduct tours around the theme of “Green Cities”. Hired by the museum:

· Carmen L. Guerrero, licensed architect, Associate Professor in Practice, and Academic Coordinator of Explorations in Architecture at University of Miami, will serve as the curriculum consultant for the Green City Program.

· Kiki Mutis, who has developed environmental education programs for Marjory Stoneman Douglas Biscayne Nature Center, Citizens for a Better South Florida and Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, will lead native garden design activities for elementary school students.

· David Rifkind, professor at Florida International University’s College of Architecture and the Arts, will provide personal tours of his acclaimed green home to middle and high school students.

· Jaime Correa, Associate Professor in Practice at the University of Miami, will provide tours of the current exhibit Miami 2100: Envisioning a Resilient Second Century and provide presentations to middle and high school students on designing urban solutions for climate change and sea level rise.

If you would like to register your school for the Green City Program, please contact Dianely Cabrera or Ashley Montano at (305) 603-8067 or e-mail education@coralgablesmuseum.org.

USGBC Inforgraphic: LEED in the World

USGBC LEED in the World infographic
LEED registered & certified projects in the world as of April 2013; courtesy USGBC

 

The U.S. Green Building Council has a new, easy to read, infographic called “LEED in the World”. It lists the number of registered and certified LEED projects internationally, along with the top 10 countries with green buildings.

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design and is an internationally recognized program “that provides third-party verification of green buildings. Building projects satisfy prerequisites and earn points to achieve different levels of certification. Prerequisites and credits differ for each rating system, and teams choose the best fit for the project. Learn more about LEED, the facts, and the LEED rating systems.”

According to the USGBC’s website, building to LEED standards can:

  • Lower operating costs and increase asset value
  • Conserve energy, water and other resources
  • Be healthier and safer for occupants
  • Qualify for money-saving incentives, like tax rebates and zoning allowances

Perhaps this is why, as the USGBC notes, the “numbers show the explosive growth of the green building movement beyond North America, demonstrating the growing global consensus about the worldwide imperative to green the built environment.”

Dow POWERHOUSE Solar Shingles Now Available in 10 States

photo provided courtesy of Saginaw Future

I have been following the progress of solar shingles, including Dow’s POWERHOUSE line, for several years, so I was encouraged to read that Dow has expanded their availability into seven additional states. Solar shingles seems like a “no-brainer” to me – “Building Integrated Photovoltaics” (BIPV) roof shingles that mimic traditional roofing materials including the S-tile so popular here in Miami. The solar shingles must meet standards for both the photovoltaic industry as well as regional building codes. I suspect our hurricane building codes, “some of the strongest… codes in the world” according to Popular Mechanics, will make the Miami-Dade market a difficult one to enter, but I am looking forward to Dow and the others arriving sooner or later. We are, after all, located in the Sunshine State.



Expanded Availability Announced for DOW POWERHOUSE Solar Shingles (via Green Building Elements)

Expansion includes East Coast markets, Louisiana, Michigan The Dow Chemical Company has released good news for solar shingle enthusiasts today. The company will expand availability of its solar shingle line, a residential roofing system that protects homes like standard shingles that contain embedded…

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Post-Katrina New Orleans Experiments With Largest Solar Power Neighborhood In Southeast

Back in early 2008, I wrote about Brad Pitt’s “Make It Right” foundation.  “When Brad Pitt visited New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward two years after Hurricane Katrina, he was shocked by the lack of rebuilding progress in this historic, working class community. Many worried the plight of the neighborhood would be forgotten. In a bold move, Pitt committed to help rebuild in the hardest hit area of the city.” To date in New Orleans, “Make It Right” has built 87 of the planned 150 homes with green features such as no-VOC paints and flooring and ENERGY STAR® appliances. Many of the homes also have solar panels. Now, New Orleans is the location of another solar powered housing development experiement:


Largest Solar Power Neighborhood In Southwest Built In New Orleans(via Clean Technica)

  The St. Thomas Housing Project had been a somewhat rundown low-income housing project before Hurricane Katrina hit, known primarily for its high crime rate. But now, the area has become the focus of several government agencies working to revitalize it through sustainable and renewable technologies…

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Four Environmental Innovations That Have Revolutionized Architecture – Guest Post



Guest Post: Four Environmental Innovations That Have Revolutionized Architecture (via Green Building Elements)

The green revolution has impacted almost every sector of the economy. Now, eco-friendly technology is revolutionizing the way we think about architecture. Every part of the architectural process is undergoing huge changes. When people think of green architecture, they often picture simple modifications…

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Would You Live Here? 5 Remarkable Recycled Homes

Years ago, a friend and I were talking about our “dream homes”. Mine was a decommissioned small church or chapel because I’ve always loved the architectual elements found in them. It looks like someone else had the same idea as seen in #4 on Glenn Myers’ list of “5 Remarkable Recycled Homes”.

Which one is your favorite?



5 Remarkable Recycled Homes (via Green Building Elements)

A number of innovative structures have been created using materials that might otherwise have been destined for the landfill. Here are five examples of what we’ve found, thanks to the The Daily Green, Flavorwire, and Design Buzz. 1. New Life for a Grain Silo House  2. House of Bottled Dreams 3.…

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Would you live here? Inhabitat brings us the ‘Stark White House’

Designed by the architect & design firm of Elding Oscarson in Sweden, the ‘Stark White House’ is being featured this week in Inhabitat‘s blog: “a weblog devoted to the future of design, tracking the innovations in technology, practices and materials that are pushing architecture and home design towards a smarter and more sustainable future.”

As a real estate estate, I find the dramatic departure from architectual style of the neighborhood to be a bit startling. But I do appreciate the low carbon footprint and the bright minimalist space. Give me a wall and door on that bathroom and I could live there. Would you?