Tidewater Current





Original Content & Curated News Featuring Sustainable Endeavors in Coastal Virginia & beyond.

Sustainable Design:

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William McDonough on the balcony of the ICEHouse in Davos January 2016. McDonough and partners designed the temporary structure in collaboration with Hub Culture, WonderFrame and SABIC. Image: McDonough Innovation

Virginia Visionary Displays Innovative Architecture at the 2016 World Economic Forum

As global leaders and financial titans met last month in Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum, they were exposed to a new kind of structure designed by Virginia architect William McDonough and partners. The gathering place for Forum participants dubbed ICEhouse™ was sited in a prominent location on the main promenade of Davos to showcase Cradle to Cradle innovation. McDonough, considered the father of this design approach in the United States, envisions a world of endless reuse.

“ICEhouse is a structure designed for disassembly and reconstruction,” said McDonough, who serves as Chair of the World Economic Forum’s Meta-Council on the Circular Economy. Erected in just nine days by a crew of four workers, the pavilion is constructed from just 4 materials - aluminum for the frame, lightweight and insulating SABIC polycarbonate sheet for the walls and roof, nanogel insulation and nylon 6 for the carpet. All of the products are currently or soon to be certified Cradle to Cradle, which means that at the end of their useful life, they can be remanufactured into new products.



The WonderFrame structural systems was developed to support construction from locally available material. According to McDonough, it is “designed to help us find ways to utilize many kinds of affordable materials to create dignified buildings for people in a variety of situations. We are calling it ‘wonder’ because we want people to wonder what it’s made of, and ‘frame’ because it is meant to be whatever structure each community and culture may need, and constructed from whatever materials they have available in that place at that time.”

On display only for the duration of the Economic Forum from January 20-23, the new home for the building will be at the Schiphol Trade Park in the Netherlands, a circular economy hub. Check out more photos and video interviews from the structure here or on twitter using #ICEhouse.


Virginia Earns $120+ Million for Resilience Planning from HUD

The Commonwealth is one of 13 recipients out of a pool of 67 applicants to receive funds made available through HUD's National Disaster Resilience Competition. The 16 month long project challenged states and municipalities to submit plans detailing climate adaptation and mitigation strategies. Last month, a delegation including Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe travelled to Norfolk to announce the $120.5 million award. The Commonwealth's submission garnered the third largest award which will support the development of innovative stormwater infrastructure in Norfolk's Ohio Creek watershed. In addition, a Coastal Resilience Laboratory and Accelerator Center, also expected to be located in Norfolk, will be established. All told, HUD committed to over a billion dollars for state and community programs with the top awards going to New Orleans and New York.

Image: January 21, 2016 NDRC Announcement in Norfolk attended by Rockefeller Foundation COO Peter Madonia, HUD Secretary Julian Castro, Mayor Paul Fraim, Governor Terry McAuliffe & Representative Bobby Scott - by Charles White

More Info: Read the Governor's Press Release & check out the Tidewater Rising Resiliency Design Challenge.

Want a room with a view? Check out this "Out of the Box" Sustainable Home for Sale in Poquoson.

The community hosts passive and active solar, geothermal systems, indoor gardens, rainwater collection, an organic garden and orchard.

Read about the Garden Atrium eco community in this post from 2011.

For sale information and photo tour, go the the Garden Atrium site.

Va. Beach Hemp Home under construction

Building Carbon Stores

The building industry alone is responsible for almost half of CO2 emissions. By creating structures with carbon neutral or negative materials and designing for energy neutral or positive operation, it may be possible to build our way out of the carbon conundrum. The Virginia Beach home pictured is constructed from carbon sequestering hempcrete. Not only does hemp photosynthesize and remove carbon as it grows, hempcrete continues to remove carbon from the atmosphere during its structural life. Read more about carbon neutral materials.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Brock Environmental Center in Virginia Beach

Designed for "Living Building Challenge" certification, the bar for efficient and sustainable use of resources is set incredibly high. Not only were local and eco friendly products and practices required during construction, project owners must provide data over the course of a year showing that there is a net zero operational impact. Rooftop solar PV panels and 2 wind turbines will power to the 9,000 sq. ft. structure. Rainwater is being harvested and grey water treated naturally on site. To get an idea of energy production and con sump ton at the facility at any given time, you can view the building energy dashboard here. More on Green Building.


Image: Seattle Seawall and Salmon Habitat Restoration Project

Nature at Work

Re-establishing natural habitat in urban environments enhances biodiversity and increases resilience. Read about the innovative ways ecological infrastructure is being incorporated into the built environment like this new seawall in Seattle that will restore critical salmon habitat. Living shorelines, floating wetlands, phytoremediation, green roofs as well as office and rooftop urban agriculture are all discussed. Go to article.


Virginia Participates in Pioneering Planning Partnerships (Biophilic and Resilient Cites)

Ground-breaking planning programs with Virginia ties have been launched. Two have an urban emphasis covering a host of cities spanning the globe, while another's focus is close to home and covers new territory: the ocean. The common thread behind all the initiatives is that through collaboration, creative approaches can be developed and shared so mutual goals can be achieved more efficiently.

Adapting to Rising Seas with Aquatecture

Rather than retreating from inundation prone low elevations, the solution, in some situations, may be to look for ways to make accommodations to the built environment. Amphibious or floating architecture coined as aquatecture is one potential coping strategy.

Read More

Extreme Green Design Edging into the Mainstream

The Pacific Northwest is not the only green building corridor in the Nation. Within the Mid Atlantic and particularly the Chesapeake Bay region, the green construction movement is exploding. Pictured is a LEED Platinum Virginia Beach home featuring a vegetated roof, solar power with battery backup, rainwater harvesting and treatment system for potable uses. Read more about this home designed by Watershed Architects and more emerging developments here.

Meadows Emerge as Growing Landscape Trend:  
Pollinators in Peril to Benefit

With the success of landmark landscape projects, like the NYC High Line, place making green design concepts are taking off on a global scale. 

The meadow movement is gaining ground and putting down roots. From urban rooftops to suburban front yards and rural farmscapes, meadows are beginning to transform the managed environment. Although the movement has momentum, in many communities, progress is still in an infancy stage.  Since these sustainable and beautiful landscapes provide important ecological services including wildlife habitat, the benefits extend well beyond aesthetic goals. Read more.


Virginia Solar Vintner Tour

Vintners, who rely on sunshine to bring fruit to the vine, are also exploiting its power to energize their indoor operations.  Explore the vineyards that are embracing solar power here.

View my Flipboard Magazine.


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