Monday, August 31, 2009

Now, this is a green building!

From Cliff Kuang, reporting for Wired Magazine: look at the astonishing photos and read the story of a truly green building -- this 8-story antigravity forest-covered building.

"Blanc uses a kind of techno-trellis as the underlying structure: A plastic-coated aluminum frame is fastened to the wall and covered with synthetic felt into which plant roots can burrow. A custom irrigation system keeps the felt moist with a fertilizer solution modeled after the rainwater that trickles through forest canopies."

All our awe and admiration to Patrick Blanc and his wondrously beautiful projects for the Athenaeum hotel in London and other landmark buildings around the world.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Goodwill Industries Buys Bay Area Carpet Recycler

From Floor Daily, a wonderful story, excellent news, and a trend to watch.

The carpet industry is struggling to figure out how to make money in carpet recycling. Currently, a lot of reclaimed carpet goes to power plants to be used as an alternate fuel, and is not recyled in the traditional sense.

This move by Goodwill in CA is an interesting option. Goodwill knows all about recycling -- most of the clothes that get donated never get resold on a rack, but instead get sorted, bailed, and sold to people who deal in rag scrap. If Goodwill can succeed with carpet, it creates an incredibly rich collection system throughout the US, as they have facilities everwhere.

We're watching closely to see if this is a trend that might revolutionize the carpet recyling effort.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Pajama Program autumn calendar

Check out the Pajama Program's fall calendar here. This is one of our favorite charities -- we'd love it if you could attend any of these events!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Through Your Lens

The Healthy Schools Campaign is hosting a photo and essay contest.

Tell us, in photos or words, about your school building – what you are proud of and what you’d like to see changed. Be a detective, documenting and showing the world the good, bad and even the funny dimensions of your school building.

Your images and words will help raise awareness of the need for high quality school buildings for all students, teachers and communities.

Read more about The Healthy Schools Campaign here.

RD Weis Companies online brochure

Check out our online brochure here!

New Jersey's Solar Boom

Mark Svenvold in the Daily Finance has an interesting and informative article about the ongoing tensions between old and new power sources in New Jersey.

Two points worth consideration:

...the top solar country is cloudy, windy, Germany, which receives less sun than the rain-besotted state of Oregon. And the reason that Germany, on a national level, and New Jersey, on a state level, are surprising leaders? It's because they both have passed laws that help encourage the growth of the solar industry and encourage people to use solar power.


The advantage that Asia and Europe seem to have over the U.S. is that their renewable markets are much more directed by government policy, whereas our renewable markets have been shaped from state to state. Our confused patchwork, directed by public power commissions like New Jersey's BPU, are often bogged down by inefficiencies and swayed by fossil fuel interests. With the exception of North Carolina, not a single state in the southeast has passed Renewable Portfolio Standards legislation.

Read the whole thing.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Achieving Energy Efficient Buildings

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientist Evan Mills, in the always excellent Climate Progress, has an interesting and though-provoking post about the form of energy efficiency called building commissioning here.

"Commissioning is arguably the single-most cost-effective strategy for reducing energy, costs, and greenhouse gas emissions in buildings today. Commissioning maximizes the quality and persistence of savings achieved through other energy-saving technologies and practices. The process ensures that building owners get what they pay for when constructing or retrofitting buildings, provides risk-management and “insurance” for policymakers and program managers enabling their initiatives to actually meet targets, and detects and corrects problems that would eventually surface as far more costly maintenance or safety issues. As such, commissioning is more than “just another pretty energy-saving measure.” It is a risk-management strategy that should be integral to any systematic effort to garner and maintain energy savings or emissions reductions."

Something to consider as we work toward more sustainable and energy-efficient buildings.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Altro Whiterock Event Wednesday, September 16th

Please join us at our Altro Floors Whiterock for Designers Event -- enjoy hors d’oeuvres and drinks with RD Weis friends, colleagues, and Jodi Arden and Andrew J. Ochs of Altro Floors.

Altro Whiterock is a durable, water-tight wall system designed specifically for building environments with strict hygienic standards.

Whiterock also integrates seamlessly with Altro’s slip-resistant, sustainable safety flooring– making it ideal for areas such as kitchens, showers, operating rooms, clean rooms, and manufacturing plants.

Jodi Arden, Altro Floors A&D Specification Representative, and Andrew Ochs, Altro Floors Technical Services, will present a brief Whiterock history, including its synergy with floors, and then lead us in a demo of Altro Whiterock Thermoformer. Click here for more information.

Of special interest for designers, Andrew will explain areas of use, and will also cover application, and flooring tie-in.

On Wednesday, September 16th, 2009 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., this event will be held at RD Weis Companies’ Manhattan office: 260 Fifth Avenue, Suite 500, New York, NY 10001.
RSVP: Sheri Gorman at 212-376-5355 X 202 or email her, sgorman at

We look forward to seeing you there!

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

At the RD Weis Companies Manhattan office, 260 Fifth Avenue, Suite 500, New York, NY 10001

Please RSVP: Sheri Gorman, sgorman at, 212-376-5355.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Amazing! Efficient and beautiful design ideas from nature

Janine Benyus's gorgeous, inspiring lecture on green chemistry and design ideas from nature: a must watch. Great ideas, and a wonderful area of inquiry for us all as we work to create sustainable designs and processes.

Monday, August 10, 2009

CDC has Swine Flu vaccine in production

The CDC has isolated the H1N1 virus and modified the virus, and they've got a vaccine in production -- they hope it will be available in time for flu season. Read more at CDC's site here.

Climate change and national security

John Broder has an extremely important article in The New York Times on the ways in which global warming and climate change will seriously affect our security. Military and intelligence analysts examine the prospect of food shortages, water crises and catastrophic flooding driven by climate change that could demand an American humanitarian relief or military response.

Broder writes,

If the United States does not lead the world in reducing fossil-fuel consumption and thus emissions of global warming gases, proponents of this view say, a series of global environmental, social, political and possibly military crises loom that the nation will urgently have to address.

This is a reality that we must face, and sooner rather than later.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Restore NY

Spread the news -- Restore NY is a program designed to encourage economic development and neighborhood growth by providing municipalities with financial assistance for revitalization of commercial and residential properties.

ESDC is making $150 million available for the third round of grants and soliciting proposals from municipalities for competitive review.

Let your friends, colleagues, and clients know about this amazing initiative.

Greenversations questions of the month

The EPA's blog, Greenversations, is hosting their Question of the Month. For August, the theme is Weather and Climate.

Send in your question or comment on others'.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Ecoglo photoluminescent emergency lighting

We love Ecoglo -- available-light-charged, photoluminescent emergency lighting that is UL924 compliant... and your green substitute for electrically-powered signs. With no need for wiring, no batteries, Ecoglo reduces your 30-year operating costs by over 90%.


Check out the international executive housekeepers association -- a wonderful non-profit that helps facility managers maintain cleaner and healthier building, from hotels to hospitals. Tons of great resources here.