Thursday, August 16, 2007

Chapel Hill Steps Ahead In Eco-Buildings

The triangle will be host to the first “Cradle-to-Cradle” apartment complex, according to Elizabeth Redmond at GreenOptions ( an online community devoted to raising awareness of environmental progress and whatnot across the country). GreenBridge is planned around the premise of renewable resources/material. The concept of cradle-to-cradle contrasts that of cradle-to-grave which encompasses the current ethos of using and disposing of materials and resources in the life-span of a facility. Cradle-to-cradle, asides from sounding a bit like a new Steven Segal movie, is the concept of perpetual re-use of waste products. Or as they put it:

The inspiration behind Greenbridge Developments lies in the approach articulated by William McDonough and Michael Braungart in their 2002 book, Cradle to Cradle. Contrary to cradle-to-grave patterns that make, take, and waste-cradle-to-cradle harnesses the earth's interdependent systems to nourish one process with the "waste" from another, and rely on an eternally renewing flow of resources.

Wonderful…however don’t get too excited.

The units start at $300,000 and work their way up to an easy $1million. I’ve already ordered 3 actually. While still a better idea than having rich folks living in energy consuming villas somewhere else…far, far away from their inner-city brethren… I think that this sort of initiative might be better directed at those who stand to benefit the most from lower utility bills and enhanced aesthetics, mainly those who can’t fathom affording 1 million bux for an apartment that can power a lightbulb from urine. (I'm kidding, I don't know if it can do that)

In either case I believe it is a start, regardless of who it benefits, and Raleigh would do well to embrace such initiatives as examples of how a little design savvy, environmental concern, and a dash of capitalism could help transform the capital city for the better. Those are my thoughts however.

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