Friday, July 31, 2009

Grand Teton National Park Building- LEED Platinum

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
Completion date: 2008, Carney Architects, Jackson, Wyoming

Part of my summer vacation, besides visiting family and friends, is always spent exploring and enjoying the beautiful area I grew up in. I make it a point to make at least one voyage into the park every trip, and this year my focus was on touring the first LEED Platinum park building.

The Interpretive Center and its related trails represents a gift of an 1,100 acre inholding of land on the shores of Phelps Lake from Laurance S. Rockefeller to the National Park Service to benefit and educate the public. The meditation space, complete with rain and thunder soundtrack was interesting, as were the videos showing the park in all the seasons with close-ups of animals you may or may not get the chance to see up close. My favorite, though, was the reading room with comfortable chairs to relax and explore the many books about the park and the eco-systems in it.

The 7,000-square-foot building is self-guiding, with the goal of awakening the senses so that visitors may gain a heightened appreciation of the surrounding landscape. The building advances environmental responsibility, with sustainable materials and methods employed in all aspects of the design, from the building itself to every piece of furniture, also designed by Carney Architects. This building is the first to achieve LEED-Platinum status in the National Park Service and in Wyoming.

I loved this unique drinking fountain design- stainless steel pipe surrounded by rusted iron and drilled through a large boulder.

Directly behind the discovery center are several trails with beautiful viewing "nooks" overlooking the creek. We saw bear scratches on aspen trees, and a pine marten- up close and personal. He was too quick to snap a picture, though.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Bosch- eco-friendly to their roots

At a recent seminar held by the Bosch Gallery here in Scottsdale, I learned a bit more about this amazing company, the history behind their commitment to the environment and social responsibility. I was amazed to know how long they have been a leader in innovative technology and leading edge ideas.

In 1886, Robert Bosch founded the "Workshop for Precision Mechanics and Electrical Engineering " in Stuttgart. This was the birth of today's globally active Robert Bosch GmbH.
From the very beginning, the company's history has been characterized by innovative drive and social commitment. They even have their own recycling centers when your appliance is no longer functional.

Best known for their dishwashers, and laundry appliances, they continue leading the way with the most energy- and water-efficient models available on the market today. In fact, they have been honored as the 2009 Energy-Star Partner of the Year for Appliances. Bosch dishwashers are the ultimate green machines- they are the quietest on the market, while exceeding federal energy standards by 48%.

Bosch has been advancing and improving their clothes washer design over a 50-year history, when they first introduced the front-loading models in Europe. Today, the Nexxt® 800 Series washers are so efficient they are 102% above ENERGY STAR® requirements. Their ECOSENSOR reduces energy usage while caring for your clothes.

Bosch also offers refrigerators, hot water heaters, cooking appliances and small appliances- and that doesn't even start to cover the range of other equipment for home, garden, car, etc. When you consider their appliances are intelligent, more enjoyable and look stylish too, you can see why they are favored by many homeowners, as well as designers.

After learning about the company's commitment to global energy concerns, worker welfare, and even providing innovative solutions for third-world and developing countries, I am putting Bosch (and their sister companies, Thermador and Gaggenau) on the top of my list.