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Alex Wilson, the founder of our company and our current executive editor (i.e., my boss), is being named the 2010 Hanley Award winner in a special event here at Greenbuild 2010 tomorrow. In recognition of this achievement, and to better understand how this innovative, always-curious visionary looks at the world, I recently asked him 10 questions. Here's the conversation.

"The drama of a 2x4 shot from an air cannon at glass windows"

Posted September 23, 2009 2:15 PM by Mark Piepkorn
Related Categories: Events, LEED, Passive Survivability, Politics, Product Talk
Architectural testing concern HTL will be at GlassBuild America shooting missiles at windows again. The demonstration/demolition follows the Miami-Dade large missile protocol by shooting 2x4s at impact-resistant and non-impact-resistant windows. A press release from HTL quotes NGA Industry Events Director Susan Jacob: "There is nothing quite like the drama of a 2x4 missile shot from an air cannon at glass windows." Wish I was going! I checked HTL's website for some footage, but was left wanting. There's a link for client videos (and there's some top name clients in there), but they all seem to be password-protected.
The living space in this new home built by Global Green in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans is elevated four feet (1.2 m) to keep it above expected flood level. Numerous other "passive survivability" features are included.
A lot of people have been working for a long time to try to head off global warming — and some progress is being made. Buildings are becoming more energy-efficient, fuel economy standards for vehicles are finally rising again, and use of renewable energy is burgeoning. We need to continue these efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and sequester carbon dioxide, but the reality is that it's too little, too late to prevent climate change. Even if the CO2 spigot were turned off tomorrow, the earth would still see significant warming and the other predicted impacts of climate change: more intense storms, flooding, drought, wildfire, and power interruptions.

Interview with a Green Building Movement Pioneer

Posted March 16, 2009 10:24 AM by Mark Piepkorn
Related Categories: Books & Media, LEED, Passive Survivability, The Industry
Sea Change Radio recently had a great discussion with Alex Wilson. From their website:
Alex Wilson founded BuildingGreen in 1985, when the green building movement was in its infancy. As executive editor of Environmental Building News, the bible of green building, Wilson has provided the information that has formed the building blocks of the movement. In November 2008, Wilson received the Leadership Award for Education from the US Green Building Council, whose board he served on from 2000 until 2005, the crucial period when the organization created the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. Wilson launches the conversation with a primer on green building and its history, starting with an explanation of LEED.

Growing Greener

Posted February 3, 2009 8:46 AM by Alex Wilson
Related Categories: Behind the Scenes, Case Studies, Nature & Nurture, Op-Ed, Passive Survivability
Over 18 years and more than 160 issues of Environmental Building News, I've written quite a few articles — I hesitate to think about how many — but out of all of those, I think I had more fun and learned more in writing my most recent than ever before. "Growing Food Locally: Integrating Agriculture into our Built Environment" examines opportunities for producing food around, and on, our buildings that few architects, builders, or developers have yet considered. I think I had my first vegetable garden when I was five or six — back in Berwyn, Pennsylvania. There were a few years during college and perhaps some of my time in New Mexico when gardening didn't fit into my life. But other than that, growing some of my food has always been important to me. Thus, I surprised myself to realize a few months ago that I had yet to write — or even consider — an article for EBN addressing the potential for integrating food production into our built environment.

On the Path to Passive Survivability

Posted October 14, 2008 2:49 PM by Alex Wilson
Related Categories: Behind the Scenes, Events, Nature & Nurture, Passive Survivability, Politics, The Industry
Creating a superinsulated building envelope is one of the key requirements with passive survivability. I saw this superinsulated home feature when I was in Sweden last year.
Photo: Alex Wilson. Click for bigger.

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