Green Me

There’s an excellent feature article in the Chronicle today talking about the green roof which is shortly to be installed at the new Academy of Sciences Building. When I went there with Haddock, the GM, and the Sardine a few weeks ago, the building was starting to significantly take shape, and we were speculating on what the outside would be finished with, and how the roof would look. Now that it’s starting to really come together, I’m getting more of a sense for the look and feel.

I have to say, I think it’s going to be pretty darn cool once it is finally done. The roof looks awesome, like a giant undulating wave, and the fact that it’s going to be covered in plants is even cooler. I love that they are using all native species, since we have a wide variety of amazing native plants in this part of the world. Apparently all of the plants were tested on the old roof, to see what would survive, so they planned ahead to make this a viable planting. It rekindles my desire for my own green roof.

I am glad to see this growing trend towards the use of sustainable design in public architecture. I mean, this being Northern California, I suppose it is not terribly revolutionary, but I think it sets a good example. The idea of completing huge, modern, really cool buildings with sustainability in mind is rather commendable. I also think that it will encourage every day consumers to think about green design as they build or remodel homes. Or maybe not, because a lot of green design is also really expensive.

I have been thinking a great deal lately about what my dream home would be like, and, unsurprisingly, it incorporates a lot of green ethics. I like the aesthetic of building materials like cob, I like the idea of being off the grid and self sustaining, and I heart green roofs. I have been seeing some really amazing cob architecture lately, and it makes me want to start seriously researching the material to see what needs to be done. I’m confident that cob can survive in our climate because cob houses in England, Wales, and Ireland are still standing, even though they are over 500 years old.

It’s also remarkably affordable, oddly enough, since most sustainable architecture looks pretty and will cost you. If you have the right site, cob can come from materials on your own land, and if you’re willing to do a lot of the work yourself, it gets even more affordable. That’s a pretty neat thing, in my opinion. And, unlike many other building materials, cob is quite flexible: you do do pretty much anything with cob. Except, apparently, build a home for the Academy of Sciences, but that green roof gives them plenty of style points, in my opinion.