Archive for July, 2009
Posted on 24. Jul, 2009 by Rebecca Firestone.
Jay Bakaler was very severe with me. “Don’t call it home automation!” he said. “Home automation got a bad name in the 80s and 90s, and now when people hear that word, they all run for the hills. What we do is systems integration, also called whole-house control systems. It’s more about choosing the right standalone systems and carefully and thoughtfully putting them together.”
Posted on 20. Jul, 2009 by Rebecca Firestone.
Net zero energy buildings produce more energy than they consume, and while they can function autonomously from the grid, they aren’t necessarily disconnected from it – they can use the connection to sell excess energy back to the utility companies. Sounds too good to be true? Can you really get paid to solarize your home? Well, David Knight from the Monterey Energy Group just might be able to help you get there. His take as an experienced engineer on which of these technologies really makes sense should carry a lot of weight with both designers and their clients.
Posted on 14. Jul, 2009 by Mark English, AIA.
Does it pay to be nimble, light, and alone these days? As the reeling economy continues to wreak havoc on the design and construction industry (2,000 fewer people were working at architecture firms in the month of April alone) architects are being bounced from their jobs at traditional design firms and wondering where their skills fit into the economy’s seemingly willful refusal to build buildings. Experience from other sole practitioners and small firms that offer services to architects and architectural clients suggests that the best business model today allows architects to use their diverse skills wherever they see fit—plugging their expertise into hyper-specific micro markets that are too small for a large firm to work in, yet large enough to keep paying the bills. Four Bay Area architects have been doing just that, often after long and familiar experiences with large, traditional design firms. Though their practices are vastly different, they’ve all found that the freedom and flexibility of their consulting practices have allowed them to bob, duck, weave, and advance in a worsening design market.
Posted on 09. Jul, 2009 by Rebecca Firestone.
When I first ran the numbers on the new Title 24 project from Klopf Architecture, the numbers were so high – 50% over compliance – that I immediately assumed that I had made a mistake somewhere in the calculations. After an internal review, however, we realized that it really was one of the most efficient projects we had ever taken through the energy compliance process. How did they do it?