San Francisco Restaurant is Sustainable to the Core


The Perennial, a restaurant that recently opened in San Francisco, truly is sustainable through and through. It’s the brainchild of husband and wife Anthony Myint and Karen Leibowitz and boast of it’s own aquaponic greenhouse, uses only responsibly-reared meat, and was decorated using recycled materials. The latter is only the tip of the iceberg as far as sustainable design goes though, and the restaurant is currently seeking a LEED Platinum certification.

The energy efficiency of the restaurant was achieved in collaboration with the Food Service Technology Center. They use an intelligent cooker hood, which is capable of monitoring the air and turning itself off and on as needed. They also installed a combo oven, which can produce steam heat, dry heat, or a combination of the two, and is apparently 30 percent more efficient than standard ovens. The pots they use also heat up faster than conventional pots.

The flooring in the kitchen is made entirely of recycled materials, which doesn’t have to be hosed down the way regular kitchen mats do. The owners also claim that the chefs use more than just the prime cuts of meat when preparing the dishes, which results in less waste.

Instead of several, the Perennial only has one large refrigerator, which is, according to the designers, a much more efficient approach to keeping the food fresh. All the wine and cocktails are served on-tap, which greatly reduces the need for packaging, and cuts down on the energy usage and waste. The spirits they serve are locally and sustainably produced.

Some of the dishes on the menu are also made using Kernza, which is a new perennial grain thought to counteract climate change due to its root-based carbon sequestration, pest resistance, and high yield. All the meat and dairy, on the other hand, are obtained from ranches where the animals graze on so-called “compost-treated rangeland” that is special because it promotes the growth of longer-rooted perennial grasses, which sequester carbon beneath the soil.


The interior design of the dining area is also environmentally-friendly, and was created using reclaimed lumber, a recycled and recyclable rug, and recycled tiles, while the plaster used was made from marble-processing waste, and recycled glazing. LED lighting is installed throughout, which further minimizes energy usage. The menus are made from recycled paper, and, once they are worn out, the paper is used to feed the worms at the aquaponic greenhouse.


The restaurant’s greenhouse is located in Oakland and measures 2 ,000-sq ft (186-sq m). Here they produce vegetables served at the restaurant. In addition to the menus, the food scraps from the restaurant’s kitchen are also fed to worms and larvae here, while the worms are then fed to the fish in the aquaponics system.

The main aim of opening this restaurant was demonstrating to the industry just how easy it is to apply sustainable practices to everyday operations and thereby combat climate change. The restaurant also donates a part of its revenue to the non-profit ZeroFoodprint project, which teaches restaurants how to reduce their carbon footprints.

The Perennial opened its doors on January 20th, 2016.

Mall With Largest Green Roof in the World


Silicon Valley, CA just might be getting a mall with the largest green roof in the world. The developer firm Sand Hill Property Company has recently acquired a 50 acre (20 hectare) plot of land, currently occupied by Cupertino’s Vallco Shopping Mall. The company is now proposing a $3 billion development project, which would turn this into a mixed-use town center covered by a green roof along with a host of other sustainable features.

The project is called Hills at Vallco and would be designed by Rafael Viñoly Architects and OLIN Landscape Architects. The mall, which is currently located on the side would be transformed drastically. The finished complex would feature a number of retail spaces, around 2 million sq ft (185,806 sq m) of office space, and 800 apartment units. And the whole thing would be covered by a green roof.


The green roof would measure 30 acres (12.1 hectares), which probably is, in fact, the largest in the world, while an estimated $300 million would be spent on constructing it. This green area would be open to the general public, and would feature orchards, gardens, vineyards, an amphitheater, and playgrounds. There would also be a 3.8 mile (6.1 km) jogging and walking trail. The proposal also plans on the inclusion of entertainment facilities such as AMC Theaters, a bowling center, and an ice-skating rink.



The developers hope to achieve a LEED Platinum certification for the project. Apart from the green roof, there would also be other sustainable features, such as using recycled water for irrigation, heating, and cooling, as well as a rainwater collection system, all with the aim of reducing water consumption as much as possible. The green roof park would be planted with native and drought-resistant vegetation, which does not need a lot of water to flourish.

Since it’s all still in the planning and proposal stage, these things might still be subject to change. However, the green roof looks promising so it will be interesting to see how the project progresses going forward.

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Passive Home That is Just Perfect


The so-called Right-Sized Oak Park Home, designed by architect Tom Bassett-Dilley is a great example of how a passive and sustainable house does not need to be about giving up comfort and other modern conveniences. It boasts of a number of sustainable features and certifications, yet still fits right in with the other houses in Chicago’s Oak Park neighborhood, which is famous for its Frank Lloyd Wright house.


Right-Sized Oak Park Home is a 1800-square-foot, single family house. It is seeking a number of certifications, including Passive House under PHIUS 2015, LEED-H Platinum, Net Zero Energy, and HERS. These standards are achieved by a combination of the home’s smaller size and its ultra-efficient thermal envelope. The home is also fitted with very efficient fixtures and appliances, and uses just a fraction of the energy of a traditionally-built house.




The home features a continuous ventilation system, and only non-toxic, formaldehyde/VOC-free finishes were used in order to ensure optimal indoor air quality and comfort of the inhabitants. Due to the small footprint of the home, there is enough room for a large garden, and a patio with an outdoor fireplace room.


The home was also fitted with Zola Thermo uPVC, triple-glazed windows with insulated uPVC frames, which have a great performance. While these windows are more expensive and bring up the building costs considerably, it is very important to install highly efficient windows when pursuing the Passive House standard.



This new home is also in line with architect Tom Bassett-Dilley’s manifesto, which aims to promote a simplified, healthier and more sustainable means of constructing homes, without actually sacrificing the comforts of modern day life. Among other things he promotes homes, which are just the right size with no unnecessary rooms, or basements, extra bathrooms, formal living rooms and the like. He also promotes constructing homes with the right orientation to ensure proper shading and prevent heat loss in the colder months, and building compact dwellings with airtight envelopes, and efficient lighting, appliances, and mechanical systems, as well as use of natural, non-toxic finishes.

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Guinness Goes Green


It’s always nice to see businesses taking steps to go green. Diageo, the company that manufactures the world famous Guinness beer, has recently opened a new brewhouse, which has been awarded the LEED Platinum certification. Brewhouse No. 4 as it is called, is located at St. James’s Gate in Ireland and it was also awarded the BREEAM Outstanding certification in 2014.


The most notable sustainable features of Brewhouse No.4 are an energy recovery system, which works to reduce the need for steam heating, and a hybrid refrigeration system which runs at 32 ºF instead of 25 ºF (0 ºC instead of -4 ºC) as was the case with the previous one. They also optimized the structure’s orientation, took advantage of solar shading and used high-performance insulation. The lighting is automatic and highly-efficient.


The electrical energy for the building is provided by a combined heat and power plant (CHP). They also installed a low-energy heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system, while the air conditioning is now restricted to certain parts of the building only.



Only low-flow water fixtures were used throughout the building, while a rainwater catchment system will yield an estimated 6,400 cu ft (180 cu m) of rainwater a year. They also added facilities for cyclists and low-fuel/fuel-efficient vehicles, and have a carpooling scheme, which are all aimed at encouraging green commuting.

Through all this, Brewhouse No. 4 is now a carbon neutral building, while it has also achieved zero waste to landfill status for both the construction process as well as ongoing operation. According to the builders, 33 percent less thermal energy and 14 percent less water are now used to brew the beer, compared to the previous facility.

Brewhouse No. 4 is the first major brewery in the world to have received the highest LEED rating, while its BREEAM score was the highest of any industrial building anywhere in the world in 2014. The brewhouse started operating in September 2014.

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Super Sustainable LivingHomes Prefabs Taking Over California


The company LivingHomes has launched their first sustainable, LEED platinum prefab home back in 2013. They have also partnered with the non-profit Make It Right organization and architect William McDonough with whom they have created the so-called C6 home, which is an affordable LEED Platinum certified home, which also meets the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star standard.

The company has also developed their own 6-point sustainable home standard, called the Z6 program, which, according to them, will serve to better showcase the C6 homes’ performance.


The Z6 program can be used to measure how close each of the C6 homes gets to being zero energy, zero emissions, zero carbon, zero water, zero waste and “zero ignorance.” The homes graded using this standard get a percentage score based on all of these factors, while the overall score of 85 percent or above is considered acceptable.




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