Green Builder News - January 97

Green Builder News

A program of the City of Austin

January 1997

The Newsletter of the City of Austin's Green Builder Program

Program Manager--Doug Seiter

Editor--Jill Manlove Mayfield

The Green Builder News is published six time a year by the City of Austin Green Builder Program. For more information on the program, call (512)499-3545 or contact us by e-mail.


Leader in Sustainable Architecture to Kick-Off Sustainable Design Seminar Series

William McDonough, one of the nation's outstanding practitioners of sustainable architecture and design, will speak at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library auditorium on Wednesday, January 29, 1997, at 9:30 a.m. on the University of Texas campus.

This address kicks off the 1997 Texas Sustainable Building Professional Training Seminar series coordinated by the Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems.

His talk is titled "A Declaration of Interdependence: Humanity, Nature and Technology," is free and open to the public.

McDonough is the Dean of the School of Architecture at the University of Virginia and a recipient of the Presidential Award for Sustainable Development, the nation's highest environmental award. He is the author of the Hannover Principles/Design for Sustainability, the official design guidelines for the World's Fair in 2000.

The 1997 Sustainable Public Building Training Seminar series is an opportunity for architects, project managers, contractors, facilities managers and other building professionals to learn specific skills to use sustainable design practices and resource-efficient technologies in their public building projects.

The six session series will provide detailed instruction and interactive exercises on how to make your buildings environmentally responsive and responsible, from improving indoor air quality to selecting green building materials.

Cost for each seminar is just $15. All classes meet from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Thompson Conference Center on the University of Texas Campus at 26th and Red River Sts., directly north of the LBJ Library. Free parking is available and lunch is "on-your-own" and is available at the Thompson Center cafeteria. For registration information, contact Gail Vittori at (512) 928-4786.

McDonough's talk and the seminar series is coordinated by the Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems, and is sponsored by the Texas State Energy Conservation Office, University of Texas Office of the President and University of Texas School of Architecture.

Gables Central Park Apartments To Be Austin's First Green Builder Apartment Community

Gables Central Park will be Austin's first apartment community to follow City of Austin Green Builder guidelines for a multifamily construction project. Gables Central Park, located at 800 W. 38th St., next to the Central Market retail development, will be completed mid 1997. Leasing has begun and initial occupancy is expected in January.

Gables Central Park is a development by Gables Residential in Houston, Texas. Gables Central Park is the third luxury apartment community to be developed in Austin by Gables Residential. The company recently completed the successful leasing of Gables Town Lake, located at 2600 Lake Austin Blvd. Green Builder features will include:

For more information on the City of Austin Green Builder Program for residential, multi-family, or commercial projects, call (512) 499-7827.

Foreign and Out of State Visitors Help Make 1996 Green Building Conference a Success

Almost 2,000 people attended the Fifth Annual Green Building Conference in Austin on November 7-10. Many of those attendees were from out of state and foreign countries. Twenty states and nine foreign countries were represented at the conference which took place at the Austin Convention Center.

Foreign countries represented included Japan, South Korea, France, Spain and several countries in Central and South America. Most notable of the foreign visitors was a contingent from the Japanese Ministry of Construction researching a "green builder" program for the Japanese building industry.

The conference featured top national and international experts on environmentally friendly building. Sessions focused on energy-saving design, using non-toxic materials, and building techniques that contribute to healthier, more cost-efficient buildings. There was also a trade show featuring more than 112 exhibits of "green" building materials and services.

The conference was sponsored by the City of Austin Green Builder Program; the Lower Colorado River Authority; Texas State Energy Conservation Office; Whole Foods Market; Steel Recycling Institute; U.S. Department of Energy; University of Texas School of Architecture; IC2 Institute and RGK Foundation; Texas Capital Area Builders Association; American Institute of Architects, Austin Chapter; and Dynamic Reprographics.

Model Energy Code Software, Materials on the Web

The MECcheck is a collection of manuals, worksheets, and software designed to quickly and easily demonstrate compliance with the Model Energy Code

The MEC check manual, prescriptive packages and software can be downloaded at no charge from the United States Department of Energy (DOE) Building Standards and Guideline Program website.

The address for this site is

The MECcheck products can also be ordered by calling DOE's hotline at 1-800-270-CODE.

Lower Rates Possible for Texas Veterans Building Green

In November 1996, Garry Mauro, chairman of the Texas Veterans Land Board, announced the formation of the Greenbuilding Program that will enable Texas veterans choosing to build green to get substantial savings on veterans home and home improvement loans.

The Veterans Land Board, which makes low-interest loans to Texas Veterans to buy land, homes, and make home improvements, is modeling its Greenbuilding Program on the City of Austin's Green Builder Program.

The program will use a point system to qualify for a lower interest rate for home construction and home improvement loans. A veteran can earn up to a full percentage point discount from regular rates by incorporating green features into their home.

For more information of the Texas Veterans Land Board Greenbuilding Program, call 1-800-252-8387

Green Builder Program Staff Notes

Laurence Doxsey, formerly of the City of Austin Green Builder Program, has joined the City's Sustainable Communities Initiative (SCI). This project, which began in 1996, is headed by Roger Duncan, director of the Planning, Environmental and Conservation Services Department.

The initiative takes the sustainability agenda fostered by the Green Builder Program to a broad-based community level through a series of projects designed to enhance the social, economic, and environmental well-being of the Austin region.

A sustainability assessment of all City departments; a sustainability indicators project, green economic development, and improved neighborhood and regional relationships are some of the projects and goals of the SCI to help make Austin more livable now and in the future. Existing City programs, individuals, and interested citizens will be called upon to help make these goals a reality.

Anyone interested in receiving a written report describing the Sustainable Communities can contact Laurence at (512) 499-3504.

Clear Information On Windows

Make choosing windows for your next project with the help of two new publications.

Residential Windows: A Guide to New Technologies and Energy Performance, by John Carmody, Stephen Selkowitz and Lisa Heschong, published by W.W. Norton Company, New York, NY.

Residential Window: A Guide to New Technology and Energy Performance, offers home owners, architects, designers, and builders an overview of the state of the art today and book information necessary to evaluate windows and make intelligent choices.

John Carmody is an architect at the Building Research Center, University of Minnesota; Stephen Selkowitz directs windows and daylighting research at Lawrence Berkely National Laboratory; and Lisa Heschong, an architect, is a partner in the Heschong Mahone Group architectural research firm.

Certified Products Directory, published by the National Fenestration Council (NFRC, Inc).

This directory is published annually (and sometimes more often) to provide consumers, builders, utilities, manufacturers, and government agencies with accurate energy performance ratings for fenestration products such as windows, doors, and skylights. The directory contains descriptive information and thermal transmission data (U-factors) for over 22,000 certified products. To receive this publication contact the NFRC at:

NFRC, Inc.
1300 Spring St., Ste. 120
Silver Spring, MD 20910
phone: (301) 588-0854

Revised Edition Updates Popular Kitchen Design Guide

The Smart Kitchen: How to Design a Comfortable, Safe, Energy-Efficient, and Environment-Friendly Workspace, by David Goldbeck, has been revised to include thirty new recycling center designs, plus 50 percent more resource listings for the United States and Canada. The book is available at most book stores, or directly from Ceres Press, P.O. Box 87, Woodstock, NY, 12498. Price: $15.98 plus $2 for postage and handling (U.S. funds).

Solar Water Heating Program

The City of Austin Planning, Environmental and Conservation Services Department offers both loans and rebates for the purchase and installation of residential solar water heating systems. Solar is an excellent alternative to heating water with electricity, which can be very costly.

Loans with a rate of 0% for 3-5 years, or 2% for 7 years, are available. Rebates up to $350 are also offered. All City of Austin residential electric customers who heat water with electricity are eligible. For more information, call the City at (512) 499-7827.

Solar Explorer Program To Support Photovoltaics in Austin

A new program of the City of Austin Electric Utility is paving the way for photovoltaics to become viable form of power generation.

Citizens who receive City of Austin utilities can become a Solar Explorer by paying $7 per month on their utility for the installation and maintenance of 100-watt block of a larger solar PV power plant. The first power plant will be on the roof of the Town Lake Center building, located at 721 Barton Spring Rd.

Businesses, schools or organizations can get involved by hosting a site on a specific building, parking garage, or parking lot. A utility representative will review your site for suitability, and if it fulfills their requirments, will provide you with a presentation and a kit to sign up members. Each photovoltaic panel requires 257 members for installation.

The goal of the Electric Utility is to install 10 panels in 1997. For more information on the Solar Explorer program, call Leslie Libby at the City of Austin Electric Utility, (512) 322-6290.

The Green Builder Newsletter is published by the City of Austin Green Builder Program, P.O. Box 1088, Austin, Texas 78767. Phone: (512) 499-3545, Fax: (512) 499-2859. Inquiries and articles are always welcome.

This newsletter is also available by email. To subscribe to the mailing list, send email from the address to be subscribed to:

with the word SUBSCRIBE in the SUBJECT line.

Editor: Jill Manlove Mayfield

Green Builder Staff
Doug Seiter--Manager
Susan Barnett
Laurence Doxsey
Doug Garrett
Perrie Hodge
Jill Mayfield
Pat Mazur
Mary McLeod

The City of Austin is committed to compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. This publication is available in alternative formats. Please call 499-2501 for information.

Planning, Environmental and Conservation Services Department
206 East 9th Street
Austin, Texas 78701

webmaster: Bill Christensen, Sustainable Sources