The Green Report: No-Car Buildings, Green Standards, and the Smallest Apartments You’ll See Today

Happy March! It always seems like things start to speed by this time of year; February’s already gone and spring is on its way. Warmer weather always makes us think of renewal, and of greenery–so what better time to check in with the world of eco-friendly living? That’s right, it’s time again for the Green Report. Enjoy!

The Green Report

From Boston, an apartment building so eco-friendly that it bans cars

11971486861879163928ryanlerch_no_cars_sign.svg.medWe all want to do our part for the environment–and for many tenants in urban neighborhoods, that means walking, biking, and using public transportation whenever possible. But one proposed apartment project in Boston would go so far as to ban tenants from owning cars. Yup, you heard us right; according to the Globe, “tenants will have to sign an addendum to their lease that requires them to be car-less.”

The 44-unit building would include private gardens and an open greenway in some of the space that might otherwise have been devoted to parking. Transportation will be provided by Boston’s bus lines, and bikes and mopeds will be encouraged. According to the project’s architect, Sebastien Mariscal, “it just takes one building to change things.” But will tenants go for it? Only time will tell. Read more from the Boston Globe.

Speaking of cars…is the Washington gas tax about to rise?

Gas-CanCould the Washington gas tax soon go up by ten cents per gallon? It will if House Transportation Committee Chair Judy Clibborn has her way. Clibborn has proposed the tax hike as part of a transportation revenue package introduced last week. In order to pass, the increase would of course require a two-thirds majority in the House and Senate, or be voted into law by the people. Read more in the Seattle Times.

New green building standard approved by the ANSI

NAHB Logo 2010Here’s a mouthful for all of the multifamily builders out there: The 2012 ICC 700 National Green Building Standard (NGBS) has been approved by the American National Standards Institute. So just what does that mean? According to the news release from the NAHB, the updated standard “provides practices for the design and construction of all types of green residential buildings, renovations, and land developments,” and is the only nationwide standard approved by the ANSI.

Builders interested in incorporating the standards into their practices can purchase a copy of the NGBS through, and in a further nod to sustainability, it’s now available in an e-book edition. So just what has changed since the last edition? According to NAHB Chairman Rick Judson, the new standard “raises the bar on energy efficiency,” and includes and expanded section on renovations. Read more from the NAHB.

“RecycleMania” in Texas dorms train students for a greener life

Recycle_Logo_by_Har1We’re honest, we’ll say it: not all of our recyclables always end up in the green bin at the end of the day. We might work harder to recycle if it were incentivized with a friendly competition like the one currently happening at the Arlington campus of the University of Texas. RecycleMania has residence halls competing to be the most recycling-friendly dorm; the winner holds on to the (recycled) trophy for a year. Ideally, the competition will ingrain habits that will stick with students when they graduate and become renters. Read more in UTA’s

When it comes to micro-housing, how small is too small?

From New York to San Francisco, micro-apartments have been hailed as the solution to high rents and low vacancies. In art exhibits and design contests, we’ve seen apartments that use small spaces to their advantage, making a comfortable living space for the tenant who appreciates efficiency. But how small is too small? Could you live, for instance, in an apartment that was only 5.6 square feet?

Image from

Image from

These “share houses,” which from outside look very much like lockers, come to us from–you guessed it–Tokyo. The compartments, which were recently showcased on a Japanese television show, have a bit of space to sleep, and to hang some clothes…and that’s it. Amazingly, tenants pay up to $600/month for the nicest compartments. Read more from


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