September 12, 2012

What Drives You?

Oh! you thought, its just another factory manufacturing Automobiles…

VW Chattanooga manufacturing plant has become the first and only automotive manufacturing plant in the world to receive Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) green building certification program. Platinum certification is the highest level of performance in the green building certification program.
Aspects of the plant that earned LEED recognition include:
Superior insulation provided by six inches of mineral rock wool, resulting in 720,000 Kilowatts per year savings.
Green power from the local hydroelectric dam
Use of LED exterior lighting results in 68% less energy used, up to 262,500 kWh per year and a reduction in light pollution.
Collected rainwater is reused to flush toilets and cool the welding machines
Highly reflective white roof, which minimizes “heat island effect” by up to 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Natural flowing creeks to capture heavy rains and restore a natural habitat
Low-flow water fixtures and no-touch sensors throughout the plant reduce water usage by 30%.
Plant was built on a brownfield property with no destruction of untouched nature.
Protected 100 ft. wide creeks and wetlands were established to create natural habitats with low impact on natural habitats.
“Volkswagen Chattanooga’s LEED Platinum certification is the fulfillment of a promise that Volkswagen has made around the world and in this community that we will work in harmony with the environment,” said Frank Fischer, CEO and chairman of Volkswagen Chattanooga.  “Our commitment to building a LEED certified factory began in the planning and design stages.  I believe that this not only helped insure that we would achieve Platinum status, but was actually a very cost effective way to implement environmentally responsible building methods,” he said.
The Volkswagen Academy was also certified by USGBA as a Platinum LEED facility. The primary purpose of the Volkswagen Academy is to prepare new employees for work at the Volkswagen plant.

September 3, 2012

Be it ever so humble...

Long bumpy drives, terriers racing out of a front door to greet you, worn granite steps, gleaming mahogany, that faint smell of damp and woodsmoke, windows looking out on a timbered landscape…

There is something evocative about the Irish house.  It can be a mansion or a modest cottage.  The living history of Irish houses yields vital clues to the understanding of a land and its people.  In their isolation, Irish houses have evolved without design, so that the layers of the past remain.  Aside from the big houses, there are country hideaways-stone cottages, Georgian structures, romantic Gothic revival castles, strongholds in the southwestern counties; and elegant residences in town designed to impress and there is the inevitable resident ghost. 

But then they’ve seen it all before-from the Vikings to the 21th century tourist.  As a sign on a remote Irish gateway puts it:  BEWARE OF THE STALLION.  SURVIVORS PLEASE CLOSE THE GATE.