Friday Links – 12-11-08

Erica Howsare at C-Ville thinks that

LEED should be not a voluntary program that you get to sign up for only if you think it will make selling houses easier. It should be code. For years, developers have been gobbling open space, silting streams, causing erosion and building cheap and inefficient houses. All of us now face serious problems as a result. Is it possible to integrate an environmental commitment into a business model? When it comes to development, I don’t know, but I know I’m tired of harmful growth being treated as inevitable.

UVA’s School of Architecture celebrates its new additions

Karen Van Lengen welcomed Saturday’s autumn rain, even as it forced the dedication of the two new additions to the University of Virginia’s School of Architecture indoors.

The new wings add 12,000 square feet, accommodating the school’s growth since Campbell Hall was built in 1970. Each design also makes a statement about what architecture and architecture education mean.

Clark designed the Victor and Sono Elmaleh East Wing, which houses three rooms to hold review sessions of students’ designs, as a transparent expression of the dialogue between student and teacher that is the hallmark of the school’s education process. Through the use of both clear and thermally efficient white glass on three sides of the addition, he makes visible the process of what goes on inside.

Austin is going to develop a smart electrical grid. (remember the Austin versus Aspen discussion held about Charlottesville’s future?)

The term refers to a set of complementary technologies that share the aim of moving power from producer to consumer in a more intelligent manner than our current dumb grid. The dumb grid we have now works under a basic principle: Utilities make electricity and send it down the wire. Consumers plug in and pay a bill each month. The end.

Albemarle County is looking to increase property taxes by .06 per $100 of assessed value

The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors called Tuesday for a budget proposal built on a 6-cent increase in the real-estate tax rate to offset declining revenues.

A divided board asked the county executive’s office to formulate its recommended budget for next fiscal year based on a 77-cent tax rate. The supervisors said they planned to set aside the revenue from 2.5 cents of the rate as a safety net in case of economic woes.

Better to start setting aside revenue now … Every year, assessments create a huge debate; the recession is causing pain all around and government needs to share that pain. What they did with all the revenue they had when the market was booming is relevant only to the point that they cannot be trusted with our money.

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