Sallan News and Views

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Nancy Anderson, Ph.D.

Promising Promises

January 20, 2015

By: Nancy Anderson, Ph.D.

"In Dreams Begin Responsibilities" is a much-admired short story by Delmore Schwartz where the character becomes increasingly agitated in a dream as he watches a film depicting his parents' courtship. Readers are apt to reflect on their own family dramas, hopes and regrets. While, for most of us, the drama of climate change, sustainability and its fierce political struggles is not the same as the family variety, the implicit questions about the choices we make and the responsibilities we incur run deep for both.

As Sallan begins its second decade, it's a good moment to reflect on what promises were made and my sense of what was at stake back in 2005 when Torchlight #1 was posted. Much has happened in the arena of urban sustainability and climate change since then, some of it very good, some of it not, and our responsibilities should press us onward. But, exactly how?

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Chris Benedict, R.A. & Henry Gifford

The Perfect Energy Code

January 20, 2015

By: Chris Benedict, R.A. & Henry Gifford

A building is a complex system, set within a larger complex system. Systems can work elegantly or poorly.

Acknowledgement of senseless waste, and the desire to be kinder to the life on our planet have spurred the creation of energy codes for our buildings. It is imperative that a code devised to intervene into a poorly performing system be as elegant as its desired outcome in order to be effective.

On 25 November 2014, as guests of the Building Enclosure Council of New York (BECNY), Henry Gifford and I performed a play entitled, The Perfect Energy Code, at the Center for Architecture in NYC. In the play we dramatized an Architect's visit to the NYC Department of Buildings and her pursuit of energy code approval for her building design.

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