Green buildings, Innovators contest

Green Architecture

During a recent trip to the West Coast, I had the chance to see some new building materials and learning about an affordable public housing building that is a state-of-the-art green building.

• A house that was remodeled by the Green Brothers in Palm Springs showed off the use of recycled materials in its building products. My favorite product was a shower floor made from concrete and recycled soda bottles. The countertops were also made of recycled materials, but weren't quite as aesthetically-pleasing to me as the shower floor.

• The Sierra Bonita Apartments in West Hollywood features affordable housing for residents with developmental disabilities. The building features large solar arrays that provide energy and a geothermal water system on the roof. Inside, a large garden is featured in the middle. Although, I didn't get to experience seeing the interior firsthand, the architects' photos showed off the structure. The architect said his goals was to change the public's perception of what affordable housing looks like. I'd passed by the building and thought it was a modern, upscale housing project with a cool exterior. The project was also featured in Newsweek magazine and serves as the upscale apartments where a character lives in a movie. To see the Sierra Bonita Apartments, visit The article in Newsweek about the project


Does your child have great ideas? Then maybe they should submit one of them for this contest:

Time Warner Cable's Mid-Ohio Division is launching a Wouldn't It Be Cool If… contest that gets more youth thinking about science and math in a fun, innovative way through a competition, with finalists pitching their ideas to of the Black Eyed Peas. This aligns perfect with the company's Connect a Million Minds initiative, a five-year, $100 million cash and in-kind philanthropic initiative to address America's declining proficiency in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) curriculum, which puts our children at risk of not competing successfully in a global economy.

Wouldn't It Be Cool If…challenges youth ages 10-15 to dream up the coolest thing to make their life, community or even the world more awesome, and then to think about how science and math could help bring those ideas to life. Eligible youth have until March 28, 2012 to submit their ideas at Once submitted and evaluated, finalists will get to pitch their ideas to and other science leaders in person at the annual FIRST Robotics Championship this April in St. Louis. Finally, one winner will be selected to receive the ultimate prize – the opportunity to collaborate with leading innovation firm, Fahrenheit 212, which will kick off a development process that culminates in their idea being brought to life. The national winner and the development of the idea will also be featured in an episode of Time Warner Cable's It Ain't Rocket Science.