When designing a green building, the designers should factor in the risks that result from heightened energy efficiency and green building. This is all featured in a new report entitled "The Influence of Risk Factors on Sustainable Development," which was just recently released by FM Global.

Other tips were provided:
• As the trend to build greener facilities increases, so does the potential for unintended consequences.
• Efforts to improve sustainability solely by increasing energy efficiency (without consideration of risk) have the potential to increase the relevance of risk factors by a factor of 3.
• Barring natural disasters, fire is the greatest risk to any non-manufacturing structure and in a standard office building, the risk of fire increases carbon emissions by 1 percent to 2 percent over the lifecycle of the structure.
• Fire risk factors can add as much as 14 percent to the carbon emissions of a facility exposed to extensive fire hazards over the lifetime of that structure.
• In areas exposed to natural hazards, such as strong high winds on the East and Gulf coasts in the U.S., risk from wind damage increases carbon emissions over the lifecycle of a typical industrial building by 1 percent to 2 percent.

Read the full article here.

If you find that your Snuggie a bit hot in the Summer you now have an alternative, the Wearable Towel. Consumerist.com, covers this fashion-forward design on their blog, and we encourage you to check it out--and even view the infomercial.

With the cult popularity of the Snuggie, will the Wearable Towel see the same fame?
Tide, the laundry detergent that seldom changes its packaging, has changed their packaging to team up with their current charitable promotion "Loads of Hope." The redesign was enabled in order to bring awareness to their disaster relief aid. With consumers placing an emphasis the importance of social responsibility, this change in packaging will surly strike a chord. Read the full article here.

BBC News reports that university student, Joe Harrison has designed electronic wallpaper to display the efficiency of household appliances on an interactive digital plant.

People can see how energy efficient and sustainable their homes are. If an appliance is performing inefficiently, one of the plant's corresponding leaves will "wilt", alerting householders to the problem and showing them which appliance needs attention.

Harrison has won a £1,000 prize by the Royal Society for the encouragement of arts, manufactures and commerce (RSA).

Harrison hopes that his design will give people a fun and interactive way to see how their home's appliances affect the global environment.

Here is an interesting article about how package design differs in China compared to western countries. They look at how buying decisions are made at the point of sale, and relate how packaging is affected in four different ways: color; label and face type; images, patterns and shapes; and material. Read the full article here.
Carol Ann Campbell of the New York Times reports that hospitals are undergoing a shift in making single patient rooms paramount for a patients healthcare. In her report, Campbell discusses how noisy and uncomfortable a hospital can be for individuals needing care. A single dwelling allows, calm, relaxation and much needed respite in an patients recovery. In the report it states, "The benefits of the single room emerged through evidence-based hospital design, a new field that guides health care construction. More than 1,500 studies have examined ways that design can reduce medical errors, infections and falls — and relieve patient stress."

As a designer, what elements would you introduce to aid in the recovery of a patient under a hospital's care?

Health Outcomes Driving New Hospital Design

Calling graphic designers and game aficionados--there's a way to get your art and your design for the Raskulls, The forthcoming Xbox Live Arcade puzzle platformer by Australian developer Halfbrick, has received some really favorable press, with much of it centered on the game’s engaging (and adorable) art style. Recently, Halfbrick announced a contest aimed at letting gamers add to the title’s ever growing cast of humorously surreal characters. Applicants are challenged to design their own Raskull, a skeletal titan capable of holding his own in a world inhabited by knights, ninjas and… milk cartons?
As we mentioned last week, its hard to get in design competitions without paying a hefty fee. This contest looks to be free, even if you don't win, you get a nifty new design for your portfolio.
Stephanie Orma of examiner.com, writes recently on the inner debate for graphic designers to shell out huge fees to enter design competitions. She claims that though the reward may be great, actually spending those fees in a tough economy can be more of a burden than an benefit.

Read her thoughts on this dilemma here.

Are you shelling out fees to enter design competitions? Or have you been priced out?
At the A List Apart blog, Daniel Ritzenthaler recently took a look at the steps web designers can use to show their strategy behind their intentions when designing a website:

1. Set clear goals.
2. Organize the pages
3. Layout the pages
4. Develop a personality
5. Define the fit and finish

For an in-depth look at these goals, read the full post here.
How does an architect design buildings for the blind? Chris Downey of California, a prosperous "green" designer began designing buildings for the blind after he began to lose his vision. The Caller-Times reports that after going blind, he tried returning to the job he’d started a few months before he became ill, but was laid off before Christmas.

On a whim he called Patrick Bell, a business adviser to architecture firms...Bell was working with a firm called Design Partnership, which is doing a joint venture with SmithGroup to design a 170,000-square-foot Polytrauma and Blind Rehabilitation Center for the Veterans Administration Palo Alto Health Care System. Bell made the connection, and Downey was hired as a contract architect.

“It’s the first time any of us have dealt with even a sight-impaired architect, let alone one who is blind,” says Kerri Childress, VA spokeswoman. “It’s really been beneficial having an architect who is blind working on a facility to serve the blind.”

The design phase runs through July. From there, Downey has been invited to serve as a mentor to blind high-school students at a weeklong event this summer in Maryland. He’s also back to cycling on a tandem bike with his buddy steering, and is up to 60 miles in the Oakland hills.

Please read the original article here.

According to Katie Weeks of TalkContract.com, in order to educate children on the importance of water preservation, Gerber has launched a coloring book titled Greg Gerber Adventures. "It is imperative to teach today's youth about the significance of saving water, and we thought what better way than with a fun, interactive coloring book," says Ron Mudge, marketing manager for Gerber. "As a plumbing manufacturer, Gerber is committed to a better earth, which is evident in all the water-conserving products we offer from toilets to faucets."

Will a coloring book serve the two purposes of Gerber, to educate on green practices AND sell more of their faucets and toilets? We'd like to hear how your design expertise would handle such a big request.

Download the coloring book here.

Nebraska's governor, Dave Heineman has unveiled four possible state license plates. Asking the public to vote on their favorite via the State's website, Heineman hopes that the public will choose the best design. Omaha World Herald staff writer, Dane Stickney asked a few local artists what they thought of the designs.
We thought we'd take the opportunity to ask our audience--what do you think of the license plates?
How would you have designed them differently?

According to Environmental Leader, buildings built with Energy Star rating has increased by 60%. This includes 75 new commercial buildings over the past year. These buildings are constructed to create fewer greenhouse gasses and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 60%. Read the full article here.

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