Saving Face with a Materials Database

Shakari McGill is an intern at Verdical Group who is currently pursuing his Master of Building Science at the University of Southern California.

Here at Verdical Group, I was tasked with the creation of an internal database to record information about sustainable products that we have used on our projects or that may be a fit for a future client. The intent of this project was to create a spreadsheet that could be referenced at a glance to confirm or deny the presence of sustainable certification(s) for each product.

This is not the first database to compile such information, however, aside from the Smith Group’s now-defunct HPD database, it is difficult to find it consolidated in one place.  Creating this resource was fulfilling in several ways, and I’ve chronicled that experience here.  Read more

The Urban Heat Island Effect: A Looming Threat

More people are living in cities than ever before. To meet the demands of growing populations, cities are also pouring more dark paving and developing more of our natural landscape than ever before. These conditions are a perfect storm for what is known as “urban heat island effect.” Read more

Tiny Homes: Paying the Cost for Surface Area Loss

One could argue that the first tiny home was that of Henry David Thoreau at Walden Pond. Thoreau built this home as an “experiment in simplicity,” that is, to live by the most basic means and take in all that life has to offer. This sentiment reappeared in the 80’s through the mid-2000’s as literature and, as a result, design-build companies began to pop up. Tiny homes as a viable alternative to the “traditional home” officially became cemented as a trend in late 2008-2009, coinciding with the housing crisis. But if they’re meant to be affordable alternatives for builders and prospective homeowners alike, why are they so expensive? Read more

Shipping Container Homes: Residences in Disguise?

Shipping container homes have been a point of contention among architects, builders, and patrons alike since their popularity began to boom in 2008. Individuals on both sides have debated the economics, health, and sustainability of these homes. Both sides have valid points. But while shipping container homes are in theory a unique and resourceful approach to economic and sustainable housing, these containers actually pose more harm than good – here’s why: Read more

Affordable Housing: Clarity Behind the Complex

Photo courtesy of Skid Row Housing Trust

Shakari McGill is an intern at Verdical Group who is currently pursuing his Master of Building Science at the University of Southern California. The USC Masters of Building Science program requires that all students develop a building-science-related topic that will ultimately cumulate in a published thesis. Shakari decided to focus on the urban heat island effect and its impact on disadvantaged communities. Using simulations from programs like HEED, his ultimate goal is to develop a repository of Energy Conservation Measures (ECMs) that will be coined the “Kit of Parts.” This Kit is intended to give patrons of these communities more equity in knowledge and more leverage in adequate housing. During his time at Verdical Group, Shakari gathered additional information on sustainable construction methods for this very purpose. Because the nature of this “Kit of Parts” aims to improve quality discrepancies in housing, it is important to understand how these discrepancies arise. Read more

Verdical Group’s Biggest Net Zero Conference Yet!

The time has come for Verdical Group’s 5th annual Net Zero Conference! Join our team, along with USGBC National, ILFI (International Living Future Institute), and other major players in the net zero realm for three days of workshops, tours, and sessions with the world’s foremost thought leaders. Read more

CALGreen: An Introduction

Sustainability is best defined as creating and maintaining the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony to support present and future generations. As the population continues to grow, so does our need for new places to live, work, and play. Finding a balance between economic expansion and protecting our natural resources has breathed new life into many industries and their respective markets. Read more