• New energy law means lights out for incandescent bulbs. The new energy bill that President Bush signed into law last month will ban incandescent light bulbs in four to 12 years. The law calls for incandescents to be replaced by more energy-efficient compact fluorescent and LED bulbs.
• Buy a green condo, get a free hybrid Toyota. The first LEED-certified condo building in Boston, The Macallen Building, is trying to unload new units by offering discounts of up to $250,000 on the purchase price. Buyers who signed a purchase and sale agreement by last December 31 and who close before March 1, 2008, will get a free brand-new Toyota Camry Hybrid.
• MIT offers free online courses in architecture, planning, engineering.Some architecture, planning, and engineering course materials from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Architecture Department are now available online. MIT has the oldest architecture program in the nation (established 1865) and is consistently ranked as one of the top programs in the U.S.
• Construction cost surge is easing, says Turner Construction.The Turner Building Cost Index predicts a 7.09% increase over the fourth quarter 2006 and a 1.51% increase in construction costs over the third quarter 2007. Commodity prices have eased slightly over the last quarter, says the nation’s biggest general contractor, but global demand from emerging economies continues to drive prices upward.
• Church awarded landmark status despite congregation’s objections.A Washington, D.C., preservation board has granted landmark status to a 36-year-old church designed by Araldo Cossutta, an architect from I.M. Pei’s firm, but congregants and community leaders dismiss the building as an unwelcome architectural blight. A public interest law firm that defends religious expression said it may challenge the ruling, arguing that the city’s action imposes a burden on religious expression by preventing the congregation from changing its sanctuary. For more: www.BDCnetwork.com.
• Architecture firm settles for $40,000 in software piracy case.The Associated Press says that the Business Software Alliance, the main global copyright-enforcement watchdog for such major software companies as Microsoft, Adobe, and Apple, is targeting small businesses. Of the $13 million that the BSA reaped in software violation settlements with North American companies last year, almost 90% came from small businesses, the AP found. Michael Gaertner’s 10-person architecture firm settled for $40,000 in one such case.
• Green data centers make employees see red. IT workers are finding that they have to make sacrifices for the greater good of cutting back on energy usage in today’s energy-saving, green data centers. Operators of the nation’s greenest data centers say it takes time for employees to get used to working in environmentally friendly ways, such as giving up mini fridges and personal printers. For more: www.BDCnetwork.com.