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Pushing Sustainability with Green Building Rating Systems

Posted by on Dec 5, 2016 in Writing Assignment 8 | No Comments

Since the introduction of green building, nations have been working on developing methods to successfully integrate this idea into society. Overtime, green building systems have emerged to encourage sustainable building. These systems reward buildings who meet their definition of sustainable with green certification. Obtaining green certification is a desired achievement for many owners since green buildings are highly regarded. Governments hope make green building widespread through green building rating systems.

The past two decades have seen a rise in green building rating systems. Figure 1 shows a few of the most prevalent rating systems. Currently, there are over 25 different home-rating systems in North America and England, each with their own set of guidelines to evaluate the greenness of buildings. Despite their differences, green rating systems tend to include the same five fundamental categories. They include site and location, energy, water, resources, indoor-air quality, and a category about process such as innovation. For a building to get site and location points, it must be located in an area with access to transportation options and/or close proximity to other locations. Points for energy and water are given depending on how efficiently these resources are utilized. Indoor-air quality points are granted based on how well the building provides a healthy and comfortable environment (Jackson, 2010).


Figure 1: Green Building Rating Systems, Source: Sustainability Forestry Initiative. (n.d.). Green Building – SFI. Retrieved from http://www.sfiprogram.org/markets/green-building/

Of all the categories, energy is the one which green rating systems place most emphasis on. In one particular study, it was found that energy efficiency consists of 32% of all points available on average for the seven rating systems studied (Jackson, 2010). As a result, it can be said that energy efficiency is the most important aspect of green building. Figure 2 illustrates the breakdown of the total possible points in LEED v4 by category. American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning, or simply known as ASHRAE, Standard 90.1 is the benchmark standard for building energy performance in the United States. This standard limits the power consumption of lighting and mandates that lights be shut by lighting controls when not in use (Gelfo, 2013). Energy building codes act as an incentive for owners to participate in the green movement.


Figure 2: Breakdown of the Available Points in LEED v4 by Category, Source: Cast Stone Institute. (2014, August). Cast Stone and LEED® v4: Design Tips – Technical Bulletin #53. Retrieved from http://www.caststone.org/bulletins/53.html

Having been around for only a short period of time, green building rating systems still have room for improvement. LEED, the most recognized green rating system in the United States, is continually being updated. This system was founded in 1993 by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) to spread green building knowledge and promote its integration (Chance, 2012). In the 2009 v3 revision, LEED suggests or requires control systems for the building, specifically for its lighting and HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning). By incorporating control systems, energy usage is reduced, lighting is controlled and indoor environment is improved (Cooperman, Dieckmann, and Brodrick, 2012). Along with green rating systems, building codes are also being upgraded. It was not until recently that states are enforcing green building laws. In 2012, the International Code Council released the International Green Construction Code (IGCC) which aims to reduce the carbon footprints for commercial buildings. As for residential buildings, the 2008 National Green Building Standard was approved to define sustainability for single and multi-family homes. By passing national codes, the government hopes to further encourage green building in all states.

Green building rating systems play a key role in the integration process for green building. Not only do they encourage green building, but they also educate the public on the subject. As rating systems are further studied, they will develop even more effective standards that will change building construction and design for the better.



Chance, S. (2012). Planning for environmental sustainability: learning from LEED and the USGBC. Planning for Higher Education, 41(1), 194+. Retrieved from http://go.galegroup.com/

Cooperman, A., Dieckmann, J., & Brodrick, J. (2012). Control systems & LEED. ASHRAE Journal, 54(6), 96+. Retrieved from http://go.galegroup.com/

Gelfo, M. A. (2013). Energy codes and lighting design. Consulting Specifying Engineer, 50(3), 21+. Retrieved from http://go.galegroup.com/

Hupp, E. E. B. (2010). Refining Green Building Regulations and Funding Green Buildings in Order to Achieve Greenhouse Gas Reductions. /43 Urb. Law., 42, 639.

Jackson, M. (2010). Green Home-Rating Systems: A Preservation Perspective. APT Bulletin, 41(1), 13-18. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/25652698


Vision Zero and Cycling Safety: What is the Solution?

Posted by on Dec 3, 2016 in Writing Assignment 8 | No Comments

Ever since the British Parliament passed the laws regarding road safety work, the desire to eliminate traffic fatalities and achieve the goal of “zero” has spread over many countries, including the United States. One of the aspects of the transportation system that is not usually associated with “Vision Zero” is cycling (Johansson, 2009). However, cycling safety is one of the paramount concerns of the lawmakers and street designers that are trying to make zero appear in every column and every row of the “fatal crash rate” tables and charts. Every single year more than 700 bicyclists die in traffic accidents in the United States, and more than 45,000 are injured, which makes cycling safety a necessary step on Vision Zero’s path to success (Cushing et al., 2016).

Distinct cycling infrastructure can be found only in some parts of large cities in the United States, the majority of which are college towns. Furthermore, even existing roads designed to fit cyclists are, in most cases, poorly designed and maintained, which makes “safety” a wrong word to describe the effect of those few existing street redesign projects. One of the crucial steps towards eliminating crashes involving cyclists is the physical separation of bicycle traffic from motor vehicles (Schepers et al., 2014). This separation is especially important at high speeds and intersections, since cyclists often remain “invisible” to big trucks, buses, and turning vehicles.

Some of the large cities have recently been working on the so-called “cycle superhighways,” which are express bicycle routes that increase the speed and safety of long-distance bicycle commuting (Pucher et al., 2016). These “highways” are separated from the major roads but are parallel to them. The number of crossings is minimized, and the traffic lights are designed to provide a green wave of synchronized signaling, which means that the signals are carefully timed to allow higher cycling speeds.


Figure 1:The East-West Cycle Superhighway (Runs From Parliament to Tower Bridge) Source: London Cycling Campaign Website

Figure 1: The East-West Cycle Superhighway (Runs From Parliament to Tower Bridge)
Source: London Cycling Campaign Website

The most unique and interesting ways of ensuring the safety of cyclists are being practiced in Dutch, German, and Danish cities (Cushing et al., 2016). Low speeds and respect towards cyclists are enforced mentally – using the fear factor, legally – enforcing laws like speed limits, and physically – by limiting space on the roads thus limiting the types of vehicles that can be operated on those roads. First of all, granting cyclists the right of way over motorists on narrow streets both improves safety of cyclists and reduces the speeds with which motor vehicles travel on those roads (Johansson, 2009). The motion on most streets is limited to the speed of around 20 miles per hour (Pucher et al., 2016). In addition, speed-reducing fear-related forcing factors include speed bumps, raised intersections, parked cars on both sides of the road, and road narrowing (Pucher et al., 2016). Also, most of the dead-end streets limit the motion of motor vehicles, but have convenient pathways for cyclists. Education is an important safety factor as well, since traffic safety education provided by schools helps students become safe walkers, cyclists, and drivers (Sicinska et al., 2015).

Ten of the American cities have accomplished outstanding results in terms of accomplishing the goal of cycling safety (Table 1 below). In all of those cities the numbers of cyclist crashes were significantly reduced (Cushing et al., 2016).

Table 1:Better Bicycle Infrastructure, Improved Cyclist Safety, and Increased Cycling Source: American Journal of Public Health

Table 1: Better Bicycle Infrastructure, Improved Cyclist Safety, and Increased Cycling
Source: American Journal of Public Health

According to the research, separation between cycling lanes and motor vehicles plays a crucial role in maintaining cycling safety (Johansson, 2009); therefore, it is critical to identify the best way to accomplish that task. The best solution that was agreed on are cycling tracks – cycling lanes that are physically separated from motor vehicles by raised curbs, or any other type of concrete barriers (Schepers, 2014). Cycle tracks without parked cars are 89% safer than streets with parked cars and no bicycle facilities (338). At the moment, the best direction to take for improving cycling safety is to remove car parking and replace it with cycle tracks, as well as keep enforcing speed limits and other regulations. Montreal, Canada is known for the most advanced system of cycle tracks, with injury rates 28% lower than on parallel roads without cycle tracks (340), which attracts much more bicycle trips and reassures street designers that they are moving in the right direction.




Works Cited (MLA Format)


Cushing, Matthew, Jonathan Hooshmand, Bryan Pomares, and Gillan Hotz. “Vision Zero in the United States Versus Sweden: Infrastructure Improvement for Cycling Safety.” American Journal of Public Health 106.12 (2016): 2178-181.


Johansson, Roger. “Vision Zero – Implementing a Policy for Traffic Safety.” Safety Science 47.1 (2009): 826-31.


Pucher, John, Ralph Buehler. “Safer Cycling Through Improved Infrastructure.” American Journal of Public Health 106.12 (2016): 2089-2091.


Schepers, Paul, Marjan Hagenzieker, Rob Methorst, Bert Van Wee, and Fred Wegman. “A Conceptual Framework for Road Safety and Mobility Applied to Cycling Safety.” Accident Analysis & Prevention 62 (2014): 331-40.


Sicinska, Katarzyna, and Maria Dabrowska-Loranc. “Centre of Road Traffic Safety Education for Children and Youths – Modern Educational Center in Road Traffic Safety.” Transport Problems 10.1 (2015): 137-48.

The Art of Restoration

Posted by on Dec 3, 2016 in Writing Assignment 8 | No Comments

Art Restoration versus Art Conservation

Art restorers and art conservators work closely together to maintain the integrity of artwork, combining fields of art history and science in their overall work. However, their tasks differ in that art restorers are involved in the physical cleaning and retouching of art, while art conservators are mainly concerned with the examination and documentation of artwork, which includes minimal treatment and determining the next steps towards preventative care and slowing down degradation effects.

Art Restoration and Conservation from the 1920s to the Present

The field of art restoration is constantly changing, as new restoration methods are being constantly discovered and technology is rapidly advancing. In the United States, art conservation saw a big push during the years 1925 – 1975, during which most major museums established conservation departments and laboratories, art journals relating to conservation were being written and published, and professional training programs and degrees were established (Stoner). From then on and continuing into the present, art conservation and restoration has only expanded and improved in terms of techniques and process refinements. Restorers, conservators, and museum scientists work together to take steps towards the overall study and maintenance of artwork, using noninvasive methods as well as minimal sampling methods, of which I have described in previous posts. Results and evidence made by conservators through preliminary studies of paintings, as shown in the figure below, can reveal what surface work must be done to restore a piece, whether it is applying varnish or actual paint.

Theories and Applications of Art Restoration

The field of art restoration revolves around the material form of the artwork itself (Brandi). Art restorers must fully understand the medium of the work as well as what it is applied on, i.e. an oil painting on canvas deteriorates differently than an oil painting on a wooden panel. In the case of the latter, wood paneling may deteriorate and become porous and can therefore no longer provide proper support for the painting. A simple solution would be to just replace the wood, but doing so will change the way the painting looks – losing its readability and artistic intentions (Beck). Art restorers must keep unity in mind when approaching restoration methods for any type of artwork, especially unity of material and medium, structure and appearance (Brandi).

A section of an oil painting photographed in normal light and raking light, respectively. Source: http://www.williamstownart.org/techbulletins/images/WACC%20Imaging%20of%20Paintings.pdf

A section of an oil painting photographed in normal light and raking light, respectively.
Source: http://www.williamstownart.org/techbulletins/images/WACC%20Imaging%20of%20Paintings.pdf

Works Cited

Beck, James. “RESTORATION AND THE MYTH OF READABILITY.” Source: Notes in the History of Art, vol. 21, no. 1, 2001, pp. 1–3. www.jstor.org/stable/23206968.

Beck, James. “REVERSIBILITY, FACT OR FICTION?: THE DANGERS OF ART RESTORATION.” Source: Notes in the History of Art, vol. 18, no. 3, 1999, pp. 1–8. www.jstor.org/stable/23205061.

Brandi, Cesare. “Theory of Restoration, I.” The Emergence of Modern Conservation Theory, pp. 230–235.

Frances Starn. “Restoration.” The Threepenny Review, no. 28, 1987, pp. 23–25. www.jstor.org/stable/4383531.

Stoner, Joyce Hill. “Changing Approaches in Art Conservation: 1925 to the Present.” Scientific Examination of Art: Modern Techniques in Conservation and Analysis, 2005, pp. 40–57.


Learned Recommendations on Yelp

Posted by on Dec 3, 2016 in Writing Assignment 8 | No Comments

Recommendations are suggestions that may direct the target toward something that they may like. In Yelp, data analysis is required in order to make satisfactory recommendations to users. Recommendations should thereby be supervised when they are being made so that each can be specific to their user. There are many proposed ways to receive recommendations on Yelp. The challenge here is that there is an abundance of information and it is hard to determine the importance of each relationship a user has (Yu, et al.). Therefore, there are many ways to give suggestions for which places to eat or go to.

One possible system for recommendations involves using a social network. By looking at what users like most frequently, we can create a list of recommendations just from that. This can be particularly helpful for new users as they will not have much history that Yelp can train recommendations from (Qian, et al.). Furthermore, if there is data and social networking data, a personalized system using location can also be implemented to generate a more accurate reading of a user’s inclinations (Savage, et al.). Another method involves a Spatial Topic which compares location and interests and see if there are functions of interest at those locations (Hu and Ester). It’s interesting to note that those who live near each other are likely to have similar movement behaviors. For example, students at the New York University may go to the same restaurants and grocery stores due to equal relative proximity.

Figure 1: Finding number of contextual variables from a number of words

Figure 1: Finding number of contextual variables from a number of words (Bauman, et al.)

An interesting method for a recommendation system uses the text that a user writes for their reviews and distinguishes any contextual variables in the text (Bauman, et al.). Furthermore, it is important to discern which of the reviews in the data set are specific and which are generic. By mining variables from the specific reviews, we have more reliable results to work with. Then, using the word-based method will give us contextual variables that basically give the context for a review. This works by analyzing which words have high frequency in a specific review. This will also give insight into the user and allow for better recommendations to be made.

Works Cited

Bauman, Konstantin, and Alexander Tuzhilin. “Discovering Contextual Information from User Reviews for Recommendation Purposes.CBRecSys@ RecSys. 2014.

Hu, Bo, and Martin Ester. “Spatial topic modeling in online social media for location recommendation.Proceedings of the 7th ACM conference on Recommender systems. ACM, 2013.

Qian, Xueming, et al. “Personalized recommendation combining user interest and social circle.IEEE transactions on knowledge and data engineering26.7 (2014): 1763-1777.

Savage, Norma Saiph, et al. “I’m feeling loco: A location based context aware recommendation system.Advances in Location-Based Services. Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 2012. 37-54.

Yu, Xiao, et al. “Recommendation in heterogeneous information networks with implicit user feedback.Proceedings of the 7th ACM conference on Recommender systems. ACM, 2013.

Future Directions in Healthcare : Writing Assignment 8

Posted by on Dec 3, 2016 in Writing Assignment 8 | No Comments

Throughout my series of writing assignments, I have explored one main theme: communication in a healthcare setting. I began researching head and neck cancer survivorship and the misconception that life after cancer is not as difficult as with cancer; clinicians should provide support to relieve survivors of psychological side effects of their treatment (Nund, 2015). This topic was of interest to me because this was the focus of my psychology research project at Memorial Sloan Kettering this past summer. However, I quickly realized that I did not feel that I would be able to create a video using this topic, so I broadened my horizons to look at quality of life measures.


Figure 1.Question 1 on SF-36 shows how survivors subjectively quantify their health

I found that overall quality of life was generally measured with questionnaires. However, there were several “standard” surveys that physicians were using (Hammerlid, 2001, Campbell et al., 2004). The search for a standard quality of life measure led me to narrow down my research to encompass pain and how it is measured by physicians. Pain itself is very difficult to communicate because it is language resistant; when one is in pain, they do not speak, but rather shirek or shout (Scarry, 1985). Moreover, the original felt experience of pain is often lost in translation because it is put through the filter of language. There are also a myriad of social factors that play into how someone may express pain to a physician. Differences in class, gender, race are crucial to consider to provide a comprehensive analysis on the topic (Weinick, 2011).

My research pointed me in the direction of narrative medicine. Although it does allow for subjectivity by both the patient and the physician  (Herxheimer & Ziebland 2004), it also introduces a new depth to a physician-patient relationship (Meldrum et al., 2009). In my video project, I am aiming to direct the future of clinical medicine towards holistic narrative medicine.


Campbell, B. H., Spinelli, K., Marbella, A. M., Myers, K. B., Kuhn, J. C., & Layde, P. M.

(2004). Aspiration, weight loss, and quality of life in head and neck cancer survivors.

Archives of Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery,130(9), 1100-1103.

Hammerlid, E., & Taft, C. (2001). Health-related quality of life in long-term head and neck

cancer survivors: a comparison with general population norms. British journal of cancer,

84(2), 149.

Herxheimer, A., & Ziebland, S. (2004). The DIPEx project: collecting personal experiences of illness and health care. Narrative research in health and illness, 115-131.

Meldrum, M. L., Tsao, J. C. I., & Zeltzer, L. K. (2009). “I can’t be what I want to be”: Children’s Narratives of Chronic Pain Experiences and Treatment Outcomes. Pain Medicine, 10(6), 1018-1034.

Nund, R. L., Rumbach, A. F., Debattista, B. C., Goodrow, M. N., Johnson, K. A., Tupling, L. N., … & Porceddu, S. V. (2015). Communication changes following non-glottic head and neck cancer management: The perspectives of survivors and carers. International journal of speech-language pathology,17(3), 263-272.

Scarry, E. (1985). The body in pain: The making and unmaking of the world. Oxford University Press, USA.

Weinick, R. M., Elliott, M. N., Volandes, A. E., Lopez, L., Burkhart, Q., & Schlesinger, M.

(2011). Using standardized encounters to understand reported racial/ethnic disparities in patient experiences with care. Health services research, 46(2), 491-509.

Net Zero Energy Building: An Overview of Its Progress

Posted by on Dec 3, 2016 in Writing Assignment 7 | No Comments

One of the major aspects of green building is creating a structure that is energy efficient. Attaining a net-zero energy building, defined as a building which creates an equal amount of energy on site as what it consumes, is a heavily desired goal at the time.Figure 1 illustrates the features of a typical net zero commercial building.  With the increasing use of energy as a result of a growing building sector, energy saving has become more relevant in today’s society.


Figure 1: Features of a Net-Zero Commercial Building, Source: Efficiency Vermont

Despite the attempt to reduce energy consumption in the building sector, a large number of buildings have failed to achieve the desired energy savings. In a study conducted to evaluate the performance constructed sustainable buildings, only 1% of the 490 studied buildings were able to successfully produce 20% of energy from the renewable sources. On average, these buildings received 38% of the available points in the LEED category energy and atmosphere (Berardi, 2012). This is largely due to the fact that net-zero energy is a new concept in the building world. In response to its unsatisfying results, green building supporters are working to improve the methods used to implement this idea. When designing a zero-net energy building it is important to ensure the amount of energy used to produce renewable energy is insignificant (Hudson, 2014). In some situations, the purpose of saving energy is defeated because of this.  Another way to improve the zero-energy is concept is by analyzing the utility bills of buildings to identify where energy problems exist (Pless & Torcellini, 2008). Once the locations of failure are identified, the building designs can be modified and improved upon.

To encourage the reduction of energy, the government has set green building requirements. In 2007, President Bush signed a bill aiming to reduce the energy consumption of federal buildings. The bill requires that all new and renovated federal buildings be fossil fuel free and that a roadmap for the construction of net-zero energy buildings be established by 2030 (Colker, 2008). The Department of Energy hopes to develop a method that successfully creates cost-effective net energy buildings by 2025 (Pless & Torcellini, 2008). In addition to enforced policies, it is essential to educate people on zero-energy buildings and sustainable building. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning engineers has created a three-part Energy Efficiency Guide targeted at existing commercial buildings owners. These books explain to owners why they should cut their energy levels, how they should do it, and how to keep their building running efficiently after incorporating green technologies (Holness, 2011). A reason as to why green buildings are not performing as expected is because their occupants do not know how to effectively make use of green technologies. Through policies and incentives, the development of better net-zero energy buildings can be stimulated.

Based on green building performance evaluations, net-zero energy has still not been successfully achieved. Currently, green building advocators are working on developing better methods and designs to reach this goal. Considering its increasing relevance, it is expected that we will see improved designs of net-zero energy buildings within the next few years.



Berardi, U. (2012). Sustainability assessment in the construction sector: rating systems and rated buildings. Sustainable Development, 20(6), 411-424.

Colker, R. M. (2008). Federal roadmap for net-zero. ASHRAE Journal, 50(2), 53. Retrieved from http://go.galegroup.com/

Holness, G. V. R. (2011). On the path to net zero: how do we get there from here? ASHRAE Journal, 53(6), 50+. Retrieved from http://go.galegroup.com/

Hudson, S. (2014, August). Zero-net energy buildings are game changers in green engineering. Design News, 69(8), 14. Retrieved from http://go.galegroup.com/

Pless, S., & Paul Torcellini PhD, P. E. (2009). Getting to net zero. ASHRAE Journal51(9), 18.

Using Narrative Medicine to Explore the Social Roots of Illness

Posted by on Dec 3, 2016 in Writing Assignment 7 | No Comments

Andrew Herxheimer and Ann McPherson, clinical pharmacologist and general physician, respectively, initiated the DIPEx Project– a database of individual experiences from patients that received a hospital treatment. The database is divided into module names including accounts particular to each module. For example, some of the modules included chronic pain, breast screening, ovarian cancer, people with dementia and their fears. The experiences shared on DIPEx originated from interviews conducted orally as is custom in medical sociology (Lawton, 2003) where the participant was encouraged to share their story without being interrupted. (Herxheimer & Ziebland 2004)

This means of using narrative to explore illness ties into Harvard Psychiatrist, Kleinman’s argument that differentiating between “illness experience” and “disease experience” allows us to separate experiences of symptoms and suffering from physiological changes. While both aspects are crucial to understanding the full extent of the ailment, disease experience alone does not allow us to diagnose ailments efficiently (Kleinman, 1988). Paul Farmer, in his book, goes into the social roots of illness. He claims that the largest epidemic we face is poverty. Poverty is what forces people to live in small unsanitary places with low ventilation. Poverty forces increased crime rates because people steal resources because they are unaffordable, but necessary for survival. Increased crime results in unsafe living spaces. Poverty dictates our food choices, which come back to affect overall health.

Figure 1. Kleinman’s book, The Illness Narratives

Kleinman picks it up and reveals that the causes for pain and suffering are the same institutions that distort the accounts of pain that are expressed. Pain is a manifestation of a much larger idea, that we experience pain through our surroundings and the influences of day to day life greatly impact our well beings. There is violence in all aspects of our life and this constant violence influences how well our bodies function. Violence can come from images, daily stress, and fear/hatred. This can cause pain and suffering to our bodies, leaving us ill and weak. (Kleinman, 2000)


Farmer, P. (2001). Infections and inequalities: The modern plagues. Univ of California Press.

Herxheimer, A., & Ziebland, S. (2004). The DIPEx project: collecting personal experiences of illness and health care. Narrative research in health and illness, 115-131.

Kleinman, A. (1988). The illness narratives: Suffering, healing, and the human condition. Basic books.

Kleinman, A. (2000). The violences of everyday life. Violence and subjectivity, 226-241.

Julia, L. (2003). Lay experiences of health and illness: past research and future agendas. Sociology of health & illness, 25(3), 23-40.

The Growth of Green Building Over the Years

Posted by on Dec 3, 2016 in Writing Assignment 6 | No Comments

Green building, a concept introduced only a few decades ago, has grown immensely over the past years. The need to develop environment-friendly habits during a time of high energy and material consumption has encouraged governments to create policies that mandate green building practice. As a result of this effort, there has been a rapid increase in green buildings and a rapid development of innovative green ideas.

The first state to set green building requirements for new public buildings was Washington in 2005. A bill signed by former Governor Christine Gregoire requires all new major public facilities that will exceed 5,000 square feet to meet LEED standards. New York has been another major advocator for green building. Former governor George Pataki signed Executive Order No. III, meant to establish energy standards for buildings, which has been built upon over the years. Like in Washington, all new public buildings in New York are required to meet LEED standards as a result. The order also required state agencies to reduce the energy consumption of their buildings from the year 1990 by 35% by 2010. In addition, state agencies in New York must only use ENERGY STAR equipment when buying new equipment (Erpenbeck & Schiman, 2010). The progress of green building throughout the years can be additionally measured by observing the growth of LEED, the largest green building rating system in the United States. As of 2007, the number of buildings using the LEED building assessment system increased from 0 to 3,000 and the number of certified green buildings has grown from 0 to 300. Table 1 further illustrates green building’s growth in the United States from 1999 to 2005 using data from LEED (Kibert & Grosskopf, 2007). In terms of area, the United States Green Building Council reported that 667,600 square feet was green certified in 2000 and has grown to 500 million square feet in 2010 (Kontokosta, 2011).


Table 1: The Growth of Green Building from 1999 to 2005 in Terms of LEED Metrics, Source: Kibert, C., & Grosskopf, K. (2007). ENVISIONING NEXT-GENERATION GREEN BUILDINGS. Journal of Land Use & Environmental Law, 23(1), 145-160. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/42842944

As a new concept, green building has many areas it can be improved upon. One of the major goals in sustainable building is to create structures that self-provide the energy they need. Known as Net Zero Energy Buildings (NZEBs), these buildings create the same amount of energy that they consume within a year. Although there have been buildings designed as net zero energy, none have fully met their intended levels of savings. In order to improve on the concept of Net Zero Energy Buildings, it is essential to be able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of current designs. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recommends identifying their benefits through their utility bills. Additional research about energy storage is also necessary to help implement this idea in large building areas. By 2025, the DOE hopes to have developed an effective method that produces cost-effective net zero energy buildings (Pless & Torcellini, 2009). Furthermore, to improve on the incorporation of green building ideas, it is important to educate society, from the engineer to the occupant, on the subject. With greater knowledge on green building, engineers will be more likely to create effective designs that are environment-friendly. It is recommended that engineers always discuss sustainable methods in design review meetings. Occupants of sustainable buildings should be taught how to use and care for green technologies in order to use them to their highest potential (Berardi, 2012).



Berardi, U. (2012). Sustainability assessment in the construction sector: rating systems and rated buildings. Sustainable Development20(6), 411-424.

Erpenbeck, M., & Schiman, C. (2010). ENVIRONMENTAL LAW: THE PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE OF GREEN BUILDING. GPSolo, 27(2), 34-46. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/23630127

Kibert, C., & Grosskopf, K. (2007). ENVISIONING NEXT-GENERATION GREEN BUILDINGS. Journal of Land Use & Environmental Law, 23(1), 145-160. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/42842944

Kontokosta, C. (2011). Greening the regulatory landscape: the spatial and temporal diffusion of green building policies in US cities. Journal of Sustainable Real Estate3(1), 68-90.

Pless, S., & Paul Torcellini PhD, P. E. (2009). Getting to net zero. ASHRAE Journal, 51(9), 18.

Dark Matter Presenting A Possible Link To Black Holes

Posted by on Dec 3, 2016 in Writing Assignment 8 | No Comments

Based on the sheer size and intense mass of black holes, black holes occupy an incredible amount of space in the universe. In a similar fashion, the part of the universe that we do know, much of it is occupied by an incredible amount of dark matter. While there isn’t any known direct link, one can speculate a connection, and there happen to be some explanations proposed by many scientists that link the two.

Regular primordial black holes become candidates for heavy dark matter, based on their remnants and “gravitational vacuum solitons G-lumps” (Dymnikova & Khlopov, 2015). The also provide signatures for inhomogeneity of the early universe. Furthermore, primordial black holes have been considered as a reliable source for dark matter for more than two decades. These primordial black holes take rise from heavy unstable particles, and “are a very sensitive cosmological probe for physical phenomena occurring in the early universe” (Belotsky et al., 2014).

Another link between them that arises is the formation of density spikes from dark matter particles around primordial black holes, shortly if not immediately, after their formation where there is much radiation in this stage. Thus primordial dark holes are able to present themselves as dark matter if they formed in sufficiently large quantities, however, they can also instead act as “seeds for the formation of dark matter clumps” (Eroshenko, 2015).

Figure 1: Dark matter density around a primordial black hole.

Figure 1: Dark matter density around a primordial black hole (Eroshenko, 2015).

Another articles formally proposes a new dark matter particle candidate as the black hole atom, having an atom with the charged black hole as an atomic nucleus with electrons bound in internal quantum states. The article further this discussion by explaining how “the remnants of the evaporated black holes can be stable and also can serve as the dark matter candidates” (Dokushaev & Eroshenko, 2014). Further linkage can be seen by this article, which again shows a connection, and perhaps a basis of dark matter lying in black holes. The near critical density of compact bodies shows that most lines of sight are gravitationally microlensed. These compact bodies being stellar mass primordial black holes making up the dark matter component of the universe (Hawkins, 2011).

As one can see, there is much speculation surrounding this topic and there is no definite evidence that completely ties black holes to dark matter. There have been a few instances, such as with the spikes in density of dark matter particles around primordial black holes, but all of this information isn’t completely measured to the best degree, and most of it is purely theoretical.

Works Cited

Belotsky, K. M., et al. “Signatures Of Primordial Black Hole Dark Matter.Modern Physics Letters A 29.37 (2014): 1440005-1-1440005-15.

Dokuchaev, V. I., and Yu. N. Eroshenko. “Black Hole Atom As A Dark Matter Particle Candidate.Advances In High Energy Physics (2014): 1-5.

Dymnikova, Irina, and Maxim Khlopov. “Regular Black Hole Remnants And Graviatoms With De Sitter Interior As Heavy Dark Matter Candidates Probing Inhomogeneity Of Early Universe.” International Journal Of Modern Physics D: Gravitation, Astrophysics & Cosmology 24.13 (2015): -1.

Eroshenko, Yu. “Dark Matter Density Spikes Around Primordial Black Holes.Astronomy Letters 42.6 (2016): 347-356.

Hawkins, M. R. S. “The Case For Primordial Black Holes As Dark Matter.Monthly Notices Of The Royal Astronomical Society 415.3 (2011): 2744-2757.

Gamification of Yelp

Posted by on Dec 3, 2016 in Writing Assignment 7 | No Comments

Yelp has built an entire database off of crowdsourcing information from users. Without the people, Yelp would never have been as successful as it is now. While it may seem too true for the users to do the job for Yelp for free, it is the reality of Yelp’s success. This statement is partially incorrect as the Yelpers don’t do it for free. Nevertheless, they are not being paid with money but rather satisfaction. A user has an incentive to build a reputation in the Yelp community because it almost feels like a game. In a Massive Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game, millions of players that are attracted to this genre spend lots of time in their daily lives to better their character by any means allowed in a game. Be it a weapon that gives you more attack damage or a boots that make increase your intelligence, players constantly farm gold and experience points to get stronger. While it may seem like this behavior would be limited to games that would feel rewarding due to the fact that games are simply fun, businesses found a way to incentivize users with their own “game”.

About 70% of users on the Internet are apart of some social network (Kachniewska). The outreach and influence that social media websites have is immense. They can use this to their advantage by getting a better grasp of their users by captivating them with rewards. Just like increasing stats on your armor in World of Warcraft, increasing the amount of followers you have on Yelp feels as great. Games have been around in almost every culture until ancient times. As weird as it may seem, researchers have started to find that we are “hardwired” to play (Zichermann and Cunningham).

There are many elements that can make up a game that can also be part of gamification. “Self-representation with avatars; three-dimensional environments; narrative context; feedback; reputations, ranks, and levels; marketplaces and economies; competition under rules that are explicit and enforced; teams; parallel communication systems that can be easily configured; time pressure.” (Deterding, et al.) In figure 1, we can see that in order to implement different aspects of a game in a product, it needs to uphold the same principles of each level.

Figure 1: Levels of Gamificaiton

Figure 1: Levels of Gamification (Deterding, et al.)

In Yelp, there are some aspects of gamification. Reviews are publicly displayed to those looking at the business. The number of friends are listed as well as the amount of reviews for each reviewer. Furthermore, the reviews can also be rated by other Yelpers who think the information was helpful. Lastly, users can also receive compliments for the quality of their reviews (Pellikka). It has been shown that video games can change how someone behaves however the game intends (Deterding, et al.).

Works Cited

Deterding, Sebastian, et al. “Gamification. using game-design elements in non-gaming contexts.CHI’11 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems. ACM, 2011.

Deterding, Sebastian, et al. “From game design elements to gamefulness: defining gamification.Proceedings of the 15th international academic MindTrek conference: Envisioning future media environments. ACM, 2011.

Kachniewska, Magdalena. “Gamification and Social Media as Tools for Tourism Promotion.Handbook of Research on Effective Advertising Strategies in the Social Media Age (2015): 17.

Pellikka, Harri. “Gamification in Social Media.” (2014).

Zichermann, Gabe, and Christopher Cunningham. “Gamification by design: Implementing game mechanics in web and mobile apps.”  O’Reilly Media, Inc., 2011.