Monday, March 11, 2013

Record setting heat across the US in 2012

It’s probably nothing new to all who experienced it, but 2012 was a very hot year for most of the US.  The graphic above from the New York Times (Accuweather and NOAA sources), shows how much of the US was affected.  For whatever reason, the Louisville portion of the Ohio River Valley was not as affected as greatly.

Going back to my earlier post, it’s interesting to note that the author Dr. Nir Krakauer noted that the winters are warming faster than the summers.  So what does this mean?  Well, it could mean that the plants in our area could be more hardy because the winters have been trending to be more mild.  It could mean that natives could be more marginalized and that invasives, which may already be suited for a longer growing season, could become even more aggressive.

Does this mean I’m designing for orange and banana trees?  No, but I’m less fearful for plants that are borderline hardy for our area.  It also means I’ll be watching the native plants more closely to see how they will do with our warmer weather.

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Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Is the 2012 plant hardiness map already out of date?!

(a)Gridded annual minimum temperature trend as that of 2011-2012, relative to the 1976–2005 mean, over the coterminous USA. (b) Change in trend annual minimum temperature between 1970-1971 and 2011-2012. 

Dr. Nir Krakauer has published an article that uses geostatistical analysis of temperatures to figure a new way to compute the difference between the average and the mean temperatures.  The Department of Agriculture uses the mean annual temperature over the last few decades (1976-2005) to calculate plant hardiness zones.  Dr. Krakauer uses trend estimation over a shorter period of time to deal with the variations we have had in the last few years.  He believes the average is already above the mean, so the current map that was revised in January of 2012 is already out of date!  The difference is shown in the maps above.  It’s interesting to note that the map is all trending warmer but it’s Appalachia that is getting warmer faster!  I guess it’s good to lead the nation in some regard…

Here is the map of Kentucky showing our current hardiness zones.

The whole US, and any particular state, can be found at

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Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Louisville 41st among cities with Walk Score

Walk Score rates how good a city or a neighborhood is for walking.  This involves being a connected with useable sidewalks and having great destinations.  Louisville ranks as 41st among large cities with a score of 40.  The highest city is New York with a score of 85.  But as you can imagine, there are neighborhoods in Louisville that rate just as high.  And not surprisingly, they have been stable neighborhoods with high home ownership and resale values.  Studies have shown that walkable neighborhoods make for healthier people, but also happier.  Perhaps there is something to making walkable neighborhoods.  The next step maybe to see where we can “grow” our walkable neighborhoods.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Will we have a White Christmas? NOAA probability map tells all

It’s the question we ask every year, “Will we have a white Christmas?!”

But we all know the answer varies depending on where you are and what’s happening with the weather at that time.  Moisture, cold, and ground temperature all play into it.  The folks at the NOAA National Climatic Data Center have made a map based on the best data (see link below if you want to geek out).  And of course, some likely candidates win out: northern Minnesota, Rockies, but so does a good amount of Colorado.

Regardless of the snow you see, may your Christmas be happy and bright!


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Thursday, November 08, 2012

Vision for Louisville


The mayor is embarking on a 25 year Vision for Louisville.  Much of it was kicked off at IF 2012, but there is more going on.  To stay in touch with the movement, go to this link:

See how 3D printing helped start the process.

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Vision for Louisville

The mayor is embarking on a 25 year Vision for Louisville.  Much of it was kicked off at IF 2012, but there is more going on.  To stay in touch with the movement, go to this link:

See how 3D printing helped start the process.

Posted via email from Verdant Design

Monday, November 05, 2012

Cost-effective, energy-efficient homes go head-to-head


The scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have put four advanced home design technologies head-to-head: all built at the same time right next to each other with the same square footage.  They tested structural insulated panel (SIP), optimal value wall framing (OVF), advanced framing with phase change materials (PCMM), and exterior insulation and finish system (EIFS). An overview of what these mean and the products used can be found in this pdf.

They computerized the homes to have the same daily use (electronically of course) for two years.  And the verdicts are in: SIPS was the most efficient and sealed crawlspaces are better than vented ones.   But all four of the homes were more than 50% energy efficient over conventional IECC (2006) code standards.

Here is a link to their findings and publications.

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Cost-effective, energy efficient home go head to head

John Pacyga, PLA, ASLA, LEED AP


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Friday, September 21, 2012

Park(ing) Day in Louisville #PD502

Some photos of the Kentucky Chapter of Landscape Architect’s PARK(ing) DAY space.  It’s right in front of the Green Building on E. Market.  It will only be in place until 4pm, so stop by!  There are many who devoted time and energy to this effort.  You can see the list at:  It also has a link to find a Landscape Architect Firm if you are looking for one in your area.

For more on Louisville’s many temp parks (TODAY ONLY) and a map, go to

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