October 18th, 2009
We’ve been watching in eager anticipation to find out which amazing solar powered green home would win this year’s Solar Decathlon. This year marks the fourth competition, with teams from around the world journeying to Washington DC to showcase their most technically advanced and energy efficient prefabricated homes. The best and brightest turned out this year modeling high efficiency home envelopes, solar systems, high-tech home control systems, advanced framing techniques and superb architecture and design. The winners of the competition were announced on Friday the 16th. Read more to learn about the top four winning designs.
Popularity: 27% [?]
August 9th, 2009
The partnership between a home improvement company and a shelter provider might seem simple, but the plans that two established organizations have now are far from cut and dry. A $30 million green building program is going national, funded by the Home Depot Foundation, and plans to build 5,000 efficient homes over the next five years.
Habitat for Humanity and the Home Depot Foundation started a pilot last year through 30 affiliates that resulted in 260 sustainable homes. The Partners in Sustainable Building program began there, and is now poised to break into the national sphere.
Some of the homes were even certified to LEED Platinum, which resulted in nearly 50 percent energy savings in some cases. During the pilot, which according to Habitat for Humanity CEO Jonathan Reckford was “extremely successful,” early results yielded 15 to 30 percent energy savings.
At the end of August, over 120 Habitat for Humanity affiliates will participate in the national rollout across 45 states. Affiliates will receive grants depending on certifications that structures attain– $3,000 for Energy Star guidelines and up to $5,000 for other nationally recognized standards.
Habitat expects nearly 1,500 homes to be built between the August start and the end of 2010. Some of the certifications mentioned by Reckford were the National Association of Home Builders standard, LEED, EarthCraft and Enterprise Green Communities.
Retrofitting has been an emphasis by administration recently, citing green jobs and efficiency, though Habitat is meeting an ever-expanding need for new and innovative construction. These new buildings will be supported by Habitat’s network through eight Habitat State Support Organizations (which service 4,400 affiliates) and will be growing in size and host new training sessions to teach green standards.
Out of the 263 homes built in the pilot program, most buildings leaned towards a higher green building level (135) and 128 were certified to the Energy Star guidelines.
Popularity: 11% [?]
July 7th, 2009
Shipping containers are at the forefront of a new era of usefulness. Traditionally used to carry goods via cargo ship, train or truck, these steel boxes are capable of withstanding huge amounts of pressure and weight. This makes them structurally stable, fireproof, mold-proof and weather-proof. Unfortunately each has a lifespan of only 20 years for its original purpose. That means when their work is done hauling stuff, they get retired and sent to junk yards or landfills even though they are still structurally solid. Now architects and designers recognize their usefulness as building blocks for homes, offices, apartments, schools and more. This home in Quebec was built by a couple intent on reducing the amount of wood that goes into building homes and also saving money. (more…)
Popularity: 100% [?]
July 5th, 2009
Written by Susan Kraemer, courtesy of GreenBuildingElements.com
If every building had a white roof, we would be able to cool the surrounding areas. That is the reasoning behind a California law about to go into effect next month requiring light reflective roofs on all new buildings. It is already the law for new flat roofs here.
Here, architect Richard Meier and his partner Michael Palladino have apparently created a design to go one further. It’s entirely white; roofs, walls, and interiors.
So this luxury design of a cool and airy Southern California beach house is glamorous and climate friendly.
Well, no. The McMansion-sized size of the thing at 4,280-sq.-ft is not so planet friendly; because it takes more energy to heat and cool a larger space. But this house would be well suited for a ground heat exchange to passively heat and cool itself with 55 degree air cooled from 10 feet under the ground.
As architects in California get closer to 2020, they will need to think more about passive cooling and heating and zero energy houses, as that will be the law by 2020. All new building must be zero energy by then.
Incorporate solar roofing on the white roof, and this could be a zero energy house.
The blue of a solar roof would visually extend right out to the ocean. (And conceal that horrible mess of mechanical contraptions on that roof.) White elastomeric cool roof paint under the solar panels would help cool the modules making them more efficient on hot days.
But are architects thinking about these things?
With 2020 almost upon us: “The beams at the roof, located above the horizontal framing, express the structural rhythm and layering of components,” explains the architect. “This cadence is repeated with the joinery of the painted aluminum exterior wall panels and modular windows. The mass of the exterior plaster walls are juxtaposed to the transparent glazed facades, creating a mosaic of layered materials.”
Blah, blah, blah.
Popularity: 22% [?]
July 1st, 2009
Dwell Magazine has partnered with some very well-known architects and builders to develop a signature line of prefab homes. The homes not only focus on sustainable design and building, but look amazing as well. Turkel Design in collaboration with Lindal Cedar Homes and then Marmol Radziner Prefab each designed three modern prefab homes to be featured as part of the Dwell Home Collection. Dwell’s recent selection of these particular prefab home designs indicates the quality of design, modern amenities and most importantly the integration of sustainable features to create a efficient and eco-friendly home. (more…)
Popularity: 35% [?]