Articles - October, 2006

Trend Analysis: When Remodeling, Green > Luxury

Green_remodeling Whether you’re a real estate developer, owner, seller, broker, agent, speculator, investor, enthusiast, or whatever, there’s a trend that is important to grasp.  I read news of a survey that illustrates the trend.  Here’s what it said:  Over 50% of homeowners would like to make improvements to their homes and given a choice of improvements, homeowners would opt for the eco-friendly improvements.  Even when luxury upgrades are available.  This was the scenario in a survey performed by Wells Fargo:  Select among nine home improvement choices, if you were given $50,000: 

  1. 24% Nation/24% West Coast = Solar panels, energy-efficient windows + appliances
  2. 12% Nation/14% West Coast = Gourmet kitchen
  3. 11% Nation/11% West Coast = Luxury bedroom suite or master bathroom

Basically, when it comes to remodeling, everyone is taking the green road.  These statistics show what features people will come to demand in their homes and properties.  Application?  If you’re a developer, go for the energy-efficient windows, stock the place with the right appliances, and get each home solar ready.  If you’re a homeowner, go green before you go luxury.  Via residential architect.  Image via www.greenbuilding.com

Green Prefab: The Vital House by Ulterior Mode

Yellow_rendering Yellow_rendering_side

If you’ve heard of the Husten-Haskin house (mentioned in NYTimes + SF Chronicle), then you’ve heard of the architect behind the the Vital House prefab:  Erin Vali of Ulterior Mode.  The Vital House is designed to be both economical (1,500 sq-ft. at $300,000) and eco-friendly.  Practically speaking, the firm is Brooklyn-based, so this prefab design will serve the east coast, at least in the near short-term, but this four-bedroom model was designed to adapt to virtually any location.  The prefab utilizes solar-power and passive heating during the winter (with double-height walls on the south + east orientation).  It also has water-filled tanks placed on the south + east spaces, which absorb radiant energy and distribute it through the house.  Interestingly, construction is raised slightly off the ground, which accommodates both flat and sloped land sites.  Another benefit of raised construction is that wind + air can cool the home.  Some of the other specifics on the Vital House are still in flux, but I think this is a good start.

Slope_rendering_1 First_rendering

Skyscraper Sunday: Urban Cactus by UCX Architects

Urban Cactus Urban Cactus

This is a building I saw first on Archidose.  Since the website project description is in Dutch, it’s hard to get specific information on this building, but I’ll share what I’ve been able to get translated.  Urban Cactus is a project of the Rotterdam-based architectural office UCX Architects, founded by Ben Huygen + Jasper Jagers.  It will have 98 residential units on 19 floors, and because the project abuts the harbor, the architects chose to give the building a more green, natural feel (rather than the urban feel common to neighboring architecture).  I’m thinking that this layout provides an interesting mixture of sunlight + shade with the perfect amount of green space that is usually lacking in most vertical high-rise buildings. 

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