Wow, it's been an incredible month! This site has seen the most activity in its history, and I'm constantly amazed at the pace of green building innovation. We're in a crazy market, yet this space isn't letting up at all. Certainly, we now know that Living Buildings can be cost effective, Earth Day will be controversial, homes can be better and more affordable, and buildings should consume less energy. Check out some of the articles we've written in April — right click and open? Also, try Twitter, if you're looking for a greener job.
Readers liked Caleb Schafer's $70k Simple Modern Home, so I thought it'd be interesting to quickly mention his thesis project, which was all about green design and construction. The project was to design and build a modern, straw bale bunkhouse for his parents. Caleb and his dad built the structure with reclaimed barn beams (power washed and sealed), reclaimed Malaysian hardwood flooring, local straw, locally harvested lumbar, and materials from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. It's a reclaimed straw bale bunkhouse!
Update: Caleb tells me they spent a total of ~$15k to build this.
This house — designed by Paul Raff Studio — has been recognized by GreenSource Magazine as the Best Green House for April 2009. The 3,500 square-foot home was optimally situated to receive natural light and efficiently built using SIPs. With automated shades, passive ventilation, and mature deciduous trees, the Cascade House stays cool in the summer and absorbs warm light in the winter.
There's an interesting green community in development in West Sacramento, California with 35 homes. Good is a pilot project under LEED-ND and recently received the 2009 Smart Growth Award from Breathe California! LJ Urban is the developer with a simple mantra: Dream big. Living Small. Do Good. That's the idea behind this community, and phase one is sold out. Phase two is underway with prices from the mid-200 thousands, so check these out if you're in the market. Good has an impressive list of the following green features:
At the beginning of the year, when we wrote that energy efficiency would come into greater focus, we didn't know the World Business Council for Sustainable Development ("WBCSD") was going to say "energy efficiency is fast becoming one of the defining issues of our time." But this is the message in a new report published by the WBCSD. They invested four years and $15 million in what's being called the most rigorous study on energy efficiency in buildings ever conducted. According to the report, energy use in buildings can be cut by 60% by 2050, but action is necessary soon. Let's take a closer look …
The Wall Street Journal asked four architects to draw up plans for the most energy-efficient, environmentally sustainable house they could imagine. Moreover, the Journal asked them to do it without thinking about cost, technology, aesthetics, or the way people habitually live. The plans were published yesterday. What do you think about these green houses?