Articles - January, 2012

What’s The One Green Product …

When the Museum of Science and Technology in Chicago wanted a “smart” house on their grounds to showcase energy-efficient and healthy living at its best, architect Michelle Kaufmann was a natural choice to design it.  After all, her passion for sustainability, coupled with an impeccable eye for style and plenty of award-winning projects under her belt, has made Michelle an authority on good green design.  The Smart Home: Green and Wired exhibit has inspired thousands of visitors with its perfect mix of high and low-tech green building techniques, materials and gadgets in a friendly, modern setting.

Current and recent projects for Michelle Kaufmann Studio include a sustainable neighborhood, a co-housing complex for some very with-it Franciscan nuns, and several private residences for green-minded clients.  With so much hands-on experience with many of the materials and technologies we write about here at Jetson Green, I was eager to pick Michelle’s brain.

I proposed a series of open-ended questions starting with “What is the one green product …”, hoping the busy designer would find it a fun, thought-provoking exercise.  Luckily she did — and I hope you find her responses as illuminating and insightful as I have!

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Passive Revolution, Reclaimed Appeal, Affordable Efficiency, + Green Meaning

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Freedom is a New Smart Induction Cooktop

Induction cooktops are expensive but they’re also fast and efficient — a report for the Department of Energy says induction has a cooking efficiency of 84%. So when a company combines the efficiency of induction cooking with new cutting-edge technology, as shown by Thermador’s Freedom Induction Cooktop, there’s going to be some interest.

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Element Prefab Designed by the Owners

Now this is an interesting story as it relates to the prefab construction in the USA.  Blu Homes just announced that the company sold and is currently manufacturing its first home personalized entirely online in 3-D by the purchaser.  Cathy and Walter Pearlman fired up the Blu | 3-D Configurator, settled on the Element Series, personalized it, and then sent their custom design to Blu for purchase.  Blu confirmed the selections, made one change to the bathroom tile, and then the sent the 3-D plans to the factory.

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Liquid Cooling LEDs Available in 2012

Switch Lighting, creator of the only LED that uses liquid cooling technology, is on the cusp of a breakout year in 2012.  The Switch bulb creates the same warm color of an incandescent, yet it’s made with reclaimable or recyclable materials using the Cradle to Cradle methodology.  Inside the bulb is a liquid thermal cooling solution that helps cool the LEDs from all sides, producing more light from less LEDs.  In fact, a Switch bulb lasts about 25 times longer and uses 80% less energy than an incandescent.

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Prefab ADU Keeps Family in One Place

This is a “Granny Annex” in Kent, England, fabricated by in.it.studios in eight weeks. In.it.studios fashioned the backyard prefab with a well-insulated envelope, Canadian Western Red Cedar cladding, a “zero maintenance” living sedum roof, floor to ceiling windows, a sky light in the hallway, an Accoya deck, and other built-ins with PEFC- and FSC-certified woods.

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