Harold Turner’s home near Concord, New Hampshire measures 3,370 square feet and was built using the ROSE construction method, which was created to build affordable net zero energy and cost effective homes in a wide variety of geographical locations and environments. R stands for “Renewable energy production,” O and S stand for “Owner driven spatial design,” and E is for “Energy efficient construction,” while the entire house is known as ROSE cottage and serves as a prototype and test bed for future homes to be built using this method. The entire home was built for $175 per square foot.
While living in solar powered homes is very sustainable and environmentally friendly, the materials from which most solar PV arrays are constructed are not. Since they are often made from rare natural materials or plastics, researchers are constantly looking for way to improve this flaw and make the whole package more eco-friendly. A team of scientists from the University of Maryland, the South China University of Technology, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln have recently developed a type of paper, which is made from wood fibers. This paper is 96 percent transparent and could conceivably one day be used instead of the plastic materials used to construct the solar cells of today. This would make solar cells more eco-friendly as well as much cheaper.
Former airplane interior designer, Steve Sauer, worked hard to transform a tiny closet space in Seattle into a functional apartment, which is also known as a “pico dwelling.” The apartment measures only 182 square feet, yet consists of two beds, a full kitchen with a dishwasher, a bathroom with a shower, and a soaking tub set into the floor just inside the front door.
Sauer succeeded in fitting 8 separate and functional spaces into the tiny space, including a café area, which is stacked atop a video lounge that is equipped with a 37-inch TV. In a lofted area on one of the walls there is a bedroom that sits atop a walk-in closet that can also double as a home office.