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Tiny Homes For The Wisconsin Homeless

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Betty Ybarra is about to move into the first house she has ever owned, a tiny home which she helped build. The tiny homes for the homeless project is the brainchild of Occupy Madison, a non-profit organization based in Madison, Wisconsin. Betty’s is the first tiny house the group has built, and her and Occupy Madison volunteers have been building it for about two months. The finished 96-foot-square tiny home is now ready, and cost about $3000 to build. The money needed to build the home came entirely from donations from the community.

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Tiny Barn House in the Desert Available for Rent

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This studio house is located in the desert near Joshua Tree, CA. It has been fully converted into a cozy retreat for two, and the owners are renting it out for just that purpose. This design also demonstrates just how easily old, disused out buildings like this barn can be repurposed for modern uses. A refurb like this makes for a great vacation house, but it could also easily be used as a studio or office space for a work-from-home individual. Read more »

Shipping Container-Inspired House Idea

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German architect Han Slawik created his Homebox design based on the shipping container building model, taking into consideration the ease of transport, universal dimensions and general usefulness of shipping containers. However, the Homebox is not made from an actual steel shipping container. Slawik simply took all the best parts of shipping container architecture and modified it to be easier to build and maintain. Modification of steel structures during the building process, as well as the subsequent repair and maintenance is costly, which is one of the drawbacks of building homes from shipping containers.

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A Zero Net Energy Prototype House Built in California

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Last week, the Zero Net Energy (ZNE) house was unveiled in Clovis, California. The three-bedroom, two-bathroom home has a living area of 2,064 square-feet and was built as a join effort between BIRAenergy Consulting and De Young Properties. Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) offered technical assistance to the builders in trying to find ways of getting the home to use only one-third of the energy needed for a house built to minimum code. ZNE House was built to become a model for future net zero homes in the area.

The house features numerous energy-efficiency improvements, which are in accordance with California’s Long-Term Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan. This plan stipulates that all new residential construction in California will be net-zero by the year 2020. The house will not be made available for purchase yet, as it will serve as a prototype to study how well it functions and what improvements have yet to be made.

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Earth-Sheltered Homes Help Protect Against Natural Disasters

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The Colorado-based Formworks Building Inc. has been specializing in earth sheltered building technology since 1979. The main idea behind their buildings is the creation of sustainable, affordable housing. Formworks structures have an estimated usable life span of over one hundred years without any major maintenance. These houses are built into the earth surrounding the building site, which has the added bonus of protecting the home from raging storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, fires, mudslides and so on.

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Texas Students Helping Build a Green Container Home

The students of New Caney Independent School District (ISD), TX have partnered up with the Piney Woods United States Green Building Council (USGBC) Branch of Montgomery County in an effort to build a green home from recycled shipping containers. This home will serve as a demonstration house and is will be the first of its kind in the country. Once they finish it, the home will be open to the public in order to demonstrate the latest technologies in the areas of energy efficiency, recycling, water management, and use of readily available green products.

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