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Windermere West – Chicago Slanting Windows (S2)

Windermere West - Click to View Larger Wired has an interesting story about a new 26-story tower soon to be built in Chicago’s Hyde Park called Windermere West.  The building was designed by Jeanne Gang, with a little help from Arup.  Here’s the idea:  the hottest sun of the year is the highest in the sky and this is when electricity bills skyrocket.  So, Gang designed this sawtooth facade effect for roughly 2/3 of the south-facing balconies.  At a 71 degree tilt, the glass is angled enough to shade the interiors during that hot period of the day, but not so much that people feel like they will tip over into the streets.  Pretty neat?!  I wonder if this is actually going to get built.  It’s interesting to see how architects come up with creative solutions to incorporating natural light in just the right way. 

::"S2" is short for "Skyscraper Sunday," a weekly article on green skyscrapers posted every Sunday::

Powerfully Small and Green Ideabox

Ideabox

"It's like a loft you can take anywhere.Ideabox offers a pretty cool product in the modern, prefabricated housing industry.  Ideabox emphasizes good design, not square footage, and they make it easy to do.  With Ideabox, you're going to get the entire package right to your site.  There's one day to install it, one day to build the deck, and that's about it.  Depending on your site, all you really need to do is set up the water, power, septic, and sewer systems.  You can even go wireless with the turnkey solar system package, too. 

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Boulder's Green Hickory Home by VaST

Hickory Home

This green home was built in 2003, so it’s not anything new in particular, but I wanted to share some of the green concepts the homeowners worked through during process of building it.  First, the owners, Brandy LeMae + Joseph Vigil, purchased an odd-shaped lot near a well-traveled road for $157k.  It was rather cheap, with some lots in Boulder costing nearly $400k, so the design would have to solve the noise and space problem.  Second, they wanted a green home on a budget.  In the end, they were able to build the Hickory House for about $91 psf.  There’s an excellent article from Dwell about their process, but I’m going to explain a little below.

The owners raved about structural insulated panels, or SIPs, which went up quickly, were cut to size, allowed for minimal waste, and helped to defray the costs of the project.  They also used Forbo natural linoleum countertops, radiant heating in the concrete floors, and denim by-product cotton insulation.  LeMae + Vigil tried to keep the design simple — the more complicated the design is, the less money there is to go towards green things (check out VaST’s 3 Design Strategies to Build Green + Save Money).  Vigil also designed a foot-wide concrete-block wall stuffed with foam insulation for the west side of the house.  By doing this, he was able to block out noise from the road and provide shading for the home.  They finished up with some interior design straight from IKEA and were happy with the final product.  Looks great from this angle.  More images below. 

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Denver's 2020 Lawrence – Green + Affordable?

2020 Lawrence

2020 Lawrence breaks ground early next year, but it’s already making headlines.  With prices ranging from $290k-$800k, 20 of the 60 units have been pre-sold.  But there’s a compelling financial scenario lurking in the numbers of this $20 million development:  buyers that go with the 2-kw photovoltaic system will get a quarter point break on the 30 year mortgage (assuming buyer’s go with Countrywide Financial).  The result is that it becomes cheaper to buy a unit with the pv system, than without the system.  Nice. 

Additionally, 2020 Lawrence will be built to LEED silver certification and will be the first condo community in the region to receive a Near-Zero Energy Home designation.  As far as green amenities, 2020 Lawrence will have dual-flush toilets, sustainable hardwood floors, reserved hybrid vehicle parking, and rooftop solar power, to name a few.  Via BGTV

Green Sky Tower to be Tallest in Abu Dhabi (S2)

The Gate & Sky Tower

This development on Reem Island called The Gate is currently under construction in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.  We’re talking about a total of 11,300,000 sf of development space.  One building is the Sky Tower.  Sky Tower will be the tallest tower in Abu Dhabi and (only) the fifth largest tower in UAE.  Topping out at 83 stories and 300 meters, it is anticipated that Sky Tower will be the first building in the UAE to receive LEED certification.  The Gate Development will also include five 62-story towers and two 31-story buildings.  Designed and planned by Arquitectonica, The Gate is supposed to become the gateway to a new city. 

It’s a pretty incredible looking development.  By all means, check the images below and let me know if you think it has a slight resemblance to Stonehenge.  Anyone agree?  When completed, The Gate will have a total of 4,600 residential units, 344,488 sf of office space, and 44,291 sf of retail space. 

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Power Pod Can Reduce Energy Costs Up to 80%

Powerpod

And that’s pretty incredible.  It can be used for personal, business, or industrial applications.  The Power Pod arrives on a single flatbed truck and sets up in a day.  But what’s so special about it?  Well, it can outfitted with rooftop solar, the butterfly roof collects water for use in radiant floor heating, and the highly insulated walls (SIP R-28) keep the temperature just right.  Plus, there’s also the typical energy-efficient lighting, low-flow plumbing fixtures, and building performance monitoring system.  Keeping track of things helps to optimize efficiency.  And with the sculptural steel pier foundation, setup should be pretty quick, too. 

Can you feel the modern, green prefab-type options increasing?  Almost out of control?  Well, competition is good and this company is based in Lawrence, Massachusetts.  It’s not really practical to be shipping homes all the way across the country, so there’s going to be lots of options in places that demand this type of construction.  The working prototype, as you will see below, looks pretty good, too.  Via Treehugger.

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