First, it receives a 2006 red dot design award, and now, the Verdi Lawnscaping System has received a 2007 Gold IDEA Award. Verdi is a low-maintenance, modular landscaping system that hopes to become the alternative to traditional grass lawns. Verdi tiles are pre-seeded with built-in irrigation and they interlock for easy installation. Once completed, the entire system can be attached to a grey water pump, which uses certain recycled water from the home to irrigate the landscaping. The Verdi system also has other modular parts, such the solar-powered light tiles, shrub planters and path tiles, recycled glass composite inserts, and bamboo or molded recycled plastic inserts. The technology is compelling because it has the capability to transform the process of landscape design in the backyard, terrace, or even on the roof. And the built-in irrigation system reduces inefficient use of water, too. This is a cool product concept to keep an eye on.
Let’s talk about zero energy architecture and the Truro Residence. It’s an amazing residence, currently under construction on one of Cape Cod’s beaches in Massachusetts. Designed by Independence Energy Homes (IEH) and being constructed by Silvia and Silvia, the Truro Residence is meant to accommodate a large family and friends and still remain environmentally responsible. When complete, it will have a tight building envelope, a geothermal heating system, solar photovoltaic system, tank-less water heaters, compact fluorescent lighting, and Energy Star appliances. The home also will feature popular green materials such as bamboo flooring, blue-jean insulation, and natural stone.
What do you get with prefab? (1) modular economies of scale and supposedly less construction waste, (2) labor efficient construction process, (3) ease of variability or parts interchangeability, and (4) the possibility of green, energy efficient homes, if you make that happen. Jot Homes is backed by Yeh + Jarrard, who built the prototype JoT House in Joshua Tree (get it? JOshua Tree?) for a jaw-dropping $48 psf way back in 2004. It seems that one of the ways they kept the costs down was by using a "central utility core" for the bathroom, kitchen, and laundry supplies. Simple plumbing is cheaper, right?! In addition, they use SIPs and sustainable harvested birch plywood (as opposed to fir plywood that comes from old growth), Forbo Marmoleum and cork tiles for the flooring, double-glazed low-E glass for the windows, and LED lighting technology. Kitchen and cabinetry fixtures were all sourced from IKEA, too.
Currently, JoT House is planning some new stuff for release in early 2008 or so. They will have the JoT Original, JoT ‘L’, and the JoT Two-story ‘Urban JoT’, with standard model prices at $210k, $260k, and $300k, respectively. That works out to roughly $180 psf. If you’re going after the mini-JoT, that starts at about $45k+. And multiple mini-JoTs can be put together, too. Let’s keep an eye out for new developments in 2008, and check the detail in some of the images below.
My wife sent me this article from Perez Hilton about Brad Pitt, who will be appearing on NBC’s Today with Ann Curry to talk about his green development project in New Orleans. I’m not a reader of the celebrity sites, so I would have missed this, but the New Orleans development project is really moving along. And the green houses they are building are 100% incredible. Brad has good style — it fits so well with Jetson Green, we should just bring him on as a regular writer!
Global Green broke ground on the Holy Cross Project on May 10. Yesterday, they unveiled the progress on this first home, which is still under construction. It’s going to be a showcase home, but in total, the Holy Cross Project will have 5 homes and 18 apartments. All of them will be affordable and green. The goals of the project are to achieve LEED Platinum certification (LEED-H for the single family homes and LEED-NC for the other buildings), net zero energy, and carbon neutral building. By using solar panels, high performance building design, HVAC systems, energy and resource monitoring systems, and energy efficient appliances, the buildings in the Holy Cross Project will use at least 75% less energy than typical buildings. In addition, Global Green is also exploring the use of river turbines in the adjacent Mississipi River.
I watched this video of the Jellyfish House by architects Lisa Iwamoto and Craig Scott, and needless to say, I was kind of blown away. It’s quite compelling to watch, but at the same level, it’s complicated. I can’t say I understand everything that’s going on but I like it. Jellyfish are responsive to the environment around them, so like jellyfish, one concept with this house is that water is filtered and harvested through the actual structure of the home. The structure uses UV light filtration, which could come down in price in the future, and titanium dioxide, which is now used for self-cleaning glass in tall skyscrapers. This concept prototype for the future of sustainable living was designed (hypothetically) for Treasure Island, a decommissioned military base in San Francisco Bay with toxic top soil.
A home doesn’t need to be modern to be green, but I like the modern ones. I’d love to see entire neighborhoods of modern green homes. I like the idea of changing the way we perceive the single-family home, too. Denser neighborhoods? Sure. Residential wind turbines? Definitely. Solar on the roof? You bet. But right now, we’re still in the early stages of recognizing legitimate green homes.