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Blu Homes Acquires Iconic MKD Designs

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Today, Blu Homes and Michelle Kaufmann announced that Blu Homes has purchased all the assets of mkDesigns, including the rights to several Michelle Kaufmann Designs (MKD) homes, such as the Glidehouse, Breezehouse, mkLotus, and mkSolaire.*  With the news, Michelle Kaufmann has joined the advisory board of Blu Homes and will consult the company in applying the MKD designs to Blu Homes’ fold out modular technology.  Michelle will also start her new practice, Michelle Kaufmann Studio, where she will focus on custom, net-zero energy homes, sustainable communities, and eco resorts.

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Sneak Peek: Ideabox Fortino Prefab

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Update 10/29/09: The Fortino Modern Green Prefab Debuts!

Salem, Oregon based Ideabox has been creating some buzz lately with their new home design, the Fortino, which will be revealed at the Seattle Home Show 2, October 22-25, 2009, at Qwest Field.  After a little coaxing, Ideabox was kind enough to let us see these renderings and a floor plan in anticipation of the big event.  Fortino will include 1,250 square-feet of loft-like living shared between two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a kitchen, dining room, and living room. 

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A Positive Energy Landscape Hub

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Yes, it has a Wilson bi-fold garage door.  Yes, it has translucent photovoltaic panels that also illuminate the interior workspace.  Yes, it's heated and cooled by a geothermal system.  And yes, it's pretty much the most amazing landscape storage shed around.  Designed by Gray Organschi Architecture, this storage barn — more appropriately a storage rack that doubles as an 800 square-foot building — is the central hub for a landscape business in Washington, Connecticut. 

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Modern Green Concept Home in Bellevue

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Owners Millie Leung and David Huang just broke ground on this modern green home in Washington.  "The Green Concept Home" is the first single-family home registered under LEED-H in Bellevue, and the owners hope to obtain Built Green certification, too.  David (of Modus V Studio) designed the home, and both Millie and David will direct its construction over the next year.  Here's the layout and what they're planning in terms of green elements:

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Kebonization Process Creates an Alternative to Tropical Hardwoods

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The photograph above may not be what you would expect.  The outdoor bench in this detail is not made from an unsustainably harvested tropical hardwood.  The wood itself is actually maple, a widely available species that can be farmed and harvested without ripping up acres of rainforest.  But maple and many other similar woods are too susceptible to decay and rot when used unprotected outdoors.  The usual alternative has been treatment with chemical pressure treatment.  Now, through a method called kebonization, a Norwegian company, Kebony ASA, treats soft woods in a non-toxic process that allows readily available woods to be used for outdoor uses.

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11 Net-Zero Energy Workforce Homes

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One of the islands off the coast of Washington, Lopez Island, has seen rising land prices, which in turn, has put the squeeze on teachers, health care workers, and others in need of affordable housing.  In an effort to help, Mithun partnered with the Lopez Community Land Trust to create eleven economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable homes.  These homes are now complete and the community, Common Ground, is absolutely incredible.  The net-zero energy homes feature some of these green elements:

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