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Portland's First SIPs House to Save 70% on Bills!

SEED SIPs House

Update: 8/7/08 – check out Seed’s blog documenting the project at www.sipshousepdx.com.

Yesterday Seed Architecture Studio and Kaya General Contractors announced plans to build the first house in Portland using structural insulated panels ("SIP").  This sustainable home design is targeted to save 70% on bills (compared to a home built to current energy code) utilizing tech such as LED and fluorescent lighting, efficient appliances, passive cooling, and the ultra efficient SIPs.  Speaking of the home, Seed Architecture Studio owner Darin Dougherty said:

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Emeco, a Classic in Eco Furniture Design

Emeco Emeco Emeco

Emeco* designs are simple, elegant, timeless, and award-winning, but did you know that their furniture is also super green?  Emeco furniture is hand-made from 80% recycled aluminum — half of which is post-consumer (soft drink cans) and the other half is post-industrial (manufacturing scrap).  Because of this, their furniture can contribute to LEED points in your green project (MR 4.2/5.1). 

The second thing that makes Emeco’s furniture so green is that their pieces are made to last for at least 150 years!  In this day of disposable furniture that lasts for maybe a decade, 150 years is an impressive lifespan.  Emeco’s designs come in two standard finishes, brushed and polished. 

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A Prefab M-Hotel on the Cusp

m-hotel by tim pyne

I love the possibilities and ideas presented by the m-hotel from Tim Pyne.  That said, I can’t say there’s anything green about the concept (that is soon to be a reality) other than two things, possibly: (1) it’s a non-permanent structure (7-10 years) where the parts can be reused differently in the future and dismantled to make way for a different use on the site, and/or (2) it’s a prefab structure and prefab has the potential for green benefits such as material savings, lower construction waste, and minimized site disturbance, etc.  But still, it’s cool and innovative.  The m-hotel is designed as a series of steel-framed slot boxes that slide into the frame (which makes for easy dismantling in the future). 

The striped m-hotel as you see above is being considered for Sclater Street in London.  If approved, the hotel will have 32 units each measuring 16 x 36 feet (576 sf).  Work may begin as soon as this summer and should be complete by end of the year.  I can’t wait to see the finished product. 

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Hawaii Gateway Energy Center, a Fascinating Display of Solar Potential

HGEC

The Hawaii Gateway Energy Center (HGEC) is a 3,600 sf, $3.4 million facility situated on the south coast of Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii.  The new building serves both the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii and the Hawaii Ocean Sciences and Technology Park.  And as you may be able to gather from the images and models below, HGEC is a fascinating display of the future potential for synergies of solar power and building efficiencies.  The entire building is designed as a thermal chimney that captures heat and creates air movement using the structural form and thermodynamic principles.  Also, with the help of glazing, the building orientation and design pretty much eliminates the need for electric lighting during the day.  Notably, HGEC consumes about 20% of the energy that’s required by a comparable building. 

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Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation Synagogue, a Modern LEED Platinum Building

JRC Synagogue

The Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation synagogue is a beautiful building on 303 Dodge Avenue in Evanston, Illinois.  The Chicago Tribune reports that it’s "believed to be the first synagogue designed to achieve the highest level — platinum — in the [USGBC's LEED] rating system."  That’s probably true.  The  JRC board of directors mandated LEED Platinum certification, but my search of LEED Certified projects does not list the JRC synagogue yet.  Nevertheless, it’s a fine example of green architecture in the religious building context, which is something we don’t see too often. 

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Rapson Greenbelt, Modern Passive Solar Prefab

Greenbelt2ny

I’m seriously loving the Rapson Greenbelt here by Wieler.  Wieler was founded by the owner of the Original Dwell Home and offers a nice selection of prefab designs for the modern, green home enthusiast.  Speaking of the Rapson Greenbelt, Inhabitat reports: "Modernist architect Ralph Rapson has managed to reinterpret this 60-year old design with the green panache of a 21st century prefab.  The Rapson Greenbelt, an articulate series of prefab dwellings, is derived from a 1945 design called Case Study #4, which debuted back then as part of Arts & Architecture’s Case Study House Program.  Today, the Rapson Greenbelt is part of the modern home portfolio from WIELER, the award-winning providers of custom prefab homes."

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