The Santa Monica-based award-winning green design studio Minarc partnered up with Habitat for Humanity, and a local non-profit firm Restore Neighborhoods LA to design and build affordable, net-zero energy prefabricated homes in the low-income areas of South Los Angeles. Together they built 3 homes, which were all built on vacant lots in the poorest neighborhood of South Los Angeles. The houses all feature Minarc’s innovative, interlocking panel system, which is called mnmMOD. The homes are also equipped with roof top mounted solar panels.
JAYZ Building Solutions of Melbourne Australia have come up with an innovative solution for providing modular, prefab homes. They have recently launched the fully transportable InstantSlide house model, which is part of the company’s latest series of SMART2 (Superfast + Modular + Affordable + Robust + Transportable) accommodation buildings. Most of their designs cater to companies wishing to provide temporary housing for their staff on remote locations, such as on mining sites for example, while they also provide single-family modular homes.
The Canadian firm Ecopods makes sustainable, fully recycled short term container dwellings. Ecopods are an excellent choice as cabins, guesthouses or other accessory buildings, or showrooms. All ecopods houses are designed to function off the grid, and can easily be transported anywhere.
Charles Pickering, the founder and CEO of architectural and engineering firm Pickering Associates, recently received a LEED-Platinum rating for his project at 12 Faith Meadows in Williamstown, WV. This is the first LEED Platinum certified home in West Virginia, and boasts of 11 kWDC of generation capacity. The solar system is located in an optimal array on the house and garage roof, and provides all the energy usage needs for the household, with some to sell back through the power grid. The house received a LEED Point Score of 113 and a HERS rating of .43.
Marc Rutenberg, the CEO of the Florida company Marc Rutenberg Homes, has recently successfully designed and built a luxury home that complies with and even surpasses all Energy Star standards and is LEED Platinum certified. The Castaway III, as the house is called, measures 4,552-square feet, which is about 3,100 square feet larger than the average zero-energy home. This house proves that there is no need to sacrifice comfort and luxury to reduce one’s carbon footprint.
Early last month, Canada got its first recycled shipping container housing development. It is located in the Downtown Eastside area of Vancouver, at 502 Alexander St. The housing project was developed by Atira Women’s Resource Society, which wanted to create affordable and quality non-market housing units to be rented out to older women.
The housing development is comprised of 12 studio units, each with a net living area of 280 – 290 square feet. All of the units are entirely self-contained, complete with bathrooms, kitchens and an in-suite laundry. With its colorful navy blue and burnt orange exterior walls, the housing blends in perfectly with the other building in the neighborhood.