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.
This Nederland, Colorado container home, designed by Studio H:T, performs at net-zero energy consumption by utilizing passive strategies of insulation and orientation, active solar photovoltaic and thermal systems, and the harvesting of on-site renewable fuel (timber is selectively and sustainably cleared to burn in the high-efficiency wood stove).
One of eight winners of the 2013 R+D Awards that were presented by ARCHITECT magazine, the ecoMOD Project is an effort of project teams at the University of Virginia (UVa) to work with affordable housing organization in the creation of low-impact, energy-efficient housing units. Project teams are made up of UVa faculty and students of various disciplines that have collaborated on the design, build, and evaluation of twelve housing units that are located on eight sites.
The Philadelphia home builders John Westrum Homes have recently built a model modular home in Seaside Heights, NJ, the area where last year’s hurricane Sandy destroyed or damaged 2,200 of 2,400 bungalows and homes. The prototype was constructed to exceed post-hurricane Sandy construction standards of modular components.
Vermont-based Vantem Panels, one of the United States’ first producers of SIPs (structural insulated panels) and one of three American producers of urethane panels, has released the first affordable net-zero energy kit homes: SmartHomze.
With an estimated $150 per square foot cost of construction (not including permits, site work, or foundation), SmartHomze are significantly more affordable than typical green homes that range between $200 and $250 per square foot and more in line with construction costs for an average new home that doesn’t include sustainability features.