If you had the chance to catch 60 Minutes on Sunday, you saw their exclusive on Bloom Energy. The company has been in stealth mode for some time, but all of that appears to be over. As reported by Lesley Stahl, which you can view in the video embedded below, Bloom makes a fuel cell that will be used to power homes (in the future) and commercial buildings (right now).
At the beginning of every year, there's a tradition for the industry to talk about trends. We've done it in the past, but this year we reviewed trends published by Jerry Yudelson and the Earth Advantage Institute. Now, EcoHome Magazine has published it's own list of seven green trends that will impact homeowners and green building professionals. Here they are:
The Living Building Challenge, run by the Cascadia Green Building Council, is growing in popularity these days. Referred to as one of the most advanced green building rating systems in the world, it's growing, I believe, in part because of its rigor. The Challenge is performance based, which means a project has to perform as modeled for one full year prior to receiving certification. Currently, four projects (see below) are racing to be the first to obtain Living Building Challenge certification.
In a forthcoming keynote address to the Green Cities conference of the Green Building Council of Australia, green building guru Jerry Yudelson intends to tackle a important concern in the sustainable building world: performance. His keynote, entitled “If it doesn’t perform, it’s not green,” is at the center of a hot button topic that seems to be taking on new fervor these days.
According to the Miami Herald, architect Andrés Duany has created a temporary house — referred to as the "core-house" — that can be made of a strong, composite material and flat pack shipped to Haiti. The prefab houses sleep eight, if arranged with the bunk beds, and can expand with additional core units. Duany believes they could be built affordably in order to provide a temporary shelter from the elements and rain.
When disaster hit Haiti, readers said we should team up with some of the folks behind the many container projects we've featured to get shelter to the disaster areas. It seems like a good idea, and PFNC Global Communities makes an interesting sub-$10,000 container home. But it may not be a good idea.
In disasters, housing relief should include some combination of temporary and permanent solutions, and I'm not sure whether a container home would work as either one in Haiti. We believe something like this Shelter Box could provide some temporary relief.