With all the recent discussion about crumbling infrastructure and stimulus spending, it seems appropriate to talk about a design proposal that is actively addressing many issues that are showing progress across the country. Project Green, slated for downtown Austin, Texas, represents a comprehensive approach to sustainability in the context of an urban, mixed-use development. In addition to incorporating the usual features like solar panels and wind turbines, this proposal takes a serious approach to handling the most precious resource on earth. Water.
With the glut of commercial space available today and the promise of stimulus money, some developers are looking at green building as a way to stand out. Brushing up on catch-phrases just isn't going to cut it; in the new construction space, they're competing with early adopters who have already embraced sustainable design, energy efficiency, and LEED and the like. They'll be competing with commercial projects like this.
This exciting new line of prefab houses comes to us from Bensonwood Homes, based out of Walpole, New Hampshire. Their Unity House, a Unity2 model built for the president of Unity College, has achieved a LEED platinum rating, making it one of a select group of homes around the country to reach such a lofty goal. And the small design-build company debuts not one, two, or even three, but four stunning models to the sustainable housing market. Reasonably priced and quickly assembled, all homes in the series are designed to be net-zero energy. The design aesthetic seems to lean towards the classic single family American home, while the high tech materials and features thrust towards the future of home building. The list of sustainable features is long to be sure, but here are a few key elements.
What's Sunday evening without a little Ty Pennington and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition? I don't catch it every week, particularly if the Dallas Cowboys are on, but the program is a juggernaut for helping people in real need. So we caught news that ABC was planning a green show for April 6 and were put in touch with the team doing a 5 kW solar photovoltaics installation. They're using the Akeena Andalay system, which we mentioned previously was a Top 5 Green Building Product (as voted by the builders). The Akeena Andalay system is pretty sharp, and Linda Panitz, a solar evangelist herself, was on the set with Akeena to install the system. Here's our Q&A:
Another month has come to a close, and even more than before, I'm both humbled and amazed by the green building community. There's so much going on, and it's really fun to follow. The short month of February has been another record breaking month for the site as it served over 125k unique readers and more RSS subscribers than ever. Going forward, I'm constantly trying to provide a unique and high-quality perspective — thanks for your patience and kind nudging. Tons of emails have been flagged and soon our team will get to every great idea. If you have a great idea, contact or advertise with us. In the mean time, re-read what February was all about.
- Good design in ten commandments.
- Efficiency is the new green.
- Business schools in a green building race.
- Which is greener? A new or old building?
- Future of green buildings depends on profitability.
- EPA Report: Removing Market Barriers to Green Development.
- Study: Energy efficiency has a steep cost for developers.
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