Since ground broke on the Start.Home, the students who are designing and building the Stanford University entry in the 2013 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon have been learning their way around the construction site from five Carpenters Union instructors. CU is a Platinum-level project sponsor, joining other companies like DIRECTV, Intel, General Electric, Applied Materials, Boxh, Pine Cone Lumber, and Mitsubishi in an effort to change the way that green home building construction problems are solved.
Celebrating its grand opening in the Eastern Market area of Detroit on May 19, 2013, where visitors came from as far away as Berlin and Paris, FIRST CONTAINER, the first structures for a planned 36-unit boutique hotel and community space that is being built from upcycled shipping containers has garnered national attention as the “most important hotel in America.” Collision Works is being made possible by funding from a Kickstarter campaign and partnership with the Detroit Collaborative Design Center and Eastern Market Corporation.
Built with recycled and salvaged materials from a dilapidated and deconstructed cottage that was already present on the 0.35 acre lot, the west side of this 2,000 square foot home faces Lake Champlain in Burlington, Vermont. Sweeping views of the lake are broken only by a granite fireplace.
Following the original footprint of the cottage, with the addition of 375 square feet on the east side, Ernie Ruskey, AIA, of Tektonika Studio Architects worked with builder Tim Frost to minimize energy use during the cold winter months while protecting the landscape. They have achieve a 50 percent total energy savings over a 2004 IECC code-level home, an EPA Energy Star 5-Star Plus rating, and a HERS rating of 57. Ninety-five percent of the home is daylit and can be ventilated or cooled with operable windows. Total energy used is approximately 104.2 MMBtu.
A new partnership between Silicon Energy and CrystaLite that was announced at the recent Living Future unConference in Seattle is bringing a new alternative to photovoltaic solar roof implementations and ground-mounted installations: the solar structure. PV-integrated structures provide home and business owners with extensive flexibility in the design and implementation of solar power when a solar roof is not cost effective or to achieve a more aesthetically pleasing integration of solar panels with structural design of patio and deck coverings, carport coverings, and picnic shelters.
In a recent article on Indian Country Today Media Network, journalist Nate Seltenrich covered the sustainable building initiatives of several Native American tribes who were the country’s “original green builders.” Through efforts to improve upon substandard housing and economic hardships, indigenous populations are returning to traditional methods of home construction while incorporating modern technologies. Contemporary sustainability calls tribal members back to their cultural heritage and opens up avenues for attainable home ownership and lower energy costs, with the potential to revitalize communities.
Kaplan Thompson Architects were challenged by their clients to build a farmstead home in the mountains of Virginia that could not only meet standards for Passivhaus and LEED, but include a roof on which sheep could graze.
The solution: Earthship Farmstead is a house that is nestled in the east-facing hillside with a floorplan that fits the contours of the surrounding fields. The dining and living room extend out onto the hill to allow south-facing shaded windows to capture warmth and light from the sun. Recently, Earthship Farmstead received Passive House certification and is gathering data toward LEED Platinum certification.