Santa Barbara Green Prefab on Display

Santa Barbara Sunset Breezehouse

Starting at 10:00 am this Saturday, June 14, a custom-made Sunset Breezehouse designed by MKD will be open to the public in Santa Barbara, California.  The open house will happen in conjunction with the Built Green Santa Barbara Expo, Conference, & Tour, but if you’re not able to attend, Michelle Kaufmann has been posting photos and details of the home for the past couple weeks.  The home, in addition to having all the various green materials and products typically used in MKD homes, has a PV solar array and sustainable landscape design that fits the home just perfectly. 

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Green Building Aspects of Toyota's Plug-in Hybrid News

Plug-in Prius

You might be thinking, "Why is this green building blog talking about a car company?"  But don’t, because the relationship between home, work, transportation, and all that is quite complex.  Yesterday, news on Toyota’s plug-in hybrid technology spread across the internet at a fairly quick clip — it’s important news that will affect us in more ways than the price paid at the pump.  According to Autoblog Green, Toyota announced it would produce a plug-in hybrid with lithium-ion batteries starting in 2010, with large scale production into 2011-2012.  This is good news, but here’s why plug-in electric vehicles matter for the future of green buildings:

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Alberici Converts Old Plant into Modern Green HQ

[2:16]  As a global construction-services company in St. Louis, Missouri, Alberici sought to lead the transformation of the design and construction industry by renovating a 485-foot-long manufacturing plant into its new Class-A corporate headquarters.  The desire to convey resource efficiency, integrated design, and corporate responsibility prompted Alberici to achieve substantial resource and cost savings by combining various strategies, including:

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Checking Out the 99k House Competition


Back in September 2007, Rice Design Alliance and the Houston Chapter of the AIA announced the 99k House Competition.  The general goal of the competition was to create an innovative design for a small house that is affordable, sustainable, and energy efficient.  More specifically, the competition called for a single family house with up to 1,400 sf of space, including 3 bedrooms, 1.5-2 bathrooms, on a 50′ x 100′ site in a historic neighborhood of Houston.  The construction budget for each home had to be under $99,000, too.

And recently, Hybrid / ORA out of Seattle was declared the winner of the competition (pictured above).  In addition, four other finalists each took $5k in prize money and had their home designs published for all to see.  Make sure to check out their ideas and download their designs below. 

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Envision Solar Trees as Energy Stations?

Envision Solar

As you can see above and below, Envision Solar plans to make parking lots into beautiful power plants with their Solar Groves and Solar Trees.  Envision Solar takes the hassle out of designing structures for solar with their turn-key solutions.  Although the company is working on a next generation design for the Solar Tree, the current iteration includes 64 Kyocera solar modules laid out in total measuring 30' x 40'.  The panels sit at a five degree angle and provide shading for six vehicles, too.  Envision Solar has found success installing these parking canopies near commercial buildings and retail parking lots because the energy can be sold to businesses through power purchase agreements. 

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How About SMEG's Retro Modern, Efficient Frig?

Black Orange Red

This fridge has a fantastic retro appearance and could save you a lot of money on your utility bills.  Designed by SMEG, it’s a compact 9.22 cubic feet and uses only  305 kWh/year.  That makes it one of the most efficient it its class according to the government’s energy guide, which is used to rate all Energy Star appliances.  This stylish fridge isn’t big — it’s under 5 feet tall, but maybe it will encourage you to trade space for style and save energy as a result. 

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