VERDIER Solar Power Camper, Rethinking Westfalia VW

Verdier Solar Power Camper

Based on the old "hippy" classic VW Westfalia camper, Alexandre Verdier has completely redesigned the Westfalia into a modern, green camper with major appeal.  This camper is powered by a 200 hp hybrid (fuel or diesel) + electric engine.  Some other features include solar panels on the camper roof (40 watt – 12 volt), GPS navigation, wireless internet, and a sink with 4 spots for cooking.  Priced at $69,000, I’m thinking there’s market for something like this.  Don’t you?  Video + images below; via Modern Flat

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Eco-Cities, 1 Hotel & Residences, Consumer Perception of Green Business + Variety in Green Homes (WIR)

Week in Review
  1. Eco-cities, centers that showcase the cutting-edge of land use and urban planning, are being planned for the UK and China but do they have what it takes to solve environmental challenges?
  2. Atlanta’s The Streets of Buckhead will be one of the first cities in the southeast to gain a luxury, eco-friendly hotel in the new Starwood Capital Group brand, 1 Hotel & Residences. 
  3. An increasing number of businesses are making a commitment to the environment, but it seems that consumer perception of "going green" businesses could be mixed. 
  4. The Tale of Two Green Homes – one is efficient and thrifty, and the other is stylish and opulent.  They both help the environment, right?

kitHAUS at Westfield UTC, So Fresh and So Clean

Showletter

There’s a lot of talk about prefab revolutionizing the world of residential living, but when it comes down to it, prefab could be used all over the place.  This post shows how successful prefab could be in the commercial context.  Just as a little background, there’s a mall in San Diego, California, called Westfield University Towne Center, or Westfield UTC.  The mall has been around for some 30+ years, so it’s in the middle of an upgrade.  As part of the upgrade, Westfield UTC wants to incorporate environmentally friendly designs, so they retained kitHAUS to create a Visitors Center pavilion to showcase the "UTC Experience."  Basically, it’s a place for the community to interact with Westfield on design ideas for the mall remodel. 

Ultimately, the kitHAUS design used two customized K2 structures.  The first unit is the "lounge pavilion," and it’s designed to be open to the elements with louver doors for shade.  It houses a lounge and interactive display.  The second unit is the "Gallery," and it is enclosed with glass doors on all sides.  The Gallery houses a model of the potential mall design, large plasma screens, and interactive displays.  Notice the incredible looking straight lines of the deck, buildings, and trellises.  It’s so clean and modern, it’s hard not to glare at every element of construction. 

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Home(scale) Brings Innovation to Modern Green Project for Philly

5th Street View

I’ve been sitting on details of the newest green development in Philly and I just can’t hold it any longer.  Actually, CEO Steven Nebel shot me an email and said it was okay to use the renderings.  The development is called High Street Development, and it’s expected to be a net zero energy, mixed use community.  High Street Development will have modern residential units ranging in size from 1000 to 2100 sf.  Recently, the project was presented to the community and enthusiastically received, which I think is due to the project’s innate approachability and sustainability.  Let me explain that. 

The developer, home(scale), has three primary goals in mind with this project: (1) offer a project with the sophistication of something like the Hearst Building in NYC, (2) make it at a price point that is affordable to an average middle-class consumer, and (3) provide high-class, superior amenities that look incredible.  To do this, you have to be smart and resourceful–it takes serious effort and experience to create an approachable product without all the cost overruns.  Currently, home(scale) is working with Silpa Inc., an environmental consultancy, to provide the best systems, whether that’s shared geothermal and solar systems with fully automated controls, or otherwise.  There’s also going to be a car sharing program for residents.  But these are just a few of the details being finalized.  Expect to see High Street Development completed sometime late winter or spring 2008.  More images below. 

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Human Bones + Nanoengineering = Green Concrete?

Greenconcrete_2 The following post may seem a little esoteric, if not absolutely dry, but don’t be intimidated.  Bear with me a second as the idea opens up towards the end of this article.  Every year, roughly 1.89 billion tons of cement (the main component of concrete) are manufactured.  Cement accounts for about 7-8% of all human-generated CO2 emissions (a main ingredient in the recipe for climate change).  Here’s what happens: cement is made by burning fossil fuels to heat a limestone and clay powder to 1500 °C.  Then, the resulting cement powder is mixed with water and gravel and the invested energy in the powder is released into chemical bonds that form calcium silicate hydrates.  Those calcium silicate hydrates bind the gravel to create concrete. 

So, the idea goes, human bone could show us how to manufacture concrete with less CO2 emissions.  Human bone achieves a similar packing density to concrete at the nanoscale, but with human bone, this packing density is achieved at body temperature with no extra release of CO2.  Stated otherwise, bone strength is achieved naturally without having to heat powder at a high temperature, and thus, without the CO2 release.  The problem is, however, the hardening of apatite minerals in the bone takes a long time.  Say, a month or more. 

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The Orb Steps Up for a Younger Generation

Home Office The Orb

This is incredible.  It would be nice if someone here in the U.S. would put something like THE ORB into production.  According to the company’s website, The Orb "is a new generation of mobile structures created specifically to fire the imagination of a younger, style conscious generation.  It has been designed to appeal across three distinct markets: commercial show units, holiday park homes and adaptable home offices.  Built to a standard far beyond that of comparable structures using marine technology, it is both incredibly durable, lightweight and transportable."  Appeal?  Done. 

Now, the website reveals some details on how The Orb is built (and Treehugger suggests that using GRP may not be that green), but I think one could use green materials to get it built.  Plus, you could toss up a few solar panels on a separate pole and provide renewable energy for it too.  Another positive aspect of The Orb is that it’s small by design, but chances are, this will not be a primary dwelling, so size is not an issue.  Regardless, I dig it and think it could be used in a variety of applications.  Plus, it’s kind of similar to Dasparkhotel (and we know that’s been successful).  More images below.  Via CubeMe

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