Jason Hammond Home + From the Ground Up

Jason Hammond Home

I was blown away when I found out about this online blog at the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  It’s called From the Ground Up and the journal is tracking Jason Hammond’s quest to build a unique, modern home in the Twin Cities.  The blog also includes information from the project’s architect, Michael Huber, and the project’s builder, Corey Benedict.  From the Ground Up has become a huge success, with people of all backgrounds and interests chiming in to figure out what it takes to live in something modern + green.  What I really like about the blog, however, is the pragmatic approach to building green.  For many of us, myself included, it’s expensive to get into a well-designed, green home.  So the process from beginning to end must be comprehensive and calculated, especially if you don’t want to waste money.  From the Ground Up will "consider the balance between [Hammond's] family’s needs, the project costs, and the environmental considerations that go along with new home building."  I already like what I see and can’t wait to continue reading about their home as it approaches completion.  Via rolu | dsgn

Mashup: MKD + SketchUp + Google Earth

MKD SketchUp

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to put a Michelle Kaufmann Designs home on your piece of land?  Now you can do it, and you’re going to love this.  Here’s what you do:

  1. Step 1:  Go to the Google 3D Warehouse and type in "MKD."  You should see designs for the mkSolaire, Sunset Breezehouse, and Glidehouse.  Nice.  These files are for use with SketchUp.  Download the design you want for your home. 
  2. Step 2:  Download a free copy of Google SketchUp and use SketchUp to open the file you downloaded in Step 1.  Using SketchUp, modify the landscape of your home.  (I must admit, I’m still learning how to use this program and do this step). 
  3. Step 3:  Download a free copy of Google Earth.  Find the location of your site.  Plop your SketchUp model on the site that you’ve located.

That’s the process.  It’s a pretty cool mashup allowing you to envision the land of your dreams with the home of your dreams.  If anyone does anything cool, drop a line below. 

Video: Hive Modular in Germantown, Nashville

[Run time: 1:09 min.]I found this blog dinking around with my Blackberry’s feedreader software.  David Hunter has a blog called "Nashville Modern Prefab," and he’s documenting his experience trying to build a modern Hive Modular home near downtown Nashville.  For anyone that’s interested in some of the hurdles of getting approvals, etc., for a non-traditional home, this is a great blog to scan over.  Check the video above, which is a 3D rendering of Hunter’s future home.  Hope the approvals finally come through!  For those of you that like Hive Modular’s work, you may enjoy some of the videos and links below. 

Good Links:
+Hive Modular [website]
+Hive Modular on HGTV [Youtube]
+Hive Modular + Rosenlof/Lucas Video [Youtube]

S2: Zero Emissions, Zero Energy Office Tower – Burj al-Taqa

Burj al-Taqa Energy Tower I’m a little late getting to this because I’ve reserved it for the Skyscraper Sunday column, but news of this building pretty much swamped the blogosphere a couple weeks ago.  This is the Burj al-Taqa, or Energy Tower, a project conceived by a handful of architects and Eckhard Gerber.  If Gerber’s computer models prove correct, this tower will be completely energy independent, producing all its own energy via sunlight, wind, and water.  Also, coming in with a price tag of $406 million for the giant 68-story eco-tower, the Burj al-Taqa will occupy #22 on the list of world’s tallest buildings. 

This office tower is not short on innovation, so here are a few of the concepts Gerber has planned:  the cylindrical shape is designed to expose as little surface area to the sun as possible, thereby reducing heat gain; a solar shield reaches from ground to the roof, protecting the building from the sun’s glaring rays; the tower’s facade is built from a new generation of vacuum glazing, to be mass-marketed in 2008, that will transmit two-thirds less heat than current generation products; negative pressure created by winds breaking along the tower will suck spent air from rooms out of the building through air slits in the facade; sea water will be used to pre-cool air; to generate electricity, the tower will have a 197-foot wind turbine and two photovoltaic arrays totally 15,000 square meters; and additional electricity will be generated by an island of solar panels (literally floating in the sea within viewing distance of the building) totally 17,000 square meters.  Any excess electricity will be used to generate hydrogen (from the seawater via electrolysis), which be stored in special tanks.  Night power will then be supplied by fuel cell technology.  Also, Gerber plans to use mirrors to create a cone of light that will send natural light through the center of the building.  Pretty impressive concepts all around.  Via.

Good Links:
+New Tower Creates All Its Own Energy [Spiegel]
+Skyscraper Creates All Its Own Energy [Metaefficient]
+Dubai Burj al-Taqa Skyscraper to Generate All Its Own Energy [Engadget]
+The Burj al-Taqa ['Energy Tower'] [architecture.mnp]

::"S2" is short for "Skyscraper Sunday," a weekly article on green skyscrapers posted every Sunday::

NYC's Green Taxi, Green Marketing, + Building Green TV (WIR)

Week in Review
  1. NYC Mayor Bloomberg announced plans for an All-Hybrid Taxi Fleet
  2. Marketers don’t yet understand how to push green ideas.
  3. Building Green TV show set to air on PBS starting June 5, 2007. 

The Daily Green's Weird Weather Watch Feature

Phoenix Smog
Worth Preserving

Do you ever just get outside and look in the sky?  Last night, it was about 10:15 pm here and I could still see light peeking through the clouds on the horizon.  I can dig that, light until 9:30 pm.  Moving across the country, I’ve had the opportunity to watch the clouds and weather from early morning until late night.  It’s fun.  I think this is why I like The Daily Green‘s feature called the Weird Weather Watch: the photo blog of climate change.  It’s important to recall the concept that weather is not climate, but weather over a period of time is climate.  To my knowledge, there’s nothing on the world wide web like this feature that gets so many diverse, quality, and unique images specifically on odd weather.  It’s pretty cool.

Here’s what it’s all about: "Calling all backyard environmentalists, cell phone climatologists, citizen photojournalists, weekend bird fanatics and others in The Daily Green community! The warmed climate is throwing us surprise after surprise, and Weird Weather Watch is your destination for the photos that capture the moment and your conscience. While it may be impossible to scientifically link any one weather event to global climate change, Weird Weather Watch will collect photos of everyday weather-related changes that concern our community. Help us create THE photo blog of the new environmental movement."

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