Royal Homes Modern Prefab: from Concept to Reality

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This excellent story was originally published by Treehugger’s Lloyd Alter on July 21, 2007.  Inconspicuously placed into the blog stream of information on a Saturday, it’s particularly special in that it offers a glimpse of taking prefab from nothing to something.  I hope you enjoy the following information, links, and images as much as I did.

Until recently my day job was working with Royal Homes to promote modern prefab. We commissioned Kohn Shnier Architects to design the small and efficient Q series, which was seen by a Toronto patron of the Arts, who asked for a larger version as a second home for two families in Muskoka, Ontario. I visited the site this week for the first time since the construction and installation, which can be seen here. Another disclosure: I am a terrible photographer and these pictures do not do it justice.

The building is essentially a sixteen foot deep wall; that the maximum width that can go down the road, and Martin Kohn took advantage of this to create the thin, long structure.

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New Books in the JG Sustainability Bookstore

Greenbooks The publishing world is going crazy with good eco-friendly content.  I’ve added some new titles to the Jetson Green Sustainability Bookstore, in case you’re interested in keeping up with the latest trends and research on topics relevant to Jetson Green. 

I’m particularly interested in sitting down to The World Without Us near the end of the week.

Are Skyscraper Farms Part of the Solution? (S2)

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With a skyscraper farm, the idea is that one can control the environment and manner of producing crops.  Unless the building is wiped out by tornado or earthquake, vertical farms have the potential to reduce weather-related crop failures.  And with modern engineering, one could set up an elaborate system of rainwater reclamation and filtering to avoid water runoff pollution.  Plus, skyscrapers go everywhere.  You could have towers in Tokyo, London, Shanghai, Dallas, or where ever, growing organic goods.  Locally-produced organic goods sans the transportation premium and carbon emissions–now that has the potential to be disruptive!  Vertical farms use artificial light and with the right combination of renewable energy power a building, I could see this being a legitimate endeavor.  Experts suggest we’re about 15 years away from realizing something like this, but hey, it’s not one of the worst ideas I’ve ever heard. 

The above image is the Living Tower by Pierre Sartoux.  The first level below the jump is Gordon Graff’s SKYfarm.  The second level is the Vertical Farm by Chris Jacobs.  Link for background story; link for images.

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Crappy GHG Homes, Water-efficient Golf, Green Retail Centers + Wells Fargo's $1B in Green Lending (WIR)

Week in Review
  1. 88% of new homes are crappy, greenhouse gas spewing energy hogs – meaning they don’t meet the comparatively weak Energy Star standards. 
  2. Las Vegas golf courses are using better water-efficient landscaping to save over 1 billion gallons of water per year. 
  3. Regency Centers is teaming up with the USGBC to implement a pilot program aimed at developing green shopping centers across the country (this is badly needed). 
  4. Wells Fargo passes the $1 Billion mark in financing for LEED certified buildings with loans ranging from $10 to $225 million per project. 

$400 M Green Project "Blvd6200" Approved for Hollywood

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Looks like LA City Council has unanimously approved a $400-million mixed-use green development totaling 1.1 million sf called Blvd6200.  Blvd6200 will feature more than 1,000 apartments, 40,000 sf of live-work office space, and 175,000 sf of retail and restaurant uses on a seven-acre site.  Designed by Santa Monica-based Van Tilburg, Banvard & Soderbergh, the new LEED project will occupy a site that spans both sides of Hollywood Boulevard at Argyle Avenue east of Vine Street.  The project is going to be developed by the Clarett Group, a top New York development company, and other than having 10 flex cars available for residents, specifics on green certification aren’t available yet.  I’ll keep tabs on the project.  More images below the fold.  Via Globe St.

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Michael Jantzen's Solar Wind Pavilion Design Proposal

Solar Wind Pavilion

Our built environment should integrate clean tech and renewable energy generation of all forms and this is an example of that concept.  Michael Jantzen proposed a design for California State University at Fullerton that would turn the everyday gathering pavilion into a discussion on sustainability.  The pavilion could serve as the gathering place for up to 300 people.  From the images, notice the wind turbine and the solar panels on the roof.  Towering into the air at 150 feet tall, any energy harvested from the turbine and solar panels could be used by the university.  Inside, there’s a cylindrical digital projection display screen, roof-mounted fogging nozzles to cool the interior, and benches that can be stored inside the floor when not in use.  I think it’s an excellent idea, especially because students always want a place to gather and hang.  Why not here?  Via WAN + HumanShelter.org

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