This green home was built in 2003, so it’s not anything new in particular, but I wanted to share some of the green concepts the homeowners worked through during process of building it. First, the owners, Brandy LeMae + Joseph Vigil, purchased an odd-shaped lot near a well-traveled road for $157k. It was rather cheap, with some lots in Boulder costing nearly $400k, so the design would have to solve the noise and space problem. Second, they wanted a green home on a budget. In the end, they were able to build the Hickory House for about $91 psf. There’s an excellent article from Dwell about their process, but I’m going to explain a little below.
The owners raved about structural insulated panels, or SIPs, which went up quickly, were cut to size, allowed for minimal waste, and helped to defray the costs of the project. They also used Forbo natural linoleum countertops, radiant heating in the concrete floors, and denim by-product cotton insulation. LeMae + Vigil tried to keep the design simple — the more complicated the design is, the less money there is to go towards green things (check out VaST’s 3 Design Strategies to Build Green + Save Money). Vigil also designed a foot-wide concrete-block wall stuffed with foam insulation for the west side of the house. By doing this, he was able to block out noise from the road and provide shading for the home. They finished up with some interior design straight from IKEA and were happy with the final product. Looks great from this angle. More images below.
Steve Case, the former CEO, Chairman, and co-founder of AOL, recently announced the launch of his new company, Revolution, which will build a sustainable resort, Cacique – Costa Rica, in […]
2020 Lawrence breaks ground early next year, but it’s already making headlines. With prices ranging from $290k-$800k, 20 of the 60 units have been pre-sold. But there’s a compelling financial scenario lurking […]
It looks like Best Buy is upping its green cred with the recent announcement that starting in early- to mid-2008, all future Best Buy stores will be built to LEED standards. In […]
The implications of this research are unbelievable. Seriously. I’ve written about the ten common problems associated with sprawl previously, but this story opens up the discussion again. Angkor Wat is the home of a magnificent temple in Cambodia and was the center to one of the largest cities in the pre-industrialized world. Recently, NASA used ground-sensing radar to study the extent of the city and found that it took up approximately 400 square miles. In comparison, Phoenix sprawls across about 500 square miles, not including the suburbs. The research revealed a complex network of canals, 1,000 man-made ponds, and roughly 70 long-lost temples. The canals carried and distributed water towards the temple and through the south of Angkor. Interestingly, the study also revealed evidence of breaches in dykes and areas where they attempted to fix the canals.
What’s most interesting is the idea that Angkor’s increasingly intricate and complex system of canals might have been too expensive and difficult to maintain. So, there was an elaborate infrastructure that might have run into disrepair … which possibly contributed to the downfall of Angkor? This is very interesting research. Apply that to our situation and query whether the issues we have with the levees in New Orleans or the bridge in Minnesota parallel the situation in Angkor. Do we have an infrastructure, fueled by sprawl and fractional planning, that is too expensive to maintain?
Although it’s not all that attractive looking from these images, it’s the greenest building in Billings, Montana, and one of a select few buildings certified "Platinum" under the LEED-NC (new construction) certification system. Using technology such as solar panels and composting toilets, it offices the Northern Plains Resource Council and consumes about 21% of the energy and 41% of the water of a similarly sized building. Financially, the building cost about $140 psf, which is about $35 psf cheaper than if the older building had been demolished and a new one put in its place.
In all honesty, there are only three other buildings in Montana that have green certifications from the USGBC. BUT, this building, known as Home on the Range, has created a gathering place for local architects, students, and the public. Now, there are 18 LEED projects in the registration phase in Montana. That’s incredible. We’re really getting some serious momentum behind this thing, that’s for sure.