Solar Electric Bonsai Tree for the Home

Here’s an update to an old article about a tree-shaped charger powered by solar energy. Vivien Muller’s Electree+ is on Kickstarter seeking to raise $200,000 to mass-produce these little home/office gadgets here in the USA. The new prototype will be made with an 14,000 mAh internal battery, 27 amorphous silicon solar cells (each about 3.7 inches), and an easy-to-assemble tree structure that can be customized. In case you’re interested, the early bird gets in at the ground level for ~$199.00.

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Windows with Energy Efficiency in Mind

This is another installment in our series called Energy-Efficient Windows 101 made possible by Marvin Windows and Doors. In our first article of the series, I discussed some window basics and how to read a home window label.  Now I want to discuss more product options available for your energy-efficient windows.  When you buy Marvin windows, you’ll have the opportunity to decide how many panes you need and which glazing and gas options can contribute towards your home performance goals and well as maximize your comfort.

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CalStar Publishes EPD for Fly Ash Brick

CalStar Products makes brick with a proprietary manufacturing process and a binder of fly ash.  By using fly ash, the company diverts waste from the landfill (37% recycled content) and eliminates energy-intensive firing — these bricks are cured overnight at temperatures below 200° F, according to CalStar.  To give the market comfort with their sustainability claims, CalStar obtained a lifecycle analysis (LCA) from Perkins + Will and published the results in an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD).

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The Year in Prefab [Dwell Magazine]

You’re probably interested in modern prefab if you’re reading this site.  So make sure to grab a copy of the December/January 2013 publication of Dwell.  Entitled “Prefab Comes Home,” the magazine includes about 60 pages of prefab coverage for the enthusiast. The cover features a “ready-made home” designed by Jens Risom in the late 1960s on Block Island, Rhode Island.  I enjoyed seeing the finished prototype by Simpatico Homes.

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FSC Wood Interwoven Eco Panels by ASI

These are Interwoven Eco-Panels by New York-based Architectural Systems, Inc.  The company has tons of green materials for retail, hospitality, and entertainment projects, etc, but these interlocking panels would work as a focal point in a multifamily- or single-family project, too.  They come in walnut, maple, and American oak with no VOCs and FSC-certified wood, upon request.  Interwoven panels may contribute toward LEED credits for low-emitting materials and certified wood, according to ASI.

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Paradigm Sustainable Prefab at Greenbuild

This is a prototype prefab — Paradigm — recently on display at Greenbuild 2012 in San Francisco, California. The modular home was designed by Bogue Trondowski Architects and built by Seattle-based Method Homes. The stunning little home of just under 700 square feet is eligible for 5 of 6 petals of Living Building Challenge and will also be certified LEED Platinum, according to Method Homes.

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