Container Perfection, Wood Materials, Solar Steam Efficiency, + Urban Infill Examples

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November Month in Review [Outline]

Happy holidays!  Below is our coverage from November.  From newly published posts in November, I noticed these were the most popular — Six Oaks Container House, Boulder Container House, and Energy-Efficient Windows. Here’s the outline:

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Strong Greener Concrete with CarbonCure

Concrete is everywhere in construction, so I like to note what’s happening to make concrete “greener.”  CarbonCure Technologies, Inc. licenses technology in North America to make, for example, carbon-absorbed concrete blocks and other precast products.  Basically, CO2 is injected during curing — making limestone — with the end result being a stronger, greener masonry and other precast products.

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Omni Block is an Insulated Concrete Block

I noticed in Dwell‘s Prefab edition that one prefab was partially built with an innovative concrete masonry unit (CMU) by Nevada-based Omni Block.  Omni Block is a structural CMU filled with Expanded Polystyrene inserts.  Walls with Omni Block can be finished or, in the case of the Simpatico project (see below), left exposed for a modern interior or exterior.  The manufacturer says the material is fire resistant, durable, and thermally efficient, and the blocks come in colors or with special aggregates.

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Terralite is a Light New Insulative Cement

Portland-based Terra Bona Materials launched Terralite Cement at Greenbuild this year hoping to deliver a product that meets the energy-efficiency demands of the greater building science community.  Terralite is a “lightweight” product made with cement and an aggregate that includes expanded polystyrene.  Marketing materials claim the product is 20% of the weight of traditional concrete and, according to company president Terry Cotton, insulative with an R-value of 1.8 per inch.

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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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