I guess the term would be adaptive reuse, but I think I’m going to start calling this "attractive reuse." Attractive reuse is about taking boring, old, traditional homes and renovating them into modern, green abodes. The Phinney House was intended to be a case study house — the existing house was extensively remodeled, the main floor was raised to give more height in the basement, the main floor plan was opened up, and a new second floor was added. It’s Built-Green certified, too. Some of the many ecologically sustainable elements in this project include the following: hydronic radiant-floor heat; whole-house heat-recovery ventilation; FSC-certified lumber, plywood and cabinetry; reclaimed fir beams and columns; sustainably harvested Ipe wood siding and decking; straw-board flooring; non-toxic paints and finishes; concrete with fly-ash content; and rain-screen siding. Nice.
What does the future have in store for us? In whose hands will design be? What economic trends will prevail? Bruce Sterling provides the answers to some of these questions. But some of the answers are hard to understand. He foresees monumental changes in the world of design: a transformation of conventional users, with their currently available user-alterable gizmos, into “wranglers” with blobjects, spimes, and arphids in their pockets and briefcases.
To visualize some of this future world, take a gander at Sterling’s web video: The Spime Arrives. Someday, there will be a world where products are designed, visualized, and ordered online. Consumers may be able to see products manufactured and shipped. And products will be made of renewable, recycled materials, hailing from the closest, most efficient location. Plus, when the product ceases to be useful, the manufacturer will take it back from us with a smile. Trash will diminish, the loop will close. This is a world where everything is downloadable. Metadata is valuable and enables solutions.
This home isn’t necessarily modern, but it has all the modern conveniences one could ask for: solar panels, small wind, radiant floor heating, air filtration system, and a trombe wall, etc. Kent and Kathy Lawrence’s custom country home, which was completed in 2005, ended up costing roughly $300 psf. The wind turbine alone came in at a cool $37,100 (producing 13,000 kwh/year), and that’s without tax subsidies. And unlike many custom homes that tend to explore new boundaries of profusion, this home is only 2,200 sf. Not bad. But the Lawrence’s weren’t just concerned with smart design and energy efficiency. Currently, they’re removing invasive plant species and planting native flowers, just trying to be gentle stewards of the land they inhabit. I think this is a rather picturesque setting for a home … much the American Dream.
At West Coast Green in San Francisco last week, U.S. EPA Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response Assistant Administrator Susan Bodine announced winners of the first inaugural Lifecycle Building Challenge competition. Winners were recognized for their cutting-edge green building ideas that aim to reduce environmental and energy impacts of buildings. Ideas from the design contest will jumpstart the building industry to help reuse more of the 100 million tons of building-related construction and demolition debris sent each year to landfills in the U.S. The winners are listed below:
- Sustainability by Design, Professional Unbuilt, People’s Choice Award
- Pavilion in the Park, Professional Built, Buildings
- GreenMobile, Professional Unbuilt, Buildings
- groHome, Student, Buildings
- Demountable Tape, Profesional Built, Components
- Deconstructable & Reusable Composite Slab, Professional Unbuilt, Components
- Guidelines for Building with Reusable Materials, Student, Components
- ATHENA Assembly Evaluation Tool, Professional Built, Services
- Deconstruction Engineer, Student, Services
Congratulations to all the winners, honorable mentions, and participants.
I hope readers enjoyed the West Coast Green and Jetson Green partnership … personally, I’m glad this website was able to participate in a small way. In the few weeks leading up to the event, I received a flood of emails for products to be showcased at WCG, and I wasn’t able to research each product and do an individual post. So, I’d like to share with you some of the leads I received. Feel free to check them out, if you have time.
- Perpetual Water, an Australian water conservation technology company, introduced their breakthrough high-efficiency water conservation technology, including The Garden Angel.
- Design Solutions introduced two new lines of green, earth-friendly cabinets.
- Celadon Energy Systems featured their highly efficient, environmentally-friendly, "green" lighting systems designed for affordable mixed-use, residential, and commercial applications.
- American Clay Enterprises returned to showcase their all natural, eco-friendly earth plaster. They had a joint exhibit with Green Planet Paints, a company we talked about here.
I can email you my press releases, if you’re looking for more information (just drop a comment). Did anyone have a favorite product or gain any particular insight?