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Sycamore House, LEED Platinum in Pacific Palisades

Sycamore House

Yesterday, Kovac Architects announced the groundbreaking of Sycamore House, a modern ridge top residence in the Pacific Palisades designed to achieve a Platinum level rating under the USGBC’s LEED for Homes Program.  The 3,400 sf home will serve as both a laboratory of learning in sustainable design and the home of Michael Kovac, principal with Kovac Architects.  With construction already in progress (you can view a webcam on their website), the home should be complete in the latter part of 2008. 

By all means, take some time to wander through the Sycamore House online web site, it’s quite informational.  This home will feature a 23-foot tall thermal wall to regulate air temperature and guide warm air to clerestory windows; a building integrated photovoltaic system and green roof to insulate the home and reduce the heat island effect; and a geothermal system for supplemental cooling.  On the inside, all the materials will be sustainably harvested, rapidly renewable, or previously recycled.  Plus, there will be the usual water-efficient fixtures, energy-saving LED lights and appliances, and low-VOC paints and varnishes.  Although still only in rendering stage, it will be exciting to see the Sycamore House become a reality.  Personally, I like the ability to congregate on the living roof and show off the solar panels.  That’s a nice touch. 

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Push Button Industrial Container House

Push Button House

Those of you that follow the container architecture scene know the name of Adam Kalkin.  Here, he's the designer of the Push Button House, which was exported by a company called Illy for display in Europe.  At the push of a button, the container opens like a flower, transforming a simple, rectangular box into a fully furnished, functional space.  Using hydraulic cylinders controlled by a computer inside the kitchen, the house container literally expands into a six-room apartment with a kitchen, dining room, bathroom, bedroom, living room and library in a mere 60 seconds.  The entire house was created from recycled materials, showcasing the best of Kalkin's industrial creativity.  More images below. 

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Varia by 3form, a Diverse and Unique Product

Woven

Varia is produced by 3form, a great company to look into for many of your green interior design needs.  They produce a wide range of materials and for each of those materials, such as Varia, the application potential is practically endless.  If you can dream it, you can probably make it happen with one of their products.  Varia, or Ecoresin as it’s also called, is made of 40% post-industrial re-grind content and is GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certified, making it a good option for LEED credits.  This is the most diverse product in terms of color, pattern, texture, and application options that I have found on the green market. 

There are, by the way, over 210 color, pattern, and texture options.  On top of that, there are additional finish options such as patent or patina.   Patterns include jacquard prints and hand-dyed capiz shells and glass suspended between layers of Ecoresin.  My favorite is the Organics collection with options that include bamboo patterns, leaves, grass and even rocks, some of which actually contain those materials with the layers.  Varia also comes in a variety of thicknesses which allows it to be even more versatile.  Possible uses for this material include backsplashes, countertops, wall coverings, flooring, cabinet doors, ceiling panels, door panels, and canopies.

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MOMO by Thomas Lind, Living Modular Getaway

MOMO Swedish Prefab

This is MOMO, a prefab concept designed by Thomas Lind.  The word MOMO comes from the truncation of Modernistiskt Modulhuskoncept, which is Swedish for modern modular house concept.  MOMO homes are put together using 107 sf modules that aren’t particularly made with any special green elements other than to be built with high quality, healthy materials.  That said, the concept also calls for a living roof with a blend of native water-storing succulents and grasses.  The large, wind-sail looking outdoor roof blurs the boundary between interior and exterior with shade and a congregational patio — and if you’re in the right climate, it’d be quite nice to chill in and out of the home.  Modules price in at roughly $25,000 each, and the first MOMO summer houses will be built in Sweden in mid-2008.  So, the final product won’t necessarily be huge, but it’s certain to be sufficient. 

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Sidwell Friends School, Anatomy of a Green School

Sidwell Friends School

The Sidwell Friends School is the first LEED Platinum-rated K-12 school in the world, but what’s incredible is the story behind it.  First, it’s a renovation of a fifty year old facility.  Second, the renovation involved the students, so everyone was able to participate and learn about the benefits of a green building.  Matter of fact, about sixteen 5th – 8th graders studied the building, wrote about its benefits, and recorded an audio feature explaining each green feature.  Feel free to take the green building tour to learn about low-VOC materials, CO2 monitoring, natural light, native plants, the green roof and biology pond, photovoltaic panels, a heat recovery wheel, vertical solar fins, and the settling tank, etc.  This is quite the impressive interactive visual/audio tour.  Seriously, great work. 

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IceStone, Gorgeous Green Countertops

Icestone_denim_sky_closeup

This articles was written by one of Jetson Green’s newest writers, Sarah Roe, an artist, art educator, and passionate environmentalist.  As you can tell from the article below, she has considerable knowledge and experience with green materials.  Welcome!

Here is one of the best looking, green countertop products on the market.  And it is beautiful!!  IceStone is made of 70-75% recycled material (glass mostly); of that, the post-consumer percentage is quite low (1-20%) but it is still a great product for LEED certification applications.  IceStone is available in a wide variety of colors, some very bright and some neutral.  My favorites are the Alpine White and White Pearl for neutrals and the Pistachio Pearl (green) for a bright accent.  This product is just as beautiful in person as you would hope for it to be.  It feels similar to Corian, even more stone-like, but it looks much more beautiful because of the array of glass moving through it.  Some colors, usually on the more expensive side, even have white iridescent pieces of shell throughout, which is a gorgeous touch. 

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