CNET and Michael Kanellos went on the scene at XtremeHomes‘ factory to walk through the process of building a modern home. The video is just over 3 minutes long and talks about the efficiencies and environmental benefits of factory-built homes. Towards the end, there’s a small portion with Michelle Kaufmann demonstrating the NanaWall; she’s having the mkLotus built right now at XtremeHomes’ factory and the home will be unveiled at West Coast Green.
I like the idea of using things that we already have to create things that we need — which is probably why the concept of container housing is so intriguing. In Las Vegas, Arnie Stalk, in conjunction with METRO Development Group and SHARE, has created an actual prototype of the Instant Built House. IBH is a rapid deployment shelter made from standardized, recycled ISO modules — containers that can be transported via ocean cargo ships, railroad "piggy-back" trains, semi-trucks, helicopter airlift operations, and civilian and military jumbo air cargo transports. In other words, an IBH can be shipped practically anywhere in the world in a moment’s notice.
IBH Shelters are built with the following: fully insulated walls, photovoltaic solar array for power, wind-ventilated scoops and skylights, roof-mounted HVAC units, satellite cable and internet, and internal waste collector and water recycling systems. IBH models are secured on concrete caisson footings, foundations, and slabs. I’m surprised they used Longhorn colors to paint it, but we’ll let that slide.
First, it receives a 2006 red dot design award, and now, the Verdi Lawnscaping System has received a 2007 Gold IDEA Award. Verdi is a low-maintenance, modular landscaping system that hopes to become the alternative to traditional grass lawns. Verdi tiles are pre-seeded with built-in irrigation and they interlock for easy installation. Once completed, the entire system can be attached to a grey water pump, which uses certain recycled water from the home to irrigate the landscaping. The Verdi system also has other modular parts, such the solar-powered light tiles, shrub planters and path tiles, recycled glass composite inserts, and bamboo or molded recycled plastic inserts. The technology is compelling because it has the capability to transform the process of landscape design in the backyard, terrace, or even on the roof. And the built-in irrigation system reduces inefficient use of water, too. This is a cool product concept to keep an eye on.
Pretty much everyone is talking about green roofs these days, so I thought I would round up a few of the good articles. Just as a refresher, back in March, I wrote an article summarizing the costs and benefits of green roofing. The benefits are numerous in comparison to the costs, but a green roof may not be right for every application. I'll let you decide, but to get you thinking, here are some of the most thorough articles on green roofing that I've read and studied. There's also some eye candy with each, too.
- Green Roofs + 13 pages of pictures, Andrea Ford.
- Green Roofs: An Introduction with Pretty Pictures, Philip Proefrock
- Green Roofs: For Healthy Australian Cities
- Green Roofs: A Primer, Lloyd Alter
- Green Roofs, Jill Fehrenbacher
- Sod Roof Doghouse, Kitty Bartholomew
Also, read other articles about projects involving green roofs in our archives.
This is going to be a short post, but I stumbled upon this building integrated solar technology called "SUNSLATES." As you can see, they are low-profile roof tiles that fit on part of your roof. To get an idea of the size, a system of 216 Sunslates will take up about 300 sq ft on your roof. They’re installed in strings of 24, with each string having a home run cable that goes directly to the attic junction box. That cable then gets spliced into the cable that runs to the inverter (although I’m not an electrician and can’t be 100% certain). What’s the cost? Roughly $13,000 per 100 sf of Sunslates, or $13.00 per watt, before any state or federal rebates. Might be a little expensive, but I’m wondering if this kind of technology takes the "m" out of NIMBY. Recall the recent news regarding Al Gore not being able to install solar panels on his roof? Well, if the panels are integrated into the roof, does this shut the NIMBY up? Via.
What do you get with prefab? (1) modular economies of scale and supposedly less construction waste, (2) labor efficient construction process, (3) ease of variability or parts interchangeability, and (4) the possibility of green, energy efficient homes, if you make that happen. Jot Homes is backed by Yeh + Jarrard, who built the prototype JoT House in Joshua Tree (get it? JOshua Tree?) for a jaw-dropping $48 psf way back in 2004. It seems that one of the ways they kept the costs down was by using a "central utility core" for the bathroom, kitchen, and laundry supplies. Simple plumbing is cheaper, right?! In addition, they use SIPs and sustainable harvested birch plywood (as opposed to fir plywood that comes from old growth), Forbo Marmoleum and cork tiles for the flooring, double-glazed low-E glass for the windows, and LED lighting technology. Kitchen and cabinetry fixtures were all sourced from IKEA, too.
Currently, JoT House is planning some new stuff for release in early 2008 or so. They will have the JoT Original, JoT ‘L’, and the JoT Two-story ‘Urban JoT’, with standard model prices at $210k, $260k, and $300k, respectively. That works out to roughly $180 psf. If you’re going after the mini-JoT, that starts at about $45k+. And multiple mini-JoTs can be put together, too. Let’s keep an eye out for new developments in 2008, and check the detail in some of the images below.