SG Blocks Rolling Out Safe, Green Building System

Fort Bragg Container Home

Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of discussing the phenomenon of container housing with David Cross, Chief Business Development Officer for SG Blocks LLC.  SG Blocks, short for Safe and Green, is a sustainable building system made from containers.  Going beyond the trendy fascination with exposed container architecture design–modern, industrial, and extremely good looking, in my opinion, SG Blocks intends to use containers as a fundamental component to building construction.  A container home doesn’t necessarily have to look like a container home (that’s up to you), but it can have all the same advantages: comfortable, strong, green, and affordable.   

The home you see above is an example of container modules being used on a traditional home as a framing system.  From the outside or inside, you’re not going to know that it was built with container modules.  The cost of framing a home built with SG Blocks is about $22-30 psf, which is roughly comparable to other forms of construction.  BUT did you know that recycling containers into steel beams takes nearly 8,000 kW of energy at a cost of roughly $800?  Rather, it takes about 400 kW of energy to turn containers into a home.  At about 5% of the energy when compared to straight recycling, that’s not bad.  And right now, SG Blocks is in the process of rolling out their building system nationally.

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By |September 11th, 2007|Affordable, Container Design, Gadgets, Materials, Prefab|0 Comments

PieceHomes Set to Premiere at Dwell on Design

Container House by PieceHomes

PieceHomes is a new modern prefab offering by Davis Studio Architecture + Design, set to debut in about a week at Dwell on Design.  Notice the interesting tagline — "pH: for a balanced home."  Nice.  PieceHomes plans to distinguish itself among the pack by providing custom and standardized, modern, modular architecture that is green and affordable.  With a variety of home designs taking shape, pieceHomes will be available this fall and manufactured by XtremeHomes.  Take a gander at the website and some of the home designs.  I’m particularly intrigued by the Container House, 3×4, and Solar Passage (all pictured in this post).  Like many prefabs, pieceHomes also will be designed to incorporate solar panels, green roofs, and other environmental features that fit home site conditions.  It’ll be nice to see some of these renderings in real life. 

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By |September 7th, 2007|Container Design, Materials, Modern architecture, News, Prefab, Solar|0 Comments

WIRED LivingHome Construction WebCam, 2 Days

Wired LivingHome 1

It looks like construction on the WIRED Livinghome began this morning and there’s a webcam documenting the process.  There’s an archive of stills at frequent intervals, so you can click over and view the entire process from the beginning (or every thing that’s been completed so far).  All the main parts are supposed to be complete by September 7, and we’ll be able to get a pretty good picture of what the final home will look like.  Also, if you’re interested in green prefab, the official WIRED LivingHome website, which fully launches on September 25, has some videos on deconstruction and factory-built homes. 

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By |September 5th, 2007|Gadgets, Materials, Modern architecture, News, Prefab|0 Comments

New Haworth Center HQ Setting Green Example

Haworth Center

I really like Haworth.  In short, Haworth is a leader in office furniture and architectural interiors.  They do everything with a commitment to appealing aesthetics, thoughtful ergonomics, and sustainability.  I came in contact with some Haworth employees when I was finishing my JD/MBA program in Dallas, and they gave me a personal tour of the super-stylish Dallas showroom (a commercial interiors office display built to LEED-CI Gold standards).  Now, Haworth is working on a major, award-winning overhaul of their Holland, Michigan Headquarters.  The 300,000 sf renovation was designed to meet LEED-NC Gold standards; some of the building’s green features include the following:

  • The new facade will have a sun-filled atrium and vegetated green roof, blending the boundary between the structure and natural environment;
  • All of the interior 830 workstations will have access to daylight views;
  • Over 99% of the existing materials collected during deconstruction and recovery are being recycled; and
  • Although the footprint of the building will increase by 20%, energy use will remain at pre-renovation levels due to sustainability improvements. 

Of the green headquarters, Haworth Chairman Dick Haworth said, "The new Haworth Center will be a leading example of change. We’re not just building a better building … we’re building a better future."

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Jay Leno Delves Deeper into Small Wind

Jay Leno's Green Garage

You may have heard of Jay Leno’s Green Garage, but have you heard about him installing the Delta II wind turbine on the building to generate electricity?  Delta II is an American-made, vertical axis turbine designed by PacWind.  It’s a 9 foot, 500 lb. beast with the ability to produce 10 kw of power at 28 mph winds.  One of the benefits of this design is that it can start producing electricity at lower wind speeds … to get a more specific idea, feel free to watch this installation video at Popular Mechanics.

Jay’s Green Garage was recently on the newest episode of Living with Ed, and according to the show, Jay plans to expand his arsenal of Delta II wind turbines.  We’ll keep an eye on the news to see how many he adds to the building.  What does this mean?  It sounds like he’s happy with the turbine’s performance, which is a good thing because the small wind industry is still trying to gain momentum and traction.  Delta II MSRPs for a cool $19,995. 

By |September 4th, 2007|Energy Efficiency, Gadgets, Materials, News, Wind|0 Comments

Modular Bamboo Home by Gau Designs & Concepts

Gau Designs & Concepts

This is a modern, concept home design by Gau Designs & Concepts, a multi disciplinary design consultancy based in Montreal, Canada.  The idea of a green prefab home made of bamboo is quite compelling–that is, assuming the bamboo can be sourced locally.  Depending on the species, bamboo is quick to grow.  It’s also light and durable and has become popular to use in a variety of applications.  The house design allows for a slightly slanted roof, which is not too slanted to preclude a green roof, but that is oriented at the right angle to generate power with a photovoltaic array. 

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By |September 3rd, 2007|Gadgets, Materials, Modern architecture, Prefab, Solar|0 Comments