This is the Sustain Minihome, a green, urban RV for the modern-day recreationists. When you see this, you won’t believe how much functionality and comfort can go into a mere 325 sf. To get the real feel of it, go check out the HGTV video of Andy Thomson’s miniHome (the designer). Nice. I’m pretty sure this is going on the Christmas wish list.
I read an excellent article about San Francisco’s Clipper House by LORAX Development in Solar Today magazine and wanted to share some info about it. The Clipper House has become a showcase for residential sustainable features, basically showing off everything but the financial case for green building. The 2,600 sf home was designed by John Maniscalco/Architecture, Inc., and was completed in the summer of 2006. For a cool $1.9 M, you could probably purchase this incredible home–often referred to as the Greenest Home in San Francisco.
If you do, here’s what you’re going to get: 1.7 kw DC photovoltaic array with BP Solar panels installed by SolarCity (total cost $16,700, net AR $11,543); 64 sf of solar thermal glazed collectors by Heliodyne ($6,750); warmboard radiant heating system using PEX tubing ($50,000); rainwater-catchment system by Wonderwater Inc. ($25,000); hemp carpets colored with vegetable dyes; low-VOC paints and caulks throughout; energy-efficient windows and doors; hardwood floors made from 100-yr-old TerraMai railroad ties from Southeast Asia; FSC-certified kitchen cabinets; Richlite kitchen counters made from recycled paper products; recycled blue jean insulation by Bonded Logic; 50-year warranty James Hardie fiber-cement siding made partially with fly ash; and recycled plastic and wood Trex composite decking. The Clipper House certainly prioritizes energy-efficiency, properly sourced sustainable materials, and indoor air quality. Real nice.
This is unusual, but incredible, in a weird way. The Science Barge is a sustainable urban farm powered by solar, wind, and biofuels, and irrigated by rainwater and purified river water. It’s a mobile illustration of growing food in the city with no pollution or carbon emissions. Check the solar panels and small wind turbines. I’m thinking this is another illustration of the savvy behind solar and wind power for residential use. Via Archidose.
So I received from HarperCollins a copy of Ron Pernick + Clint Wilder’s latest book called The Clean Tech Revolution. I’m a big enthusiast of renewable technology because it has the potential to change the world of real estate and green living. Preliminarily, let me say that this book is an incredible read. Seriously. It’s smart and approachable. To get an idea of the breadth of the book, here are the chapter subjects: solar energy, wind power, biofuels and biomaterials, green buildings, personal transportation, smart grid, mobile technologies, water filtration, creating your own Silicon Valley, and clean-tech marketing. And the book is geared towards individuals, investors, corporations, and governments alike.
The authors are Clean Edge guys and they know what they’re talking about. The research put into each topic is unbelievably thorough. The Clean Tech Revolution is not some chump book by someone that just recently jumped on the green bandwagon (not that there’s anything wrong with that). The authors talk about the tipping point of green brought about by six C’s–cost, capital, competition, China, consumers, and climate. These six things have come together to make clean tech something of a revolution that will occur over the next 20, 30, 40 years plus. It’s pretty exciting. In each of the chapter categories mentioned above, the authors identify several companies to watch. For instance, the authors say we should keep an eye on the following companies in the ‘green building’ chapter: Aspen Aerogels, Clarum Homes, Cree, The Durst Organization, Interface Engineering, Ortech, PanaHome, Rinnai, Turner Construction, Wal-Mart Stores.
Update:: BusinessWeek published an extensive review over the weekend saying, in part: "But what sets Pernick and Wilder’s book apart is its focus on the business benefits of going green, from money saved by building eco-friendly corporate headquarters and lowering heating and cooling bills, to money earned by startups committed to creating clean technologies. Other books, magazines, and Web sites tend to include clean-tech and green business within a spectrum of other lifestyle, political, environmental, or design topics."
I’m not going to give away too much, but I’m really impressed with this book. Actually, I’ve got two people in mind that I want to pass a copy to, and they’re not getting mine.
The husband and wife team of Liz Miranda and Tim Rempel started Greenpads LLC in 2005, and 5th STREETpads is their first project. Matter of fact, this six-unit multifamily development received a slew of awards, including the 2006 Build It Green Award + 2006 Design Advocates Design Award for Multi-family Development. 5th STREETpads has six, 2-3 floor townhomes that vary in size from 1360-1640 sf. The development is a great example of comfortable, lower-impact living as a result of building up, not out. Here are some of the green features: Borrego solar system that provides up to 85% of each unit’s electricity; hydronic radiant floor heating with floor-to-floor thermostat control; blown-in wet cellulose and bonded logic thermal insulation; SIP panel roof system; low-VOC painting in all the units; FSC-certified Brazilian cherry flooring; large double-glazed, low-E windows and sliding doors for optimal natural lighting; skylights in all the units; green Italian laminate cabinetry; filtered water and Energy Star appliances throughout; and Toto low-flow toilets. These are incredible homes. And although some materials seem to have a heavy carbon impact due to shipping and transporting, we’re talking about a solid step in the right direction for the greening of multifamily real estate development.