Pacific Garden Mission Combines Benefits of Green Roofing, Solar Thermal

Hedrich Blessing 11.2007 001

The Pacific Garden Mission has been a steadfast anchor in the Chicago community since 1877.  The Mission has served as a safe-haven for homeless men and women, offering nourishment for both body and soul.  Today, the Mission continues it's work in a newly constructed 156,000 square foot facility.  It was designed by Tigerman McCurry Architects to obtain LEED Silver certification and includes 100 solar-thermal panels, green roof with native vegetation, low flow water fixtures, locally sourced materials, and recycled construction waste.  The solar panels were donated by the City of Chicago's Renewable Energy Program, which all together, over $245,000 in clean energy grants were donated by the City of Chicago.

(more…)

By |January 19th, 2009|Affordable, LEED, Nature|2 Comments

Turn-Key Solar Village Home Designs

Altos2

More and more, we're seeing designs that focus on energy efficiency and near zero energy operations.  One company that has such designs is Solar Village, and they're offering Turn-Key Solar Village Homes — something that I find to be very interesting.  The homes feature passive solar design, foil faced rigid foam and Icynene insulation, fiberglass windows with low-E glass, healthy indoor air, a solar hot water system, a 2.5 kW solar pv system with online monitoring, and super efficient HVAC system.  As a result, the homes are close to zero energy, if not net-zero energy, and they can be built in less than three months! 

(more…)

By |January 12th, 2009|Affordable, Single Family|14 Comments

Shipping Container Homes Below $10k

PFNC Homes PFNC Homes

Here’s the story: A handful of entrepreneurs nurtured a graduate school business plan into an actual company called PFNC Global Communities.  The acronym stands for “por fin, nuestra casa,” which is translated as “finally, a home of our own.”  PFNC’s purpose is to convert shipping containers into affordable housing for those who most desperately need it around the globe.

(more…)

By |September 25th, 2008|Affordable, Container Design|21 Comments

Yale Grad Student’s Off-Grid Tiny House

Yale Tiny House

Elizabeth Turnbull was planning for Yale grad school and started estimating her future living expenses.  As an incoming Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies student, Elizabeth calculated that she would spend ~$14,000 over two years of school and wanted to do something effective with that money.  So she channeled a little inspiration from Tumbleweed Tiny House and decided to build her own tiny home as economically as possible.

So far, she’s made incredible progress building the 8′ x 18′ modish home on a flatbed trailer.  By the time she’s done, the off-grid home will price out just over $11,000 or so.  And it’s surprisingly spacious inside, too.

(more…)

By |August 14th, 2008|Affordable, Single Family|62 Comments

GreenMobile®, the Anticipated Update!

Greenmobile2

Back in January of this year, I posted an article about the stylish, affordable GreenMobile® design by Mississippi State University Professor Michael Berk.  Since that time, I’ve received countless emails and a few comments (aside: why do readers email rather than comment?) asking when the GreenMobile® would be available for purchase.  So I’ve come to realize that people, including myself, really want to buy a GreenMobile.  I mean, it’s kind of cool.  The demand for affordable, modern living is really quite incredible (see: 100k House, e-House, Make It Right, etc).  But the long and short is, I emailed Professor Berk and he was nice enough to extensively respond via the below email, which I’ve edited slightly for formatting. 

(more…)

By |August 8th, 2008|Affordable, Modern architecture, News, Prefab, Single Family|1 Comment

Wentworth Commons Sets Standard for Green, Low Income Housing

Wentworth

Wentworth Commons is a 51-unit, 65,800 sf affordable housing complex in Chicago’s Roseland neighborhood.  As a home for at-risk and formerly homeless families and individuals, Wentworth Commons has been recognized for its trendy aesthetics and functional green design.  The $13 million project has a slew of green features, including a 33 kWh PV system that provides 25% of the building’s power, a hyper efficient mechanical system, extensive use of locally sourced materials and rapidly renewable materials, and native plantings and bio-swale to reduce storm water runoff. 

(more…)

By |June 4th, 2008|Affordable, LEED, Modern architecture|1 Comment