Today, actually within the last couple hours, Brad Pitt announced more specific plans and designs for his Make It Right NOLA project. Last night, I was looking at their website, but it didn’t have any new announcements. Today, their site is redesigned with all sorts of information. More information to come later tonight, but make sure to sponsor a home and check out the Pink Project. Also, check out this N.Y.Times story on the announcement.
UPDATE 3/16/09 – Urban Core International has gone dark. The website was shut down. If you have any concerns, feel free to contact us.
Aaron Newman, founder and managing partner of Urban Core International, sent me the details of his latest project, Urban Rio. Specifically, Urban Rio is a product of Urban Core's prefab and container division called Envision Prefab. It's easy on the eyes, to say the least, and just so happens to be the first sustainable, affordable, container project in Panama.
There’s an interesting article in the November issue of Inc. Magazine about Full Spectrum NY and their low-income, green development, The Kalahari. Located at 116th Street in Harlem, Kalahari has an interesting design — it’s actually inspired by designs of the Ndebele tribes of southern Africa. The building is currently under construction and is aiming for LEED Silver certification; some of the green technology used in this building include wind and solar power, low-flow water fixtures, energy-efficient appliances, vegetated green roofing, and bamboo floors. About half of the 249 units are set aside for families earning in the $56,000 per year range. The article goes on to explain how successful Full Spectrum NY has been developing in the low-income, green housing niche. Very cool.
- The market for true green homes is expected to rise from $2B to $20B over next five years.
- Energy-efficiency audits can find savings in places where consumers might never think to look.
- USGBC certifies the world’s first carbon neutral building.
- Clinton Climate Initiative and Wal-Mart team up to provide low-cost green building technology.
- Regency Centers launches formal green building program for retail developments.
The Working Artists Ventura (WAV) Project by PLACE is a $57 million, state-of-the-art community designed by Adele Santos, Dean of Architecture at M.I.T. In total, the project will include 69 affordable artist spaces with monthly rent from $388-963; 13 market-rate, for sale lofts from $686,000-1,050,000; and 6,000 sf of arts-friendly businesses. The 130,000 sf, 4-floor building will be LEED certified and two blocks from local transit. The community will also have the area’s first car sharing program. Also check the video below.
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.