California-based ZETA Communities recently announced a new project worth noting. It’s an affordable, net-zero energy community with 22 starter homes in Stockton, California called Tierra del Sol. ZETA says the homes are being built in Sacramento in an off-site fabrication process that results in higher quality, faster construction, lower first costs, and lower operating costs.
Several years ago, the City of Santa Monica bought Mountain View Mobile Home Park in order to preserve it for affordable housing. The city upgraded the infrastructure and recently sent out an RFP to replace 20 travel trailers and mobile homes with more energy-efficient, safe, contemporary, manufactured homes. Santa Monica eventually awarded the contract to Golden West Homes in partnership with Marmol Radziner Prefab.
Austin-based documentary filmmaker and instructional designer Jim Bruno was kind enough to tell me about his new short film entitled “Louis Burns & Austin Tiny House.” The subject is Louis Burns and his reflections building a tiny house. Burns built the minimalist, Spartan space in a plug-and-play style — all it needs is a heavy-duty extension cord and garden hose.
Perhaps the most noticeable aspect of Sierra Bonita, an affordable housing development in West Hollywood, is the facade-integrated solar array that powers most of the peak load electricity demand for the common areas. The building also has a solar-powered hot water heating system, but beneath the clearly visible green technology is a modern building with apartments fully adaptable for its disabled residents.
The USGBC recently held a competition for the design of an affordable, single-family house with between 720 and 880 square feet that meets the requirements of LEED Platinum certification. Local chapters chose 49 designs and a national jury picked two professional finalists and two student finalists. These four designs will be built in the Broadmoor neighborhood of New Orleans by enviRenew.
Perhaps you read a recent article in the NY Times on portable shelters. In the article, Jim Robbins discusses the relief housing efforts of a few organizations and companies that I've noticed over the years. These houses, often prefabricated and flat-packed, typically assemble in a short amount of time with simple, available tools. Check out these three home designs below and, if you're aware of any similar endeavors, feel free to share a link below.