The Rural Studio members, founded in 1993 by Sam Mockbee, have been perfecting the design of the so-called 20K House for the last twenty years. The project was started by Mockbee who created a program where Auburn University’s architecture students could use reclaimed wood or natural other materials to design houses for low-income residents of Hale County, AL. For the past ten years, the students have been building these homes for the poor living in the Black Belt area of Alabama. But now the 20K house is being put on the general market.
Charles Pickering, the founder and CEO of architectural and engineering firm Pickering Associates, recently received a LEED-Platinum rating for his project at 12 Faith Meadows in Williamstown, WV. This is the first LEED Platinum certified home in West Virginia, and boasts of 11 kWDC of generation capacity. The solar system is located in an optimal array on the house and garage roof, and provides all the energy usage needs for the household, with some to sell back through the power grid. The house received a LEED Point Score of 113 and a HERS rating of .43.
Marc Rutenberg, the CEO of the Florida company Marc Rutenberg Homes, has recently successfully designed and built a luxury home that complies with and even surpasses all Energy Star standards and is LEED Platinum certified. The Castaway III, as the house is called, measures 4,552-square feet, which is about 3,100 square feet larger than the average zero-energy home. This house proves that there is no need to sacrifice comfort and luxury to reduce one’s carbon footprint.
Tiny houses have found homes as hotel rooms at Caravan Tiny House Hotel, which celebrated its grand opening in the Alberta Arts District, a neighborhood in northeast Portland, Oregon, on July 27, 2013.
Owners Deb Delman and Kol Peterson say that one of the goals of Caravan is to showcase the tiny home lifestyle. Three unique units (Rosebud, Pearl, and Tandem) share the common area outdoors that includes covered seating, a hammock, a barbecue, and a fire pit. In a hostel-like environment, visitors are encouraged to socialize.
Sustainably-designed and featuring over 40,000 linear feet of wall, roof, and canopy that is covered in panels from Metal Sales Manufacturing Corporation, the country’s largest planned net zero energy community is UC Davis West Village, a 205-acre project that will be home to 662 apartments and 343 single-family homes, along with commercial and recreational facilities.
The city of Minneapolis, Minnesota has set a goal of building 100 energy-efficient homes during the next five years in an effort to revitalize neighborhoods in the northern region of the city that have been suffering the most during the economic downturn. Homes will be built on vacant, city-owned lots and will be priced between $150,000 and $200,000. Energy efficient and designed to complement surrounding structures, it is expected that the new homes will contribute to increases in property values, along with owner confidence.