Team Germany took first prize at Solar Decathlon 2007, and they’re moving up in the rankings this year. After the architectural competition, the team is now solidly in second place with a few more days to go. Could the cube with a solar facade bring last year’s victor its second consecutive win? In 2007, Team Germany had a beautiful home covered in oak louvered frames with integrated photovoltaics. This year, the team of 24 architects and students has furthered the same theme with 40 single-crystal silicon panels on the roof and roughly 250 thin-film CIGS panels on the sides.
This is the Yannell Residence in Chicago, Illinois, a home that was designed and built as an exercise in net zero energy living — it produces at least as much energy as it uses over the course of a year. It received LEED Platinum certification in July 2009, and has been on a roll getting media attention all over the place. Some say it’s one of the greenest houses ever built, but one thing is for sure: it has a ton of interesting green elements.
In the past few weeks, the Brad Pitt Make It Right foundation in New Orleans has been blanketed with all sorts of good press. The USGBC declared Make It Right to be the "largest and greenest single family community in the world." One of the newest homes in this green community is the FLOAT House by Morphosis Architects, which was designed and built under the direction of Thom Mayne and with the help of numerous UCLA graduate students. The FLOAT House is a prototype for prefab affordable housing that is adaptable to flood zones worldwide.
Green building certification is an interesting phenomenon. It’s meant to convey a message about the building’s level of “green” or “sustainability,” but the message is only as strong as the system that creates it. If you push beyond that message, you might ask: how many of these certified buildings are, say, positive energy? That’s the goal of Elithis Tower recently opened in Dijon, France. It has 1,600 sensors that examine energy and emissions. This information is then displayed on a special public sign in full transparency for everyone to see. The sign is both dynamic and clear.
If you're reading this and you live somewhere in the area of 118 Areys Lane, Orleans, Massachusetts, you should go check out a house that we previously mentioned. You remember the Modern Lake House? The home was designed by Zero Energy Design and built by Cape Associates. With the red and orange exterior, it looks a touch loud, but it's still a stunner. What do you think? ZED will be on site today from 10 am to 4 pm, Saturday, October 3, 2009.
Today at West Coast Green 2009, Green Horizon showcased their new SFH40 on-demand housing, and it's an impressive unit. Designed to be a self-sustaining home for a family of four, it can be shipped anywhere in the world in a standard shipping container and set up in less than two hours by unskilled people. Each unit has two bedrooms with built in furniture, a bathroom, and a kitchen area. But it's also designed to be a self-sustaining shelter in the aftermath of a disaster when infrastructure may be damaged, so it includes solar panels and batteries, a bio-diesel generator as backup, and water purification equipment. Units can be interconnected to share power and water.