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Unity is an Ultra-Efficient Factory-Built Home

Today New Hampshire-based Bensonwood, an innovator in home building, announced the launch of a new brand of prefab homes called Unity Homes. With Unity Homes, the company expects to raise the bar for home construction without raising the price tag, too. There will be four diverse home collections — renderings of which are shown in this article — each with several configurations and two-four bedroom options, and all of the homes will use at least 50% (and up to 75%) less energy than a typical home on the market.

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Solar-Powered Canopy for an Urban Tower

Turns out the Rhône Alpes team from France with the Canopea house won Solar Decathlon Europe held in Madrid.  Their home is actually the top of a conceptual “Nanotower” that the team proposed to bring single-family style living back to the urban core.  The top level acts like a rain forest’s canopy — hence the name — by collecting 95% of all solar energy and 30% of rainwater for the tower.  Canopea was built of a prefab CORE, site-built SKIN, and a SHELL capable of off-site fabrication as well.

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The First Passive House in Salt Lake City

This will be the first certified Passive House in the city limits of Salt Lake City (not to take anything away from the Breezeway House located outside the city in Salt Lake County), if certification by PHIUS goes as planned. I visited the home on a nice sunny day a couple weeks ago, but the photos of this beginning photographer didn’t turn out as I’d originally expected.* That said, I hope you can get a feeling for the contemporary design and some of the materials and technology that went into this ultra-efficient home.

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Net-Zero Energy Homes in Grow Community

This is Grow Community near downtown Winslow on Bainbridge Island in Washington.  The first three model homes — Ocean, Everett, and Aria — are finished and work is moving forward for the next 24 homes and two 10-unit rowhouse apartments.  The eight-acre project is the first residential One Planet Community in North America (issued by U.K. non-profit BioRegional).  However, in addition to this recognition, the aim is net-zero homes and an entirely net-zero energy community by 2020.

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Not So Big Timber Frame Home in Oregon

This is an 800-square-foot home in the River Road area in north Eugene. It was designed by Nir Pearlson and built by Six Degrees Construction for owners Rob Handy and Julie Hulme, who were inspired by The Not So Big House and other books by Sarah Susanka, FAIA. It turns out the owners upsized their situation by deconstructing an existing 620-square foot house built several decades ago, according to The Register-Guard.

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The Greenest Home in the World [Video]

I was noodling some recent journalist potshots about headlines for “the greenest …” when I landed on this video piece from the Nightly News. NBC’s Kiko Itasaki wonders if this home in Unst, one of the northern Shetland Islands of Scotland, is the greenest in the world. Everyone knows the question has no answer, but I think Michael and Dorothy Rea have accomplished something worth noticing that’s for sure.

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