Solarsmith, a green building firm out of Santa Fe, New Mexico, recently helped Betsy Armstrong and Richard Barr build an eco-friendly, traditional southwest-style home in the foothills of Santa Fe. The residence's roof is filled with solar panels, which are tied into the grid, helping to heat water for the radiant floors, exercise pool and appliances. Excess energy is fed to neighboring homes.
Wow, isn't this home striking? It's a green house and a house meant to act like a true greenhouse — the steel-framed structure is enveloped in alternating layers of insulated transparent glass and translucent polycarbonate plates, so when the sun comes through the glass and heats up the interior, the insulation in the glass keeps the heat inside. The insulation and translucent materials also provide a level of privacy, particularly on the first level, whereas the glass is featured prominently in the more public areas of the home.
This exciting new line of prefab houses comes to us from Bensonwood Homes, based out of Walpole, New Hampshire. Their Unity House, a Unity2 model built for the president of Unity College, has achieved a LEED platinum rating, making it one of a select group of homes around the country to reach such a lofty goal. And the small design-build company debuts not one, two, or even three, but four stunning models to the sustainable housing market. Reasonably priced and quickly assembled, all homes in the series are designed to be net-zero energy. The design aesthetic seems to lean towards the classic single family American home, while the high tech materials and features thrust towards the future of home building. The list of sustainable features is long to be sure, but here are a few key elements.
Just recently, we mentioned Copeland Casati in regards to the launch of Green Cabin Kits, but I thought it was high time to take a look at her SIPs home under construction near Appomattox in Central Virginia. The home is actually a prototype of the Casa Ti house kit designed by architect David Day. Designed to be off-grid, net-zero energy, and modern, the home has 1200 square feet of space with three bedrooms.
The small house movement is going buck wild. Some say it's because of a concern for the environment. Others say it's because of the economy. We could all say it's a confluence of both the economy and the environment, but what's important is that people actually rethink what a home can be — including how big it needs to be. Just the other day, The Economist, published a story about two of the main players in the super small home genre, Tiny Texas Houses and Tumbleweed Tiny House Company. We've mentioned Tumbleweed previously, but I learned something new about Tiny Texas Houses.
These days, you can't really attend a convention or exhibition unless there's a prefab and we think that's a great thing. In this case, ideabox is at it again with a new iteration of their popular confluence prefab at the Portland Home & Garden Show. If you're in the Pacific Northwest, go check it out through the 22nd of this month; if you're not, ideabox was nice enough to send us a few informal shots. The 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom home has a tidy footprint, as well as updated detailing, Kohler fixtures, and Design Within Reach furnishings. Simple living in a modern package …