Nutrition Labels as Universal Home Labels

Breezehouse_label

We’re very much intrigued by the white paper released yesterday by Michelle Kaufmann Companies.  Officially entitled "Nutrition Labels for Homes: A Way for Homebuyers to Make More Ecological, Economical Decisions," the white paper presents the case for a universal label for homes.  Note that last sentence, though.  This isn’t a label for just green homes, it’s a label for all homes.  It’s a universal label to educate people on a home’s sustainability (or unsustainability) profile.  Every home gets a label — you can imagine the power this gives buyers and green home sellers. 

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By |September 23rd, 2008|Energy Efficiency, News|4 Comments

Eco-friendly Modular Home Built in 60 Days, Uses 50 Percent Less Energy

Modular

Country Living Magazine’s October issue highlights an eco-friendly, modular home constructed in just 60 days by New World Home.  The home’s design is traditional and used a 19th century home as a model.  The highly energy efficient home uses 50% less energy than the average home and their modular process allows them to use less wood in the building process. 

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By |September 21st, 2008|Energy Efficiency, Prefab, Single Family|2 Comments

BrightBuilt Barn Going Net-Zero, Super-Efficient & LEED Platinum

BrightBuilt Barn Rendering

I’m starting think that maybe, just maybe, the modern farmhouse could be a gateway to contemporary for many of you.  What do you think, pretty clean design, right?  The BrightBuilt Barn was designed by Kaplan Thompson Architects, factory built in components by Bensonwood (mentioned by Josh Stack in comments recently), and is being built by Gibson Design/Build as we speak.  It was designed to be net-zero and super green — the home will participate in the Living Building Challenge and, in all likelihood, qualify for LEED Platinum certification.  Geez!  So what’s in store for this 700 sf studio home:

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By |September 19th, 2008|Energy Efficiency, LEED, Modern architecture, Single Family|0 Comments

Zero Energy Buildings Database Launched

Sciencehouse

As with all terms environmental, the devil is in the definition and the lawyers have been hard at work with so called zero energy buildings.  A net ZEB, by definition, produces as much energy as it uses over the course of a year.  To get to that point, buildings owners make their buildings as efficient as possible and then use, in the typical case, on-site renewable energy to get into zero energy territory.  But there are other variations, including net zero site energy, net zero source energy, net zero energy costs, net zero energy emissions, and near zero energy, all of which have been kindly defined by the DOE.  The DOE, as assisted by Building Green, has also launched a Zero Energy Buildings Database, with the following four buildings.

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By |September 9th, 2008|Energy Efficiency, News|0 Comments

Aviator Energy Efficient Live/Work Units Planned for Steamboat Springs

Aviator

I just received an email about an interesting project on the cusp in Steamboat Springs, Colorado called Aviator.  Aviator is a mixed-use, multifamily and storage units facility that’s targeting LEED Gold certification.  Seeking superior energy efficiency for the project, Olson Development retained EcoSteel to provide the structure.  EcoSteel calculates that their company could contribute ~18 points towards overall certification of Aviator based upon energy efficiency (10), heat island effect reduction (1), and recycled, reused, and regional materials use (7). 

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Parans Fiber Optic Skylights Bring Natural Light to Dark Spaces

Parans - Huvco

Update 8/08/2012Parans is now available through Wasco.

The interesting thing about fiber optic lighting is that it creates the ability to put natural light in places where there is none.  Generally, here’s how it works.  Using a building-mounted panel with computer-controlled, sun-tracking lenses, natural light is channeled through optical fibers to luminaires that diffuse the light (see diagram below).

Since early 2008, HUVCO Daylighting Solutions has been offering a fiber optic lighting system like this, or the Parans System, which was developed in Sweden.  Although light only travels about 60 feet through optical cables, the ability to direct light in this manner is quite interesting.

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By |August 27th, 2008|Energy Efficiency, Solar, Technology|11 Comments