Older homes frequently aren't very energy efficient because power used to be extremely cheap and building codes varied widely. In mild climates, that tended to happen even more. Our home in Oakland was built in 1948 and was far from energy efficient when we bought it: single-pane windows and doors, some of which didn't close well; original floor furnace; no insulation in the ceiling or walls; drafty fireplace.
It’s interesting to see Passive Houses — like the Breezeway House in Millcreek, Utah — gain more and more recognition in both the mainstream media and design and construction circles. Another project worth keeping an eye on, Passive House in the Woods, is quietly moving forward with carbon neutral ambitions and a goal to be the first Passive House in the state of Wisconsin.
This Samsung Green Tomorrow project is the first in East Asia to achieve LEED Platinum certification and the first zero-energy house in South Korea, according to project consultant ARUP. Located in Yongin of the Gyeonggi Province, the project includes a zero-energy home of 4,553 square feet and visitor pavilion of 3,208 square feet with some incredible green features.
Joshua Foss, principal of Thrive Design Studio and ambassador for the Living Building Challenge, recently completed this clean and contemporary kitchen renovation in a home near Theodore Wirth Park. Foss and the owners went with a color palette that, in the end, resembles nature in many ways. The light blue walls resemble water or clear blue skies, the steel and aluminum mimic smooth stones, and the cabinets and floors ground the space with wood.
New Energy Works, a timber frame home builder with offices in New York and Oregon, recently announced the opening of their new show house in Portland. Designed to be “a living example of greater sustainability in a design and craft intensive home,” according to company president Jonathan Orpin, The Vermont Street Project is thought to be the first timber frame home in the state seeking LEED Platinum certification.
Natural Home just published a top 10 list of its favorite eco-friendly, energy-efficient communities in the nation. If there’s anything to note, it may be that the Pacific Northwest is ahead of the game when it comes to green planning and thoughtful communities. Here’s a quick look at each of the 10 communities; make sure to check out the original article – America’s Top 10 Best Green-Built Neighborhoods – for more information.