I watched this video of the Jellyfish House by architects Lisa Iwamoto and Craig Scott, and needless to say, I was kind of blown away. It’s quite compelling to watch, but at the same level, it’s complicated. I can’t say I understand everything that’s going on but I like it. Jellyfish are responsive to the environment around them, so like jellyfish, one concept with this house is that water is filtered and harvested through the actual structure of the home. The structure uses UV light filtration, which could come down in price in the future, and titanium dioxide, which is now used for self-cleaning glass in tall skyscrapers. This concept prototype for the future of sustainable living was designed (hypothetically) for Treasure Island, a decommissioned military base in San Francisco Bay with toxic top soil.
It looks like Best Buy is upping its green cred with the recent announcement that starting in early- to mid-2008, all future Best Buy stores will be built to LEED standards. In all honesty, the retail sector has been kind of slow to adopt programs such as LEED. But this is starting to change. Best Buy has the in-house architect and senior facilities manager working on getting LEED accredited right now. Additionally, the company plans to get its eco-prototype store certified by the end of the year. The eco-prototype will have energy-efficient lighting, rainwater recycling, recycled content building materials, a high-efficiency HVAC system, and some sort of day lighting system.
Best Buy’s greening will go beyond the new stores also. Before the end of the fiscal year, it plans to increase its use of reusable containers by 30 percent; retrofit 20 percent of its 650+ stores with dimmable, zonable ceramic metal halide lights; and recycle 75,000 tons of cardboard, 1,800 tons of plastic, 15,000 tons of consumer electronics, and 27,500 tons of appliances. Via MBJ.
Although it’s not all that attractive looking from these images, it’s the greenest building in Billings, Montana, and one of a select few buildings certified "Platinum" under the LEED-NC (new construction) certification system. Using technology such as solar panels and composting toilets, it offices the Northern Plains Resource Council and consumes about 21% of the energy and 41% of the water of a similarly sized building. Financially, the building cost about $140 psf, which is about $35 psf cheaper than if the older building had been demolished and a new one put in its place.
In all honesty, there are only three other buildings in Montana that have green certifications from the USGBC. BUT, this building, known as Home on the Range, has created a gathering place for local architects, students, and the public. Now, there are 18 LEED projects in the registration phase in Montana. That’s incredible. We’re really getting some serious momentum behind this thing, that’s for sure.
And that’s pretty incredible. It can be used for personal, business, or industrial applications. The Power Pod arrives on a single flatbed truck and sets up in a day. But what’s so special about it? Well, it can outfitted with rooftop solar, the butterfly roof collects water for use in radiant floor heating, and the highly insulated walls (SIP R-28) keep the temperature just right. Plus, there’s also the typical energy-efficient lighting, low-flow plumbing fixtures, and building performance monitoring system. Keeping track of things helps to optimize efficiency. And with the sculptural steel pier foundation, setup should be pretty quick, too.
Can you feel the modern, green prefab-type options increasing? Almost out of control? Well, competition is good and this company is based in Lawrence, Massachusetts. It’s not really practical to be shipping homes all the way across the country, so there’s going to be lots of options in places that demand this type of construction. The working prototype, as you will see below, looks pretty good, too. Via Treehugger.
Quality modern, green projects just keep coming and there’s no stopping them. Here’s a project called 12.5 Condos. Why 12.5? Well, there’s going to be twelve 3-story townhouse condominiums and one 2-story condominium. Designed by Holst Architecture and built by Portland green builder Barrs & Genauer Construction, 12.5 will be located in the MLK corridor. With construction expected to finish by the end of this year, 12.5 is going to be an awesome example of green construction. At least 90% of construction debris will be recycled. Materials will include FSC-certified wood, recycled content site and structural metals, low-VOC non-toxic products, and fly ash concrete. Appliances will be Energy Star certified, toilets will be dual-flush, and the HVAC system will be ultra-efficient. Count on the skylights to usher in natural light, and everything will be super clean and linear. Extremely sustainable and extremely good looking. Look for these condos at the corner of NE Knott Street and NE 7th Avenue in Portland, Oregon. Prices starting from $295k and $375k.
There's an excellent interview by CNN with Ken Yeang, principle of the UK firm Llweleyn Davis Yeang. Almost a year ago, I wrote about Yeang's fascinating Menara Mesiniaga building, and that article has been a popular one in terms of visitors. Yeang is an ecological, architectural visionary designing in a way that blurs the boundary between the natural and human-built environments. With eco-logical design, the goal is to build a structure with no pollution or waste. And we're getting there, too. To quote Yeang, "we'll see green buildings long before 2020 — I think the movement is intensifying. Within the next 5-10 years we'll see a lot more green buildings being built. Not just buildings but green cities, green environment, green master plans, green products, green lifestyles, green transportation. I'm very optimistic." The green buildings pictured in this post are only a fraction of those designed by Ken Yeang. If you're looking for more information, feel free to pick up his latest book: ECODESIGN: A Manual for Ecological Design.