Fireclay Tile, manufacturer of Express and Debris tile, recently introduced a new line of 100% recycled-content, glass tile called Crush. Fireclay acquired the technology to make Crush from Sandhill Industries (Idaho) and now makes the eco-friendly product in California with locally-sourced, pre-consumer window glass. Crush is available in gloss or matte finishes in 40 colors and 17 sizes. In addition, it’s fit for both residential and commercial applications and may contribute to various LEED credits.
KB Home recently unveiled one of the largest communities of LEED Platinum homes in Playa Vista, California. Called Primera Terra, the community has 52 luxury condos certified to green building standards and each home will have an Energy Performance Guide sticker. These homes are about 40% more efficient than Title 24 standards and could cost as low as $57 per month on heating and cooling.
Encino-based Cyber-Rain, maker of what the company calls a “sprinkler controller with a brain,” recently introduced a new feature that gives users the ability to monitor and control landscape watering from the cloud. The Cyber-Rain controller works similar to, for example, a Rainbird or Orbit system, except an owner can control sprinklers, manually run valves, and check watering activity from a computer or through a free iPhone app.
Santa Monica-based LivingHomes is doing great things with factory-built homes designed by elite architects. They built the first LEED Platinum home in the country and have since certified about 8 more Platinum-level prefabs in various places. Not satisfied with only single family homes, the company has been working on this 3-unit multifamily project in Los Altos, which is also shooting for Platinum certification.
We’re building up a nice archive of chicken coop designs these days. Reader Matt Wolpe of Just Fine Design/Build just sent us photos and details of his Chicken Coopsickle in California. He designed this to work on a woodsy site with a steep incline — it’s planted in concrete with a redwood post. Floating steps run upward to the hen house, which is made with interlocked half-lap joint flooring, Tennessee red cedar siding, and a plywood gusset topped with a single sheet of aluminum for the roof.
Some of the best prefabricated homes seem to be coming out of the Pacific Northwest from companies like Stillwater Dwellings, the design-build firm behind this new home in Santa Barbara, California. The Seattle-based firm, founded by a seasoned builder and developer and architects formerly of the firm now known as Olson Kundig Architects, differentiates itself from others with a trademark soaring butterfly roofline, energy-efficient designs, sustainable materials, and a predictable construction budget.