There’s a new online video show hosted by Alex Pettitt called Mainstream Green. Their videos are high-quality and super informative. Sometimes, it helps to see how things work, so I love to show video as often as possible. The video above is on recycling and deconstruction. The deconstruction guy says the cost of on-site deconstruction is comparable to waste removal. That’s a good. Generally, people are self-interested and when it becomes profitable to do the right thing, more and more people will start doing the right thing. Makes sense doesn’t it?
At West Coast Green in San Francisco last week, U.S. EPA Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response Assistant Administrator Susan Bodine announced winners of the first inaugural Lifecycle Building Challenge competition. Winners were recognized for their cutting-edge green building ideas that aim to reduce environmental and energy impacts of buildings. Ideas from the design contest will jumpstart the building industry to help reuse more of the 100 million tons of building-related construction and demolition debris sent each year to landfills in the U.S. The winners are listed below:
- Sustainability by Design, Professional Unbuilt, People’s Choice Award
- Pavilion in the Park, Professional Built, Buildings
- GreenMobile, Professional Unbuilt, Buildings
- groHome, Student, Buildings
- Demountable Tape, Profesional Built, Components
- Deconstructable & Reusable Composite Slab, Professional Unbuilt, Components
- Guidelines for Building with Reusable Materials, Student, Components
- ATHENA Assembly Evaluation Tool, Professional Built, Services
- Deconstruction Engineer, Student, Services
Congratulations to all the winners, honorable mentions, and participants.
Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of discussing the phenomenon of container housing with David Cross, Chief Business Development Officer for SG Blocks LLC. SG Blocks, short for Safe and Green, is a sustainable building system made from containers. Going beyond the trendy fascination with exposed container architecture design–modern, industrial, and extremely good looking, in my opinion, SG Blocks intends to use containers as a fundamental component to building construction. A container home doesn’t necessarily have to look like a container home (that’s up to you), but it can have all the same advantages: comfortable, strong, green, and affordable.
The home you see above is an example of container modules being used on a traditional home as a framing system. From the outside or inside, you’re not going to know that it was built with container modules. The cost of framing a home built with SG Blocks is about $22-30 psf, which is roughly comparable to other forms of construction. BUT did you know that recycling containers into steel beams takes nearly 8,000 kW of energy at a cost of roughly $800? Rather, it takes about 400 kW of energy to turn containers into a home. At about 5% of the energy when compared to straight recycling, that’s not bad. And right now, SG Blocks is in the process of rolling out their building system nationally.