[Run time = 2:21] If you’re a prefab enthusiast, you’ve probably heard of Hive Modular–they’re pushing the envelope on modern, highly-customized, affordable modular homes. I’ve included a short video with Paul Stankey talking about some of the benefits of modular building. Notice, prices are going to be variable due to extreme variations in land costs, but a Hive Modular will run about $100-200 per square foot, generally speaking. And while the company makes it’s homes energy-efficient and has less construction waste (than site built homes), their focus is on modern design. As the company’s relationships grow, they plan to incorporate more green amenities into their plans. Via Moco.
Green building renovation is the future; there are so many inefficient structures and the time will come when deciding not to renovate a building would be similar to using a typewriter when you have a laptop. Why not start now? Natural Home Magazine is chronicling a developer who will take a seedy, dilapidated (Boerum Hill) Brooklyn building and remodel it with cutting edge technology and green features. The developers, Rolf Grimstead + Emily Fisher of R&E Brooklyn, bought it and plan to make it New York’s first American Lung Association Health House.
The interior will use IceStone recycled counters (C2C), salvaged wood or bamboo flooring, and Kirei board cabinets. Finishes will be with low or no-VOC water-based poly (American Pride). The house will be wired with solar energy via photovoltaic panels. Also, there will be a solar-thermal and gas-fired system to heat and cool the place. In addition, the developers will use the Health House criteria (regarding moisture + humidity control, energy efficiency, and air filtration + ventilation) to guide them in making the indoor air quality top notch. This should be an interesting project to follow throughout 2007.
93 Nevins/453 Pacific: 2 Eco-smart Townhouses [R&E Brooklyn]
Brownstoner Blog Post on the 2 Eco-smart Townhouses [Brownstoner]
The fact of the matter is, if you’re going to build green buildings, you gotta have green materials. And green building is getting easier because demand is increasing and creating innovative green products to fit all varieties of projects. There are different angles to take with a sustainable project and it’s not all about energy efficiency. You’ll want to look at everything. I like to think in terms of consumption. What are you consuming and how much of it are you consuming? Is the building water efficient? What does it do with waste (such as recycling)? Does waste equal food (C2C)? Did you have to ship it across the world to procure it? What’s the indoor air quality of the building? How does it look and feel? Did you benefit the community by buying the materials, paying the laborers, or building the project?
To make life a little easier, there’s the GreenSpec Directory, which includes more than 2,100 green product listings. It’s a veritable idea bank ($89.90). To give you a taste of what some of the products are, BuildingGreen announced the Top-10 Green Building Products during GreenBuild in November. Here they are. I’ve linked to the BuildingGreen product information and used "(company)" for the corporate website link. BuildingGreen doesn’t receive money from these companies for placing a product in the GreenSpec Directory, so the information is totally objective in that regard.
- Polished Concrete System from RetroPlate (company)
- Underwater Standing Timber Salvage by Triton Logging (company)
- PaperStone Certified Composite Surface Material by Klip Tech Composites, Inc. (company)
- Varia + "100 Percent" Recycled-content Panel Products by 3Form, Inc. (company)
- Recycled-content Interior Molding by Timbron International (company)
- SageGlass Tintable Glazing by Sage Electrochromics (company)
- Water-efficient Showerhead with H20kinetic Technology by Delta (company)
- WeatherTRAK Smart Irrigation Controls by HydroPoint Data Systems, Inc. (company)
- Coolerado Cooler Advanced, Indirect Evaporative Air Conditioner by Coolerado, LLC (company)
- Renewable Energy Credits from Community Energy, Inc. (company)
If you have an experience with any of these products, feel free to drop a comment so all the readers can benefit. Once you go green, you never go back!
First off, GreenCity Lofts LLC shows us how important it is to have a sleek, professional, informative website for your properties. In the early stages of construction, word-of-mouth increases and people start to notice what’s going on. Slap a huge sign up (with a rendering of course) and direct people to the web for more information while the building is still being finished. A good website that’s search engine optimized (SEO) will go a long way to promoting a new building’s features and benefits. I’ve gleaned my information from GreenCity’s website and an article in the December/January 2007 edition of Dwell Magazine. Designed by Architect Robert Swatt, this eco-conscious complex has 62 units in 5 buildings, with units ranging in size from 500-2100 square feet, and prices from $495,000-$1,050,000 (800 – 2100 square feet).
The building exceeds California Title 24 energy requirements by 15% and is Energy Star qualified; 95% of the demolition waste from construction was recycled; the steel superstructure + interior framing contain from 25-90% post-consumer recycled content creating a durable earthquake, fire, rot, mold, pest-resistant building; cement pours contain a minimum of 25% fly ash; the roof was painted gray to absorb less heat than the darker colored varieties; water efficient technologies collect rain water runoff for landscape irrigation; hydronic radiant floor heating with a gas-fired broiler saves 20-40% of the cost of conventional systems (and you have no noise or draft as in the forced-air systems); formaldehyde-free products were used where possible; zero + low-VOC paints, stains, and varnishes were used; units contain bamboo floors with other FSC-certified wood products; and lofts contain 2-3 walls with windows for abundant natural lighting.
These places look really good, too. One thing to consider, is the trade off when you create places with large, open, interior spaces. It takes more energy to heat and cool larger spaces, but this may be mitigated some by using the hydronic radiant floor heating. At least you don’t have to walk on the cold bathroom tiles when you wake up in the morning! Oh yeah, also, GreenCity Lofts is about a 13-minute walk from BART, on the border of Emeryville and Oakland at 1007 41st Street, at the corner of 41st Street and Adeline. Watch the GreenCity Lofts’ video.
It seems like cities all over the United States are jumping into the green building fray–it’s an exciting time to witness the radical transformation of the construction industry. In Madison, Wisconsin, there’s a neighborhood development called Capitol West. The project is a $110 million, mixed-use development in the center of Madison, occupying an entire city block bounded by West Washington Avenue, South Henry, West Main + South Broom Street. The development will include a diversity of housing types, shopping spaces, + urban parks–all clean, contemporary + modern.
This urban redevelopment will include about 375-400 townhomes, condominiums, and lofts + penthouses. The first phase (173 condos + 10,000 sf of retail) of condominium homes will range in size from 650-3,000 square feet, with prices ranging from $170,000-$900,000. I was really surprised by the diversity of architecture and offerings for this neighborhood: Capitol Court Townhomes, Washington Rowhouses, 309 West Washington (10 floors), Main Street Townhomes, + Broom Street Lofts. This looks really exciting.
What’s really impressive is the steps the developer, The Alexander Company, took to make sure this development didn’t place undue burden on the city’s resources. It retained Madison Environmental Group to head up their reuse/deconstruction phase. The reuse phase diverted 66 tons of material from the landfill via donations, walk-throughs, and public sale events. The deconstruction phase yielded 94.86% of recycled material, totaling 24,500 tons! Granted deconstruction can take more time, but it’s a lot better on the community, environment, and neighborhood. In total, 59,536 cubic yards of material was diverted from the landfill via reuse and deconstruction efforts–that’s 19,772 Ford F-150s full of waste lined up back-to-back stretching 65 miles. Nice job Capitol West.
No word yet as to whether any of the individual projects will go after LEED, but the architects are designing with the environment in mind. Lots of natural light, air + ventilation design with incredible views, green spaces, and roof gardens. Thanks for the tip Stephen Schenkenberg.
Prefab. Prefab. Prefab. If you’re interested in the green building movement, you probably get pumped up when the usual rhetoric–green benefits versus money savings versus factory-built convenience versus design premium versus modernize-the-building industry–kicks in. I do. Prefab, which includes the modular and the panelized varieties, is an interesting industry phenomenon. So, I wanted to share Amy Gunderson’s newest NY Times article, which I thought was very well-written and thoughtful. I will say, however, as a warning: this article walks on the edge of conflating prefabs with manufactured homes (actually, it pretty much puts them in the same boat and then parses them out by explaining the differences), but I think it’s handier to deal with prefabs and manufactured homes in separate discussions. For example:
In the article, it is explained that Adrienne Shishko + Joel Sklar retained the popular Resolution: 4 Architecture to put the 3,000 square foot home on their vacation property. Not a bad choice, I might add. The modules are built in a factory and the home arrives at the lot roughly 70% complete, you just need to put the parts together + do the finish out (electrical, plumbing, drywall, painting, appliance installation, etc.). The firm’s average building price comes out to $200-250 square foot, which is lower than a comparable, custom-built home, which averages $300-400 square foot. The home has the potential to get built faster, assuming the permitting goes smoothly, and it qualifies as a residence (unlike mobile homes). Plus, factory built homes incur less construction waste. One additional caveat, shipping modules is not cheap (@$8,000 per module, I’ve seen) + so there is that pollution premium to think about, but … this is an exciting industry for the future of building. Art by Nancy Doniger.