The firm ISI Technology of South Carolina will soon begin producing a smart water heater, which is designed to cut energy use by 40% over conventional water heaters. They have recently successfully met their funding goal of $125,000 through Kickstarter to begin the production. The Heatworks MODEL 1 compact water heater will measure 12.5 inches by 6.5 inches, meaning that it will fit in most spaces. The water heater will also have Wi-Fi connectivity, so that temperature, power levels and duration can all be monitored and controlled remotely.
Sukup Manufacturing is a small company based in Sheffield, Iowa, which primarily manufactures agricultural products, which includes grain bins. About three years ago, Sukup also began manufacturing grain silo homes to be used as disaster relief housing in Haiti following the devastating earthquake there. They called this grain silo home a Safe T Home, and it was developed in partnership with Global Compassion Network and Iowa residents. In 2012 a shipment of these homes was transported to Haiti where volunteers and residents built the so-called “Village of Hope” from the silos. Safe T Homes proved very successful as relief housing, and they are now also available for purchase in the US through Sukup Manufacturing. Safe T homes can easily be used as vacation houses, or even tiny sustainable homes.
The green building expert John Wesley Miller, working with the company Green Builder Media recently completed the latest innovative project in the Vision House Series, namely the Vision House Tucson. This home is located in the Armory Park del Sol neighborhood of Tucson, AZ. The house is fitted will all the latest fixtures and features of a net zero home, yet the basis of its energy efficiency lies in its traditional block and cement construction.
The unique tiny house builder Hobbitat Spaces from Maryland is now taking individual orders for their hand-built homes. The company is the brainchild of Bill Thomas, and the homes are hand crafted and built to withstand even the harshest Northeastern winters. Hobbitat Spaces recently completed 13 Hobbitat cabins for Blue Moon Rising, an ecotourism retreat in Maryland. All of the houses in the retreat were built with reclaimed, local and recycled materials.
Frederick Corson’s 5000 square foot home in Northern California is one of the largest in the area, yet its cooling and heating costs are very low. Instead of using traditional sources of heating and cooling, Carson fitted the house with a ground-source heat pump known as a geothermal heat pump. Such a heat source is environmentally friendly and sustainable, while it also keeps the costs of heating and cooling the house minimal.
Builder Brandon Weiss of Weiss Building and Development LLC completed the first ever passive house in the Chicago area, which was designed by architect Tom Bassett-Dilley. Located at 1430 Jackson River Forest, IL, this 3,598 square foot single family residence has a HERS rating of 28 and has received the Passive house certification (PHIUS), while it is also a DOE Challenge Home and Healthy Home Initiative Certified. This home is the first PHIUS certified house in the Chicago area and only the 28th such home in the US.