A new partnership between Silicon Energy and CrystaLite that was announced at the recent Living Future unConference in Seattle is bringing a new alternative to photovoltaic solar roof implementations and ground-mounted installations: the solar structure. PV-integrated structures provide home and business owners with extensive flexibility in the design and implementation of solar power when a solar roof is not cost effective or to achieve a more aesthetically pleasing integration of solar panels with structural design of patio and deck coverings, carport coverings, and picnic shelters.
In a recent article on Indian Country Today Media Network, journalist Nate Seltenrich covered the sustainable building initiatives of several Native American tribes who were the country’s “original green builders.” Through efforts to improve upon substandard housing and economic hardships, indigenous populations are returning to traditional methods of home construction while incorporating modern technologies. Contemporary sustainability calls tribal members back to their cultural heritage and opens up avenues for attainable home ownership and lower energy costs, with the potential to revitalize communities.
Kaplan Thompson Architects were challenged by their clients to build a farmstead home in the mountains of Virginia that could not only meet standards for Passivhaus and LEED, but include a roof on which sheep could graze.
The solution: Earthship Farmstead is a house that is nestled in the east-facing hillside with a floorplan that fits the contours of the surrounding fields. The dining and living room extend out onto the hill to allow south-facing shaded windows to capture warmth and light from the sun. Recently, Earthship Farmstead received Passive House certification and is gathering data toward LEED Platinum certification.
The new, sustainably built, 15,205 square foot structure for the Jungers Culinary Institute on the Central Oregon Community College (COCC) campus, designed by Yost Grube Hall Architecture, was made possible by $3 million in grants and contributions from the Bend, Oregon community, for which students serve lunch, happy hour, and dinner in the 60-seat public restaurant, Elevation, alongside a three instructional kitchens that include a baking and pastry kitchen, a fifty-seat demonstration theatre, and classroom space for up to 100 students per year.
Since 1995, Bill and his wife, Sue, had been designing and building homes as Blue Sky Ventures and, in 2011, they began constructing little buildings with reclaimed materials and decided to shift focus with Hobbitat when they began work on thirteen cabins for the Blue Moon Rising eco-tourism retreat on Maryland’s Deep Creek Lake.