Altius RSA (Rapid Systems Architecture), the makers of MiniHomes recently unveiled their newest prefab housing model, the Solo 40. The company has been designing and manufacturing eco-friendly and sustainable prefab homes since 2002, and their latest model offers a great balance between wide market appeal and price. The Solo 40 is longer, wider, more spacious, and resembles conventional homes in its layout. It measures 480 square feet and the fully equipped model costs only $195 per square foot. The units can be shipped from the company’s facilities in Ontario or California.
Lulu, a single mom from Southern California, recently went back to school, which prevented her from working full time to pay a market rent. Due to this she was forced to move out of her conventional home, so instead she decided to build for herself and her small daughter a home from a shipping container. She built the home herself with no prior construction experience.
Lulu was given the shipping container for free, and it took her about a month to cut out the windows and doors using a saw. She then installed the needed insulation to which she added bubble wrap to prevent condensation buildup. For the floor and ceiling, she opted for Styrofoam insulation. She also performed some basic plumbing to get running water in the kitchen and bathroom. The kitchen is equipped with a propane camp stove and a portable, propane-powered on-demand water heater.
The Colorado-based Formworks Building Inc. has been specializing in earth sheltered building technology since 1979. The main idea behind their buildings is the creation of sustainable, affordable housing. Formworks structures have an estimated usable life span of over one hundred years without any major maintenance. These houses are built into the earth surrounding the building site, which has the added bonus of protecting the home from raging storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, fires, mudslides and so on.
Team Middlebury is one of the twenty teams chosen to compete in this year’s US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon competition and their entry is the design and building of a socially and environmentally sustainable house called the InSite house. The team is made up of more than 100 Middlebury College undergraduate students from over 25 different academic disciplines. The finished two bedroom and one bathroom house will measure 956 square feet, while the building costs are $250,000.
In August 2013, Green Builder Magazine showcased the best durable/sustainable green building products that are made in the United States, pointing out that American manufacturing creates domestic jobs, reduces the impact of overseas shipping, and often makes use of locally-sourced raw materials.
Among the thirty-one products featured was the Xero Flor Green Roof System (the only green roof system to be included in the issue), which enables builders to create vegetative roofing on surfaces that range from 0 to 45 degree slopes. The Xero Flor system comprises a pre-vegetated mat, XeroTerr growing medium (a mix of compost and porous mineral aggregate), a retention fleece that distributes and stores water within the root zone, drain mat, and root barrier.
This Nederland, Colorado container home, designed by Studio H:T, performs at net-zero energy consumption by utilizing passive strategies of insulation and orientation, active solar photovoltaic and thermal systems, and the harvesting of on-site renewable fuel (timber is selectively and sustainably cleared to burn in the high-efficiency wood stove).