A company called Solyndra pioneered the solar tube but this new invention by UK-based Naked Energy may just take cylindrical solar to a whole new level. Called Virtu, the product includes an integrated photovoltaic cell in a vacuum tube to generate both electricity and warm water at the same time. The setup keeps the PV cool to optimize energy production and maximizes space with a combined PVT solution.
This is a net-zero energy showhouse in the Belgravia neighborhood of Edmonton. The home, built by Effect Home Builders, has been open on Sundays and displays the solar-powered approach to reducing the use of fossil fuels. A massive rooftop solar array feeds energy into the grid and produces as much energy as will be needed on an annual basis. In addition, the home has several other green aspects.
Italy-based Benetti Stone Philosophy makes a beautiful mosaic surface called Ivory Dream, which is made from vegetable ivory. In this case, the vegetable ivory — which was used to make buttons before plastic became popular — comes from the seed of an Amazon palm tree called Tagua. The seed is hand-harvested without causing any damage and is then cut and supplied for use as a floor, covering, or other surface mosaic.
When I first mentioned the Mendoza Laneway House, it was one of the first laneway homes in Vancouver under the city’s EcoDensity program. The company behind that efficient SIPs home, Lanefab, and its partners, designer Bryn Davidson and builder Mat Turner, have been busy and recently completed the first Net-Zero Solar Laneway House on a corner lot at 57th and Vivian. It’s beautiful inside and out.
This is a three-level studio and living space by daiken-met architects in Gifu, Japan. Called Sugoroku Office, the space is made with seven used shipping containers and a structural steel frame that holds the intermodal units together. The project sits on a basic parking lot under short-term lease so design for deconstruction and relocation was a critical driver for the end result. Sugoroku Office has about 1,200 square feet, several work stations, a kitchen, and a loft that’s ready for living.
UK-based Blue Forest makes inventive tree houses and recently introduced a new design concept called the eco-PERCH, which I think you’ll be interested in seeing. The four-bed retreat can be delivered, assembled, and commissioned in about five days with things like photovoltaics, a composting toilet, and rainwater harvesting, etc.