Turns out the Rhône Alpes team from France with the Canopea house won Solar Decathlon Europe held in Madrid. Their home is actually the top of a conceptual “Nanotower” that the team proposed to bring single-family style living back to the urban core. The top level acts like a rain forest’s canopy — hence the name — by collecting 95% of all solar energy and 30% of rainwater for the tower. Canopea was built of a prefab CORE, site-built SKIN, and a SHELL capable of off-site fabrication as well.
While prefab home companies on the West Coast gather accolades and media for their efforts, there’s Hive Modular in Minneapolis doing some things that I think merit attention, too. The company has placed 21 completed prefab homes and is really popular with the fine citizens of Calgary, Alberta. Turns out this — the B-Line Medium 010 — is the sixth Calgary project for Hive Modular since entering the Canadian market in 2008. The two modules for this ultra-efficient home are scheduled to be set next Thursday, September 27, at about 9:00 am, if you want to see one of these homes come together.
I was noodling some recent journalist potshots about headlines for “the greenest …” when I landed on this video piece from the Nightly News. NBC’s Kiko Itasaki wonders if this home in Unst, one of the northern Shetland Islands of Scotland, is the greenest in the world. Everyone knows the question has no answer, but I think Michael and Dorothy Rea have accomplished something worth noticing that’s for sure.
Marken Projects is working on another Passive House in British Columbia. This 3,500-square-foot home, made with a panelized prefab system like the Rainbow Duplex, will house two families and three generations under the same roof in Surrey, British Columbia. The aim is an affordable structure that uses 90% less energy for heating and cooling than a standard home. It’ll have triple-pane windows, an HRV, solar hot water, rainwater harvesting, no-VOC materials, and the ultra-efficient and airtight shell. Construction will take about five months, and I’ll provide an update with more detail at that time.
Following the sale of Beachaus I, a contemporary prefab in the White Rock area of British Columbia, the neighboring Beachaus II now hits the market with a price tag of $1,275,000. The LEED Platinum home — three bedrooms, two-and-a-half bathrooms, 2,025 square feet — was designed by Pb Elemental, fabricated by Method Homes, and developed by InHaus Development.
If you want to wind up a building scientist, you might mention the topic of insulation. Better yet, mention the advent of expanded cork insulation in the United States from Portugal-based Amorim Isolamentos. The insulation is made from leftover material from cork bottle stopper production which is heated and sliced into boards, according to Alex Wilson of BuildingGreen. Thus, the insulation is rapidly renewable and entirely natural.