Modcell, a company in the UK that makes prefabricated panels from staw and hemp, this year completed a two-story straw bale home on the campus of the University of Bath. The home, referred to as Balehaus@Bath, was designed by White Design. Over a year, the Balehaus will be monitored in thirty-second increments with 12 sensors inside and 66 sensor in the walls, measuring such things as thermal performance, acoustics, air tightness, and relative humidity.
The other day, Design Boom reported on this project for the city of Groningen in the Netherlands. Designed by NL Architects, the project, called Sozawe — welfare department and work agency — has office spaces, a large interior public space, and 215 parking spaces. Each of the nine office floors includes access to outdoor spaces with trees and a view over the city.
This is the Idea House by Broadway Malyan for Sime Darby Property, one of the largest property developers in Malaysia. The home was designed as an attempt to become the first carbon zero residence in South East Asia. The home would be prefabricated in modules to save on labor costs, speed up the construction process, and make deconstruction of the home easy at the end of its useful life. Some other green aspects of the home design include:
Green building certification is an interesting phenomenon. It’s meant to convey a message about the building’s level of “green” or “sustainability,” but the message is only as strong as the system that creates it. If you push beyond that message, you might ask: how many of these certified buildings are, say, positive energy? That’s the goal of Elithis Tower recently opened in Dijon, France. It has 1,600 sensors that examine energy and emissions. This information is then displayed on a special public sign in full transparency for everyone to see. The sign is both dynamic and clear.
At one time, Paradise Park Children's Centre in London had a lush vertical hydroponic garden covering certain portions of the structure. That time is no more, reports The Architects' Journal, the BBC, and the London Evening Standard. The building, designed by DSDHA, called for a living wall to mitigate against planting the structure on a portion of open park space. DSDHA retained landscape architect Marie Clarke and had the green wall system installed at a cost of £100,000.
About a month and a half ago, Marken Projects, founded by developer Alexander Maurer and based in Vancouver, BC, announced plans to build this 2,400 square foot home. It’s going to be Passive House certified, LEED Platinum certified in Canada, and built using a German modular wood building system. Needless to say, it has all the components of the kind of projects we like.