Here’s the story: A handful of entrepreneurs nurtured a graduate school business plan into an actual company called PFNC Global Communities. The acronym stands for “por fin, nuestra casa,” which is translated as “finally, a home of our own.” PFNC’s purpose is to convert shipping containers into affordable housing for those who most desperately need it around the globe.
A few months ago, I became interested in Samsø after reading Elizabeth Kolbert's column in The New Yorker entitled The Island in the Wind. Then, just this week, I noticed a photo essay of Samsø in The Guardian with pictures from Nicky Bonne. What's interesting about Samsø is that it's a producer of energy — the entire island produces more energy from renewables than it uses. They sell the rest and have been doing so since 2003.
I’ve been intrigued by ZEDfactory ever since I first started seeing their homes and designs. The three letters "ZED", which stand for Zero Energy Development, seem to show up in all ZEDfactory designs. But I must admit: their designs have a certain whimsical, if not playful, look. That’s no big deal, though, because future solutions are going to look different. Certainly, ZEDfactory is serious when it comes to pushing the envelope towards sustainable housing options. The above and below RuralZED was on display earlier this year at EcoBuild in Earls Court, London. To be clear, RuralZED is more than a house, it’s a system for developing zero carbon, zero energy, healthy homes.
If you’re like me, the architecture and sheer grandiosity of Beijing 2008 Olympics is blowing your mind. Gotta give props to what’s going on over there, seriously. The precision, planning, and persistence of this machine is quite compelling. With all the new and temporary structures now built, it’s hard to discuss everything — but you’ll find some interesting images and information below. Notably, China might have raised the bar for future cities that are presented with the opportunity to host the Olympics. China’s work isn’t done, I mean, pollution is unreal and the country is now the world’s largest CO2 emitter, but this article is an attempt to recognize positive efforts. When future Olympic cities start to build up infrastructure, transportation, and venues, as they invariably will, this website thinks China has presented some new lessons in how to be bold, economic, and green.
I keep an eye on things in the UK because, for some reason, I have this feeling that they’re focusing more on sustainability than we are. I mean, they’re not necessarily talking about green this or green that, they’re talking about lifecycle of materials and carbon emissions. This super luxury eco-home, for instance, was designed with lifecycle in mind. Designed by ZedFactory, the, ahem, 7535 sf home has received Bath (UK) planning permission and should be complete within about a year. It will feature efficient insulation, solar orientation, thermal mass, and earth sheltering to minimize energy consumption.
One thing we’re seeing for sure is an increasing amount of activity in the masterplanned, sustainable city area. Last January, schmidt hammer lassen architects won an international competition to design ECOBAY, a new town situated on the Paljassaare peninsula near the Estonian capital of Tallinn. In collaboration with Buro Happold Consulting Engineers and Møller & Grønborg, ECOBAY has been designed with everything one would need in close proximity: housing, schools, local shops, businesses, and other amenities — all within walking or biking distance. In addition, the town will utilize geothermal, small-scale wind, and surplus energy from the nearby wastewater facility.